The start of this year’s NFL regular season is still over two months away. However, if you want to get in on some early football wagering action, check out Bovada for a full set of lines for this weekend’s Canada Day kickoff of Week 1 of the 2012 CFL regular season. It also provides a number of interesting player prop bets to add a bit more excitement to opening day. The following is a closer look at our top two player prop bets for the 2012 CFL regular season.
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CFL Most Passing Yards
Travis Lulay has played in the CFL for three seasons but really came into his own last year as the primary architect behind British Columbia’s impressive run to a Grey Cup title. He finished second in the CFL in 2011 in total passing yards with 4,815 and has been opened by Bovada as a 2/1 favorite to lead the league this season. The Lions remain loaded on offense and are a 7/2 favorite to repeat as champions, so the value in Lulay’s odds is there no matter how small the payoff.
It is hard to believe that Montreal Alouettes’ quarterback Anthony Calvillo is getting ready to line up as the team’s starting quarterback on opening day considering he came into the league when many of the other players on his team were still in diapers. Nonetheless, the league’s all-time leader in passing yards is this season’s second-favorite to lead this category in 2012 at 5/2. He threw for a league-high 5,251 yards in 2011, but was fourth in 2010 with 4,839 yards and third in 2009 with 4,639. Calvillo’s age along with the injury concerns that go along with this fact tend to drain some value from these odds. However, look for this gunslinger to once again be right up there with the leaders all season long.
Henry Burris, who is now with Hamilton, is the third-favorite at 9/2 and Saskatchewan’s Darian Durant is fourth at 5/1, but the player to watch on this list as the fifth-favorite at 17/2 is Calgary’s Drew Tate. This six-year veteran has been waiting in the wings behind Burris the past few seasons and is poised for a breakout year. It is no big secret that the Stampeders like to put the ball up in the air, so Tate should have every opportunity to rack up some serious passing yards this year.
CFL Most Rushing Yards
The odds-on favorite to win this prop at 9/4 is Toronto’s Cory Boyd. He rushed for 1,359 yards his rookie year to finish second in the league in 2010 and added another 1,142 yards last season, which was also good enough for second-place. Look for Boyd to have another big season in 2012, but some of his value may be diminished since the Argonauts traded for quarterback Ricky Ray this offseason. Ray was not brought in to hand the ball off so there should be a heavier emphasis on the passing game, which could cut into Boyd’s carries.
The second-favorite to lead the CFL in rushing is Calgary’s Jon Cornish at 5/2. He has spent five seasons in the CFL with Calgary but did not really come into his own as a running back until rushing for 863 yards in 2011. If he gets more carries this season than the 119 he had last year, he is as good a choice as anyone, considering that he averaged 7.3 yards an attempt in both 2010 and 2011.
Montreal’s Brandon Whitaker is the third-favorite to lead the league in total rushing yards this year at 3/1. He is another back that made a huge impact in 2011 by leading the league with 1,381 rushing yards after tallying a total of 262 yards on the ground in his first two seasons combined. He carried the ball 226 times for an average of 6.1 yards per attempt. These numbers are even more impressive given the amount of yards that the Alouettes threw for last season. While the overall return on his odds is not that high, Whitaker has the most up-side potential of any of the top backs on this list. He already knows how to flourish in a pass-oriented offense and should get even more opportunity to run the ball this year after the numbers he put up in 2011.