A new, spectacular era of entertainment is upon us.
And I for one am here to party my pants off, tasty beverage in hand.
Legalized sports betting is quickly gaining steam. For myriad reasons, fantasy players should welcome the wave.
According to a recent Ipsos study, 70 percent of fantasy sports players replied he/she would be willing to or have previously placed a wager on a sports event within the past year. Conclusion: The overlap between the sides is significant. In various ways, they’re cousins after all. Though a few bridges connect the two, none is broader, wider and more substantial than player props. This is where the two worlds collide into a supernova of sweats.
For the unfamiliar, player props are offered wagers tied to statistical thresholds — yards, touchdowns, receptions, interceptions thrown, games played, slices of cake consumed in one sitting (Hammer Ryan Fitzpatrick!) — you name it and odds are a wager can be placed on it.
They’re simplistic and enticing for any knowledgeable fan. You don’t have to have the expansive intellect of “Jeopardy! James” to understand them.
With that, let’s review the props tied to Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray that offer potential value.
Kyler Murray passing yards this season: 3,100.5
OVER: -200, UNDER: +150 (Prop From FanDuel Sportsbook)
OVER. Murray isn’t some noddle-armed passer with the inaccuracy of a blindfolded Mark Sanchez. He plants, fires and delivers the ball on time and with plus zip. Last season with Oklahoma, the Heisman winner finished No. 7 or better among all FBS quarterbacks in five different completion percentage categories. The dude can sling it.
Arizona’s stockpiled arsenal featuring Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, David Johnson, Andy Isabella, and Hakeem Butler combined with the aggressive nature of Kliff Kingsbury’s spread system make the proposed number seem ridiculously low. Yes, the offensive line couldn’t stand up a hard-charging toddler last year, but the Air Raid is designed to slow blitzers and open throwing lanes for quick strikes. Murray, who will undoubtedly start Week 1 despite Kingsbury’s moronic “he has to earn it” motivations, is set to shred the competition.
Probably even more influential, Arizona’s suspect defense could thrust the former Sooner into several high-volume situations. At the collegiate level, Air Raid passers typically throw it 65-70 percent of the time. We’ll see just how hard Kingsbury pushes the gas, but if the Cardinals’ friendly D carries over from last year, it will necessitate Murray to chuck it early and often. Recall, the Desert Birds ranked dead last in rush defense in 2018. And they could still deal their best player, corner Patrick Peterson, before the regular season commences.
Review the evidence and it’s entirely realistic Murray throws for at least 3,500 yards in Year 1. Despite the heavy juice ($200 to win $100), placing an over wager is entirely sensible.
Kyler Murray passing touchdowns this season: 17.5
OVER: -154, UNDER: +120 (Prop from FanDuel)
OVER. For several of the same reasons discussed above, Murray is in an excellent position to crack the 20-passing TD mark. According to FF Toolbox, Arizona has the 13th-easiest fantasy QB schedule.
If you believe he’ll smash the OVER in yards, it’s bankable he does the same in touchdowns. Since 2010, 10 rookie passers topped both marks. Deshaun Watson (2017), Marcus Mariota (2015) and Mike Glennon (2013) qualified in TDs, but fell short in yards, largely due to games/starts missed.
Kyler Murray rushing yards this season: 475
OVER: -115, UNDER: -115 (Prop from BetOnline)
OVER. One of Murray’s finest qualities is his ability to scoot. If you caught any Sooners game a season ago, you surely witnessed Kyler kick in the turbo boosters. Whether on designed or impromptu runs, he consistently gained chunk yardage. In total, he finished with 1,001 rush yards, including 109 against talent-rich Alabama in the College Football Playoff.
Critics will contend his diminutive frame (5-foot-10, 207 pounds) is enough justification to avoid this wager entirely or go UNDER. They’re convinced he’ll be origami by midseason; folded into several tiny pieces. But Murray earned a Master’s degree in body preservation while in college. He’s smart, aware, a willing slider and uses the sideline to his advantage. Vicious hits will be few and far between. Employ his well-documented baseball skills and he’ll stay upright 16 games.
Seven first-year signal callers have surpassed 475 rush yards in NFL history, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson the latest members. If Jackson, who is built like Bikini Bottom’s skinniest citizen, Squidward, can survive over seven starts, I like a more muscular Murray’s chances to hold up. If he does, 29.8 rush yards per game is all that’s needed to cash.
BONUS ACTION: Kyler Murray to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, +270
(Prop from FanDuel)
Josh Jacobs, David Montgomery, Dwayne Haskins and, without question, Daniel Jones (kidding) will push Murray for ROY honors, but if you think he’ll exceed the lines presented above, slapping down a crisp Ben Franklin to win $270 is a levelheaded wager. Statistically, I’m confident he’ll be what RGIII was in his rookie season. That’s why he’s my QB7 in fantasy.
As always, #FadeTheNoise or #FollowTheNoise is entirely up to you. Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise