- The last three Pro Bowls have averaged 37.7 points per game
- Between 1999 and 2015, all but one Pro Bowl saw at least 50 points scored
- Keep an eye on the new rule changes for the 2020 Pro Bowl, which could lead to more scoring
The week between Conference Championship Sunday and Super Bowl Sunday is typically a quiet one in the NFL as the only game in town is the Pro Bowl. Now that the rosters have been finalized, the betting line has been posted and the AFC is favored by 1.5 points.
As we get ready for Sunday’s showdown, what’s the best bet in the NFL’s All-Star Game?
2020 Pro Bowl Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total at Bovada|
|NFC||+1.5 (-110)||EVEN||Over 49.5 (-110)|
|AFC||-1.5 (-110)||-120||Under 49.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Jan. 22.
Take Note Of Rule Changes
Before you place your bets for Sunday’s game, keep in mind that there are some rule changes to the 2020 Pro Bowl. As per usual, the league is using the Pro Bowl as a guinea pig of sorts, testing out rule changes to see if they are worth implementing in regular-season action.
To start, we have some changes to the false starts. If a flexed and eligible wideout, who is in a two-point stance, flinches or picks up one foot, that won’t be a false start as long as the other foot stays on the ground. After the move, the player will have to reset for a second before the snap.
— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) January 21, 2020
However, it will be a false start if the entire offense is set for at least one second and any flexed, eligible receiver breaks his stance and picks up both feet. These rules aren’t likely to have a huge impact on the spread or total, but they are worth noting.
Rule changes that will directly impact the scoring is what will now happen after a field goal or PAT attempt. After the kick, the scoring team has the option to give the other team the ball at the 25-yard-line for a first-and-10 or they can start at their own 25-yard-line with a fourth-and-15.
The second way gives the team a shot to keep possession of the ball by picking up the first down (on fourth-and-15). However, if they fail, the opponent gets the ball from the failed spot.
The purpose of this is to test out a new alternative to onside kicks, which have mostly become a non-factor in recent years.
Who Has The Better Roster?
Typically, when I’m handicapping a game like the Pro Bowl, I mostly treat it like a preseason game: I look at the quarterbacks, running backs and wideouts, and then I look at the depth. The AFC’s quarterbacks are Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, and Ryan Tannehill, while the NFC is going with Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, and Kirk Cousins.
We don’t have a lot to work with here but we do know that Watson had a pretty good Pro Bowl appearance last year, going 7-of-15 for 128 yards, a touchdown, and a pick. He was aggressive with his throws. Russell Wilson was just 5-of-8 for 68 yards with no scores and no picks.
In terms of running backs, both teams have strong stables but the NFC only ran the ball nine times last year, while the AFC rushed it 18 times for 54 yards (in a 26-7 win they controlled early on). It’s clear that passing is the focal point of this game.
Taking a look at the receivers, we have Jarvis Landry, Courtland Sutton, D.J. Chark, and tight ends Mark Andrews and Jack Doyle in the AFC, while Mike Evans, Amari Cooper, Kenny Golladay, Davante Adams, and tight ends Zach Ertz and Austin Hooper suit up for the NFC.
Overall, there are a lot of new faces here and we can’t really gauge what to expect. The NFC completed just 14 passes last year and only one player had more than two catches. Meanwhile, the AFC’s best weapons were Keenan Allen (95 yards) and Anthony Sherman (that’s not a typo; he had 92 yards) and Jared Cook (71 yards). None of them are back.
What’s The Best Bet?
We’ve seen a lot of low-scoring Pro Bowls of late; the last three games have averaged 37.7 points per game. That’s why the total for this game sits at 49.5, which seems quite low for an All-Star contest.
But looking further back, most Pro Bowls see at least 50 points. That was true all but one time from 1999 to 2015. The 2013 game was the only exception.
The last three years have been a bit of an aberration, but I’m expecting to see points this time around – especially with a lot of new faces, who might try a little harder than the veterans who’ve been there many times. Take the over.
Pick: Over 49.5 (-110)
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