Freedman’s Favorite Super Bowl 53 Passing Prop Bet: Will a Non-Quarterback Throw a Touchdown?

Freedman’s Favorite Super Bowl 53 Passing Prop Bet: Will a Non-Quarterback Throw a Touchdown? article feature image

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Julian Edelman

  • Matthew Freedman continues his series featuring one of his favorite prop bets for each day of 2019.
  • He looks to Super Bowl 53 and highlights his favorite passing prop bet for the big game on whether a non-quarterback will get a passing touchdown.

Each day, I publish at least one quick-n’-dirty piece highlighting a favorite prop of mine.

For more information on my research process and the resources I use, see the master list of my 2019 prop bets.

2019 Year-to-Date Record

20-18-3, +9.34 Units

  • Golf: 2-3-1, -0.70 Units
  • NFL: 5-5-0, +6.83 Units
  • NBA: 7-6-0, +0.50 Units
  • NHL: 6-3-2, +3.71 Units
  • NCAAF: 0-1-0. -1.0 Units

Freedman’s Favorite Super Bowl 53 Passing Prop Bet: Will a Non-Quarterback Throw a Touchdown?

  • Yes: +250
  • No: -400

As the big game approaches, a new wave of special props has been released, and some of them are wonderfully exploitable.

Of that group, this is one of my favorites.

Last year in Super Bowl 52, we saw Eagles tight end Trey Burton throw a touchdown on the famous Philly Special. And in the NFC Championship we saw Rams punter Johnny Hekker complete a key 12-yard pass on a fake punt.

Because of these plays, and also because people tend to have the perception that in the Super Bowl teams empty their bag of trick plays because it’s the end of the season, this line is off.

I think there’s very little chance that we see a non-quarterback throw a touchdown pass in Super Bowl 53 (Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m. ET, CBS).

This year (including the playoffs), there have been 873 passing touchdowns in 266 games. Just 13 of those (1.5%) were thrown by a non-quarterback.

Two of those were thrown by wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., as the Giants looked for creative ways to keep the mercurial player involved in the offense — and satisfied in general.

And three were thrown by wide receivers for the Dolphins, who often had to resort to trickery to generate any sort of offense.

In fact, most of the non-quarterback passing touchdowns this year were generated by teams with below-average quarterbacks, and that makes sense. If a team is weak at quarterback, it has less to lose by taking the ball out of the quarterback’s hands and letting someone else throw it on a trick play.

But non-quarterback passing touchdowns are generally rare, and the Patriots and Rams are certainly not weak at quarterback with Tom Brady and Jared Goff.

Although head coaches Bill Belichick and Sean McVay are more than willing to call trick plays, that doesn’t mean we should expect to see someone other than Brady or Goff throw a touchdown.

This year (including playoffs), the Patriots have attempted 664 passes. Just two of them were by a non-quarterback (both came from wide receiver Julian Edelman). Five years ago, Edelman threw a 51-yard touchdown in a 35-31 win over the Ravens in the Divisional Round, so it’s not inconceivable for someone other than Brady to throw a postseason touchdown for the Pats.

But that’s Edelman’s only NFL passing touchdown, and for his career he’s attempted just four passes. A former college quarterback, Edelman will likely be the player to throw a touchdown for the Pats if someone other than Brady does it.

Over the past decade (including playoffs), just seven times have the Pats called for someone other than a quarterback to attempt a pass.

As for the Rams, as much hype as Hekker has gotten as a throwing threat, he’s attempted just eight passes over the past two years under McVay, completing five of them for 65 scoreless yards.

Last year wide receiver Cooper Kupp also attempted a pass (it was incomplete), and with all of the jet sweeps that the Rams run, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a wide receiver get a pass attempt in the Super Bowl.

But in 35 games, just nine passes have been thrown by non-quarterbacks for McVay’s Rams.

In the FantasyLabs Props Tool, we haven’t even bothered to project a non-quarterback for a pass attempt.

At -400 odds on “No,” there’s an implied probability of 80% that we will not see a non-quarterback passing touchdown. Given how infrequently these teams allow someone other than Brady or Goff to throw,  I’d expect not to see a non-quarterback passing touchdown at least 95% of the time, and that’s conservative. The true probability is probably more like 98.5%.

I bet this at -400. I’d probably bet it all the way to -1000.

The Pick: No (-400)

Freedman’s Super Bowl 53 Prop Bets

For more insight on Super Bowl props, use the FantasyLabs Props Tool to help you find the sportsbooks that offer the most value on player props. In the tool, we grade each prop on a 1-10 scale. Since Week 1, the props with a bet quality of at least eight have a 57.9% win rate.

Here are the Super Bowl 53 props I’ve written about so far.

Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

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