NFL futures: Investigating long shots in the touchdown scorer markets

Adam Glanzman / Getty Images Sport / Getty

MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and the Rookie of the Year awards get more publicity. In the season-long statistical betting markets, yardage gets all the attention. But it's time to look at touchdowns - the on-field money-makers - and the three different markets we have to choose from.

Each type of touchdown presents a different challenge. This early, the preseason favorites haven't gone anywhere, while the surprise volume scorers from the first three weeks have moved up the board. However, with more than 80% of the season left to play, the current touchdown totals mostly aren't a meaningful gauge of where they'll be three months from now.

Most passing touchdowns

PLAYER ODDS
Josh Allen +350
Patrick Mahomes +350
Lamar Jackson +550
Tua Tagovailoa +1000
Joe Burrow +1300
Justin Herbert +1300
Carson Wentz +1800
Derek Carr +2000
Kirk Cousins +2000
Matthew Stafford +2000
Tom Brady +2000
Trevor Lawrence +2000
Aaron Rodgers +2500
Jameis Winston +2500
Russell Wilson +2500

Odds available on theScore Bet, players not listed above available at 30-1 or longer

Lamar Jackson leads the category with 10 passing touchdowns, which is his best three-game stretch since his 2019 MVP season. Jackson's touchdown pass percentage of 11.4% is 3.4% clear of Josh Allen's second-best rate, indicating it might not be sustainable. The return of J.K. Dobbins, plus Jackson's ability to score on his own, could take away from Jackson's total, even during an MVP-level season.

Knowing that the season-long leader will need close to 50 touchdowns, how far back is too far back? Joe Burrow, Derek Carr, and Trevor Lawrence have six touchdowns each. Being four touchdowns behind might seem like a lot, but with 14 games left, that's just an extra 0.29 touchdowns per game the rest of the way, and that's without factoring in who might sit in Week 18.

Burrow's price of 13-1 makes him the least interesting member of that trio. Between Lawrence and Carr, the Raiders quarterback has just a 4.9% touchdown percentage, which is actually a good thing. Given the volume with which Las Vegas throws the football - particularly around the goal line - that mark should increase to an above-average level.

Pick: Derek Carr (+2000)

Most receiving touchdowns

PLAYER ODDS
Cooper Kupp +475
Stefon Diggs +475
Davante Adams +700
Ja'Marr Chase +1000
Justin Jefferson +1000
Travis Kelce +1000
Jaylen Waddle +1500
Mike Evans +1500
Michael Thomas +1500
Tyreek Hill +1500
Tee Higgins +1800
Allen Robinson +2000
CeeDee Lamb +2000
Gabe Davis +2000
Mark Andrews +2000

Odds available on theScore Bet, players not listed above available at 25-1 or longer

We just mentioned that Jackson's passing touchdown pace will likely regress to a more normal rate. However, the calculus should be different for receiving touchdowns, since 16 scores have been good enough to lead the league since 2007. At slightly under one touchdown per game, the pool of players who can have a big season in this category is much larger. Even if Jackson finishes with 40 touchdowns, Mark Andrews could end up with 16 of them.

Andrews has 31 overall targets - just four fewer than Cooper Kupp, Ja'Marr Chase, and Stefon Diggs. Meanwhile, comparing end-zone threats at the tight end position, Travis Kelce's odds payout is half of Andrews' - who has better metrics across the board so far.

The Ravens scored long touchdowns in Week 1, removing some red-zone opportunities for Andrews. Since then, with drives closer to the goal line, Andrews has been on the end of three scores.

Pick: Mark Andrews (+2000)

Most rushing touchdowns

PLAYER ODDS
Nick Chubb +320
Derrick Henry +550
Jonathan Taylor +550
Jamaal Williams +750
Dalvin Cook +1000
Jalen Hurts +1000
James Robinson +1500
Saquon Barkley +1500
Joe Mixon +1800
Damien Harris +2000
Lamar Jackson +2000

Odds available on theScore Bet, players not listed above available at 25-1 or longer

Here's what we know: The Bears love to run the football.

Here's what we think: Khalil Herbert might be the best running back on the team.

Here's what we know: Herbert's rush yards over expectation is better than David Montgomery's (plus-2.93 to minus-0.14). Herbert's rushing EPA/carry is plus-0.32 to Montgomery's minus-0.16. Herbert already has three touchdowns, so if he takes over the primary tailback role, it's not too late for him to compete for most rushing touchdowns.

Here's what we think: If the Bears realize this, Herbert could get the greater share of carries, particularly by the goal line, and maintain his touchdown-per-game pace. With high-profile running backs struggling early, a long shot could steal the touchdowns category. Why couldn't it be a player from a team that doesn't trust its quarterback in the red zone?

Pick: Khalil Herbert (+15000)

Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.

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NFL futures: Investigating long shots in the touchdown scorer markets
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