Andrew Luck may be the clear favorite to rack up the most passing yards this year, but the football odds for Tony Romo are so juicy, they're impossible to ignore.
Earlier this month, we looked at the Most Passing Yards prop at bet365, where Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck was the hot favorite at 7-2. But look down, waaaaay down, and there was Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys at 28-1. At those NFL odds, and with Romo surrounded by so much offensive talent, we had to put him in our NFL picks.
That was over two weeks ago. Now Tony Romo is available at 30-1 at bet365, so we can safely assume that people haven't been stampeding to the virtual ticket window with wads of cash in their hands. Let's take a closer look at our hero and see what makes him such a great value in this situation.
Hold the Line
There's no question that we've been Romo apologists here at the home office. While he was leading the league in interceptions (19) back in 2012, we were pointing out how brutal the Dallas offensive line was. Go figure; the Cowboys made some major O-line improvements, spending their next two first-round picks on center Travis Frederick and RG Zack Martin. Both players made the Pro Bowl last year. So did LT Tyron Smith, their first-round pick in 2011.
With all that protection in front of him, Romo had arguably the best season of his career in 2015. He led the NFL in completion rate (69.9 percent) and touchdown rate (7.8 percent), both career bests. Efficiency-wise, Romo was third in the league in passing DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average), behind only Aaron Rodgers and Derek Anderson (!). And of course, the Cowboys went 12-4 SU and 10-6 ATS.
My Two Murrays
But what about raw passing yardage? This is where Romo wasn't quite up to snuff: He ranked No. 14 overall at 3,705 yards, one spot below Jay Cutler (3,812 yards), who has taken over Romo's role as the most intercepted quarterback in the league (18 INTs) behind Chicago's porous, injury-riddled offensive line.
We think there's room for improvement in this department. Romo spent a lot of time handing the ball off to RB DeMarco Murray in 2014; Murray led the NFL with 392 rushing attempts and 1,845 rushing yards. In 2015, Murray will be doing all that running around for the Philadelphia Eagles. Romo has former Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden to hand off to this year. McFadden got 155 carries last year and lost his starting gig to Latavius Murray.
With that in mind, let's re-consider the Dallas Cowboys 2012 season, when Romo finished third in passing with his lifetime best of 4,903 yards despite (or in concert with) all those turnovers. Romo also had a career-high 648 pass attempts on a team with a much greener version of Murray (4.1 yards per carry) paired with Felix Jones (3.6 yards per carry) at running back. That was over 200 more pass attempts than Romo got in last year. We think he'll be closer to that high-water mark this season, giving Romo ample opportunity to cash in on some of that NFL betting value.