It's a strange time in the NFL because nothing is really going on. Teams have gone into a mini-hibernation before training camps start, and real news is in shorter supply than any other time of the year. It's a good time, then, for bettors to be reflective. As we head into the season there are seven quarterbacks that I am excited about from a betting perspective. Some are proven and others are speculative, but I expect big things from all seven of these guys at the betting window this year:
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Tom Brady, New England Patriots: Everyone knew he was at the helm of the best team in the league. He hasn't snuck up on anyone is years. And yet he and his squad went a league-best - by a wide margin - 16-3 ATS last year. When everyone bets on you and you are still good enough to not only win but cover big spreads then you are the king, and everyone else is just pretending. Brady is at, or past, the age when he should be on a decline, but if you saw any hint of that last year then you need your eyes examined. He is freakishly obsessed with taking care of himself, and he has a good team around him and the best coach on the planet. The king is the king until someone knocks him off his throne.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: Like Brady, Rodgers is, when on his game, the kind of guy that you can see coming and still not avoid. He was a strong 12-7 ATS last year and seems to have the team around him to be even better this year than they were last year. Rodgers seems dialed in and hungry, and the division certainly sets up well for him to succeed. It's hard not to be bullish about him and the Packers right now.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I am very bullish on Winston this year. He has been growing, maturing and putting things together, and this is the year I expect him to really show how far he has come. The talent is basically limitless, and he has enough around him to work with to take a big step. He was 9-7 ATS last year, and he has the potential to be far more than that this season.
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders: Carr has the pressure of being the highest-paid guy in the league to deal with. He seems like the type who thrives under that kind of pressure, though, and he certainly has both a strong team and a favorable division around him. The team was a solid 10-7 ATS last year, but the season certainly didn't wind down as anyone was hoping, and they will be looking to play more than one playoff game this year. If he and the core can stay healthy then this should be a huge year for the squad - and a profitable one for bettors.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: Brees can see his window closing in front of him. He's not dumb. In terms of titles it's already closed. Despite the 7-9 record last year, though, his squad was a sneaky 10-5-1 ATS, which was second best in the league. Brees still has a lot of game left in his arm, and he has some nice tools to work with. In terms of covering spreads he has two big things going for him - public expectations aren't overly inflated, and he has the trust of his coaching staff and the freedom to do whatever needs to be done. When a smart QB is given complete command you can't help but be optimistic.
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars: I can hear you laughing from here. Yes, this team was just a mess last year. They made the coaching change they needed to do, though, and they had a solid offseason. Adding Leonard Fournette takes real pressure of Bortles, and despite his issues and general disappointment there is talent here. I like the hire of Doug Marrone, and the team doesn't have the talent of a 3-13 squad. The division is completely wide open, too. Remember, despite being incapable of winning last year, this squad was 7-8-1 ATS. If they turn their game around this year it will take the public a while to warm up to them, and Bortles is well poised to turn a nice profit. You heard it here first - unless he is as lousy as he can be in which case I don't know what you are talking about and I never said a word about him.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles: Here's another QB I am excited about who falls outside of the big stars. It was an inconsistent rookie season, but he showed flashes of real talent. The team took positive steps around him in the offseason, and he has had a chance to study and learn and absorb. He's a smart guy, and there isn't a question about the talent, so it really feels like he is poised for a big sophomore jump. He was a solid 8-8 ATS last year, and he has the potential to be better than that this year.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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