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Smart Bets: Justin Fields OVER passing yards, 2023 season

Justin Fields passing yards total for the 2023 has been set at 2775 by sports books.

Chicago Bears Offseason Workout Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Everybody loves a good player prop. This is the time of the season where there are plenty to be had at online sports books. One of the most interesting cases is that of Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields.

Fields is one of the most talked about quarterbacks of this offseason, largely because the range of success that fans and analysts are predicting are wildly different. On one end, some expect Fields to become one of the top ten quarterbacks in the league and begin to put it all together. On the other end are those who expect Fields passing game to never develop and for him to continue to struggle in that area.

In 2022, Fields threw for 2242 yards in 15 games. That amounts to just 150 passing yards a game, which is quite anemic. So with a wide range of predictions on Fields’ 2023 season, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that sportsbooks have set Fields passing yard total to 2775 yards on the season. The vig is dead even too so there isn’t a lean one way or the other.

To examine this prop, we have to look at what we expect from Fields. If he takes off and becomes an elite quarterback this year, we know he’s going to hit the over. If he suffers a major injury or there’s a complete collapse in the passing game, we know it’ll go under, but what if the results are somewhere in between?

First of all, you have to factor in Fields’ health. After two seasons, Fields is yet to play in all 17 games. His offensive line will be improved and he will have more weapons to throw to which hopefully will decrease the time he holds onto the football, but even with those positive factors, we know he’s going to run and we know he’s going to get hit. Let’s assume he doesn’t have a major injury and he is banged up a bit, and let’s call it like last year and say Justin Fields plays in 15 games.

Before we project how many yards per game Fields will throw, let’s cut all the way down to yards an attempt. In 2022, Fields Y/A was 7.1, good for 17th in the league. In 2021, he was at 6.9. Let’s say with another year in the offense and better players around him, this increases for Fields again. Let’s not say it takes a huge jump, but let’s look at a conservative amount and say it increases to 7.3. The same improvement from 2021 to 2022. A 7.3 Y/A would have put Fields 12th or 13th in the NFL last season, so that’s a reasonable place to start.

Last season the Bears ran the football 558 times. Over 17 games, that’s 33 attempts per contest. Last year they threw the football 377 times which over 17 games is just 22 attempts per game. Two things should be expected this season, one, the Bears run to pass ratio will be closer to even, and two, due to a better offense, they should have more total plays per game. The Bears averaged just 58 plays per game in 2022, 30th in the league. If the offense improves some, that number will improve. Teams in the low 20s averaged about 62 plays per game, so let’s again be conservative and put the Bears with 4 additional plays per game. With more focus on the passing game, let’s say the Bears rushing attempts drops from just 33 to 32. That mean passing attempts should rise by 5 attempts per game and put Fields around 27 attempts per game.

Now we have what we need to start projecting Fields numbers. With a 7.3 Y/A and 5 additional passes per game, Fields passing yards per game should jump from 150 yards a game to 197 yards per game. Again, many of you may expect Fields to have a bigger jump that this, but this is putting the improvement on the conservative side.

At 197 yards per game over the course of 15 games, that puts Fields passing total at 2,955 yards, almost 200 yards clear of his projected total for this season. Again, this is a conservative approach to Fields season. If you expect any improvement at all in the offense and in the passing game (and even the biggest critics would agree there should be some improvement), it’s hard to imagine Fields dips below the under.

When you look at the numbers, the only way Fields fails to go over is if he misses more games than last season. If Fields misses 4 or 5 games, obviously, that number becomes far more difficult to hit. Betting on injuries is a foolish approach to gambling, so if you are one who likes to place a wager from time to time and you think Justin Fields has some talent, a smart play this season is to bet Justin Fields over on his passing yards for the season.