Here are the highlights of the August 5 episode of the Givin’ Props podcast on QB Props for the 2021 season, between BetPrep’s Michael Salfino and professional gambler Brad Feinberg. You can listen to the entire episode by visiting the Givin’ Props Podcast page.
Let’s first educate the listener on the futures market — and why one side of this over-under proposition is usually the most profitable.
Brad: You will almost see sharks never take the over. Here’s the reason: This is being priced if every player is going to play 17 games. But very rarely do people play a full season. So there’s significant value in taking the under. If you blindly bet these under, almost 64% of them win. Just saying, “You know what, let me just bet on every single under,” you’re getting an incredible return on your investment. It doesn’t mean that they’re bad numbers, They’re bad numbers in the sense that injuries happen, injuries occur. So that is why we’re seeing such a huge advantage towards the under; so when you see a theme in today’s bets, it would take a lot to get me to bet over on something just because I don’t want to bet on someone playing a full season. And if I do, I’d rather take a long shot on the guy to lead the league in rushing, lead the league and receiving and get a monster payout as opposed to a basically a one-to-one payout, which most of these are.
So we have six props that you’ve highlighted. Let’s start with Aaron Rodgers under 4,600.5 passing yards and under 35.5 TD passes.
Brad: Rodgers was the best player in football last year, he won the MVP and he had an incredible season. But since 2012, he would have gone under the yards every single year. Even last year’s MVP year, he was under a 4600-yard pace; so nine years in a row. In his career, he’s about 269 yards a game. If everything goes perfect for Aaron Rodgers, he’s a coin flip to still go under. Rogers has been better in touchdowns versus yards in his career. He is definitely more of a productive touchdown thrower. For his career, he’s averaged 2.09 per game. That does translate to 35.5 and that’s exactly the number. But if you’re saying to me, if Aaron Rodgers plays a full 17 games at the level he’s played in his entire career, you STILL have a 50/50 chance of winning this under bet? Even if Rodgers continues to play at the Hall of Fame level he’s played and doesn’t miss one game, still 50/50? Sign me up for that every single day of the week.
Since 2015, Rodgers has averaged 7.3 yards per attempt. At that yards per attempt, he would need 630 attempts to get over this number. Plus in years, when Green Bay has had a winning record for his career, he’s averaged 34.6 attempts per game, which is 588 over 17 games. The Packers, of course, are a big favorite to win the NFC North.
Brad: By the way, another thing: Shop these lines, I cannot stress that enough. There’s so many sports books, there’s no excuse not to be able to shop these lines. I’ve done middles where I’m getting 200-yard differences where I have over 1000 under 1200. If you shop these lines, and lean toward these unders, you CANNOT lose.
So the next one we have is Tom Brady under 4,775 passing yards and under 37.5 TD passes.
Brad: There’s going to be a theme here. Tom Brady is now 44. There’s going to be a year as great as this guy has been — and he’s been the best player of all time, I understand that — when we start to see some slippage. And he’s still being priced in as if he’s at his peak powers. And Brady, in my opinion, is not at his peak powers. Now let’s just look at the numbers. In his Hall of Fame brilliant GOAT career, he’s averaged 1.94 touchdowns, which translates to 33 touchdowns. Yet his over/under for touchdowns is 37.5. This is to me, maybe my favorite of these bets. Also the Bucs are a huge favorite to win the division. There’s an outstanding chance Tom Brady does not play 17 games this year — the last one could be meaningless. (The same is true of Rodgers, by the way.) And then we look at the yards. He’s averaged 265 yards per game in his career. That translates to a 4,500-yard season.
This is expected to be one of the top defenses in the NFL, too.
Brad: Exactly, I could see Tom Brady, averaging 140 yards passing in the first half, a pace you need to cash the over. But I could see a second half going from 140 to like maybe 110. Just because in the fourth quarter, I see a lot of big leads where the Bucs are running the ball. And they don’t need Brady to be a hero.
Or maybe Brady sits out the last eight minutes or something. The theme here is old quarterbacks. So we have Big Ben Roethlisberger under 27.5 TD passes. Last year, Roethlisberger got incredibly lucky in TD% compared with his very poor overall passing efficiency. So I guess you’re betting on regression of the former.
Brad: Yes and injury. He’s played a full season just four out of 17 times. He’s gone over when he’s not gotten injured. He’s under about 90% when he does miss at least one game. And if anyone wants to bet that Ben Roethlisberger is going to play a full season given the way he looked last year, I will make that bet gladly with anyone. He averages 1.7 TDs in his career, which does get it to slightly over but that’s again a perfect scenario. So even if he misses zero games, you’re still in a coin flip to win with the under.
The next one I’m interested in your take on Matt Ryan going under 29.5 touchdowns.
Brad: Julio Jones didn’t score that many touchdowns but he did help get you to the red zone. Ryan (36 years old) has been incredibly durable. And I really do give him a lot of credit for that. But there’s still a chance he will get hurt and his career average of 1.69 TDs still translates to only 28 touchdown tosses. So again, even in a perfect season, Ryan’s still expected to go under that total. And he did lose a guy who’s been his number one target. This is probably my least favorite one. But the reason I’m doing it again, the math shows he should be at 28.5 only with ideal, pristine circumstances.
The next one you have is Tua Tagovailoa under five rushing touchdowns.
Brad: I like this one very, VERY much. Last year, how many quarterbacks do you think had more than five rushing touchdowns? Out of the 32 starting quarterbacks, five guys did it. And let’s look at those guys. Josh Allen: freak athlete. Kyler Murray: freak athlete. Cam Newton: freak athlete. Lamar Jackson, Ryan Tannehill…
…started college as a wide receiver.
Brad: There’s a poker saying, “You have the nuts.” I think Tua under five rushing TDs is an 80% winning bet. I would be shocked if I lost this. Tua to me is a real injury risk. A massive injury risk. And I think he’s actually someone who could get benched on top of it.
When Tua ran in the 40 as a freshman before all the injuries he timed 4.76. You would expect after the hip and ankle injuries that were so severe that he’s at best 4.9 now. But the market thinks Tua is a plus athlete and he’s actually a minus athlete. That’s why you’re getting this total.
But someone who is a plus athlete is Jalen Hurts, who you like finally with an over — 574.5 rushing yards. What is the market thinking here? Why is this number so low?
Brad: Well the Eagles only invested a late second-round pick in him. They may not be committed to him as their QB. But it’s just way too low of a number. Even though I could see Nick Mullins potentially getting a chance if Hurts struggles. But in Hurts’ starts in 2020, he averaged 70 yards a game rushing.
That’s 1,156 rushing yards per 17 games.
Brad: So this is a criminally low number. And again, for me to take an over, I need something like this. I need something massively mispriced. I would have had this total minimum 200 yards higher than this. Hurts needs to get 33.5 rushing yards a game for me to win. Even if he plays half the season, I have a real shot at winning this. And he plays just 10/11 games, I really would be surprised if I lost.