Conference Championship Props: Kicking For Profit
We've been scanning the markets ahead of the NFL's Conference Championship Games looking for anything that jumps out. Everyone loves a prop market and we're no different.
The one that appeals to us is the 'Player to score most kicking points' market at Sugar House. Kicking in the NFL can be a difficult thing to predict, sorry Cody Parkey, but I reckon we can crunch the stats and hopefully get an angle on the bookies.
The four contenders are priced as such:
Wil Lutz +200
Harrison Butker +275
Greg Zuerlein +275
Stephen Gostkowski +300
Let's go through these and eliminate them one-by-one.
Who has the worst percentage of Field Goals made?
Goodbye Stephen Gostowski, the Patriots kicker had a 84.4% field goal success rate during the regular season. It's by no means a bad percentage but it did leave Gostowski in 20th position in terms of league average. He was marginally behind Zuerlein and Butker, both in the 80's and in 16th and 12th places respectively. All of whom were a longer way behind Lutz who had a 93.3% success rate but was still a long way behind regular season leader Robbie Gould's mindblowing 97.1% for the 49ers.
Who has favorable conditions?
Wil Lutz and Greg 'The Leg' Zuerlein are both going to be playing in a dome which is well known to make kicking easier. Over in Kansas City they're expecting an "arctic blast" and with extremely cold conditions it makes sense that Harrison Butker is eliminated from proceedings. There have been studies that show cold air has a detrimental impact on field goals from mid-range and long distances. Whilst short kicks are similar it shows that FG's around 50 yards are 20% less likely to be successful.
Who is the hot hand?
Now we're left with a final two, let's look back at their past 6 matches, which take us back to the first weekend of December. Both Lutz and Zuerlein have played in the same amount of games, 6 in total and both with a bye in the Wildcard Round. In that time we have seen:
Zuerlein: 13/16 - 81.25%
Lutz: 8/10 - 80%
Zuerlein: 18/18 - 100%
Lutz: 11/11 - 100%
It's clear from those stats that Greg Zuerlein has been the most impactful kicker of the two recently. He's accrued more points and been more accurate. With that being the case I think he offers the best value here at +275 despite the Rams being 3.5 point underdogs on Sunday night. That spread doesn't look big enough to suggest the McVay will abandon kicking points in order to play catchup.