Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our Sports Betting Strategy and Advice page is for you. You can get started with our 101 section — including 10 Sports Betting Tips for Beginners — or head to more advanced strategy — like Key Numbers When Betting Against the Spread — to learn more.
Last year, Marlon Mack went over 1000 yards in 14 games for the Indianapolis Colts. On the surface, this line looks too low. However, with the addition of talented second-round RB, Jonathan Taylor, the Colts have cast a shadow of doubt over Mack’s 2020 role.
I have a simple philosophy when looking at player props. You will always be better off betting on players with defined roles in their offense who have a recent history of surpassing their current line. I have already applied that logic to the lines of Nick Chubb and Melvin Gordon to suggest picks on both props.
Let other people make assumptions based on uncertainty and name-brand players. Herein lies the argument for betting against Marlon Mack to cover this line: we have limited ways of knowing how much volume he will see next year. This line feels way too high, here’s why you can expect Melvin Gordon to go under this line from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Check out all of our 2020 NFL Player Prop Bets here.
There is no indication he will be leading this backfield
The Colts invested a lot of draft capital in taking Taylor (as just the second player they took in this year’s draft). The colts have clearly never trusted Mack as a receiving back and now have looked to remove some of his early-down work. The most recent indication from the head coach, Frank Reich, is that Mack and Taylor “will form a 1-1 split”.
This suggests that, while Mack will initially be seeing 8-12 touches a game, we will see a lot of Jonathon Taylor straight out of the gate. I am not usually one to bet on projection, but it would astound me if Taylor doesn’t start taking a large slice of the cake as we move through the season.
Regardless of that baseless argument, even if Mack stays healthy and ends up at the very top end of that touch per game number averaging 12 carries per game it is still not a given that he covers this line. Let that sink in. If he hits the very top end of the volume he could see, he will still need to average over 4.2 ypc to cover. While that’s not a huge ask, it is certainly not a given.
The point here is that when we look at the distribution of all possible outcomes for Mack’s 2020 season, far fewer than 50% of them will take him past this line. Whenever that’s the case you should hammer the under.
This team may well be running less in 2020
We often assume that just because a team gets better, they run the ball more. That link will not be seen for this team. Typically, that occurs because bad teams find themselves in negative game scripts and end up passing the ball more, a trend that doesn’t continue as they start to improve.
This colts team ran the ball almost 30 times a game last year (4th most in the league). That was due to the fact they were trying to hide the deficiencies of Jacoby Brissett. They won’t feel the need to do the same for Phillip Rivers and that may well mean that there are fewer carries to go around.
Even one or two fewer carries per game would have a detrimental effect on Mack’s ability to go over this line. For me, that’s too slim a margin for error.
There is a lot of uncertainty in this situation. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Mack will definitely go under his line. There is just too much unknown to state anything confidently. However, if he is to go over, so much would have to go right. He would have to stay healthy and maintain a stable carry share as the second most talented back in his backfield.
For me, there is just too much that could go wrong for him. I feel confident putting my money on Marlon Mack to underperform this year.