Home Sports Handicapping the NFL’s four intriguing quarterback battles

Handicapping the NFL’s four intriguing quarterback battles

0


One of the most intriguing and compelling storylines of every new NFL season centers around quarterback battles. The vast majority of teams have clear-cut starters at the most important position on the field. For teams devoid of franchise signal-callers, the uncertainty creates opportunity, not only for the players competing for the job but for bettors as well.

“Who will start Week 1?” has become an increasingly popular offseason prop bet in recent years. For bettors who do their homework and read the tea leaves correctly, these props can help pad bankrolls and get the season started off on a winning note.

Entering 2020, we are looking at four teams with quarterback competitions: the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers. Here’s a quick look at the contestants and odds at FanDuel (FD) and DraftKings (DK), available in New Jersey:

Bears

Nick Foles -300 FD, -250 DK; Mitchell Trubisky +195 FD, +170 DK; Tyler Bray 60/1 DK

Trubisky showed noticeable improvement from Year 1 to Year 2, raising his quarterback rating from 77.5 in 2017 to an impressive 95.4 in 2018. But last year the No. 2-overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft took a big step backward when his rating dropped to 83. In the process, Chicago fell from a 12-4 team to an 8-8 team. The Bears were clearly disappointed in Trubisky and, as a result, GM Ryan Pace traded for Foles, the former Eagles Super Bowl MVP, this offseason.

According to the oddsmakers, Foles is expected to be the starter. However, he is coming off an up-and-down season in Jacksonville in which he was limited to just four games due to a shoulder injury and lost the job to Gardner Minshew. Now he must change teams in a tumultuous offseason and learn a new system on the fly. This makes the plus-money payout for Trubisky appealing. He has more experience in the system and, who knows, maybe the acquisition of Foles lights a fire under him.

Nick Foles; Jarrett Stiidham; Tua TagovailoaGetty Images

Dolphins

Ryan Fitzpatrick -550 FD, -278 DK; Tua Tagovailoa +370 FD, +235 DK; Josh Rosen 25/1 FD, 25/1 DK

Fitzmagic, 37, is coming off a nice season in which he threw 20 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions, and has a year in the system. Tagovailoa, drafted fifth overall this year, is the future but not exactly the present. He is at a disadvantage with the short offseason and, although he was given a clean bill of health, is still recovering from a hip injury. With such a long-term investment at play, you would imagine Miami would be extra cautious with the rookie. Plus, the Dolphins play the Patriots in Week 1.
Will Brian Flores throw Tua to the wolves against Bill Belichick in the season opener? Doubtful. Plus, Fitzpatrick threw for 320 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in a Week 17 win at Foxborough last year.

Patriots

Jarrett Stidham -330, Brian Hoyer 3/1, Cam Newton 17/2; Brian Lewerke 60/1 (all FD)

No quarterback battle will be more closely monitored than this one. It’s all about Stidham vs Hoyer. The youth, talent and upside rests with Stidham, the second-year pro and former fourth-round pick out of Auburn. Although unproven and lacking experience, he had a year to back up and learn from Tom Brady in 2019. Hoyer, however, has the advantage in terms of veteran experience and familiarity with the system. Belichick isn’t one to anoint a young kid like Stidham. He will have to earn it. As of now, oddsmakers like his chances.

Chargers

Tyrod Taylor -370 FD, -335 DK; Justin Herbert +260 FD, 3/1 DK; Cam Newton 25/1 DK; Easton Stick 32/1 FD, 50/1 DK

Bettors will gain unparalleled access into this battle when the Chargers (and Rams) will be featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” Taylor, 30, has a year in the system, backing up Philip Rivers in 2019. The last time he started was in 2017 when he led Buffalo to a 9-7 record and a postseason berth. Herbert, drafted No. 6 overall this year, represents the future. But is he ready to step in Week 1 when the Chargers visit the Bengals? Giving Herbert some time to hold the clipboard and get acclimated to the pro game seems the prudent move. According to reports, head coach Anthony Lynn is “bullish” on Taylor.

Josh Appelbaum writes about the betting markets for VSiN.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here