Which Quarterbacks Have Been Clutch For NFL Bettors?
Last weekend Tom Brady was able to lead the Patriots offense to 14 consecutive points in the final two minutes of action in a 27-26 comeback victory over the Cleveland Browns. This achievement was just another notch in the belt for the future Hall of Famer and helped cement his legacy as one of the best clutch quarterbacks in NFL history. But has Brady really been that clutch for bettors?
Fans, players and the media constantly argue about that “clutch gene.” Supposedly, it’s why Eli Manning always comes through in the big moments and why Tony Romo always crumbles under pressure. This isn’t a new phenomenon either. “The Drive” by John Elway and the Broncos was the stuff of legends and is part of the reason that people hold him in higher regard than other Hall of Fame players like Dan Marino.
Strangely, Peyton Manning is often regarded as lacking this clutch gene. Despite being regarded as one of the best signal callers in league history, many will point to Manning’s 9-11 postseason record and accuse the Broncos’ QB of being a “choke artist” or some other equally unflattering title. This is particularly perplexing when you consider that Manning has an NFL record 40 fourth-quarter comebacks.
Knowing this statistic, our hypothesis was that Peyton Manning would be one of the most profitable 2nd half quarterbacks for bettors. In order to test this, we utilized our Bet Labs data analysis software to create a new 2nd Half NFL system.
Note: Only active players were used for this study.
Update: Philip Rivers leapfrogged Peyton Manning for the top overall spot following Thursday’s second half cover.
As you can see in the chart above, Manning has actually been the best 2nd half quarterback to bet on. Tony Romo is constantly berated for his late game flubs, but his 57-46 ATS record in the second half has surely been welcomed by NFL bettors. Similarly, this list shows that you don’t have to be a marquee name to provide value to bettors, as evidenced by the appearance of Browns QB Jason Campbell and Vikings QB Matt Cassel.
While it’s interesting to see which quarterbacks have provided the most value for NFL halftime bettors, it’s equally intriguing to see which quarterbacks have struggled to make the necessary second-half adjustments. The table below displays the 10 worst 2nd half QB’s in our database.
It’s not surprising to see rookies like Case Keenum and Geno Smith struggling to make second-half adjustments, but there are certainly a few very fascinating names on this list. Jay Cutler, a former Pro Bowler known for his strong arm and questionable decision-making, has actually been the worst QB to bet on. Eli Manning, whose reputation for being clutch is largely based on his two Super Bowl victories, has also struggled to cover second half spreads.
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