Allen and Brady co-favored to lead NFL in playoff passing yards

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January 14th, 2021

With the first weekend of NFL playoff action in the books, the odds for the quarterback with the most passing yards have shifted.

Coming into the postseason, Patrick Mahomes was the favorite, but the extra game for a few players has moved things around.

So who should you place your wagers on as we head into the Divisional Round? Let’s look at the prop-bet odds for most playoff passing yards, and help you decide what player presents the best value.

Most playoff passing yards

Josh Allen
Tom Brady
Drew Brees
Patrick Mahomes
Aaron Rodgers
Baker Mayfield
Lamar Jackson
Jared Goff

Josh Allen (+225)

The Bills quarterback jumped to co-favorite after he posted 324 passing yards against the Colts in their  Wildcard matchup.

To put that in perspective, last year’s leading playoff passer, Mahomes, threw for 901 yards over three games. The highest per-game passer in the 2019 playoffs, Deshaun Watson, threw for 635 in two games.

Allen’s value depends on how far you expect the Bills to go in the playoffs. If you are anticipating a defeat to the Ravens this weekend, Allen won't be the passing leader for the postseason. The game may also be played in windy, snowy conditions, so the weather must be taken into account.

An anticipated win, however, gives him at least one more game, likely against Kansas City, which ranks 13th in passing yards allowed. Three games will likely put him around 700 yards, given how little Buffalo runs.

If you fancy the Bills to make it to the Super Bowl, Allen is the best bet on the board. However, I believe his run will this weekend.

Tom Brady (+225)

While he may no longer be in New England, Tom Brady is still a threat to be reckoned with in the playoffs. The Buccaneers' second-ranked passing attack features a multitude of weapons that got even more dangerous with the addition of Antonio Brown, who has caught a touchdown pass in four straight games.

Brady put up 381 yards against Washington on just 20 completions. He completed throws of at least 20 yards to five different players, and tight end Rob Gronkowski didn't have a reception.

Last year, Brady played only one game, but during his Super Bowl run in 2018-2019, the quarterback gained 953 yards in three games.

If he can make it to the Super Bowl, he becomes the favorite to lead the playoffs in passing. However, he must first defeat the Saints and their sixth-ranked pass defense, then outduel Aaron Rodgers or overcome a stout Rams defense that limited him to just more than 200 yards earlier this season.

Brady is winless in two starts against New Orleans this year, with fewer than 450 yards passing, five interceptions, and two touchdown passes.

While Brady and the Bucs are playing much better, I can’t see a sudden change in their fortune against New Orleans, which means it will probably be two games and out for Brady.

Drew Brees (+400)

Drew Brees posted 265 yards in the Saints' win over the Bears last weekend. With Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara involved in the offense, the days of Brees throwing for 400 yards a game are long gone. His yardage last week was the seventh-best total he had this year (13 games), and he has surpassed 300 yards in a game just three times this season.

In his two games this season against Tampa Bay, Brees threw for just 382 yards on 44 completions. The Saints operate more of a horizontal passing attack, so the downfield plays do not happen as frequently.

While the Saints could make a push for the Super Bowl, it is more likely they will play just one or two more games. That would put Brees around 750 yards, at most, which likely will not be enough to top the charts.

I would stay away from this bet.

Patrick Mahomes (+500)

At this price, Patrick Mahomes represents the best value on the market and might be the best prop bet on the board.

Even though he has yet to throw a pass this postseason, Kansas City is the favorite to win the Super Bowl, and Mahomes' first game is against a Browns defense that surrendered more than 500 yards last week to Ben Roethlisberger. Mahomes' only game against Cleveland came back in 2018, when he threw for 375 yards in a 16-point win.

If he gets past the Browns’ 25th-ranked pass defense, Mahomes will face off with the Ravens or the Bills. In a September meeting with the Ravens, the Chiefs quarterback threw for 385 yards in a 14-point win, but against the Bills a few weeks later, he put up just 225, mostly because Kansas City racked up a season-high 245 yards rushing.

If the Chiefs get to the Super Bowl, Mahomes will likely end up with 850-900 yards passing, just like last season. Even if the Chiefs fall behind, Mahomes gets better in those situations.

Given the odds for Kansas City to get to the Super Bowl, along with the value and Mahomes’ ability, this is by far the best bet on the board.