Bovada has always been great about releasing some NFL player/team special props each week of the season, and there are several out for Week 2. Here is a look at the ones involving a few quarterbacks because, let’s face it, the NFL is a quarterback league. That is what the public likes to bet on.
A big story in Week 1 was that five rookie quarterbacks started, the most ever. It went quite well for Washington’s Robert Griffin III, the No. 2 overall pick. He had the highest rating of any QB in Week 1 in the greatest debut by a rookie signal-caller in NFL history. Griffin was also named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week – the first rookie quarterback to win a conference’s Player of the Week award after his debut game.
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Barring injury, Griffin III will start every game this season for the Redskins, who took a major jump on Super Bowl futures (now 35/1) after that shocking victory in New Orleans. Also, barring injury, Andrew Luck of Indianapolis, the No. 1 overall pick, will start every game this year.
Luck, Miami’s Ryan Tannehill, Cleveland’s Brandon Weeden and Seattle’s Russell Wilson all struggled as their teams lost. Bovada has a prop on which of the latter three will be benched first (not by injury): Wilson (-125), Weeden (+125) or Tannehill (+500).
Wilson looked the best of those three, going 18-for-34 for 153 yards, a touchdown and a pick. And he nearly drove Seattle to a game-winning touchdown late in the loss to Arizona. Wilson got the Seahawks to the Arizona four-yard line, but couldn’t punch it in. I can see why Wilson is the favorite here because Seattle gave $19.5 to free agent Matt Flynn this offseason. So the Seahawks might have the best No. 2 in the NFL right now.
I don’t think the Fins will pull the plug on Tannehill because once you start a Top-10 pick you are pretty much obligated to stick with him – plus, Miami fans need some reason to attend games in person. Matt Moore is a solid backup to Tannehill, but the Fins already know what he is.
My pick is easily Weeden, who has already received a dreaded vote of confidence. He completed just 12-of-35 passes with four picks for a 5.1 rating in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles, the worst rating ever for any rookie QB in Week 1. The Browns have no receivers and are starting a rookie running back in Trent Richardson, who also struggled. Why get your rookie QB killed? Stick Colt McCoy, who is three years younger than Weeden, in there and let him suffer the damage while Weeden watches 6-8 games and learns the speed of the NFL. Plus, maybe McCoy shows something and builds up trade value. But when Cleveland is 2-8, re-insert Weeden and then he has solid game experience heading into 2013 (maybe the Browns can get him a stud receiver early in the 2013 draft).
I hesitate to use Tim Tebow in this story as I don’t think he’s truly a quarterback, but there’s also a prop on Tebow’s “over/under” rushing attempts in Week 2 at 4.5 – the over is a -130 favorite. Because Mark Sanchez was so good vs. a lousy Bills defense in Week 1, Tebow rarely saw the field. He didn’t attempt a pass and had five carries for 11 yards. But Sanchez should struggle this week at Pittsburgh; Tebow memorably ended the Steelers’ season a year ago in the wild-card round as the Broncos’ starting QB.
The Steelers will be an angry bunch after losing at Denver again last week and they always win their home openers. I think the Jets have to resort to the Wildcat to poke some holes in that still-excellent Pittsburgh defense. And if Sanchez gets hurt, you know Tebow will be running a ton. Take the over. I should say the AccuScore projection (10,000 computer simulations) has Tebow finishing with three carries.
Eagles QB Michael Vick was a big story in Week 1 as well. After barely playing in the preseason, Vick looked rusty against the Browns, throwing four interceptions. Now Vick has to deal with the Ravens, one of the NFL’s top defenses. Vick’s total of interceptions and fumbles lost this week is set at .5, with the over a huge -230 favorite. The AccuScore has Vick with 1.2 interceptions (doesn’t do fumbles). I’d be shocked if he doesn’t turn the ball over at least once – Vick has thrown a pick in every game but two since the start of last season. An easy over here.
Finally, there will be one new starting quarterback in Week 2: Arizona’s Kevin Kolb. He lost a training camp battle with John Skelton, but Skelton hurt his ankle in Week 1 vs. Seattle and Kolb played well in relief in leading the Cards to the game-winning score. Kolb hasn't started a game since Arizona last Dec. 11 and got hurt in that one. The time is now for Kolb to live up to the big contract the Cards gave after acquiring him from the Eagles. If he doesn’t play well or gets hurt again, he will not be in the desert next year and likely won’t ever see a big contract again.
Kolb’s over/unders for this week at New England are set at 250.5 passing yards (both -115), 1.5 touchdowns (under -130 favorite) and .5 interceptions (over -260 favorite). AccuScore has Kolb throwing for 254.8 yards with 1.2 touchdowns and 1.3 picks. The Pats had one of the NFL’s worst pass defenses ever a year ago and allowed Tennessee’s Jake Locker/Matt Hasselbeck to throw for 264 yards with a TD and a pick last week. That sounds about right this week for Kolb as the Cards figure to be trailing big at some point. Go over the yards and picks, but under the touchdowns.
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