A couple of weeks ago, New York Giants undrafted free agent Tommy DeVito became the 10th rookie quarterback to start for an NFL team this year, setting a league record for first-year guys starting under center. Something no one would have felt confident in enough to place a bet on mobile sports betting apps this season.
To date, DeVito is 0-2 as a starter but he’ll be out there again for his third start Sunday against NFC East rival Washington. Also, this Sunday, the Cleveland Browns will send Dorian Thompson-Robinson into the fray against the Pittsburgh Steelers after learning that starter Deshaun Watson is lost for the season with a broken bone in his right shoulder. In his only significant action this season, Thompson-Robinson threw for 121 yards and three interceptions in a Baltimore rout.
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High Draft Picks and Injuries Contribute to Record-Breaking Rookie Starts
The raft of rookie quarterbacks — whether pressed into action because of injuries (e.g., DeVito and Thompson-Robinson) or who were first-round draft picks anointed as starters (Carolina’s Bryce Young, Houston’s C.J. Stroud, and Indianapolis’ now-injured Anthony Richarson) – has become a storyline this season.
And whether it’s coincidence or causation, there is the concurrent reality that in the wagering world of Overs-and-Unders, the Unders are dominating this season. It’s not a strained suspicion that quarterback play, often by the young guns, is the reason scoring is down, at least as the oddsmakers figure the Over-Unders.
Representative of the spotty QB play by inexperienced quarterbacks was a late-October game between Carolina and Houston game when Bryce Young helped engineer the Panthers’ lone win so far this season, 15-13, over the Texans. Naturally, with a 28-point score, the game made winners of the Under bettors even though Young had one of his better games while Stroud had a mediocre one.
Overall, so far this season, the Unders are hitting at about a 60% rate (or to be precise, 59.7%) at 89-60. Useful information for anyone utilizing legal online sports betting this year.
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NFL Rookie QBs Past and Present
This coming weekend, four games will have O-U numbers posted at 40 points or fewer: Pittsburgh at Cleveland (now down five points to about 33 after the quarterback news about Watson broke); New York Giants at Washington (37.5); Tennessee at Jacksonville (a flat 40), and the New York Jets at Buffalo (also 40).
And while the phenomena of the Unders dominating can’t all be blamed on the outsized presence of rookie quarterbacks, it’s a fact that in quarterback statistics, Stroud is the only rookie in the Top 10 for passing yards or passer rating (for players with 100 or more passing yards).
However, there’s always hope for the rookie quarterbacks who are struggling if they thumb through league history.
In 1989, a seemingly heartless coach threw his rookie quarterback to the NFL wolves for 11 starts. The quarterback lost all 11 games with just nine touchdowns and 18 interceptions. The next year was somewhat better, the QB was 7-8 as a starter but took a battering with 39 sacks. But in his fourth season, Troy Aikman took the Dallas Cowboys to the Super Bowl for the first of his three career league championships on his way to the Hall of Fame.
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Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.