When Tom Brady came to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he aimed to bring over some help. And “help” for him meant seeking out some old friends.
One of those players was Rob Gronkowski, who will one day be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as one of the best tight ends of his era, but came out of retirement for one last shot at a Super Bowl ring.
As most BetOnline patrons are aware, Gronk did not have a Hall of Fame-caliber season. But he did not need to. One thing the Bucs have is a LOT of receiving talent. But that's okay; he didn't have to handle a lot of the burden, not even at his own position, as Tampa Bay also has Cameron Brate.
But you get the sense that Brady recruited him for moments like this.
Is it possible that Gronk will play a key role in the Super Bowl (Sunday @ 6:30 PM ET, Raymond James Stadium)? Well, he has had two catches or less in nine of his last eleven games. And he has been more or less splitting time with Brate.
That's good for the Bucs' offense, we suppose, but is it good for props bettors who are big on nostalgia?
Let's take a look at the prop covering Rob Gronkowski's receiving yards, as it is posted at BetOnline:
Over 32.5 receiving yards -114
Under 32.5 receiving yards -114
And don't forget all the props that are available on this Super Bowl – more than a thousand!
Let's keep a few things in mind here.
One is that as much as people might dismiss the Kansas City defense, the Chiefs have done a very good job against wideouts, as they have allowed fewer yards to wide receivers than any team in the NFL other than the Los Angeles Rams. So nothing is going to be a cakewalk for people like Mike Evans and Antonio Brown.
Against tight ends, it's a different story. The Chiefs are 22nd in the league in yards allowed per target, when the target is a tight end, at 7.7 yards. And quarterbacks have been able to connect with those tight ends at just a shade under a 70% rate.
The interesting thing about this is that Gronk may not be the tight end who this particular statistic helps. Brady had just a 58.4% success rate in trying to connect with Gronkowski, and that is kind of disappointing.
Cameron Brate, on the other hand, has caught 82.4% of the passes Brady has sent his way, which may be a reason he has been getting more playing time.
Here are the BetOnline prop numbers on his receiving yards, and remember that he averaged just 17.6 yards per game:
Over 30.5 receiving yards -114
Under 30.5 receiving yards -114
If these players wind up splitting time, I would imagine Gronk might have the better chance at over-achieving, because he had a season-high 106 yards against KC in Week 12.
If you are looking for a prop with a bigger payout, I would suggest investigating that which concerns the “First Touchdown Scorer.” I say that because Gronkowski is listed at +1600.
Consider the following:
* The Chiefs are dead last in the NFL in red zone touchdown defense, allowing opponents to cross the goal line 76.6% of the time.
* Tight ends have caught 36% of the touchdown passes the Chiefs have allowed in the red zone this season.
* Tight ends have averaged 6.1 yards per catch in the red zone against Kansas City, which is the league's highest figure.
Also consider that – and this is my opinion – if the Bucs win the coin toss, they will take the ball, as the last thing they want to do is get into a 7-0 hole.
So maybe you've got a way to cash in with Gronk, even if Tampa Bay doesn't win the game.
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