What Does History Tells Us About Betting Angles On Jared Goff & 1st-Pick QBs?

Jay Pryce

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 8:34 PM UTC

Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016 8:34 PM UTC

Jared Goff is just the 13th QB to be selected first overall in the draft in the last 25 years. History tells us his impact may be minimal, and the Rams are a team that should be faded this season on NFL Odds.

Last year, we explored how teams fared in the betting market the following season after drafting a quarterback with the first pick of the NFL draft. It was clear-cut either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota would get the honor. This year wasn’t quite as predictable until the Rams traded up for the top selection in mid-April. Sending a bevy of upcoming first, second, and third-round picks to the Tennessee Titans, general manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher acquired their quarterback of the future to accompany the franchise’s move to L.A.: Cal’s Jared Goff. Let’s revisit the numbers, and look for some potential betting angles with the Rams this upcoming season.

Any team taking a quarterback with the first selection is in a bad spot, at least offensively, as the franchise is desperately seeking answers for the most important asset. Since 1990, 13 teams have done so (see chart below). Combined, they carried a win percentage of less than 20 percent the prior season headed into the draft. L.A. is unique in the fact they drafted way up, one of the lowest picking teams (originally No. 15) to do so in NFL history.


First Pick Overall Quarterbacks (1990-2015)




Games Started



Jeff George




Drew Bledsoe




Michael Vick




David Carr




Carson Palmer




Philip Rivers*




Alex Smith




JaMarcus Russell




Matthew Stafford




Sam Bradford




Cam Newton




Andrew Luck




Jameis Winston



*Eli Manning was selected first overall by the San Diego Chargers in anticipation of a swap for the Giant's 4th pick of Philip Rivers since Manning declared he would not play behind Drew Brees.


The Rams went 7-9 SU (7-9 ATS) last year, and may be closer to contending than some others on the abovementioned list, but there are big issues. The unit mustered a measly 17.5 points per game in 2015, and its 297.6 total yards per contest the fewest in the league. From a passing standpoint, it gained just 5.9 yards per attempt, also lowest in the NFL. Don’t expect change overnight. For what it’s worth, only two quarterback-drafting teams made the playoffs: the 2004 San Diego Chargers, led by Drew Brees (Philip Rivers played briefly in only two games, throwing eight pass attempts in total), and Andrew Luck's 2012 Indianapolis Colts—both of whom lost in wild-card matchups. Oddsmakers list L.A.’s over-under season wins total at 7.5 games. Although higher than most on this list, I would not bet on the Rams sniffing the playoffs; not enough offense to power then home.


Goff and Playing Time
Will Goff play? Probably. As of now, Case Keenum is the opening-game starter, but the battle has only begun. The rookie is in the running for the first team when the Rams kick off their season on Sept. 12 against the San Francisco 49ers on “Monday Night Football.” Whether he wins out or not, Keenum will be on a short leash during the regular season, and the likelihood Goff takes over at some point is high considering the veteran’s track record. Including stints with the Texans in 2013 and 2014, and five contests last season for Los Angeles, Keenum is 5-10 SU (6-8-1 ATS) as a starter in the NFL. He’s averaged just 6.6 yards per passing attempt, and his offense a paltry 207.3 through the air per game.

Goff had a so-so debut in the team’s 28-24 preseason opening win over Dallas. He played only 13 snaps, all with the second unit, tossing for 38 yards and one interception on 4-of-9 passes. His night ended prematurely after taking a bit hit on a Cowboy’s blitz. Fisher vows to give Goff some time under center with the first team during their second exhibition game against the Chiefs on Saturday.


Betting Angles
No matter who starts at quarterback, the Rams offense will likely struggle again. Only two of the previous teams scored more than the NFL’s 22.6 points per game average put up last season: the 2004 Chargers (27.2) and 2011 Panthers (25.4). Overall, the bunch averages around 19 points per game.

Prescribing to the “you’re only good as your last outing” theory, when one of the QB-drafting teams comes off a loss as an underdog, the UNDER is 46-26 next time out. Averaging 17 points in these contests, one can assume a sputtering offense is not something that fixes itself overnight. More analysis should obviously be taken into consideration before wagering, but this angle is a decent foundation to build off.

For the optimists out there, when and if Goff takes over, look for the Rams to cover the spread against the leakiest defenses. When singling out games where the first overall pick commandeered his team against a unit allowing more than 27 points per game, they are 13-6 SU and 15-4 ATS, putting up almost 22 points a contest. Three of the four point-spread defeats occurred in six games when laying 3.5 points or more to the opponent. 

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