In his first year coming off of an ACL tear, Jimmy Garoppolo led the San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl LIV against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. After squandering a 10 point lead in the 4th quarter, many are questioning whether or not he can be “the guy” to lead San Francisco to a championship. I don’t share those concerns. Garoppolo’s MVP odds sit anywhere between 35/1 and 50/1. As for his yardage and touchdown props, Garoppolo’s prop bets for yardage is right around 3,950, while passing touchdowns are 26.5.
I think Garoppolo’s MVP odds are “live”, and believe he will go over his regular season passing yardage and passing touchdown prop bets. Let’s dig in.
Kyle Shanahan Effect
Kyle Shanahan has been considered one of the better play callers in the league for quite some time. He’s one of the main reasons I like the over for Garoppolo’s season-long prop bets.
He was the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons during Matt Ryan’s MVP season and elevated Matt Schaub to an above-average stat line in 2009. The jump in production for these players in their second year with Shanahan was impressive.
|Player||Season||Passing Yards (YPG)||Passing TD's (TD%)||Adjusted Yards per Attempt AY/A|
|Matt Schaub||2008 (11 starts)||3043 (276.6)||15 (3.9%)||7.6|
|2009||4770 (298.1)||29 (5.0%)||8.0|
|Matt Ryan||2015||4591 (286.9)||21 (3.4%)||7.0|
|2016||4944 (309.0)||38 (7.1%)||10.1|
|Jimmy Garoppolo||2019||3978 (248.6)||27 (5.7%)||8.3|
Both Ryan and Schaub saw an increase in passing yards per game, passing touchdowns and passing touchdown percentage in year 2. Keep in mind this is a tiny sample of just two quarterbacks. Of course, this doesn’t mean Garoppolo is a lock to see an uptick in his numbers as Schaub and Ryan did. However, it makes sense to say the more familiar you become with Shanahan’s system, the more production you’ll see.
That may be slightly different, given the current worldwide circumstances. However, not having to worry about rehabbing an injury and having a full year of this offense under your belt bode well for Garoppolo’s MVP odds.
You have to go back to 2012 to find the last time a non-QB won this award. Adrian Peterson led the league with over 2,000 yards rushing that year. Seven years before that, LaDanian Tomlinson and Shaun Alexander set the single-season record for rushing touchdowns in back-to-back seasons.
Only a handful of other running backs have earned MVP honors since 1989. The award has been dominated by quarterbacks: in particular, those who led their teams to the playoffs. Not a single MVP recipient since 1989 had their team miss the postseason. The majority of them led their team to a division title during their MVP season.
The 49ers, universally, have the shortest odds to win the NFC West. On top of that, their “yes/no” betting odds for their “will they make the playoffs” prop bet is as high as (-500) for some books. In other words, they’re considered an 83% favorite to earn a playoff spot. This bodes exceptionally well for Garoppolo’s MVP odds.
The “book” on Garoppolo is that he’s the product of a fantastic run game and defense and can’t win a game on his own when asked. I find that to be a false narrative. Here are some season-long advanced metrics for Garoppolo and where he finished relative to the league. Information provided by Pro Football Reference, NFL Next Gen Stats, and Pro Football Network.
|Completed Air Yards/Completion (CAY/A)||5.5 (24th)|
|Intended Air Yards/Attempt (IAY/A)||6.5 (31st)|
|Aggressive Throw (AGG)%||15.3% (23rd)|
|Yards After the Catch/Completion (YAC/CMP)||6.6 (1st)|
|CMP% Over Expectation (CPOE)||+1.7% (9th)|
|PFN Offensive Share Metric (OSM)||23.9 (15th)|
At first glance, the narrative seems right. He finished first in YAC/CMP and 31st in IAY/A. However, let’s look at the five games where the defense failed them, and the 49ers needed Garoppolo to carry them to a victory.
