Super Bowl Picks: Quarterback Props
by Matt Severance - 01/24/2009
Breaking news: The quarterback is the most glamorous position in the NFL and the most likely to win a Super Bowl MVP award. Yes, a quarterback has won the Super Bowl MVP 22 times, which, if you do the math, is more than any every other position combined.
But I'm not here to talk Super Bowl MVP props, although you can also look for that story on Doc's. No, I just needed a lead - I'm here to talk about some other props bets available on BetUS involving the two quarterbacks in the big game, Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger and Arizona's Kurt Warner.
Nothing too complicated, I will just list a few prop bets and compare them to the QB's stats thus far this season and give you my opinion, for what that's worth.
Ben Roethlisberger over/under 238 ½ yards
Kurt Warner over/under 255 ½ yards
Frankly, it's difficult to see either guy going over in this category. Big Ben went over that number six times in the regular season and has done so once in the playoffs. Arizona's pass defense allowed 221.3 yards per game in the regular season and has improved in the postseason, allowing 199 to Matt Ryan and 205 to Jake Delhomme. Yes, Donovan McNabb lit up the Cards for 375, but the Eagles were way down and pretty much abandoned the run, something you know the Steelers won't do.
As for Warner's number, that also seems high, being as he is facing the NFL's top-ranked pass defense (156.9 ypg in the regular season, an average of 22 yards less per game than any other team). While with the Rams, Warner threw for 414 yards in the 2000 win against Tennessee and 365 when St. Louis lost to New England two years later. But these Cards, despite a deep receiving corps, are not the "Greatest Show on Turf."
Philip Rivers did hit the Steelers for 308 in the divisional round, while Joe Flacco managed just 141 in the AFC title game.
Frankly, Arizona's newfound balance might limit Warner's chances. The Cardinals threw 630 times with 340 rushing attempts in the regular season but have 100 passes and 100 runs in the postseason.
"It all depends on how the game pans out in the first quarter," said offensive line coach Russ Grimm on the Cards' gameplan. "There have been games where we fell behind and got away from the run. There have been games where we jumped ahead in the playoffs that let us run a little bit more."
This is why it's also hard to see Warner going over the BetUS total of 39 ½ passes in the Super Bowl. The Cards will have to establish some sort of ground game to have a chance, and Warner hasn't surpassed that number since Week 15.
However, I love the over 1 ½ touchdown passes for Warner. Can you see that Pittsburgh defense allowing a short-yardage rushing touchdown to the Cards? And Warner has thrown for at least two touchdowns in the past four games.
Big Ben's total TD passes also is 1 ½. He has thrown more than one touchdown pass just once since Week 13. Take the under.