The NFL odds have Andrew Luck ahead of the pack for this year's Most Passing Yards prop. Luck's a strong candidate, but is there enough betting value for us here?
Apparently this is the year Andrew Luck completes his ascendancy to the NFL throne. The upcoming 2015 campaign will be Luck's fourth in the NFL, and given what we saw from him in 2014, Luck is clearly on the cusp of greatness. As we go to press, the first NFL odds for this year's Most Passing Yards prop have started to hit the market; Luck is the early 7-2 favorite at bet365, followed by a peleton of quality first-tier contenders.
Too bad we have to Johnny English this coronation. Luck might be the next King of All Quarterbacks, but at these odds, he's not a terribly good choice for your NFL picks. Let's take a gander at the props market and see if there's someone with a little more of that sweet, sweet betting value we all crave.
Tossing for Dollars
First off, here's how those NFL odds looked at press time:
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts 7-2
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers 5-1
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints 11-2
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos 6-1
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers 7-1
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons 7-1
That's a whole lot of talent crowded into a small space. More teams than ever have installed pass-happy offenses; in 2014, no fewer than 11 quarterbacks threw for at least 4,000 yards, with Brees and Roethlisberger finishing tied for first at 4,952 yards. Luck was third with 4,761 yards passing, barely ahead of Manning (4,727 yards) and Ryan (4,694 yards). Rodgers (4,381 yards) has some catching up to do after finishing seventh.
It's probably not going to happen. In order to rack up the passing yards, you need to throw the ball a lot, and the Packers don't air it out like those other teams. Here's how these six gentlemen ranked in passing attempts last year:
1. Brees 659
2. Ryan 628
3. Luck 616
4. Roethlisberger 608
8. Manning 601
14. Rodgers 520
That's not just a one-year anomaly for Rodgers, either. The Packers haven't been near the top of the league in attempts since the Mike McCarthy-Aaron Rodgers Era began in 2008. The Saints, on the other hand, have allowed Brees to make all the throws. Brees is almost always first or second in pass attempts at the end of the season, and he's led the league in passing yards five times since joining Sean Payton and the Saints in 2006.
Wherever I May Romo
This brings up a multitude of questions when it comes to Luck's betting value. He's certainly developed as a quarterback over the last three seasons, but how much more can we reasonably expect Luck to grow from here? He's already getting about as many pass attempts as there are to go around in Indianapolis. To reach the next level, Luck will have to increase his yards gained per pass attempt for a fourth straight season.
It could happen. But again, where is that improvement going to come from, now that he's already a legitimate Pro Bowl quarterback? Will the Colts start drawing up more deep throws for Luck? Will his receivers get better at breaking tackles? Maybe, but that's a lot to hang your hat on, and the risk doesn't appear to be reflected in Luck's price.
As always, the football odds are a reflection of how the marketplace values the players in question, not an assessment of who's most likely to finish first. Luck's popularity makes him the favorite here, but Brees is more likely to win again at 11-2, and Roethlisberger has far more betting value at 7-1. You could even make a case for Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo at 28-1; he only threw for 3,705 yards last year (No. 14 overall), but Romo should get more pass attempts now that DeMarco Murray's no longer his running back. You are now free to chuck around the stadium.
Free NFL Pick: Take Romo 28-1 at bet365