The start of the 2012 NFL Preseason is just days away with the annual Hall of Fame Game this Sunday in Canton, Ohio, so it is time to get your game face on when it comes to wagering on the sport. One of the best ways to p to speed before the actual start of the regular season games the first week of September is to put your NFL handicapping skills to the test on some 2012 player props.
The category we want to focus on this week is head-to-head matchups between quarterbacks in terms of total passing yards and total touchdown passes in the regular season. All lines quoted are provided by Sportsbook.ag.
Most Passing Yards
Eli Manning (-85.5 yards) vs. Peyton Manning
This might be the most anticipated matchup on the entire list given little brother Eli’s Super Bowl success verses big brother’s bid to be the ‘comeback player of the year’. Eli passed for 4,933 yards last season, which was by far the highest total in his eight seasons in the NFL. He barely surpassed 4,000 yards in 2009 and 2010 and figures to be in the 4,500 to 4,700 yard range this season if everything goes right.
Peyton did not play a snap last season while recovering from multiple neck surgeries, but he appears to be on track for a full recovery and a return to the form that has enabled him to average 3,916 yards passing a season for 14 years. His highest total was 4,700 yards in 2010, and the last time he threw for less than 4,000 yards was in 2005. If you believe that Peyton is fully healed (which I do) then take the + 85.5 yards and put your money on the older of the two Manning brothers to win this prop.
Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers - Even Up
Two of the top-ranked quarterbacks in the league accounted for close to 9,900 yards passing last season with Brady putting-up 5,235 yards and Rodgers kicking-in another 4,643 yards. It was Brady’s highest career total by a sizable margin with his 4,806 yards in 2007 being his second-highest total. He only threw for 4,398 yards in 2009 and 3,900 yards in 2010, so anything around 4,500 yards this season would be a generous guess.
Rodgers has been a starter in the league for four seasons and has averaged 4,260 yards during this time. He is also just 28 years old and entering his prime while being surrounded by one of the most talented offenses in the league. On an even money bet, I am inclined to go with youth over experience and put my money on Rodgers to win this prop.
Most Touchdown Passes
Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin III - Even Up
This is the most anticipated matchup between two players that have yet to take a snap in an NFL regular season game. It is safe to say that Luck and RG III will forever be linked together as the first and second overall picks in the 2012 draft, and the player that shines the brightest his rookie year will have the early edge in the comparisons between the two. If we were talking about total touchdowns, you would obviously have to go with RG III, but since the prop is for passing touchdowns only, it swings back to Luck’s side.
Indianapolis is more likely to try and move the ball through the air, thus providing more opportunity for Luck to throw the ball to the end zone. In red zone situations, you know that he will be looking to throw the ball, while RG III may have the early tendency to take off and try and run it in for a score. Both players will probably have trouble living up to the tremendous expectations that have been put on their shoulders to quickly turn their troubled franchises around, but in a head-to-head competition as far as touchdown throws stick with Luck all the way this season.