NFL Divisional Round Wagering Predictions: Passing Yard Props
There are eight quarterbacks left standing in the playoffs. And though it would be tougher to make a case for Ryan Tannehill and Kirk Cousins than some, they are all very impressive guys who have very high ceilings. It's a loaded group. Aaron Rodgers has two MVPs and a Super Bowl MVP. Lamar Jackson is about to have his first MVP, and Patrick Mahomes already has one. Russell Wilson has a Super Bowl. And, to those accomplishments and the others shared by this group will be added one that might not be quite as significant - leading passer in the 2020 Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs . It's perhaps not a prestigious title, but only eight guys can win it, and only one will. And, most relevant for us, there are odds about which one it will be. So, let's look at the odds and see what stands out, shall we?:
Most Passing Yards - NFL Divisional Round
Patrick Mahomes (+150)
Russell Wilson (+500)
Jimmy Garoppolo (+550)
Aaron Rodgers (+650)
Deshaun Watson (+700)
Kirk Cousins (+750)
Ryan Tannehill (+800)
Lamar Jackson (+950)
Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes is the very heavy favorite to lead the way here. I'm not sure that that is entirely justified - at least not to the extent that the price suggests. He's great, there is no doubt about that. And he was tops in this group in passing yards per game. But he ranked just seventh in the league in that category this year - much lower than the average fan would guess. And Wilson and Watson weren't too far back in 10th and 11th, respectively. And this isn't the high-flying insanity of an offense that we saw last year. In three of his last six starts, he threw for 182 or fewer yards - and the Chiefs won all three games handily. He doesn't have to do it all with his arm for this team to win. That's a good thing. He's up against a Texans team that was the worst of the eight remaining teams in the regular season in yards allowed per game - though only 3.4 yards per game worse than Seattle. But they haven't regularly been torched by crazy passing numbers. In the second last game of the year, Jameis Winston, who led the league in passing yards per game, exceeded his average by only 15.7 yards against the Texans. And the first round of the playoffs certainly weren't shootouts, so it is quite possible that this one won't get crazy, either. I have no problem with Mahomes being favored. But it sure feels like the odds are tilted too far in his direction.
Regular season performance
Mahomes, as we said, is the favorite here, and the regular season leader in YPG. Wilson is second in both categories. Watson is third in yards and fifth in price. Rodgers is fourth in both categories, with Garoppolo fifth in yards, but third in price. The final three are in the correct order in both categories. And Jackson really does deserve the price he is getting - as good as he has been this year. He has thrown for 20 fewer yards per game than Ryan Tannehill, and almost 80 fewer than Mahomes. His only 300+ yard game was in the opener against a Miami team that was historically lousy at that point, and he has six games with fewer passing yards than Mahomes' fewest - all wins.
There is no joy in betting on Mahomes at this price. We just can't do it. And though Jackson may be the guy playing best right now, his style of play just doesn't warrant a bet even at this big price. His two losses this year came in his third and fourth best passing games by yards, so this is not what he needs to do to win.
Another guy I'm ruling out is Rodgers. He has big game potential, obviously. But the only 300-yard game he had in his last eight came in the finale against the Lions, and he completed less than half of his passes in an ugly outing overall in that narrow win. He is not as sharp now as he has been in the past, and I don't buy what he is selling.
Enough of who I am not betting on. The guy I would take at his price is Garoppolo. He has seen Seattle twice, including the last game he played, so he knows what to expect. He completed 18 of 22 passes for 285 yards in that last game, too, so he is capable of handling what they do. And their secondary isn't the best out there. Kyle Shanahan has had an extra week to get ready for this one, so the offense is going to be dialed in. And I just really like this San Francisco team . There is value in this price. Watson is also interesting, though the Chiefs' pass defense is much better this year than the casual fan might expect, ranking eighth in the league and third in the playoffs behind only the two conference-leading defensive powerhouses.
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