Despite missing his number two receiver for the entire season due to suspension, as well as the league’s top running back for Weeks 1-4 with another suspension, Ben Roethlisberger could easily lead the league in passing this season.
Big Ben's Big Betting Odds
However, Bet365 has his passing yards total this season sitting at 4620.5, which is the second highest total the sportsbook is offering behind only Drew Brees' 4835.5 total. Last season with a half-season of Le'Veon Bell and a full season of Martavis Bryant, Roethlisberger threw 3938 passing yards in 12 games, which was on pace for over 5200 yards if he would have played in all 16 games.
That kind of number is easy when you're a quarterback the caliber of Roethlisberger and you have Antonio Brown at your disposal. Brown is easily the best receiver in the game right now after two seasons where he totaled over 3500 yards receiving. Brown is not the problem this season for Big Ben.
The issue is staying healthy, which is pretty much the proverbial Achilles heel of any season long prop bet on a position player in the NFL. Roethlisberger is a warrior. Over the course of his career, he has played through some pretty nasty injuries, including parts of last season.
However, with a large betting odds total for his passing yards this season, Roethlisberger would have to average 289 passing yards per game over all 16 games to cash the over for this prop. While that should be easily attainable with the amount the Steelers are going to pass the ball, if he misses just one game, he will then need to average 308 yards per game for the over. If he misses two, that number jumps to over 330 yards per game.
I don't like betting on guys to get hurt, but that seems like what I'm about to advocate for when it comes to Big Ben this season. I think the Steelers are still going to be the first or second best team in the league, and if he is banged up towards the end of the season, the Steelers might have a bye locked up and sit Roethlisberger down the final game of the season.
With Bryant out for the year and with Bell out for the first four games, that too is going to hurt the Steelers' quarterback. However, what may be the biggest thing working against him is that only once has he ever thrown for more than 4600 yards in a season.
In 2014, the last time Roethlisberger played all 16 games he threw for over 4900 yards and 32 touchdowns, both career highs.
He would have easily exceeded that total for passing yards if he had stayed healthy in 2015, but considering he has played in all 16 games only three times in his 12-year career. For a guy playing quarterback at age 34, and with his injury-history, it's hard to bet the over with the lofty expectations this season. There is no doubt he is one of the toughest guys in the league, but even he can't beat father time, or his past injury history playing against him in this prop. At even money NFL odds, it makes it an even better NFL pick to fade Big Ben.
Free NFL Pick: Under 4620.5 +100