As we saw in Week 1, there are a lot of teams that need improved quarterback play. On top of that, there are several quarterbacks in their upper 30s, (or 40 for Tom Brady) and their teams will be looking to mold their quarterbacks of the future. Some of these teams already have QBs their training like the Patriots and Jimmy Garoppolo, but many do not.
A few years ago we looked into this some in an article by Jay Pryce entitled “Does Drafting a Quarterback With the First Overall Pick Guarantee a Winning Season”?
The consensus for the article was that the teams usually trend under after cashing the under as a dog the week before, and if a top rookie quarterback can go without throwing a pick, they are 29-7 ATS, compared to 7-26 ATS in games they throw two or more picks.
This article by Pryce is a great read, however, these stats did not stay true last season for Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.
The under was just 1-4 in games where their two teams were coming off cashing the under as a road underdog, and they were 5-4 ATS in games they threw no picks (Wentz was 5-1 ATS though in games he didn’t turn it over, however).
Since Mitch Trubisky hasn’t seen the field yet, and likely won’t all season if Mike Glennon can continue to play at least average, we have nothing to build off of right now for the top rookie QBs.
However, we do have Goff and Wentz coming off impressive victories in Week 1, and it got me thinking. What about the sophomore seasons of these top quarterbacks who started in their rookie seasons?Sophomore Solution or Slump?
Over the last five years, we have had seven sophomore quarterbacks who were drafted inside the first three picks in their respective drafts included in this scenario. Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston had their sophomore campaigns last season, Blake Bortles in 2015, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in 2013, and of course, Wentz and Goff in one game each this season.
Much like in their rookie campaigns, it’s hard to gain knowledge of their value by looking just ATS. These sophomore QBs were 40-42-1 ATS over the last five seasons. They were 22-23-1 ATS as underdogs and 16-17 ATS as a favorite.
Robert Griffin notoriously had a horrible sophomore campaign, which was the beginning of the end for him in Washington, and overall. If you take his numbers away from the others, it makes things a little better for the other top picks. Without Griffin, these sophomores are 37-32-1 ATS, which is just barely into the black for betting purposes at 53%. Griffin was also just 1-7 ATS as a dog, whereas the others combined for 21-16 ATS.
However, much like when they were rookies, a lack of turning the ball over was almost always indicative of success. In games where they didn’t throw a pick as a sophomore, they were 19-10-1 ATS, or a 65% cash rate. If you take away Griffin once again as a potential outlier in all this, in games where they threw one or fewer picks, that cash rate goes to just 33-19-1 ATS or 63.2%.
Below is a table that has all the sophmores since 2013 and their combined ATS record contrasted when they throw no, one or multiple interceptions.
Betting Goff and Wentz going forward
Another interesting tidbit from this was the amount of times these sophomore quarterbacks went over the game total in their second pro seasons. Including the two that played their first game of their second season this past Sunday, the over is 43-35-1 for these second year quarterbacks, which is a cash rate of 55%.
It’s not a huge success rate on the over, but it’s enough to make money, and it could be a sign of things to come for both Goff and Wentz this season. Both the Rams and Eagles offenses were a little undervalued coming into their Week 1 games, and if they can get games against poor defenses, I am expecting some points to be put on the board for these two teams.
Looking ahead for both these quarterbacks, they both have intriguing matchups in Week 2. Wentz and the Eagles are on the road in Kansas City as +4 ½ underdogs, while Goff and the Rams are -1 favorites at home against the Redskins.
Going by our research, the odds of Wentz throwing a pick here look pretty high against one of the better defenses in the NFL, but Wentz just got down beating up on the Redskins’ secondary, so who’s to say Goff can’t do the same thing in Week 2 at home?
I’m looking forward to updating this blog after the season in hopes of continuing the research a little more, and if we do get a taste of Trubisky this season, it might be wise to tail him on days where you think he won’t throw a pick.