There are a myriad of challenges that face football handicappers at the beginning of every new season. But perhaps the greatest challenge is trying to figure out which teams with new quarterbacks, they should wager on.
This occurrence happens more often in the college football ranks, but can take place in the NFL, and usually does for at least for one or two teams each season, which ditch their quarterback from a prior campaign, going a whole new way with their young up-and-comer, free agent, or first round draftee.
Whatever a team’s decision, NFL bettors need to be capable of quickly determining whether a new quarterback has a shot and busting out with a strong start, or if they are likely to struggle early on.
To help bettors make more accurate betting decisions, we have put together a few things they can look at to give them a bigger edge early on in the NFL season when looking at betting on teams with a new face under center.
For starters, handicappers need to examine a quarterback’s background. Is he a seasoned NFL player or a rookie. If he is seasoned NFL QB, how has he done in the past? How much playing time has he gotten? And most importantly, who did he play for and how healthy has he been?
It’s obviously not going to help assess a QB that played for extended lengths of time on a team that didn’t surround him with enough talent to win, or the right schemes to support his strengths, or if he spent the majority if his career nursing injuries.
Second, what tools does he have surrounding him now?
If a quarterback doesn’t have the weapons and protection he needs to get the job done, he will not be very effective. However, if a QB has a solid offensive o-line and some hands that can reel in the ball, he is likely to be more confident and relaxed to look for open receivers. As opposed to running for his life and picking himself up off the ground.
Nevertheless, if a quarterback doesn’t have all of these resources at his disposal, he may still be the type capable of overcoming adversity.
Two things factor in here — maturity and a quarterback’s ability to change his game.
Starting in the NFL for the first time can be a scary thing, even for the most seasoned collegiate quarterback. That’s because the players are bigger, faster and able to crush you. QB’s that cannot handle that type of pressure cannot be trusted early on. Maturity takes time, however, and some mature or catch on faster than others. So, it’s a good idea for handicappers to keep an eye on every young QB in the league, watching for slight signs in the deveopment of their maturity.
Along with that, will come the ability for a quarterback to accept that he may from time to time, or maybe even permanently, adjust or change his style of play. What he may have led him to greatness in the collegiate ranks, may not work in the NFL.
For example, a QB that is used to running the spread, wildcat and running the ball a lot, will usually struggle more to adjust to playing in the NFL than a player that played his collegiate career with a program that required them to stay in the pocket more often and resist the urge to run at the first sign of trouble.
Difficulties making adjustments can also be a problem for seasoned pro quarterbacks, too, coming from a team that may have played an entirely different scheme. If he is unable to adjust, or in some cases refuses, the team will suffer and so will a handicapper’s bankroll, should they beat on that team.
Finally, was the starting quarterback for a team chosen as its starter early in the offseason, or is he a last minute choice because of an injury or a failed first-choice solution. If he has had several months to work with the coaches and his teammates, than his chances of success are far better than a QB that has just been thrown into the mix without much time to prepare.