My first Week 9 props specials story featured a look at the futures of Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and Eagles coach Andy Reid. And it’s no coincidence that the job status of both is in question because their starting quarterbacks are struggling. So let’s look at a few Bovada specials on Tony Romo and Michael Vick.
Romo and the Cowboys are at unbeaten Atlanta on Sunday night. (Quick sidebar: there’s a “yes”-only +1000 prop on whether the Falcons go 16-0 this season – that would be a resounding “no”.) Romo threw for a career-high 437 yards last week vs. the Giants but that was offset by four interceptions, his second game this season with at least four. Overall, Romo has nine touchdowns and a league-high 13 picks. Only one other quarterback, the Chiefs’ Matt Cassel, has more total turnovers (17) than Romo’s 15 (includes lost fumbles). According to ESPN, Romo has thrown an NFL-high six interceptions under duress. He threw three interceptions under duress the previous three seasons combined.
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The Bovada props on Romo are “over/under” 22 interceptions on the season and will he throw more touchdown passes (-130) than picks (even) this season. Romo is on pace to toss around 30, while his career-high is 19 set in 2007 when he became the full-time Dallas starter (he started much of 2006 but Drew Bledsoe began the year as the starter). If you are wondering, the NFL record is 42 picks by George Blanda in 1962. The last player to throw 30 was Tampa Bay’s Vinny Testaverde with 35 in 1988. Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick led the league with 23 last season. Take the under picks and the more touchdowns for Romo. He might throw one a game, but he won’t have another four-pick game.
Reid, meanwhile, has said Michael Vick will start Monday night but certainly Nick Foles should be ready. Vick goes against easily the worst defense in football on Monday as New Orleans has allowed at least 400 yards in every game so far, setting an NFL record (Saints have allowed an incredible 474.7 yards per game). So he should fare well, although some would argue that it would be the best time to get Foles in there and build his confidence.
Bovada lists Vick’s totals for the game at over/under 279.5 passing yards, 47.5 rushing yards (all at -115), 1.5 touchdown passes (over -150, under +120) and 1 total turnover (over -130, under even). Just for comparison’s sake, let’s look at how Cam Newton did vs. New Orleans in Week 2. Newton has struggled this season like Vick but is a similar dual-threat QB. Newton threw for 253 yards and a score with no turnovers while rushing for 71 yards and a touchdown.
Vick has exceeded that 279.5 number just once in the past five games. He has rushed for more than 47.5 twice in 2012. He has thrown at least two touchdowns in two of the past three games and has been interception-free in four of the past five. Take the under on both yardage props and the turnover but over on the touchdowns. There’s also a prop on whether Vick is pulled for non-injury reasons on Monday. Reid would look quite silly now if he did that so take no at -500.
Incidentally, there’s also a prop on whether the Saints allow at least 400 yards again, with yes at -200 and no at +150. I see no reason why you wouldn’t take yes.
I mentioned Newton above and there’s a prop on him this week: Will the Panthers win a game this season in which Newton throws an interception? Carolina is 0-13 all-time when Newton throws a pick, including 0-4 this season. Carolina won its lone game in 2012 when the former Heisman winner didn’t throw a pick vs. New Orleans, and the Panthers lost close to Atlanta and Seattle when Newton wasn’t picked off. I do think Carolina is better than its 1-6 record. Every loss but one has been by less than a touchdown. I lean toward yes here at -200 (no is +150).
Week 9 Sportsbook.ag Leaders
For Week 8, the passing yardage leader was Romo, the rushing yardage leader was New England’s Stevan Ridley (Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin won the week but because he played Thursday wasn’t a betting option) and Cowboys tight end Jason Witten led in receiving yards. I certainly didn’t pick any of those guys. The highest-scoring team was the Patriots with 45; I went Green Bay, which managed just 24 vs. Jacksonville.
For most passing yards this week, Romo is the +350 favorite (Drew Brees and Vick aren’t options because they play Monday). Atlanta’s defense is solid vs. the pass, allowing 216.9 ypg (No. 10 in NFL). Matt Ryan is the +400 second-favorite vs. that Dallas defense. I like Detroit’s Matthew Stafford at +800 at Jacksonville’s No. 23 pass defense. The addition of Mike Thomas can only help Stafford, who has topped 300 yards in three of his past four games.
On the rushing yards, Houston’s Arian Foster is the huge +200 favorite against pathetic Buffalo, which allows a league-high 176.9 yards per game. I don’t like Foster only because I believe this game is a blowout and that Foster gets plenty of rest. I’m going with Baltimore’s Ray Rice at +500 vs. the No. 24 Browns rush defense. On the receiving, take Dallas’ Miles Austin at +600 vs. the Falcons. And for highest-scoring team I think you have to go chalk and take Houston at +400 vs. those Bills, who allow an NFL-worst 32.4 points per game.
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