Peyton Manning has been the most influential man at Vegas and overseas sportsbooks in 2013, as his high-scoring exploits have generated plenty of hype and plenty of betting.
So when he returns to Indianapolis as a member of the Denver Broncos, everyone takes notice and everyone has an opinion on whether he can cover a seven-point spread against the Colts.
That translates to millions in bets and sleepless nights for oddsmakers, who can take a major hit if the betting public is correct.
“Denver games have been huge decisions for the sportsbooks and, fortunately for them, the Broncos have failed to cover in three of their wins,” said Jack Randall of OddsShark.com. “This one is special, could swing the day in a big way for sportsbooks and they have to wait until late Sunday to learn their fates.”
About 68 percent of the bets were on Denver as of Friday, according to the OddsShark.com NFL consensus data. It was even more one-sided at Bovada, where sportsbook manager Kevin Bradley said Friday that 85 percent of the early betting was on Denver.
The Broncos have played OVER the total all six times in 2013 and more than 70 percent of the totals wagers were on the OVER 56.5.
The OVER would continue a trend between these teams, which has seen that side prevail in six of the past seven meetings. Most of those were with Manning in a blue No. 18 jersey, not an orange one.
But a Denver cover, while picked by OddsShark.com NFL computer formula (42-33), would buck several trends that favor the Colts in the NBC Sunday-nighter.
The Broncos have lost five in a row against Indianapolis and have failed to cover the spread in any of those games.
Meanwhile, the Colts have been vicious dogs, winning outright an amazing seven straight times as a home underdog. That is a 7-0 ATS angle for people counting at home.
The Colts have also been terrific at home, galloping to an 11-2 SU (10-3 ATS) run in 13 recent home games.
“The lone trend favoring Denver is their eight-game road winning streak, where they have rewarded their backers six times,” said Randall. “But how do you handicap the league’s top quarterback going back to the team he led to a Super Bowl and then cut him when he was injured?”
Revenge handicapping typically involves team vs. team. In this case, the revenge could be player vs team.
The biggest victim could be the bookie.