Cries by Miami fans to “Tank for Tua” were answered when the Dolphins selected Alabama Crimson Tide star Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Betting boards are now populated with several NFL regular season betting props. That includes a prop option that features how many passing yards Tagovailoa will post during his rookie season. The over/under number is set at 3,200 passing yards with (-120) juice on both sides.
After the Cincinnati Bengals selected Joe Burrow first overall, Tagovailoa was the second quarterback taken. As the backup to Jalen Hurts, Tagovailoa saw limited playing time during his freshman season in Alabama. His star rose after he replaced Hurts to open the second half of the 2018 National Championship game versus Georgia. Tagovailoa threw three touchdown passes and the Tide rolled to a 26-23 OT win over the Bulldogs.
Tagovailoa won the starting role as a sophomore and set school records with 3,966 passing yards and 43 touchdowns. He guided Alabama to a 14-0 record before the Tide lost 44-16 to Clemson in the 2019 National Championship. On pace to set additional records as a junior, Tagovailoa suffered a hip injury that ended his season. Overall, he recorded 7,442 passing yards, 87 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions, plus 340 rushing yards and nine more scores, over 32 games.
What Does History Tell Us About Rookie Quarterbacks?
During the last 10 NFL seasons, 14 rookie quarterbacks have posted 3,200 or more passing yards. Kyler Murray (3,722) and Gardner Minshew (3,271) in 2019, plus Baker Mayfield (3,725) in 2018, were the only rookies to exceed that mark during the last two seasons. Murray played all 16 games for the Cardinals while Minshew and Mayfield played 14 games for the Jaguars and Browns, respectively. Tagovailoa isn’t a lock to start over Ryan Fitzpatrick for Miami in 2020.
Related Tagovailoa Betting Props to Ponder
There are several props surrounding Tagovailoa that give bettors some insight into how his season will play out. William Hill has posted his touchdown over/under total at 20 with (-118) juice on both sides. Fitzpatrick (20), backup Josh Rosen (1) and punter Matt Haack (1) combined for 22 passing touchdowns for Miami last season. SI betting analyst Corey Parson doesn’t see Tagovailoa starting Week 1 for the Dolphins and is betting on UNDER 20 touchdowns.
Bodog bookmakers have Tagovailoa as a longshot to be the Dolphins Week 1 starter. YES (+185) is the underdog while NO (-280) is the favorite. Several factors make “NO” an attractive option, including Miami not wanting to rush their future franchise quarterback into action. Heading into his 15th NFL season, Fitzpatrick understands his playing career is winding down. A Harvard graduate, and the father of seven kids, Fitzpatrick will be a solid mentor for Tagovailoa.
On a comparable prop option, FanDuel has fellow rookie quarterback Burrow’s over/under set at 3,800 passing yards. Burrow projects as the Bengals’ Week 1 starter and will need to average 238 passing yards over 16 games to exceed that total. Using 238 passing yards per game as a rookie barometer, Tagovailoa would need 14 games to exceed 3,200 passing yards. I don’t see Tagovailoa playing 14 games and the yards-per-game number rises with each game he misses.
Dolphins’ 2020 Offense
Once Tagovailoa hits the field he will have a decent cast around him on offense. DeVante Parker posted career highs with 72 receptions, 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Prior to a Week 9 ACL injury, Preston Williams had 428 receiving yards and three scores as a rookie. Tight end Mike Gesicki showed progress with 570 yards and five touchdowns last season. Running backs Jordan Howard and Matt Breida are modest pass-catching threats out of the backfield.
Bottom Line: How much playing time Tagovailoa receives is the biggest factor on this prop betting option. A shortened training camp, Miami giving Tagovailoa more injury rehab time, plus Fitzpatrick playing the final year of his contract all point to backing the UNDER. Bettors thinking Tagovailoa plays in at least 14 games should bet OVER. Miami sits at No. 27 in a recent SI power-ranking poll and rushing Tagovailoa into action won’t move the needle much higher.
The Play: UNDER 3,200 Passing Yards (-120)
MORE FROM SI GAMBLING: