Expert NFL Betting Predictions: Quarterback Props
Our job here today is simple. There are a wide range of prop bets and futures available for quarterbacks in the NFL heading into the regular season. Most passing yards, touchdowns, interceptions, passer rating and so on. Some of the numbers are very playable. Many really, really aren't. We are going to sort through all of the numbers posted to find some that stand out as most interesting. Let's try to make some money, shall we?:
Best Regular-Season Passer Rating
Let's start with a stat that is very tough to care about. It's a stat that is so flawed it is almost meaningless. Need proof? Alex Smith led the NFL in passer rating in 2017. I rest my case. It rewards a high completion percentage and a strong TD/Int ratio. Drew Brees was tops last year, and second the year before, so it's no surprise that he is favored this year at +250. It's hard to argue with that too much, though at some point his age is going to become a concern. Maybe. Patrick Mahomes was second last year and is the second choice this year at +300. Again, pretty tough to argue with that. An Andy Reid offense obviously suits high performance in this stat well. If you want a bit of a bigger price, then look at Russell Wilson at +600. He led the league in 2015 and was a tight third last year. There are maybe some questions of talent around him, and who knows how the pressure of the big deal will affect him, but he's definitely a contender and he's at the right price.
Most Passing Yards
Ben Roethlisberger led the league last year with 5,129 yards, but it was more by force than finesse. His yards per attempt were well below other leaders, but he also led the league in passing attempts by a comfortable margin. It's questionable whether that is entirely sustainable, and how much losing arguably the best receiver in football - even if he is a total nut case - will hurt as well. Big Ben is just the fifth choice this year at +800, and it's hard to argue that that isn't fairIt really comes down to the top two choices. Matt Ryan is the favorite at +500. He fell just 20 yards short of a career high last year, so he is certainly capable. And he doesn't have to work with Steve Sarkisian as his offensive coordinator anymore, which is unquestionably a positive. But I just don't trust this Atlanta team right now, and I'm not interested. The choice that is so obvious it's uninteresting, but is at a price that definitely works, is Patrick Mahomes, the second choice at +550. He trailed Roethlisberger by just 32 yards last year, and he did it while averaging a gaudy 8.79 yards per attempt. If you think that what he did isn't mostly sustainable, then you weren't paying attention last year, and he certainly still has talent around him. It's easy to forget that it is only his second year as a starter, too, so he is entering the time when the game slows down for a lot of guys. That's a thought to cause nightmares for opposing defenses. I, frankly, don't see how you bet anyone but him at this price.
Mahomes had 50 touchdown passes last year. Andrew Luck was second with 39. Mahomes could have seen his productivity decline by a full 20 percent last year and he would have still won outright. And while 50 probably isn't a sustainable number, it's not like he was getting a lot of cheap scores, either. He earned those stats and is very likely to post some strong ones again this year. He's the +300 favorite. But with Ryan and the concerns I have about him, and Aaron Rodgers and the first new head coach he has ever had to play for all tied at +600 behind him. That combination of factors makes this all but unplayable. Mahomes is very likely to lead, but that's not enough return to justify locking money up all year.
Most Interceptions Thrown
There is a big group tied here at +900 - Roethlisberger, Murray, Darnold, Winston and Rivers. The two that stand out from that group are Darnold and Murray. Murray is going to take a lot of risks in the Arizona offense under Kliff Kingsbury, and some won't work out. And he's a rookie, obviously, which doesn't help. And Darnold was only one behind Roethlisberger for the league lead last year - and did it in 261 fewer pass attempts. He was a long way from efficient last year. He should take a step forward, and the team is a little better around him, but he still is a risk. I'd choose those two in that order. But this is a far less bettable statistic than many because the gaps between players is so small. Roethlisberger had 16 picks last year. There were 13 other guys in the league who had 12 or more picks and 22 who were in the double-digits. One more bad tip here or there, or one more late hail mary that goes all wrong, and things can quickly become different. It's easier to bet a category that features more separation.
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