Jason Witten Betting Props for Dallas Cowboys 2019 with Expert Predictions
To the great relief of anyone who watched a Monday Night Football game this past season and was anticipating watching another one this coming season, Jason Witten is gone from the booth. One of the worst color analysts in sports history, the king of boiling the blatantly obvious down to a cliché, has given up on broadcasting to return to playing tight end for the Dallas Cowboys. Love of the game and missing the competition were his given reasons, but we all know that failing miserably at something for the first time in his life, and not knowing how to fix it, was at least as much to blame.
Like all good things in life, oddsmakers have made prop bets to help us profit on the misfortune of others - Jason Witten in this case. Here's a look at the props available from BetOnline.
"Over/Under" 3.5 touchdowns: The under is solidly favored here at -140, with the over at +100. Witten has played 15 seasons and has gone under this number just six times. You might be tempted to take the over. But two of the three times he has gone under came in his last three seasons, and he is unlikely to see as many catches as he has in recent years - his career low was 63 catches last time out, and indications are he could see about half of that now. It's definitely an uphill battle for him to go over this number unless he discovers a fountain of youth and is suddenly much more productive than people think.
Over/Under 575 receiving yards: The under is very heavily favored at -300, with the over at +200. The good news is that he has gone under this number only twice in his career - his first and last season. Again, though, the number of receptions he is likely to get is going to be the problem. He had 560 yards in his last season with 63 catches - both lows since his rookie season. That's an 8.9 yard per catch average. His best average was 11.9 yards in two different seasons. Even if he could hit that number, which he hasn't since 2011, he would still need 49 catches to go over. It's hard to imagine him getting that many targets. The under is easily the bet - but there is no value at this price.
Will he play all 16 games?: This one is the most interesting of these three Witten props. Witten has been remarkably consistent. He played 15 games as a rookie, and since then he has not missed a single regular-season game aside from last year. Fourteen straight seasons without missing a game. He'll be 37 this season, but he is also likely as healthy as he has been in a long time after a year off. And he isn't going to be used as heavily as he has in the past. The yes side is at +150 here, with the no favored at -200. At that price I would take a shot at the yes.
Who will replace Witten on Monday Night Football?: This is the most interesting discussion to come from this decision by far. Ultimately, Witten isn't going to be a massive difference-maker in the league, so the next guy in the booth will make more of an impact.
This one splits, in my eyes, between who it should be and who wit will likely be. The obvious choice is Louis Riddick. He played, he has management experience, and he is a practiced and effective commentator. He has a lot to say, is entertaining and insightful, and would be a natural. He's at +350 here and would be an easy choice because he already works for ESPN, but if this was going to happen, it already likely would have. I don't see it.
The biggest knocks against Riddick is that he isn't a white quarterback. He's a safety, which no one cares about unless it's Ed Reed. The co-favorites here both fit the criteria - Kurt Warner and Peyton Manning are both at +250. Warner has experience and does a decent job, but isn't changing the world, and I'm not sure he moves the needle enough. And while Manning is charming and funny and probably would be great, I still don't imagine him being interested in being tied down to a regular gig like this. I also don't know how interested he would be in risking being outdone by Tony Romo. I don't really see it.
Another guy who fits in Matt Hasselbeck at +900. He's experienced and decent enough and would be fine. The biggest thing he has going for him is that he would absolutely say yes, so the longer the vacancy is there, the better his chances are. There's a bit of value here.
Greg Olsen is at +375, and I really don't see this. For one thing, I don't see ESPN being excited about going after another inexperienced tight end right after the Witten debacle. Bad bet at this price.
Boomer Esiason and Steve Young, both at +1800, are too far past their primes. Randy Moss, +1400, is too much of a loose cannon. Tim Tebow, +3300, would signal the end of my time watching football on Mondays. Pat McAfee has called a game for Fox and is a standup comedian with other broadcasting experience, but he's a punter and likely doesn't have the profile for what they are looking for here. You have to match up to Romo with this hire, and McAfee doesn't do that. And the long shot, John Madden, at +10000, is obviously a stupid idea. Among many other issues, he will be 83 years old when the season starts and has been out of the game for a decade.
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