The 2015 NFL season is closing in on the halfway point, and Bovada has cooked up another batch of special player props to go along with two of this Sunday's games. Following up on last week's prop concerning the future of San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick are props for his replacement Blaine Gabbert, and there is another player prop for New York Giants' defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Here are my "best bet" picks for a few of these unique betting opportunities.
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Blaine Gabbert- Total Touchdown Passes this Sunday
Last week Bovada released a player prop with -250 betting odds that Kaepernick would be replaced for at least one series (non-injury related) at some point this season. It did not take all that long to cash in on this prop after San Francisco fell to 2-6 following last Sunday's 27-6 loss to St. Louis. As I mentioned in last week's picks when I went with the "yes" for this player prop, jobs are on the line all over the NFL so it is easy to see why 49ers' head coach Jim Tomsula decided to turn to backup Blaine Gabbert to try and shake things up.
Bovada has set the "over/under" on his total touchdown passes this Sunday against Atlanta at 1.5, with a +160 moneyline on the over and a moneyline of -200 on the under.
Gabbert has been in the league for five years, and the last time he started a game was in 2013 while still with the Jacksonville Jaguars so rust is definitely a factor. On the plus side is that last season he attempted a total of just seven passes. While he only completed three of those attempts, one did go for a touchdown.
Another big factor is San Francisco's offense in general. Kaepernick is bearing the brunt of the blame, but this unit as a whole is ranked at or near the bottom of the league in almost every major category. Given the fact that the 49ers have a grand total of just six touchdowns this season through the air as part of a scoring average of 13.6 points a game, it would be a tall task for Gabbert to suddenly ignite things this Sunday against the Falcons. I will take the added risk on the moneyline odds with a play on the "under 1.5" in this prop.
Blaine Gabbert- Total Interceptions this Sunday
Bovada's moneyline odds for this player prop are set at -130 for over one interception, and the moneyline for the under has been set at an even +100.
Over the course of his five-year career in the NFL, Gabbert has thrown 23 touchdowns against 24 interceptions, which is probably one of the main reasons why he has been a backup for the past few years. In the three games that he did start for the Jaguars in 2013, he tossed one touchdown while getting picked off seven times.
Gabbert knows that this may be his last opportunity to prove he can be a starter in this league, but that also sets the stage for taking some unnecessary risks to try and make something happen. The bottom line is that San Francisco is still a very bad team with a rusty backup at the helm, so I am going with the "over 1" in this prop.
Jason Pierre-Paul- Total Sacks this Sunday
One of the most bizarre stories in the NFL this past offseason was Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul's devastating injury to his right hand as the result of mishandling fireworks. He is hoping to finally return to the playing field this Sunday against Tampa Bay.
In his first five seasons in the NFL, he has been a dominating force for the Giants' pass rush with 42 sacks. His best season was in 2011 when he recorded 16.5 sacks, and last season he got to the quarterback 12.5 times. Bovada released a player prop for his total sacks in Sunday's game against the Buccaneers at +130 for over half a sack and the betting odds on the under is -160.
New York's pass rush has been basically nonexistent this season, and its defense is ranked dead last in the NFL in sacks with nine. Pierre-Paul's ability to remain a force as a premier pass rusher in the NFL is up in the air given a badly-damaged hand. However, despite it all, I am still inclined to go with the "over 0.5" in this player prop to take advantage of the favorable odds.
Adding even more value to these odds is the fact that Pierre-Paul will have his sights set on rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. The Bucs' signal caller has been sacked 14 times in his first seven NFL games, with five coming in his last three starts.
Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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