Confession: I stopped betting on football a long time ago (does confessing to not betting concede addiction? Let’s carry on).
I find NFL Sundays exciting enough without the adrenaline rush of possibly losing large sums of money. But when I did wager several dollars on the outcome of a football event, the most enjoyable bet was a prop bet, likely because it forced me to research and analyze random facts and trends I likely wouldn’t uncover otherwise. Unless it’s particularly outlandish, winning an individual prop bet usually doesn’t pay much, which is why parlaying several props you’re confident in is sound strategy.
Which brings us to this weekend’s props on Bodog.ca, a props wonderland where you can kill your entire work day scrutinizing the odds gauging potential performances. We’ll specifically look at a few intriguing and difficult props relating to the play of a quarterback whose success is almost surely the result of divine intervention.
You’re aware that Tim Tebow is facing an atrociously awful secondary when the Broncos travel to New England for Saturday night’s game, and he’s doing that one week after facing an incredibly good albeit injury-depleted secondary. He threw for 316 yards, averaged 15 yards per completion, and had three passes for 40 or more yards against Pittsburgh, a team that had given up only two passes of that length all season. That came after Tebow averaged only 165 yards per game over his 11 starts.
There are far more variables that will influence Tebow’s passing production against New England, of course, but this decision is difficult even after we’ve just scraped the surface.
Despite Tebow’s penchant for passing into the ground, 190.5 passing yards still seems low. The Patriots give little resistance to footballs thrown in the air with their 293.9 yards allowed per game during the regular season, a number that slotted them as the league’s worst secondary for much of the year.
But it was only a month ago when these two teams last met, and Tebow only narrowly eclipsed that over/under number above, passing for 194 yards. He did that mostly because the game turned into a blowout, with the Patriots scoring 23 unanswered points starting in the second quarter. So if you’re taking the over here, you’re betting on that type of game unfolding again.
There’s a good chance that’ll happen, because as inferior as the Patriots’ defense is, the offense is far superior, averaging 32.1 points per game to Denver’s 19.3. But if the game does stay close, don’t count on Tebow to repeat his performance from either last week or Week 15 yardage-wise, despite New England’s sloppy secondary.
In that Week 15 game the Broncos leaned heavily on the run, even by their standards. They had 167 rushing yards in just the first quarter, which is why I’ll take the under here on Tebow’s passing yards, but narrowly. The Pats will win, but they won’t cover a ridiculous 13.5 point spread, keeping this game close enough that Denver won’t have to deviate from their game plan too heavily.
If the latter scenario plays out and Denver pounds the ball continually, surely Tebow will be running a lot too, right?
Going back again to Denver’s loss on Dec. 18, Tebow ran for 93 yards, which was his second highest total of the season, and he easily surpassed his weekly average after he became the starter in Week 7 (56.6 yards). But there’s some caution to be exercised here, because that game was just one of two this year in which Tebow ran for more than 70 yards.
You’re not necessarily betting on Tebow’s running ability here. Again, you’re forecasting how the game will unfold, and although New England’s run defense gave up a very pedestrian 4.6 yards per carry, it’s difficult to imagine Bill Belichick allowing a repeat performance and another first quarter rushing outburst.
That explosion won’t happen, but Tebow should still squeak past 52.5, and finish with about 60 rushing yards.
If those two aren’t enough intrigue and excitement, you can bet on the presence of male camaraderie after this game.
It’s disappointing that there’s no option for a Tebow finger wag. The payout would be high, because the chances of such a self-righteous man showing any anger whatsoever are slim.
But we can still believe.