2020 NFL Odds for Week 1 Starting Quarterbacks: Patriots, Dolphins, Chargers
May 1, 2020
By Tony Mejia
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Bolts may go with veteran over 1st rounder
Over four months remain between now and the scheduled start of the NFL regular season, but you can wager on who will start at quarterback in Week 1 for multiple teams. DraftKings has released numbers on the Patriots, Dolphins and Chargers
There's quite a bit of uncertainty clouding this fall’s NFL schedule as the calendar shifts into May, but most NFL teams are quite confident in who they expect will be leading their offense onto the field when Week 1 of the season rolls around. Barring injury, 14 of the 16 NFC teams have a clearly defined starter ready to go. Chicago and Washington could have battles throughout the preseason with Nick Foles dueling against Mitch Trubisky and Dwayne Haskins looking to hold off Kyle Allen. Every other team has a defined pecking order.
The situation isn’t as clear cut in the AFC, where over a quarter of the starting gigs should still be up for grabs. Derek Carr has an edge on Marcus Mariota in Las Vegas, but head coach Jon Gruden is likely to give the newcomer a long look. The likelihood of writing that last sentence just five years ago could’ve only been written while on mushrooms. Top pick Joe Burrow is presumably going to get the nod from the jump over Ryan Finley in Cincinnati, but he’ll be expected to earn it.
Second-year QBs Drew Lock (Broncos) and Gardner Minshew (Jaguars) will go into training camp as presumptive No. 1s but should have battles on their hands. Jeff Driskel joined Denver as a free-agent while Jacksonville is reportedly in the market for a veteran to help replace Nick Foles. Even Ben Roethlisberger still has to prove he can cook to hold off Landry Jones in Pittsburgh since the Steelers know they can’t presume he’ll be able to pick up where he left off since he made just two appearances last season before elbow surgery.
New England begins life after Tom Brady. Miami and L.A. both have rookie top-six picks in the mix. DraftKings has odds on all three situations. Here’s how I’d wager on these situations .
New England Patriots
Week 1 Starter Odds
Jarrett Stidham -250 (Bet $250 to win $100)
Cam Newton +500 (Bet $100 to win $500)
Brian Hoyer +900
Jacoby Brissett +2500
Brian Lewerke +10000
Stidham's stock certainly rose in the draft when the Patriots didn't select a single player from the 2020 crop to challenge him. They did sign Michigan State's Lewerke to bring into camp, but he's likely to be the fourth option in the quarterback room if the Patriots find a way to acquire a live body.
Newton is in this mix too despite New England showing no interest in him thus far. Unlike Dalton, he's won three playoff games, reaching a Super Bowl in his MVP season of 2015. Coming off shoulder surgery in January of '19, Newton struggled to throw the ball downfield and saw his season end after just two games due to a Lisfranc fracture in his foot. He's no sure thing to start the season, so even if he's signed, there's no guarantee he'd start a season opener for New England.
Hoyer is available for a nice return. You can feel free to act on him with Andy Dalton not coming on board after choosing to return home in joining the Cowboys.
With the Bengals' all-time leader in passing yards per game and passer rating signing elsewhere, Hoyer is definitely worth an investment since Stidham could lose the job in training camp or fail to make it to the season opener healthy enough to play. After getting on the field for just three games last season, it’s difficult to embrace Stidham in any favorite’s role regarding this gig.
His lone touchdown pass in the NFL went to Jets safety Jamal Adams. He’ll be 24 years old when the season begins and beat out the 34-year-old Hoyer for the backup gig last training camp, but experience could go a long way in Bill Belichick’s mind given the defense-oriented group the Patriots will take into the 2020 campaign.
Hoyer has thrown for over 10,000 career yards and will be a 12-year veteran this fall with 38 starts under his belt. My inclination is to take a shot with Dalton at 3-to-1 but be ready to hop in on Hoyer if he signs elsewhere. Backing Stidham (-250) at these odds seems foolish even if you believe he’s unquestionably the top choice to step into Brady’s shoes.
Lean: Brian Hoyer (+900)
Week 1 Starter Odds
Ryan Fitzpatrick -400 (Bet $400 to win $100)
Tua Tagovailoa +350 (Bet $100 to win $350)
Josh Rosen +2000
South Florida is thrilled to have Tagovailoa on board and are hoping the Alabama quarterback stays healthy and becomes a superstar. Being able to select him with the No. 5 pick without having to move up after targeting him as the player they wanted to build around prior to his injury-filled junior year was a major win for the franchise, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be thrown into the fire immediately.
In fact, the contrary is more likely. Considering he only recently received a clean bill of health last month after a scary hip injury ended his college career, it would be surprising to see Miami remove Tua’s training wheels before Week 5. They’ve got Fitzpatrick in place as the likely starter, but -400 is too steep a price considering the injury factor. Fitzgerald has never been shy about mixing it up and will still have to get his 37-year-old body into playing shape.
By default, that makes Rosen the only way you can go on this prop at the moment. The 23-year-old No. 10 pick in the 2018 draft has now had Kyler Murray and Tua drafted on to teams he’s barely been given a chance on. He’s looked shaky when he’s gotten a chance, but +2000 is tremendous value since I don’t believe Tagovailoa will be allowed to play immediately and hate the thought of laying anything with Fitzpatrick given how he throws his body around.
Lean: Josh Rosen (+2000)
Los Angeles Chargers
Week 1 Starter Odds
Tyrod Taylor -335 (Bet $335 to win $100)
Justin Herbert +300 (Bet $100 to win $300)
Cam Newton +2500
Easton Stick +5000
Selecting Herbert with the No. 6 pick really makes Newton a longshot to land in L.A. Herbert will be given an opportunity to compete for the job, but the likelihood of him outperforming a hungry veteran like Taylor in the preseason is slim. Chargers GM Tom Telesco told the Pat McAfee Show that outside of coming up with Brady, the team has been focused on handing the keys to Taylor following Philip Rivers’ departure.
Herbert’s addition isn’t likely to change that. Following a junior season at Oregon where he struggled with accuracy issues, Herbert faces a steep learning curve in his rookie season. He’ll have a lot to absorb and may not be as ready as Stick once the season opens. The North Dakota State product who won two national titles following Carson Wentz’s act impressed in his first preseason after being chosen in the fifth round. He’s got a chance to make the roster.
Unlike Miami’s situation, riding Taylor in the favorite’s role is the way to go here. He’s waited his turn behind Rivers and will make the locker room his early considering his ability to move the chains should complement a defense that’s expected to be one of the NFL’s strongest units. After attempting just six passes in 2019, there’s going to be no quarterback more motivated to get back out there for meaningful football than the competent Taylor, who should undoubtedly leave the raw Herbert in his rear-view.
Lean: Tyrod Taylor (-335)
Odds provided by Fan Duel (IN, NJ, PA, WV & CO only)
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Week 1 Starter Predictions
Best Bet: Tyrod Taylor to start for Chargers (-335)
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