Why Are The Broncos A Favorite To Trade For Matthew Stafford?

Written By Ian St. Clair on 01/27/2021 - Last Updated on February 10, 2021

As the Colorado sports betting market prepares for its first Super Bowl, the focus isn’t on the game.

Not because it’s the worst possible matchup for Denver Broncos fans, but because they’re trying to figure out who will become the Broncos’ next quarterback.

Fans and media alike are wondering if they should take the odds on who might take the first snap in Denver in 2021.

Perhaps the most likely scenario is Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Earlier this week it was reported that the Lions and Stafford agreed to mutually part ways. So Stafford will play for a new team next season.

Broncos have competition for Stafford

Back to the odds. Multiple sportsbooks have the Broncos as a favorite to make a trade for the 32-year-old veteran.

In most cases, Denver is behind only the Indianapolis Colts, who just lost Philip Rivers to retirement.

The outliers on those odds are FanDuel and PointsBet, who both have the Broncos at steep odds.

As FanDuel said to PlayColorado:

“Matthew Stafford may have his pick of teams, so the odds take that into account along with teams with an available spot, trade assets, win-now mentality and offensive scheme. Drew Lock’s maturation and available trade assets make Indianapolis the odds-on favorite over Denver. We believe Denver might be more interested in a younger QB like Deshaun Watson and have the Broncos +1,000.”

The bookmakers that did put odds on a Stafford trade to Denver happening speaks volumes.

As a side note, it also speaks to how innovative the Colorado sports betting market is. The odds are only available in Colorado and they’re definitely sparking interest.

When it comes to betting on the Broncos, after a fourth-straight losing season, it desperately needs a spark.

Why are the Broncos a favorite?

Why is Denver a favorite to trade for Stafford?

It may not take a sledgehammer to the Broncos’ quarterback carousel (or be as exciting a move) that a Deshaun Watson trade would, but it would steady the ship.

In the five years since Peyton Manning retired, most are ready for this nauseating ride to end.

As Johnny Avello, DraftKings sportsbook director of operations, told PlayColorado:

“I think Drew Lock did a pretty good job there, but I just think they’re looking at a guy who is more experienced and has the talent to get a team there. The question is where he ends up? I don’t know. There are others in there that could use him, too. The Colts are one of them. They’re going to lose Rivers. I’m just not sure where he’s going to end up landing. But the Broncos do make sense to me.”

The main issue some in Broncos Country have with a deal for a quarterback like Stafford is the price.

New Denver general manager George Paton may have to sacrifice some NFL Draft picks and potentially a player to swing a deal with the Lions.

According to Avello:

“You’ll have to give up some things. Maybe you have to give up (Lock) too, I don’t know. From what you’ve seen, and Broncos fans have seen, I don’t think Broncos fans feel and bookmakers feel and football fans feel that Lock is the guy that’s going to get them to where they need to be over the next couple of years. So if you’re management of the team, I think you have to say we want success a little quicker than that.”

Could Stafford help close the gap on the Chiefs?

Given the offensive weapons Stafford would have with the Broncos, you see why so many feel this team is a quarterback away from contention.

The prospect of pairing Stafford with the likes of Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick (if he’s tendered), Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Noah Fant, and Albert Okwuegbunam is incredibly fun to contemplate.

It would immediately become an offense that can keep pace with the best in the NFL.

And you know the Broncos defense will show up. Vic Fanigo is one of the best defensive minds in the NFL.

So if Stafford is traded to Denver, that should close the Grand Canyon-esque gap on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Broncos fans don’t need a reminder their bitter rival is playing in Super Bowl LV.

As Avello said:

“When you look at their division next year, you’ve got the Chiefs again. You’ve got the Raiders, who improved. You’ve got the Chargers, who still have a ways to go but lost a lot of close games. And then you have the Broncos, who probably look like a team that eight wins is the most you can hope for. Maybe nine, if it’s a really good season. That might not be enough to get them in the playoffs.

“You put a guy like Stafford on that team, he’s a good quality quarterback and he’s got some pretty good stats from time to time, but he’s prone to injury. But with the right management, with the right guidance, I think he could get the Broncos to be a 10-win team.”

Where will Stafford play in 2021?

While a Stafford trade may close the gap on the Chiefs, Avello said Denver would still sit at 50/1, 60/1 sports betting odds to win the Super Bowl.

Since Avello is in the betting business, where does Stafford end up?

“The Colts make sense. Washington, maybe. Washington could use a guy like him. I think the Broncos got to be in the top four. The Saints, right? They could use a quarterback. So they may be looking. And then I don’t know what Big Ben’s going to do. I don’t know if he’s sticking around or not because Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins, that’s not the future for them. There’s been some mention of the 49ers. I still think (Jimmy) Garoppolo is the guy there.”

Matthew Stafford trade oddsBetMGMDraftKingsPointsBetSportsBetting.com
Who will Stafford play for in 2021? (Top five, followed by the Broncos)49ers +300
Colts +300
Wash. +400
Patriots +500
Broncos +500
Rams +700
Steelers +900
Colts +250
Broncos +500
Patriots +500
Wash. +600
49ers +700
Panthers +1,200
Bears +1,200
49ers +220
Colts +250
Patriots +350
Wash. +1,000
Panthers +1,000
Jets +1,200
Broncos +1,400
Broncos +300
49ers +325
Colts +400
Patriots +500
Wash. +500
Bears +600

Who will the Broncos QB be in 2021?

As for the Broncos, who takes the first snap at quarterback in 2021?

Stafford? Watson?

According to Avello:

“Tough call. I think the way it looks right now, I have to make Lock the favorite. Because there’s no guarantee you’re getting Stafford. And certainly Deshaun Watson is not out of the realm of possibility to get him, but most likely not. And, so, where else do you go? Drew Lock. Everything points to Lock. He’s the favorite to take the first snap.”

Photo by AP / Rick Scuteri
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Ian St. Clair

Ian is an award-winning sports journalist and a University of Northern Colorado graduate. He’s a Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. He broke into the gambling industry right as Colorado launched legal sports betting in 2020. Ian now manages the sites for some of the biggest gambling markets in North America and is an analyst for PlayColorado.

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