Finding Value in Bodog NFL Player Props
by Trevor Whenham - 08/31/2007
Player props are fun. Spending some time now before the season starts looking at the over/under props that are available on players' expected statistical performance is a great way to isolate some potential profit opportunities. It is also a great way to get you thinking about how you expect the season to play out. Bodog has well over 300 different player props listed, so you can surely find something to strike your fancy regardless of who you like and who you don't. Here are several that struck me as particularly interesting:
Ladell Betts, RB, Washington - o/u 750 rushing yards. This seems like an absolute steal. Betts rushed for 1,154 yards last year, and he did it largely as a fill-in for the starter Clinton Portis. Portis was out with an injury last year, and he has missed much of training camp this year with injury. Given his strong performance last year, Betts is going to be given every opportunity to run. Washington will also be relying on the him significantly because Jason Campbell is an inexperienced starter. Barring injury, I certainly think Betts will go over 750 yards.
Brady Quinn, QB, Cleveland - o/u 1,850 yards passing. This comes down to how soon you think Quinn will start seeing significant action. Charlie Frye threw for 189 yards per start last season, Derek Anderson was in the same range. The offense hasn't changed significantly, so it likely isn't reasonable to expect Quinn to pass for an average of much more than 200 yards a game. That means that he would need to get at least nine starts to go over 1,850 yards. I could certainly see that happening.
Brett Favre, QB, Green Bay - 0/u 21.5 touchdowns. Favre had 18 touchdowns last year. In 2005 he had 20. His receiving corps certainly isn't improved this year, and the season starts with injury concerns for Donald Driver, the only real receiving threat the team has. Favre hasn't exactly looked inspired and crisp this preseason. Under seems appealing.
Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Indianapolis - o/u 450 receiving yards. Brandon Stokley was hurt for most of last season, but the previous year he had 543 yards as the third receiver in the Colts offense. With Stokley gone to Denver, the door is open for Gonzalez to fill that role. He is averaging more than 12 yards a catch in the preseason. Aaron Moorehead is getting more action so far, but that receiver has been with the team for four years and has never had more than eight catches, so Gonzalez can certainly pass him on the depth chart if he develops well. Over seems like a decent gamble.
Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seattle - o/u 15 interceptions. Hasselbeck had 15 interceptions in 12 games last year. He had 15 interceptions in two of the three previous years. If you were going to go any way, it should probably be over.
Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco - o/u 625 receiving yards. Davis should improve significantly from his 265 yards in eight games last year. The question is if he can improve this much. It could be a lot to ask. San Francisco's leading receiver only had 733 yards last year. TE Eric Johnson combined with Davis for 557 yards. Davis is healthy, and Johnson has moved on to New Orleans, so he will get lots of opportunities. What I am saying is that this one is a toss-up, and I'll pass.
Randy Moss, WR, New England - o/u 1,165 receiving yards. I like Moss a lot, but this number seems like a case of the public being a bit blinded by a big name. Moss hasn't had this many yards since 2003. He's 30, and both his durability and desire have to be questioned. If he is healthy, Brady will certainly enjoy having him on the team. Brady doesn't typically produce inflated receiver numbers, either. Reche Caldwell led the team last year with 760 yards. Deion Branch, a favored receiver of Brady, never passed 1,000 yards. The under seems like the reasonable choice.
Marion Barber III, RB, Dallas - o/u 825 rushing yards. I like the over. Barber is very talented, and I have a hunch that he is going to get his chance to shine this year. The Cowboys aren't particularly enamored with the other running back, Julius Jones, and seem already to be planning for life without him next year. That means Barber will be more of a focus in the future, and that future could start this season. Barber had 654 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, and he only started one game. His average of 4.8 yards per carry was impressive, and it was smaller than it could have been because of his goal line work. He's the better running option for the Cowboys, and I am willing to bet that he will get his chance to show it.
David Carr, QB, Carolina - o/u 3 starts. There is something inconsistent here. The over is favored by the public, but the same public favors Jake Delhomme to go over 3,325 yards passing. Delhomme threw for 2,805 yards in 13 starts last year. He would need to start more than 13 games to go over 3,325 yards. What I'm saying is that both things - 3,325 yards and more than 3 starts - can't happen. I'm betting that Delhomme will keep his act together and Carr will keep the clipboard in his hand. I'll take the under.
Edgerrin James, RB, Arizona - o/u 6 rushing touchdowns. This seems like a real opportunity. Last year, Edge had six touchdowns and he was behind an awful offensive line. This year a new coaching staff has brought a new focus on the line. James had significantly more than six touchdowns five different times when he was with the Colts. The over seems like a nice pick.