|Game||Completed Air Yards/Completion||Intended Air Yards/Attempt||Aggressive%||YAC/CMP||CMP%||CMP% Over Expectation||PFN OSM|
|Week 9 at Arizona||6.5||7.3||10.8%||4.9||75.7%||+7.3%||30.26|
|Week 11 vs Arizona||5.0||5.6||20%||7.8||75.6%||+9.3%||29.1|
|Week 14 at New Orleans||7.0||6.9||22.9%||6.8||74.3%||+11.8%||34.59|
|Week 16 vs Los Angeles Rams||7.9||8.3||14.8%||7.4||59.3%||-6.5%||23.16|
|Week 17 at Seattle Seahawks||7.0||6.0||9.1%||8.3||81.8%||+7.3%||30.94|
Even though the defense did not fail San Francisco in Week 17 at Seattle, I highlighted that game because Garoppolo was incredibly efficient. It was the first time the San Francisco 49ers won a regular season game in Seattle in 7 years.
Aside from the Rams game, which was a clunker, Garoppolo had a higher OSM figure in each of these games compared to his season average. In other words, he attributed more to the offense’s production compared to his season average.
What I’m trying to illustrate is that Garoppolo can step up when his team needs him. He is not the game manager the media makes him out to be because of the Super Bowl loss. Jimmy Garoppolo is more than capable of putting the team on his shoulders when needed.
And if you want to accredit his success to Kyle Shanahan, that’s fine. Shanahan isn’t going anywhere.
Garoppolo’s Prop Bets
Garoppolo’s passing yards and passing touchdowns props are mostly in line with his actual production from 2019. This was with an excellent defense and positive game script for most of the season. I do think the defense takes a small step back this year, as I outlined in my 49ers win total article.
That will mean an increased neutral/negative game script for Garoppolo, which is conducive to extra pass attempts. What’s more, is the 49ers are projected to face an easier slate of pass defenses compared to 2019. More passing situations with a more manageable schedule of pass defenses set up well for the over on his prop bets.
Garoppolo’s MVP odds
Despite being a (+115) favorite to win the division over the Seattle Seahawks (+225), Garoppolo’s MVP odds are near the bottom of the totem pole in terms of QB’s projected to win their division.
Odds provided via DraftKings sportsbook
|Division||Favorite||Odds||QB's MVP Odds|
|NFC West||San Francisco||+115||Garoppolo: 50/1|
|NFC South||Tampa Bay/New Orleans||+105/+110||Brady: 16/1|
|NFC East||Dallas||+100||Dak: 12/1|
|NFC North||Minnesota/Green Bay||+165/+170||Cousins: 66/1|
|AFC North||Baltimore||-200||Jackson: 6/1|
|AFC South||Indianapolis||+140||Rivers: 60/1|
|AFC East||New England/Buffalo||+125/+145||Stidham: 50/1|
|AFC West||Kansas City||-400||Mahomes: 4/1|
To be exact, six quarterbacks have shorter MVP odds on DraftKings, despite only two teams being heavier favorites to win their division than San Francisco. Garoppolo’s MVP odds should be closer to 25/1, in my opinion, and not shorter than Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield (even if I like Baker’s chances as well).
Of course, other sportsbooks will have different figures. Most books have Garoppolo’s MVP odds closer to 35/1, which I still believe to be a value.
I think betting Jimmy Garoppolo at 50/1 to win the MVP offers buying value.
Passing Yards and Passing Touchdowns Prop Bets
For the reasons I outlined above, I think he exceeds his season-long passing yardage and passing touchdowns props.
FanDuel Sportsbook has slightly better numbers for Garoppolo’s passing yards and passing touchdowns. Even so, I still like betting the over on the projections DraftKings has.
Garoppolo MVP 50/1 (DraftKings): 0.5 unit, or whatever you’re comfortable with
Player Prop: Garoppolo over 26.5 passing touchdowns (-110) (DK), 1 unit;
Garoppolo over 3,950.5 passing yards (-110) (DK): 1 unit
James Aguirre is a writer for PFN covering NFL betting and fantasy football. You can follow him on Twitter @James_AG1.