NFL preseason betting: Teams with the most QB depth
Handicapping preseason NFL action is a lot like picking winners on the baseball diamond. So much of your wager is riding on one position. In MLB, it’s the starting pitcher. In the NFL preseason, it’s the quarterback – or should we say quarterbacks.
Finding teams with starting experience on the depth chart is key to cash in during the preseason. Starting QBs may only see a handful of tosses through the first two tune-up games, leaving passing duties to the second, third and sometimes fourth-string pivot.
Here are six teams who hold their preseason betting value long after the No. 1 QB takes off his helmet:
QBs: Tony Romo, Kyle Orton, Stephen McGee, Rudy Carpenter
Dallas bolstered its QB depth chart by adding Orton this offseason. The former starter for the Bears, Broncos and Chiefs was ranked the top backup QB in the NFL by both FoxSports and NFL.com heading into the 2012 season. Behind him is Stephen McGee, who led the preseason in passing with 610 yards in 2011 and has impressed in limited action the past two seasons. Carpenter was slowed by an oblique strain but has been taking snaps since June.
QBs: Jay Cutler, Jason Campbell, Josh McCown, Matt Blanchard
Campbell has starting experience in stints with Washington and Oakland, getting the nod in 64 career NFL games. While he isn’t the most accurate arm - 60.8 career completion percentage – he knows how to run an offense and should hold his own against second and third-string defenses. McCown looked good in three appearances at the end of last season but could lose out to the rookie Blanchard. He’s getting high praise from the Chicago media and could be a project No. 3 QB.
QBs: Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates, John Beck, Case Keenum
The Texans’ quarterback depth was tested last season when both Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart went down with injury, leaving rookie T.J. Yates to lead the franchise to its first playoff appearance – and win. Leinart is in Oakland now but the Texans still have solid depth behind a healthy Schaub in Yates and Beck, both of whom stared games last season. Beck tossed for 858 yards, two TDs and four INTs in Washington last season. Rookie Case Keenum, the NCAA’s all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns and completions, isn’t a bad option at No. 4 on the depth chart.
New England Patriots
QBs: Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallet
The Patriots had teams drooling over their backup passers last summer after Hoyer and Mallet combined for 335 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 of the preseason. Mallett looked good again in Week 2 and Week 3, averaging 89.2 yards per tune-up game. Hoyer, who currently sits second on the depth chart, is being challenged by his teammate this offseason and Bill Belichick loves the battle between the two young pivots. Last year in Week 1 of the preseason, Brady didn’t even dress, leaving passing duties to the two reserves. Expect a similar rotation when the Pats face the Saints in their preseason opener.
QBs: Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch, Jerrod Johnson
There’s a reason why Mike Tomlin is 16-5 SU and 13-8 ATS in the preseason since taking over the Steelers’ head coaching job in 2007. Pittsburgh has ample experience on the depth chart with backups Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch eating up preseason minutes in recent years. Leftwich was the No. 1 in Jacksonville back in the day and Batch has been a preseason mainstay ever since Roethlisberger arrived in the Steel City. Johnson, the 24-year-old free agent out of Texas A&M, is challenging for the No. 3 spot and could bump either Batch (37) or Leftwich (32) off the roster if the Steelers want some youth at QB.
New York Jets
QBs: Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy, Matt Simms
Some argue that if you don’t have a No. 1 QB, you don’t have any QBs at all. If you ask the Jets, Sanchez is their guy despite that fact they acquired miracle-maker Tim Tebow from the Broncos and have been rolling out specialized offenses for the polarizing pivot. The Jets have two different looks under center and a promising passer in Greg McIlroy, who was 33 for 53 for 306 yards and two touchdowns during last year’s warm-up games before suffering a season-ending thumb injury in the preseason finale. Simms is an undrafted free-agent rookie who’s a bit of a fly on the wall to all the QB drama bubbling in the Big Apple.
Arizona Cardinals – QBs: Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Richard Bartel, Ryan Lindley
Jacksonville Jaguars – QBs: Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne, Jordan Palmer, Nathan Enderle
Tennessee Titans - QBs: Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Locker, Rusty Smith, Nick Stephens
Buffalo Bills – QBs: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Vince Young, Tyler Thigpen