NFL Week 12 Special Props Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 11/22/2013
It was a pretty good Week 11 in terms of Bovada specials that were immediately decided on Sunday. Percy Harvin made his Seahawks debut last week, fittingly against Minnesota, and as I expected his snap count was kept very limited. He did have one nice 58-yard kickoff return that almost ruined my recommendation, but I thought there was no way Harvin would find the end zone, and that paid off at -200. I bet the farm on that.
I also hit on the Saints staying “under” 410.5 yards against San Francisco at -115. I expected Drew Brees to throw for his normal 300 yards but New Orleans to have trouble running the ball. Well, Brees threw for 305, and the Saints ran for 92. So 2-for-2.
The third one was rather surprisingly not decided last week. The prop was an “over/under” on the number of touchdown passes that Eagles QB Nick Foles would throw before his first pick of the year. Foles entered Sunday's game against Washington with 16 passes and no picks, and he still has the same totals. So we will have to wait until next week with the Eagles on the bye in Week 12.
I already previewed Sunday's big Broncos-Patriots matchup here at Doc's, so I don't want to get too deep into that, but predictably the site had a few Manning vs. Brady props: Manning -30.5 yards (both -115), Manning -1 TD pass (-105, with Brady at +125) and a “pick'em” on interceptions (both -115) against Brady. There are also "the which will be higher" props: Brady's 223 passing yards against Denver last year at over/under 60.5 yards and Manning over/under 15.5 yards compared to his 337 in Week 12 last year.
According to weather.com, it will be 16 degrees in Foxboro on Sunday night with winds at 15 mph. Sounds like a tough game to throw on both sides. I don't think Brady will throw for 284 to warrant going over that prop and also don't think Manning will go for 353 to go over there. I do like Manning -30.5 yards and -1 TD because Denver is just so-so in the running game and will throw even from the one-yard line. The Patriots are much better on the ground, and they beat Denver because of that rushing attack a season ago. I expect the interception prop to push.
Let's stick with the quarterback theme and back to Foles first. Will he lead the league in rating: “yes” +150 and “no” -200. He does by a wide margin at 128.0, which would be an NFL record. I say no way he does this, although looking at the Philly schedule it's not like he faces a stellar defense: vs. Arizona (not bad), vs. Detroit, at Minnesota, vs. Chicago, at Dallas (terrible). I always lean no on these type of things, because if Foles gets hurt again he might not have enough attempts to qualify for this title. To qualify, a player must have at least 14 attempts per team's games played. Right now Foles is at 162, and the Eagles have played 11 games. So he's barely over the minimum (which would be 154 for Philly right now). The site also now has his number of passes before his first pick, over/under 42.5. I love under there. The Cards will get him next week.
Let's look at props for the starting quarterback for three teams in Week 1 next year.
Oakland: Terrelle Pryor (+175), Matt McGloin (+200), any other QB (even)
Houston: Case Keenum (+175), Matt Schaub (+200), any other QB (even)
Chicago: Will Jay Cutler be the team's Week 1 starter, with yes -200 and no at +150.
For the Raiders, I think they have seen enough of Pryor to at least open next season with him as the guy, although I have no doubt they take a QB in the 2014 draft. McGloin, undrafted out of Penn State, threw three TDs last week in a win over Houston -- the first Raiders rookie QB to do so in his first start since the immortal Todd Marinovich in 1991 -- and will start Sunday against the Titans. Coach Dennis Allen has said he will remain the guy as long as he plays well. Pryor is dealing with a sore knee. Sorry, but I'm not buying McGloin. He faces a good Tennessee pass defense this week, has a quick turnaround at Dallas on Thursday -- the Cowboys usually play well on Thanksgiving -- then tough defenses in the Jets and Chiefs upcoming. He's going to struggle, and the Raiders will finish the season with Pryor.
I definitely like Keenum in Houston. He's completing only 55.6 percent of his passes but has eight TDs to just one pick and a very good 99.0 rating. The Texans need some reason to make their disillusioned fan base happy, so Keenum, the former University of Houston star, will finish out this season, well I think, and start Week 1. Schaub will be dumped, and Houston will pick a QB in the draft – “Johnny Football”?
As for Chicago, no question in my mind Cutler is the guy Week 1 next year. Josh McCown has played very well in Cutler's place, but the Bears have the franchise tag in their pocket and will use it. Will Cutler be there in 2015? That's another question.
Finally, the turnover machine that is Jets rookie Geno Smith (will New York take another QB early in the 2014 draft? Can you imagine Manziel in New York?). He has turned the ball over 20 times and is hanging on to his job by a thread, but I find it hard to believe Rex Ryan would go to inexperienced Matt Simms with the Jets in the wild-card hunt. The prop is over/under Smith season turnovers at 27. So even if Smith averages 1.5 a game, he's over. Smith is probably good for at least two each this week at Baltimore, Week 15 at Carolina and Week 17 in Miami. Take the over.
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