Dak Prescott: Can He Still Play At A High Level in 2021?

  • Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott returns from injury on Thursday.
  • Prescott has an O/U of 4795.5 passing yards on the season, with odds favoring the under.
  • Prescott’s passing touchdowns O/U is 32.5.

DALLAS - Dak Prescott was leading the NFL in passing yards when he was injured in 2020, and seemed like he was having a season that would justify any contract given to him.

Prescott racked up more than 1800 receiving yards in five starts, a record breaking pace that - had he sustained it over the course of a season - would have put him amongst the NFL’s elite.

His injury derailed what had been a spectacular statistical season, and his return to the NFL seems to look a bit more muted, according to the online sportsbooks.

Dak Prescott Regular Season Passing Yards Odds

  • Over 4795.5 +115
  • Under 4795.5 -150

The NFL betting markets do not expect Prescott to live up to last year’s standards after the injury. Even with an additional game added to the slate in 2021, Prescott is still projected to go under 5000 yards by a fairly significant margin, and the odds are weighted towards the under as well.

Prescott wouldn’t even have to return to 2020 form in order to beat this O/U - he’d only have to return to 2019 form. In 2019, he passed for 4902 yards in 16 games, a pace that would have him well above this O/U if he could replicate it.

However, in each of his first three seasons in the league, the Cowboys signal-caller passed for under 4000 yards.

Dak doesn’t have to get back on a record-breaking pace in order to hit this over. He just has to stay healthy (which could be a problem) and be the player he was in 2019 - and not the player he was in the three years before that.

Dak Prescott Regular Season Passing TDs

  • Over 32.5 EVEN
  • Under 32.5 -130

In terms of passing touchdowns, the sportsbooks are a bit more confident in Prescott relative to previous performance than in terms of yards. Prescott has never passed for more than 30 touchdowns in a season, although he was clearly on pace to do so before the injury in 2020, passing for nine in five games.

However, it seems as though the online gambling sites have more faith that Prescott will hit this over than they do that he will hit the yards over.

This is an interesting phenomenon - the sportsbooks could be expecting minimal deep balls from Prescott, and a more measured playing style, which could reduce yardage without reducing touchdowns. Still, it seems as though the expectation is that Prescott performs at a roughly top ten level this season as far as QB play goes.

He’ll face his first test of the season in the form of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and that game could greatly affect these odds.

The Bucs are regarded as a dominant defense, and Prescott performing well against them could bump these odds up. However, if he performs poorly, they could go down, which could be the right time to get in on them - right after he’s faced the toughest defense he’s likely to face all season.