Here’s something I wish I had started earlier in the NFL season, but will keep it in mind for 2011. Sportsbook.com offers props on the top quarterback, running back and wide receiver yardage performances each week. So for Week 15 let’s take a look at the quarterback odds and your best value bet.
Do note that this doesn’t include the Thursday night or Monday night games – only Sunday games.
The favorite, to no surprise, is Colts QB Peyton Manning at +300 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. And it’s obviously hard to go against Manning as he has passed for no worse than 285 yards in the past four games and has gone over 319 in three of those four. In addition, the Colts simply can’t run the ball, so Manning has little choice but to throw a ton – he has had at least 45 attempts in five of the past seven games.
The Jaguars are not horrid against the run but they are against the pass, ranking 28th in the NFL in average yardage allowed (258.3). Finally, with the cold weather all over the country, Manning gets to play in 70-degree comfort in his home dome.
The second-favorites at +400 are New England’s Tom Brady and New Orleans’ Drew Brees. Brady, the MVP favorite, has thrown for at least 326 yards in four of the past five games. However, Brady also faces a Green Bay pass defense that is No. 3 in the NFL and probably will have to play at its best to give the Pack a chance with Aaron Rodgers very iffy.
I would say that it’s supposed to be pretty cold and some snow showers in Foxborough on Sunday and that could affect passing. However, Brady was brilliant in a blizzard in Chicago last week. Still, I don’t see him as good value this week.
I absolutely hate Brees’ value. While he has gone over the 300-yard mark in three of the past four games, Brees has a terrible matchup this Sunday in Baltimore. I guess a Brees fan could say that Baltimore ranks only No. 14 in pass defense and is so good against the run that it will force Brees to pass. But I still think of Brees as a mostly warm weather/dome quarterback and Baltimore is 5-1 at home this year.
Now it might be easy to just look at which teams have the worst pass defenses in the NFL and take a shot on the opposing quarterback. But the worst pass defense in the league belongs to the Texans and they are in Tennessee this Sunday. And Kerry Collins isn’t even an option on this prop, which tells you all you need to know there. The Patriots are actually the second-worst pass defense in the league, but you won’t know if Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers is even playing against New England until Saturday.
The Seattle Seahawks have the No. 30 pass defense and they face a good quarterback in Matt Ryan, but it’s not going to be very weather-friendly in Seattle this time of year. The Redskins are No. 29 in pass defense and are in Dallas – but do you really want to bet on Jon Kitna, even at +1000?
No, I think the best value this week might be … Bengals QB Carson Palmer at +1000 against the Browns. Why not, the Bengals at least still have two good receivers even though the team has quit. Earlier this season against Cleveland, Palmer threw for 371 yards – his second-best total of the year. And frankly, this game is probably the Bengals’ only chance this year to end their long losing streak because they finish with the Chargers and Ravens. Plus, I think Terrell Owens actually has a huge game after spouting off about the Bengals coaches on his reality show with Ochocinco.
It will probably be Peyton Manning who wins this prop this week, but if you are going to take a longer shot for your NFL picks, go with Palmer.