Betting on New Orleans Saints Quarterback in week 1

Sunday, 01 August 2021 17:05 EST

Now here’s a deceptively challenging proposition bet for you – not to mention a real potential headache for sportsbooks come pay out time.

A few props on the “Who Will Be Starting Quarterback for Team X in 2021?” mold are out there at sportsbooks, but in few camps is a real position battle happening in the preseason, and that is the New Orleans Saints. Thus the intriguing prop

Who Will Be the New Orleans Saints Starting QB in Week 1?

Jameis Winston, -150
Tayson Hill, +110
Ian Book, 50/1

Clearly are the bookmakers attempting to entice bettors with a bet on Hill; behind closed doors, oddsmakers are convinced Jameis “30 and 30” Winston will be the man in week 1 – this despite ESPn coverage stating that “The competition to become New Orleans starting quarterback is still wide open after [Drew] Brees retired this offseason.”

The big network’s Saints beat writer Mike Triplett, in coverage of the Saints in preseason, notes that in the first three days of camp, “Hill, 30, spent the first two days of practice working with the first-string unit, while the 27-year-old Winston took his turn in the starting rotation Saturday. On the flip side, Winston started off hotter Thursday and Friday, while Hill had the better performance Saturday.

Reportage from SI.com got more specific about Winston’s first go-around with the first teamers, with writer John Hendrix noting that “his first outing went pretty rough, to say the least. There were no turnovers, but a lot more incompletions today. … Winston missed deep right on his first pass, intended to Lil’Jordan Humphrey. He had a good pocket to make the throw.”

And so on. NFLbets should also note this information is nearly worthless for betting purposes, even on this prop –small sample size, pragmatic needs of an NFL franchise, etc., etc.

The better question (so to speak) for NFLbets is: Is there any reason whatsoever to believe that Tayson Hill has a chance at landing the job? Secondly: How are sportsbooks going to pay out on the starter?

The talk of Hill as starting quarterback began in earnest last semester when, as Brees slowly disintegrated, the usual WR stepped into the position for four games. He ended up with mostly Brees-esque stats, though taking sacks at a rate more than 3x higher than Brees’s: Hill took some 14 sacks in his starts, while Brees was dumped only 13 times in his 12 starts.

One can understand why the confidence on Winston is low – or at least portrayed so at the sportsbooks: Last season he totaled exactly 11 attempts all year; in 2019, he famously became the first QB ever to throw 30 TD passes and 30 interceptions, awesomely ending Tampa Bay’s season with an overtime pick-six – but since when is a wide receiver converted to full-time quarterback *in the NFL*? Based on this notion alone, Hill would be beating far greater odds than +110.

There’s also an interesting scenario in which Sean Payton starts both players with Hill in an wide receiver for the first snap of the season; would Hill’s backers in this prop have an argument for payout? What if Peyton actually does employ a platoon system? If there’s a coach in the NFL who would start his ostensible second-string quarterback on the opening snap, it’s Payton.

Nevertheless, betting on Hill to land the job is the only play of value in this prop. NFLbets would guess simply that the job is Winston’s to lose and that he well has the capacity to lose to the guy Brees appears to favor

–written by Os Davis

Os Davis has been covering sports for longer than he’d care to admit. For personality, check his Twitter feed; for professional acumen, here’s his Linkedin profile.