Why Baker Mayfield Could Lead the NFL in Passing as Panthers Starting QB

Why Baker Mayfield Could Lead the NFL in Passing as Panthers Starting QB article feature image

Scott Taetsch/Getty. Pictured: Baker Mayfield (Panthers)

The Panthers confirmed Monday that Baker Mayfield would be their starting quarterback, adding even more drama to their Week 1 matchup with the Browns — and opening the door to a potential long shot futures bet.

Panthers-1.5 (-110)O 41.5 (-110)-118
Browns+1.5 (-110)U 41.5 (-110)+100

Carolina acquired Mayfield from the Browns in early July, a few weeks after the Browns added Deshaun Watson to their quarterback room.

Despite all of the controversy and question marks surrounding Watson, the Browns seemed committed to their new QB, shipping away Mayfield for a very small return — a conditional pick.

Panthers officially announced Baker Mayfield as their opening-day starting quarterback vs. the Cleveland Browns.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 22, 2022

The Panthers are small favorites to beat the Browns, who recently announced that Jacoby Brissett would be under center in Week 1.

At FanDuel, the Panthers are listed as 1.5-point favorites. Considering the game is being played in Charlotte, oddsmakers are essentially declaring the Browns a marginally better team. But with home field, they're giving the edge to the Panthers.

On the moneyline, the Panthers are a -118 favorite. Meanwhile, you can get the Browns at an even-money price of +100.

Points aren't expected to be coming in bunches in this game, as the total has been set at 41.5 (-110/-110).

The Panthers weren't always favorites in this contest, however. Originally, when Watson was in the mix to play in this contest, Cleveland was a 4.5-point favorite.

That line shifted to Browns -2.5 before moving around this point after Mayfield was traded to Carolina.

At that point, markets had already begun to price in the impact of Watson's impending suspension.

This game is slated to take place at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 11.

But that Week 1 matchup isn't the only betting market where you should be looking after the Baker news. One of Action Network's top NFL analysts, Brandon Anderson, has provided his thoughts on Mayfield's betting value below.

Brandon Anderson's Mayfield Analysis

Now that Mayfield has been named the starter in Carolina, it may be time to consider him as a sneaky long shot for season leader props.

Ben McAdoo is the new Panthers offensive coordinator, and McAdoo offenses have skewed extremely pass-heavy. Since moving to the Giants in 2015, McAdoo offenses have ranked top-10 in the NFL in passing attempts all six seasons.

His 2017 Giants led the league in attempts, while the 2015 Giants led in passing TDs. Last year’s Cowboys (where he consulted) ranked top-seven in attempts, yards, touchdowns and interceptions.

Volume is king. With rookie Matt Corral out for the season and little attachment to Sam Darnold, Carolina could stick with Mayfield all season if he remains healthy.

History says that should mean 600+ pass attempts in a McAdoo system, and Mayfield has historically had robust YPA, TD % and interception % rates. When Mayfield throws, something usually happens — for better or worse.

With his current averages, Mayfield would finish the season around 4400 yards, 29 TDs and 17 interceptions. That means an outlier season could push Baker toward something along the lines of 4800/35/20.

Those marks would have left Mayfield fourth in yardage and first in interceptions last season. Baker is +8000 at Caesars to lead the league in yards and +1600 at DraftKings to lead in interceptions. There’s always the threat of an injury or benching, but if Mayfield plays all year for McAdoo, those could be very profitable long-shot angles.

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