Handicapping Sportsbook NFL Quarterback Special Props Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 8/25/2014
When we are looking at players in the NFL, we so often handicap how they match up in particular games against the players they will line up against. It's a good handicapping exercise to look at a wider picture and to really consider how they are going to fare on a larger perspective. It's kind of like bringing a fantasy football drafting perspective to handicapping. One way we can do that - and hunt for profit at the same time - is by looking at the QB special props that Sportsbook.ag has on offer this year.
Here are seven that stood out to me this year:
Drew Brees to throw 45 or more TDs (+350): Brees is remarkably consistent and reliable. He has been starting since 2002 and has played at least 15 games every year except 2003 when he started 11. He has thrown for more than 45 touchdowns just once - in 2011. The last two years he has had 43 and 39. He is still an exceptional quarterback, and he has weapons around him, but he is not getting any younger, and there is a lot of wear on the tires. I'm just not willing to bet that he will match his statistically-best season at this point in his career. I'll pass.
Peyton Manning to pass for over 5,500 yards (+350): I will say this - if anyone is going to break Manning's single-season passing record he set last year it will be Manning. I just can't bet that it will happen this season. He is intensely focused after the debacle of the Super Bowl, but the Seahawks provided a means to shut him down like no team ever has, and opposing defenses will pay attention to what they did. More significantly, though, Manning is 38 years old and banged up in all sorts of ways. I am just not willing to bet that he is going to last and play better than ever all season at this point. I'm not saying he won't - just that it's not smart to bet that he will.
Andrew Luck to throw 30 or more TDs (+400): Luck has had 23 TDs in each of his first two seasons. He saw his accuracy improve and his number of interceptions fall in half last year, though, so there are signs that the game is slowing down for him and he is ready for a leap forward. Five guys threw for at least 30 TDs last year, and Luck has more skills than at least three of them. I wish he had some slightly better options to catch some of those TDs, but this seems like a reasonable bet. At the very least it will be fun to sweat all year.
Colin Kaepernick to rush for 100 or more yards in any game (+400): This is one of those easy ones to handicap. Kaepernick has never had a 100-yard game in the regular season. His best, 87 yards, came in Week 2 of last year, and he never again had more than 68. He's a very valuable asset for the team - especially because their backup situation is so scary - so they just can't afford to put him through the wear and tear that running the ball a lot takes on a player. Easy pass on this one.
Robert Griffin III to run for 100 or more yards in any game (+450): Griffin has eclipsed 100 yards just once in his two seasons, and it required a 76-yard run to get over the total. Since then he has had a serious knee injury. The team needs to protect him and to develop his passing skills so they can have him for the long term. They aren't going to throw him to the wolves. Another easy pass on this one.
Cam Newton to run for 10 or more TDs (+600): Newton ran for 14 touchdowns as a rookie then eight and six in the next two years. He is still almost as effective as always when he runs it, but it is no fluke that he is running it less. The more he develops as a passer the less he will run. His receiving corps isn't going to be as bad as it looked like it might be, so he won't be forced to scramble for his life as much, either. I'll pass on this one, too.
Nick Foles to throw for 35 or more TDs (+700): Do you believe in Foles as a long-term option in Philadelphia? Are he and Chip Kelly a love match? He had 27 touchdowns in parts of 13 games last year, though that was skewed somewhat by a gaudy seven-TD performance against the Raiders. Now he is the starter from the outset, and he has more confidence and experience. The price is right to gamble on this one.
Matthew Stafford to throw for over 300 yards in 10 games or more (+900): Last year Stafford threw for more than 300 yards six times, and had 297 yards another time. The year before he eclipsed 300 yards in half of his games. He also did it eight times in 2011, which was his statistically-best season. I am very bullish on Stafford this year because of the coaching changes around him and the talent he has to work with, but 10 games of 300 yards is a whole lot. In the best single passing season in history, though, Peyton Manning threw over 300 yards in 12 of 16 games. I lean towards taking a shot at this one, but if I did it would be a pure gamble.
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