NFL Week 3 Offensive Special Props and Betting Picks
by Alan Matthews - 9/21/2012
Not a ton of special quarterback props at Bovada this week, but I would be remiss if I didn’t hit on at least a few QB props every week of the NFL season.
The Giants’ Eli Manning threw for 510 yards in a Week 2 win over Tampa Bay, and we already know that Eli won’t become the first player in NFL history to throw for 500 yards in back-to-back games as New York played Thursday night and Manning threw for 288 in a big win over Carolina. No quarterback has ever thrown for 500 yards even twice in his career. Only one has followed a 500-yard game with a 400-yarder: New England’s Tom Brady had 517 yards in last year’s opener vs. Miami and then 423 vs. the Chargers in Week 2.
Bovada offers a prop on whether there will be another 500-yard passer this season, with “yes” a shocking (to me) -200 favorite and “no” at +160. Last season was the first that there were two, as Matthew Stafford threw for 520 on New Year’s Day vs. Green Bay to join Brady in the club. I understand the NFL is an air-it-out league now, but I totally love the no here. The high yardage mark in 2012 other than Eli has been Oakland’s Carson Palmer with 373. One would think that if any quarterback could do it that it would be one of Brady, Stafford, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers. But the high for that quartet has been Stafford’s 355. Brady, Brees and Rodgers have looked very mortal so far.
On Sportsbook.ag, the co-favorites to be this week’s passing yardage leader are Brees and Brady at +300. Brees is at home and gets to face what has been a terrible Chiefs team, but K.C. is actually decent against the pass, allowing 235 yards per game in 2012. Kansas City is worse against the run. Usually it would be silly to pick a quarterback facing the Ravens, but Baltimore’s defense hasn’t been up to usual standards (Terrell Suggs is clearly missed) and ranks No. 26 against the pass, allowing 275.0 ypg.
It would be easy to go with Tony Romo (+500) this week as Dallas hosts the Bucs, who were the victims of Manning’s explosion in Week 2. But I like San Diego’s Philip Rivers (+1000) in what I believe will be a shootout with Matt Ryan and the visiting Falcons, who lost top cornerback Brent Grimes for the season after Week 1. Rivers will have running back Ryan Mathews for the first time this season to open up the field, and Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates will return after missing Week 2.
The Chargers were nearly the NFL’s highest-scoring team last week in beating the Titans, 38-10, despite no Mathews or Gates. The Giants won the Sportsbook.ag prop with 41 against Tampa Bay. My choice was the Rams at the nice price of +2000 vs. Washington. St. Louis did win, as I expected, 31-28.
The favorite this week at +400 is the Saints vs. Kansas City. Only two other teams are under +1000: Dallas +500 (vs. Tampa Bay) and Washington +600 (vs. Cincinnati). Ironically, both New Orleans and the Chiefs are tied for last in points allowed per game at 37.5 (K.C. is +2500 on the prop). I said above that I believed the Falcons-Chargers game would be a shootout so I probably am obligated to take San Diego at +1200 since I think it wins the game. The Lions at +1200 at Tennessee also are interesting.
Sportsbook.ag also allows you to bet on points head-to-head in certain fantasy matchups. For example, San Diego is -4 vs. Denver, which hosts Houston. Love the Bolts there. Also love the Chiefs -2 vs. the Raiders, who host Pittsburgh, and the Lions -7 vs. the Vikings, who host the 49ers.
Finally, while quarterbacks get all the glory, let’s look at a few negative props. The first is on how many times Chicago’s Jay Cutler is sacked this week at home by the Rams. Cutler went down seven times last Thursday and caused a media firestorm in Chicago by yelling at and then bumping left tackle J’Marcus Webb after a play. After two games, the Bears are second in sacks allowed with nine. Only Cincinnati (10) has allowed more. Chicago isn’t replacing Webb – yet – but did bench left guard Chris Spencer in favor of ex-49ers right guard Chilo Rachal.
Cutler’s “over/under” for times sacked this week at Bovada is 2.5 vs. St. Louis, with the over at -135 and the under at -105. The Rams don’t have anyone like the Packers’ Clay Matthews, who had 3.5 of those sacks of Cutler in Week 2 and was simply unstoppable. St. Louis has just two sacks all season, both by Robert Quinn. Like the under here.
Also at Bovada is the number of turnovers this week by the Eagles at Arizona, with the over/under at 2 (under -125, over -105). Philadelphia is the first team since the 1983 Rams to have won their first two games despite committing at least nine turnovers. Vick has six of those, all interceptions. He is the first Eagles QB with six interceptions through Week 2 since Pete Liske had a whopping nine in 1971. It’s the most by any NFL QB since Minnesota’s Daunte Culpepper had eight in 2005. The Cardinals have forced just three turnovers with two picks and one fumble recovery. I would go under here, although a “push” is a likely outcome.
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