Super Bowl: Tackling Bodog Quarterback Props
by Trevor Whenham - 01/30/2007
If you're a true degenerate who can't wait until the Super Bowl kicks off, one of the best ways to pass time, and maybe make a few extra bucks at the same time, is to check out the available quarterback prop bets. Both quarterbacks in this game are very interesting, though not at all for the same reason. If you have any theory at all about how the game is going to go then you almost certainly have put a good deal of thought into the role that the quarterbacks will play into your imagined outcome. It only makes sense, then, that you would extend your handicapping a bit to have some fun and tackle the props. Here's a look at some factors to consider when you are pondering some of the props:
Peyton Manning Passing Yards (over/under 273.5) - If Manning is in form then this number is obviously no challenge for him. Manning threw for at least 274 yards nine times in the 16 regular season games, but he eclipsed that number just once in the three playoff games. He went over in style against the Patriots in his most recent game, though. That means he went over 10 times and under nine times - not surprisingly, the number is well picked.
The Bears are perceived to have a solid defense, but ten teams, including the Colts, actually allowed fewer passing yards per game than Chicago. Indianapolis played five games against those teams, and Manning only went over 273.5 yards once. On the other hand, the Pats and the Bears had similar passing numbers and Manning shredded New England. Drew Brees, another pretty good passer, also shredded the Chicago secondary for a ton of yards last time out.
The final interesting consideration here is in the match-ups. Neither Marvin Harrison nor Reggie Wayne have had particularly good playoff runs. Manning's go-to guy in the postseason has been tight end Dallas Clark. He has had two exceptional playoff games, and an unimpressive showing against Baltimore. The Ravens had the depth and talent at linebacker to contain the tight end threat. Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher are just as talented as the Ravens' backers, so Clark could be in for a long day. That could hurt Manning's totals.
Peyton Manning Rushing Attempts (over/under 1.5) - Manning ran either once or no times in 10 of 16 regular season games. That would mean that under, at +120, could present a little value. The margin for error is so slim, though, that it probably isn't worth it. It also doesn't seem to be a great deal to choose the over when it is at -160 - we're not exactly talking about Michael Vick.
Peyton Manning - Times Sacked (over/under 1.5) - The Bears don't have the best pass rush in the league, but they can pressure the passer when they want to. It doesn't take a genius to recognize that Manning can be flustered if you can consistently get to him. That's what worked for the Patriots in the first half, and what worked so well for Pittsburgh last year. You'd have to think, then, that Chicago will be sending the cavalry after Manning.
The odd thing, though, is that despite the fact that anyone with eyes can see that the pass rush is effective against Manning, and despite Manning's almost comical lack of mobility, he doesn't get sacked that much. He was brought down twice or more just six times in 19 games this year. One of those six games was last time out, but three of them came in the first four games of the year. That means that the Indianapolis offensive line is playing better for the most part. That could make the under (-120) reasonably attractive. Unless, that is, the Bears have spent a lot of time watching Patriots film tape. No team besides New England was able to sack Manning more than twice. The Pats took him down three times on two separate occasions.
Rex Grossman Passing Yards (over/under 215.5) - On first glance the under would seem like a fairly easy pick. If you believe the hype about how bad Grossman is, that is. Grossman went over this total seven times during the season, though just once after week nine. His percentage has improved slightly in the postseason - he has gone over once in two playoff games.
There's a factor lost in all the talk about the Indianapolis defense all year. The Indy run defense was almost incomprehensibly bad during the regular season, but their passing defense was equally good. In fact, they had the second best pass defense in the whole league. If the secondary can play their own game against the pass then Grossman will struggle to come anywhere near this number. This will be especially true if the Bears, unlike the Patriots last week, choose to stick with the run longer before giving up on it, and if they can find some gaps in the suddenly stout Indy run defense. If that's the case then Grossman likely won't bother testing the pass too much and he'll stay under.
Rex Grossman Completion Percentage - I don't want to sound like I am defending Grossman here, but you can't accuse him of being inaccurate. Over the course of the season he completed almost 55 percent of his passes, and that is despite having a couple of games, like the infamous zero QB rating game against Green Bay, which have been well below that. In fact, in seven of his 18 games he has had a completion percentage of between 50.6 and 60.5. You can get +200 to bet that his Super Bowl percentage will fall within that range, so that would be a profitable bet over the long term given his current rate. He had four more games that had percentages higher than 60.5, so betting on him to have a particularly bad day, though it could happen, probably doesn't present much value.