Rookie quarterbacks starting a season for their teams can be equal parts exciting and terrifying. On one hand, the chance for a team to develop a new star is certainly there. But there is also the chance for team to unearth nothing but a historic bust. With years of rookie quarterback play to create decent sample size for current teams, there are a few angles bettors can take when it comes to betting games featuring rookie quarterbacks.
The first angle can be to back a quarterback that seems undervalued heading into a season. This has worked on a number of occasions with quarterbacks entering seasons with bad teams that have gone onto exceed expectations for at least a period of time during the season. Shockingly, one of the best examples of this phenomenon came against the New England Patriots to start a new quarterback’s career.
That quarterback was EJ Manuel of the Buffalo Bills, who managed to beat the Patriots in his first career start. Manuel didn’t have a great NFL career, but his skill combined with the general nature of the betting public to overvalue the Patriots early in the season made for a perfect storm. This is a great reminder to look at the schedule for any rookie quarterback to see if there are chances to find some value.
Another potential route to take is to bet against rookie quarterbacks. Doing this requires more than just a lack of faith in the quarterback himself, but instead requires a knowledge that the team around him is not good enough to pick him up. There have been plenty of recent examples of this situation as well, with the Cleveland Browns providing the most prominent examples.
Deshone Kizer’s tenure in Cleveland is an excellent example of betting against a rookie quarterback because of the team around him. Kizer wasn’t great himself, but was surrounded by a team that won one game in two years, to where an inexperienced signal caller only exacerbated the team’s problems. Betting against rookie quarterbacks in a similar fashion is doable, but requires a larger amount of roster evaluation.
Then there is the idea of waiting and seeing what a rookie quarterback has to offer before making a decision to bet on them or against them. This could be a good idea with the Jets this season, as they have announced Sam Darnold as their starting quarterback. The Jets looked good at times last year with Josh McCown as their quarterback, and could do so again with Darnold. But making sure that Darnold can handle the pressure and that the roster will play well again in 2018 are both keys to placing successful bets. As such, a wait and see approach could be the right move with the Darnold-led Jets.
Of course, there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to betting games featuring rookie quarterbacks. But knowing what you’re getting into ahead of time could maximize your chances of a successful start to those quarterbacks’ first seasons.