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Richardson Trade (09/19/13)

John Ewing, Director of Research and Analytics, @johnewing
By John Ewing
A look at the Trent Richardson trade, how does this impact the Colts playoffs chances? Plus prop bets for Richardson as a member of the Colts.



The Cleveland Browns traded Trent Richardson, the third pick in the 2012 draft, to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round draft pick next year. We project the Colts to finish tied for the fifth worst record in the league with Minnesota and Oakland. This would result in the Browns getting around the 6th overall pick (splitting the difference). The Browns are looking to rebuild a franchise that has only had two winnings seasons since 1999, Cleveland will have 10 draft picks next year. Only time will tell if the trade benefited the Browns.
 
After the trade the Colts’ Super Bowl odds went from 50/1 to 45/1 and their odds to win the AFC went from 25/1 to 22/1 per Bovada.lv. The bookmakers are anticipating a positive outcome for Indianapolis but does the trade really benefit the Colts? We simulated the rest of the season to find out.
 
Before the trade
Colts record: 6.8 wins, 9.2 losses

Playoff Probabilities (odds to win)
  • Division: 7.5%
  • Wild Card: 3.7%
  • Super Bowl: 0.1% 
Rest of Season Stats:
Andrew Luck: 3,007.9 pass yards, 20.6 TDs, 10.9 INTs 367.7 rush yards, 3.5 TDs
Ahmad Bradshaw: 633.3 rush yards, 3.8 TDs, 163.4 rec. yards, 0.4 TDs
 
Trent Richardson (on the Browns): 1,043.3 rush yards, 7.3 TDs, 195.0 rec. yards, 0.5 TDs
 
After the trade
Colts record: 6.5 wins, 9.5 losses

Playoff Probabilities (odds to win)
  • Division: 6.6%
  • Wild Card: 3.6%
  • Super Bowl: 0.1% 
Rest of Season Stats:
Andrew Luck: 3,143.8 pass yards, 21.4 TDs, 11.5 INTs, 475.0 rush yards, 3.5 TDs
Trent Richardson (on the Colts): 969.8 rush yards, 6.3 TDs, 192.3 rec. yards, 0.9 TDs
 
After 50,000 simulations of the rest of the season the Colts go from 11.2% likely to make the playoffs to 10.2% likely to reach the postseason. The addition of Richardson should add more balance offensively to Indianapolis but that does not necessarily make the Colts a better team.
 
Currently, the Colts are averaging 5.0 yards/rushing attempt (5th in the NFL). That average through two games is not likely to be sustained by this team with that offensive line regardless of the running back. With the addition of Richardson, the Colts are projected to run the ball more often, which will almost assuredly bring their rushing average down (Richardson has only averaged 3.4 yards-per-carry in his career behind a line that includes an elite left tackle and an above average center). As a result of the balance, Andrew Luck will attempt fewer passes. Currently averaging 7.6 yards/attempt, we do anticipate Luck to become even more efficient in the passing game. However, throwing less (with slightly greater efficiency) and running more (at notably weaker efficiency) has an essentially neutral impact on the Colts’ scoring average, specifically because the team still projects to be an above average passing team and a below average rushing team. The addition of Richardson, while great for headlines, does not improve the Colts chance of making the playoffs this year.

Furthermore, we only have the Colts favored in one of their next nine games (@ Jacksonville). Also, they are only favored in two others games all season (vs. Tennessee and vs. Jacksonville). Though we believe in Vegas they would be favored over St. Louis at home. 
 
Just because we do not project the Colts to make the playoffs with the addition of Richardson it does not mean that you can’t have fun betting the following props. Lines courtesy of Bovada.lv.

We like the over on both of these props but just slightly. Regarding Richardson’s declining stats, since we assume he plays all remaining games as the starter for his team in both situations, he is almost assuredly in more of a time share now with Ahmad Bradshaw than he was before where he was the only active running back on the roster in the first two weeks and was, yet again, leading the league in team rush percentage at 93.9%. Of course, our projections of the Browns season with Richardson on the team assumed the team was trying to win football games…
 
Trent Richardson - Total rushing yards as a member of the Colts in 2013 Regular Season
  • Over: 950.5 (-115)
  • Under: 950.5 (-115) 
Trent Richardson - Total touchdowns as a member of the Colts in 2013 Regular Season
  • Over: 7 (-115)
  • Under: 7 (-115)
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