- Jarvis Landry has played a key role in the AFC’s past success in this popular Pro Bowl event
- Russell Wilson aiming to defend his title in the Precision Passing competition
- AFC holds the historical edge in Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball
One of the most popular events on the Pro Bowl schedule is the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown, which brings together some of the NFL’s biggest stars representing the NFC and AFC in a an entertaining head-to-head competition.
Pro Bowl Skills Showdown Odds
|Competition||AFC Odds||NFC Odds at Bovada|
|Best Hands Winner||-130||-110|
|Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball Winner||-120||-120|
|Gridiron Gauntlet Winner||-130||-110|
|Precision Passing Winner||-110||-130|
|Thread the Needle Winner||-110||-130|
Odds at Bovada taken on Jan. 22
Four of the NFL’s top quarterbacks will battle it out in this year’s Precision Passing event. With Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins joining forces, the NFC sit as short -130 favorites to win this event, which requires the two quarterbacks, along with a non-quarterback appointed by the team captain to engage in a one-minute competition to see which team can hit the most targets.
Russell Wilson won this event for the NFC a year ago after turning in a dismal performance a year earlier, but he and Cousins are likely to face a stiff challenge from an AFC team led by Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson that sports attractive -110 odds. In addition to completing 66.1% of his pass attempts, Jackson also sports the longest completion among the four passers, at 83 yards, while Watson connected on 67.3% of his passes.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 25, 2018
However, the AFC could give themselves an edge by selecting Jarvis Landry as their non-quarterback in this event. The Cleveland Browns receiver has five pass attempts to his credit over six NFL season, highlighted by a perfect 63-yard pass to Breshad Perriman in a 26-18 Browns win over Cincinnati in December 2018. With the NFC sporting no similar passing talent to draw from off the bench, the AFC offers plenty of value as a -110 wager.
Pick: AFC to win Precision Passing (-110)
A winner in the inaugural edition of this event in 2017, Landry is likely to be on the field for the AFC for this year’s Best Hands competition, which pits two WR-QB duos from each conference against each other in a timed relay race to catch a series of passes at a sequence of downfield targets as quickly as possible. Along with Landry, the anticipated duo of Jackson and Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews gives the AFC the edge as -130 favorites.
Jarvis Landry wins Best Hands at the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown and is promptly tackled by Odell Beckham for beating his time by 0.2 seconds. pic.twitter.com/lbIFkf0Icg
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 27, 2017
Andrews led the Ravens this season with 64 catches and 852 yards. Of course, Landry is likely to have little difficulty clicking with whoever is throwing the ball after putting up 1,174 receiving yards, and 14.1 yards per catch. Used sparingly in his first season with the Chicago Bears, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson will be eager to show off his talents representing the NFC.
Green Bay’s Davante Adams will be looking to pick up where he left off this season, which he closed out by racking up over 100 receiving yards in four of his past five outings of the season, including a stellar 160-yard, two-touchdown performance in the Packers’ 28-23 win over Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Divisional Round.
Pick: AFC to win Best Hands (-130)
Thread the Needle
Defensive backs take center stage in Thread the Needle, a competition that challenges DBs to stop the opposing team’s quarterback from completing passes through designated targets. Chicago’s Eddie Jackson and Detroit’s Darius Slay are expected to represent the NFC, who are pegged as -130 favorites in this event.
The 2020 Pro Bowl will feature skills competitions consisting of:
-One minute QB accuracy drills
-Head to head relay races including fumble scrambles
-Timed races to catch a series of passes downfield
-Thread the needle competition
-Dodgeball competition pic.twitter.com/4HT4b7EQsU
— Allan Bell (@AllanBell247) January 16, 2020
Jackson and Slay combined to record 106 tackles and three interceptions this season, but must overcome the challenge of competing against the AFC duo of Minkah Fitzpatrick and Stephon Gilmore of the New England Patriots. Fitzpatrick enjoyed a spectacular breakthrough after being dealt to Pittsburgh by the Miami Dolphins earlier this season, while Gilmore finished the campaign as the favorite to take home NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors this season.
Pick: NFC to win Thread the Needle (-130)
The Gridiron Gauntlet features five players from each team in a head-to-head relay race designed to showcase speed, strength, and agility. Each of the teams in this year’s Pro Bowl Skills Showdown feature one of the NFL’s most nimble quarterbacks. Russell Wilson ran for 342 yards and three scores, while Lamar Jackson electrified NFL fans while rushing for 1,206 yards.
The 2019 Gridiron Gauntlet!
— NFL (@NFL) January 25, 2019
Rushers Nick Chubb and Dalvin Cook are also likely to play key roles in this event. Chubb finished second in the NFL with 1,494 rushing yards, and led the league with 11 runs of 20 or more yards, while Cook played an important role in the Vikings’ drive into the playoffs with career-high rushing numbers. However, Cook was dogged by injuries down the stretch and is coming off a disappointing performance in Minnesota’s 27-10 loss to San Francisco in the Divisional Round.
With fresher legs, and the duo of Lamar Jackson and Nick Chubb, the AFC look poised to take this event.
Pick: AFC to win Gridiron Gauntlet (-130)
Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball
The main event of this year’s Pro Bowl Skills Showdown is the always entertaining Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball. With no reliable metrics available to handicap this event, the AFC and NFC sit deadlocked, each sporting -120 odds.
Remember when the NFC came back to defeat the AFC in Dodgeball last year?
— NFL (@NFL) January 22, 2020
However, history favors the AFC, which has won this event in two of its previous three editions, with Landry leading the way to claim a comeback victory two years ago.
Pick: AFC to win Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball (-120)
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