There are few things we love more as football fans than passing. We want yards in bulk. In the NFL right now we are in a golden era for passing. Never have we seen so many guys so good at passing playing in systems that suit their talents so well. Given that, choosing which player is likely to lead the league in passing yards is a tough challenge - but a very fun one. Here's a look at how the prop bet breaks down ( Odds are from BetOnline):
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts, +250: He's a special talent - perhaps a generational one - and he has gotten better each season. With the addition of Andre Johnson, even if the receiver isn't likely in his prime anymore, he has possibly the best receiving corps he has had. He has a chance to put together a special season - the first of many. The problem, though, is the price. 5/2 is just too low for any player in a race as deep as competitive as this one is this year. I would certainly not be surprised if Luck did come out on top, but I sure can't justify risking a bet on him here.
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Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, +500: Early on in his career it was easy to doubt the durability of Big Ben. Lately, though, he has been as reliable as can be. He has also emerged as a world-class passer - he was tied for the league lead last year in passing yards. You have to question whether the offense around him is good enough, but it wasn't exactly perfect last year, and he did just fine. The best thing he has going for him in this race is that his defense seems pretty lousy. That means he'll have to pass a lot to stay in games, and that will obviously help his stats. I don't love the bet, but I like it better than Luck.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, +800: I'm not buying this bet at all. Jimmy Graham is gone. Kenny Stills is, too. Brees isn't getting any younger, either. It's still a Sean Payton offense, and Brees has led the category three times in the last four years, but at this price I just don't see any value at all.
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos, +1000: I know how old I feel, and Manning is just six months younger than I am. It gets harder and harder to trust him each year - especially considering his failing body and the way he played in the second half of last year. Now his receivers likely aren't quite as good as they were before, but that's not the biggest issue. His offensive line, even with some recent maneuvering, is scary. Put an old statue behind a porous line and do good things happen? Not likely enough for me to bet on. I'm certainly not counting him out entirely, but I really don't trust him. No value here at all.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, +1000: If you said that Rodgers is the best QB in the league I wouldn't argue with you. That doesn't mean that he's the biggest passer, though. He has never finished in the Top 3 in the league in passing yards. The potential for lousy weather at home later in the season doesn't help his cause, and his receivers are having a very tough time staying healthy. The price isn't a total disaster, but nor is it an attractive one to invest in.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions, +1200: Here's where I see the value this year. Stafford is a consistent performer - he has wound up in the Top 3 in passing yards three of the last four years. He was solid last year under a new regime, and consistency and stability should really help him this year. He's just entering his prime according to the calendar, and the best receiver in football should be much healthier than he was last year. The defense might not be quite as good, and that can be a good thing - it can force Stafford to pass more later in games. He doesn't necessarily deserve to be the favorite, but there is lots of value here.
Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles, +4000: You always need to have a long shot to root for, and Braford fits the bill for me. Trusting his knee is obviously a big risk. Getting beyond that, though, there is a lot to like. We know that he can pass, and now he is in a much better system for offensive success. He has looked excellent in the preseason, and there is no reason to think that that is a fluke. At this price he's worth a gamble.
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