How Carson Palmer shifts the odds 

February, 11, 2011

I'm not going to lie, after a long NFL season I'm beat. So the blog invited Rumor Central and ESPN The Magazine editor Chris Sprow to write today's entry by taking a look at where trending trades impact future odds value. Enjoy.

There's an old adage in sports that you can't win without a star. But the exchange rate changes wildly based on the sport. An example: if Albert Pujols was traded to the Kansas City Royals tomorrow, for nothing at all, the Royals would expect a projected win increase of about 7-9 wins. If Peyton Manning was traded to the Carolina Panthers for nothing at all, their win increase could be projected at 5-7 wins. Think about that. In one sport, maybe a team avoids last place. In another, a team leapfrogs 40 percent of the league.

Which is why you can't find a better primer for the current state of the NFL than the draft order. Look at the teams picking in slots 1 to 10. Do a quick count of what you would consider "stable" quarterback situations. With the news that Carson Palmer would rather retire than return to the Cincinnati Bengals, my count drops to one. And while the Bengals have denied interest in trading Palmer, remember: Even the Bengals are sharp enough to deny trade interest to push up the price. Just ask the Philadelphia Eagles, who did the same thing last year with Donovan McNabb right up until they dealt him -- to a division rival, no less. A forced hand is a hand that will be played.

Now, take a back-end look at that draft order. Only one team has a dicey QB situation -- the Seattle Seahawks, a team drafting so low only because of its playoff upset and Marshawn Lynch's Richter Scale run. The lesson: Great quarterbacking is dictating outcomes in this league to an extraordinary degree.

In regard to Palmer, it also raises a great question: Who is the best value prop of the 2011 season, and thus, for the 2012 Super Bowl? For a quick primer, a value prop is short for value proposition, or an offer you could take based on your degree of confidence in delivery.

An example: Depending on where you looked, you could have found preseason Super Bowl odds for the 1999 St. Louis Rams at anywhere from 150-1 to 250-1 -- and there weren't many takers. Had we the inside knowledge Kurt Warner was a star in waiting, you might have taken the action. And if you knew where Palmer was headed, you might as well. With the help of AccuScore for projections and for Super Bowl odds, here's a field to bet. We've lined up what we consider the five likeliest destinations for Palmer to land, how greatly their profiles as contenders could change and their adjusted Super Bowl odds: