Alex Smith to the Chiefs Betting Props Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 2/28/2013
Last offseason there was a rare big trade in the NFL, with the Miami Dolphins sending star receiver Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears for two third-round picks. Chicago immediately become considered a significant Super Bowl contender. The team fell short of the playoffs despite a 10-6 record, but it wasn’t Marshall’s fault as he had the best season for a receiver in Bears history with 118 catches for 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns. Marshall just didn’t have any help on offense.
I bring this up because we just had a pretty significant NFL trade this week (although it’s not official until March 12), with the San Francisco 49ers trading former starting quarterback and No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Niners receive Kansas City’s second-round pick in this draft – No. 34 overall – and a conditional pick in 2014. Here’s a scary thought: The ultra-talented Niners now have 15 picks in this year’s draft and could package some to get Jets superstar cornerback Darrelle Revis. The 49ers already are co-+700 favorites on Sportsbook.ag with Denver to win next season’s Super Bowl, and adding Revis would make San Francisco the clear favorite, although it now needs a backup to Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers are a story for another day.
Did Kansas City give up too much for someone considered a solid-but-not-great signal caller? It depends on your perspective. On the one hand, accomplished veteran starting quarterbacks don’t exactly grow on trees in the NFL. Smith should be a vast upgrade over Matt Cassel, another backup from a Super Bowl-caliber team the Chiefs traded for before the 2009 season. Other than 2010, Cassel was pretty much a bust for Kansas City. The team will cut him soon, and he’ll no doubt find quick work as a backup (Niners? Bears? Jets? Back to Patriots if they trade Ryan Mallett?).
Smith was leading the NFL in rating this past season when he went down with a concussion on Nov. 11 against St. Louis. He would then play the role of Wally Pipp to Kaepernick’s Lou Gehrig. Before his injury, Smith had completed 26 of his last 28 passes, including an essentially perfect 18-for-19 game for 232 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in a win at Arizona on Oct. 29. Overall, Smith completed 70.2 percent of his passes (that would lead the league if Smith qualified). San Francisco was 19-5-1 with Smith as its starter the past two years. The Chiefs’ mish-mash group of Cassel, Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn and Tyler Palko was 9-23 with a combined completion percentage of 57.7, 21 touchdowns and 38 interceptions (Smith had 10 picks).
Some would argue that Kansas City did give up too much because Smith didn’t start to shine until Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman came aboard in San Francisco. That No. 34 overall pick is very valuable in a deep draft, and there are reports that the 2014 pick could be as high as a second-rounder depending on how Smith performs in K.C. It’s still a way better trade from the Chiefs’ perspective than what Oakland gave Cincinnati for Carson Palmer a couple of years ago.
Smith should do well under new Chiefs coach Andy Reid. He made Donovan McNabb a star, rejuvenated Michael Vick’s career and even turned Kevin Kolb into something, albeit briefly. Could the Chiefs at least triple their win total from last year’s 2-14 mark? I think so. Despite that lousy record, K.C. had a team-record six Pro Bowlers in 2012: linebackers Justin Houston (an injury replacement), Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson, safety Eric Berry, running back Jamaal Charles and punter Dustin Colquitt. Thanks largely to Charles, team finished first in the AFC and fifth overall in rushing at 149.7 yards per game. The top four teams -- Washington, Minnesota, Seattle and San Francisco – all made the playoffs. Charles finished fourth in the NFL with 1,509 yards (stellar 5.3 yards per catch), set a franchise record with 233 rushing yards in an overtime win at New Orleans and also had a 226-yard game against Indianapolis. So that part of the offense is set.
The Chiefs do have some offseason questions still to be answered. The two big ones are what to do with free-agent left tackle Branden Albert and No. 1 receiver Dwyane Bowe. The team could use the franchise tag – the deadline is March 4 to tag a player -- on one of them, which it did on Bowe last season. Bowe led the team with 59 catches for 801 yards and three touchdowns last season despite constant double-teams. No other Chief had more than one TD catch or more than 453 yards receiving, so the club must add another threat even if it keeps Bowe.
Bovada lists four props in the wake of Smith’s trade:
-Smith “over/under” 3,000 yards passing, 18.5 touchdown passes and 10.5 interceptions (all -115)
--Will the Chiefs select Luke Joeckel first overall in the 2013 Draft: “yes” -300, “no” +200.
The big reason the Chiefs decided to trade for Smith was because there is no player considered a franchise quarterback in this year’s draft, with West Virginia’s Geno Smith and USC’s Matt Barkley possibly the only two to go in the first round. Smith, the highest-rated prospect, would have been a reach at No. 1. He’s likely to go No. 7 to Arizona, which also was reportedly in the Smith sweepstakes. Now that K.C. has that position settled, it is likely to focus on A&M left tackle Joeckel and let Albert walk rather than pay him the huge money Albert would get on the open market. I do believe it’s a lock the Chiefs take Joeckel, so I’d go yes there.
As for Smith’s props, a lot depends on what offensive help the Chiefs get at receiver. Assuming Bowe stays, Smith also has a good weapon in tight end Tony Moeaki. The problem is that K.C. won’t be able to lure a big-money receiver like Mike Wallace because the team isn’t going to pay Bowe and someone like Wallace a combined $20 million-plus. The Chiefs aren’t likely to get a difference-making receiver in the draft with the No. 63 overall pick (their next after No. 1 overall).
Still, I would take over on all those Smith props. Throwing for 3,000 yards is nothing these days. As bad as KC was last year at QB, it still threw for 2,937 yards. Guys like Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden and Ryan Fitzpatrick all surpassed 3,000 yards last season, and I’d take Smith over the latter two for sure in 2013. Throwing for at least 19 TDs also isn’t too tough, with 22 QBs doing so last year. While Smith has been very accurate the past two years in San Francisco, I don’t see that continuing at the same level. He doesn’t have anywhere near the same talent and now has to deal with probably a handful of cold-weather games.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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