Tackling Bodog Passing Props for 2007 Season
by Trevor Whenham - 07/20/2007
People love gaudy passing stats. A 300-yard game always gets mentioned on a sports show, and a 400-yarder is often the lead on SportsCenter. Those yards don't always turn into wins, but they are usually pretty exciting. When it came to passing excitement last season, no one could hold a candle to the Saints. New Orleans had 4,626 yards in the air, which was 229 yards better than the Colts. Passing yards are interesting at this time of year for another reason, too - you can bet on them. Here's a look at breaking down the team passing yards prop bet available this year (all odds are from Bodog).
There are several teams that don't stand a hope of winning this bet. Whether it is their system (San Francisco, Chicago), a young starter that won't be ready when the season begins (Oakland, Cleveland, Kansas City), or general incompetence (Minnesota), lots of teams are just not destined to get a lot of passing yards. To this list of no-chance teams I would also add Atlanta (with or without Vick), Baltimore, Buffalo, Carolina, Houston, Jacksonville, the Giants, the Jets, Tampa Bay, Tennessee and Washington. If any of those teams lead the league in passing then we have much bigger problems than just losing this bet. Now that we have ruled out more than half the league we can get down to business.
Indianapolis (3/1) - This is the obvious public choice thanks to the love affair with Peyton Manning. It's safe to say that the Colts will be somewhere in the top five, but their recent performance in this category makes the price questionable - the team has led the league in passing only twice in the last five seasons, and not since 2004. The risk, of course, is an injury. Manning has been virtually indestructible, but if he missed any action this offense would struggle mightily.
New Orleans (4/1) - The good news is that the offense is largely intact, and Reggie Bush should be better than he was last year. The bad news is that teams aren't going to get caught off guard by the Saints this year, and Drew Brees has to overcome yet another offseason injury. It wouldn't be a shock for New Orleans to lead this category, but I'm not sure it's worth the risk at the price.
Cincinnati (6/1) - On one hand, the Bengals don't deserve these odds - they were only sixth last year and fifth the year before, and they haven't made substantial improvements in the offseason. The one factor that makes it more compelling, though, is that Carson Palmer comes into the season not having to worry about how his knee will respond as he did coming back from injury last year. Palmer has improved his passing stats every year, and could improve again to the top of the pack.
Detroit (6/1) - This is going to be a popular pick. You just have to decide whether you trust the Lions. Jon Kitna has a gun, Mike Martz is a passing fool, and the presence of the freakish Calvin Johnson will have as much impact for the distraction he will provide for defenses as he will for the passes he catches. On the downside, the Lions were only seventh in the league last year with Kitna and Martz in place, so they would need a significant improvement to make this wager pay off.
New England (7/1) - This is intriguing, but probably an underlay at this price. Tom Brady will have more receiving tools on the field than he has ever had during his career, but will that be enough to move way up the chart? The team was second in passing in 2005, but finished ninth, 11th, 12th and 12th in the rest of the last five years. Teams that lead this category seem to have a very clear focus on passing, and the Patriots have rarely had that. But still, Brady to Moss is certainly intriguing.
The second tier
St. Louis (11/1) - The risk here is that Marc Bulger has threatened to hold out. If he reports, though, then this team is always a passing risk. They have receiving talent, Bulger is more than competent, and they play in passing heaven. They haven't led the league in passing in the last five years, but they have never been out of the top five, either.
Philadelphia (12/1) - I hate this team at these odds. Donovan McNabb has only made it through a season healthy twice in the last five years, and they finished seventh and 20th in passing those two years. They don't have the reliable Jeff Garcia to fall back on if and when McNabb goes down. At 30/1 I would be intrigued, but not here.
Arizona (14/1) - The Cardinals are getting a ton of hype this year. If Matt Leinart can mature and develop then he could pile up the yards. He certainly has a potent receiving corps to toss to. Leinart has a long way to go, though - he only passed for more than 255 yards once in his 11 starts, and he has to deal with a new coach and a new system this year. The Cards could explode offensively, but you had better be comfortable with risk if you bet on them.
A live longshot
San Diego (28/1) - Philip Rivers is a year older and more experienced. New head coach Norv Turner is offensively oriented and has worked wonders with some quarterbacks (Troy Aikman, Alex Smith) in the past. The team seems to be hungry and eager to avenge their playoff embarrassment. The team has ridiculous offensive tools and an under-appreciated receiving corps. I'm not saying San Diego will lead the league in passing. I'm just saying that they provide better value than a lot of other teams on the list.