College Football Player Props Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 9/3/2009
With the NCAA season just around the corner, now's the time to look through the props to see if any value jumps out. Without further ado, here are my college football player props predictions (odds are from Bodog):
Most passing TDs - Sam Bradford is the favorite in the group of four at 20/23. Second choice is Colt McCoy at 2/1. At first glance Bradford is the clear choice - he had 50 touchdowns last year while McCoy had just 34. It's not that cut and dry, though. Bradford has to deal with so many new faces on offense this year that he'll need a program to know who everyone is. That's almost certain to affect his production this year. The gap between him and McCoy, along with the other choices in Jimmy Clausen and Tim Tebow, is smaller now than it used to be. You can decide for yourself which one of the contenders is going to have the big breakthrough, but one thing is for sure - Bradford provides no value at this price.
Most passing yards - Bradford is the favorite at 1/1, and the same three other quarterbacks are on offer here. The same arguments carry over from the last category, and Bradford's value is just as questionable here.
Most rushing yards - There are five names listed here, but it really comes down to two names - Jahvid Best from Cal and Kendall Hunter at Oklahoma State. Best had the fifth best rushing total in the country last year at 1595 yards, and Hunter was just 36 yards behind. They are closely matched on the board, too - 3/2 for Best and 2/1 for Hunter. Both guys are poised for big years, and are both worth a look at these prices. The other player who is intriguing at his price in Noel Devine of West Virginia at 4/1. With Pat White gone the Mountaineer offense is going to go through a serious adjustment, and Devine will be relied on more than ever to carry the load. He had 1,289 yards last year, and that was on just 206 carries last year (by comparison, Donald Brown led the country in yardage while carrying the ball 367 times). He'll get more carries and could pay off. He's the best value in this category.
Most combined yards - Pryor or Griffin? - These two sophomores have a tremendous amount of hype coming into the season. Both guys can run like the wind, they are both coming off strong freshman seasons, and they both play in systems that will let them shine this year. Pryor is the slight favorite at -125, but that only makes sense because Ohio State is a much higher-profile program than Baylor. Griffin had a big statistical advantage last year - 2,937 yards versus 1,942. That means little, though, because Griffin appeared in more games than Pryor. The players were almost identical in yards per passing attempt, and Griffin had a slight edge in rushing yards. I'd suggest that Griffin provides slight value given the price - his conference provides more offensive opportunities.
Most passing yards - Snead or Tebow? - Tebow is the all-World megastar, while Snead is rapidly climbing the scouting charts and could wind up going very early in the first round next year if he has a good year. They were very closely matched last year - 2,762 yards for Snead compared to 2,746 for Tebow. Snead is heavily favored at -145 this year, and that makes sense - he likely has a lot more room for growth this season than Tebow does, and Snead's offense is more pass oriented when it's running at full throttle.
More passing TDs - Riley Skinner or Russell Wilson? - Here's a showdown between two ACC veterans. Last year Wilson had 17 TDs for NC State, while Skinner had 13 for Wake Forest. Wilson is only a slight favorite at -120 versus -110 for Skinner, but I think that underestimates his chances here. Wilson is probably the best QB in the ACC this year, and the Wolf Pack is at least as good as the Deacons. Wilson has a much better chance of winning this prop than the odds would suggest.
Most receiving yards - Dezmon Briscoe or Dez Bryant? - This one will be good for some fireworks. Both guys play for explosive Big 12 offenses with veteran, proven quarterbacks. Bryant was second in the country with 1,482 yards receiving, while Briscoe was fourth at 1,401. Both guys were featured prominently in their offense, and the will obviously continue to be this year. Briscoe is favored at -125, and that has to reflect that Kansas has fewer options so Briscoe will have to carry a big load for his team. I'd take Bryant at -105, though. He won't be the only big part of the offense with the Cowboys, but the extra balance the team has will alleviate some of the pressure and coverage and should give him more room to move. His edge isn't big in my eyes, but it's bigger than the difference in price suggests.
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