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Johnny Manziel is no longer unemployed. The former Heisman Trophy winner and first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns will be plying his trade as a Hamilton Tiger-Cat in the CFL (assuming he makes the team). Let’s discuss Manziel’s prospects and a few prop bets being offered on his tenure in the Great White North.
Long Road Back
Any and all speculation concerning Johnny Football’s immediate future ended on Saturday when the former Texas A&M star signed a two-year pact with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. The CFL is where bust-out or couldn’t-quite-make-the-cut ball players go to athletic purgatory to serve their sentence until reality takes hold and these mid-grade thoroughbreds get put out to pasture for good. Of course, there is always the razor-thin hope that some NFL scout will travel north and spot a diamond in the rough (Warren Moon, for example, shined in the CFL before then becoming a star quarterback in the NFL).
It’s the same kind of mentality I have right before I scratch a lottery ticket. Hope springs eternal and maybe Money Johnny hits the jackpot and turns his career around. Don’t hold your breath but stranger things have happened like, oh I don’t know … an action hero becoming governor of California, a reality star elected president and an expansion team in the Stanley Cup!
After clicking on over to Sportsbook Review, a site that provides up to the minute lines and odds from all the best online sportsbooks, we see that there are prop bets on Manziel’s tenure this season in the Great White North. Let’s check out these three proposition wagers and make a few bucks while we watch Johnny Drama thrive or dive as a Tiger-Cat.
Manziel to be on Active Roster in Week 21
For the uninitiated, Week 21 in the CFL is the last week of the regular season. The thinking is that Manziel will be in uniform as a Tiger-Cat, or on any other CFL team, throughout the season because the oddsmakers are making you bet two dollars for every one you’ll get in return. Unless Johnny melts down it’s a pretty good bet that he will last the season, particularly when one considers that the CFL rookie minimum is just $50,000 and the league average is $80,000 but Manziel signed for a reported $122,000 and with incentives could double that salary. Whether he plays or holds a clipboard Manziel is a draw and will put fannies in the seats. He stays – you can bet on it.
Total Starts for Johnny Manziel
Over 7½ -100
Under 7½ -100
Let’s not forget this is the CFL, not the NFL, and these boys play 18 regular-season games. It would appear at first blush that Manziel should easily eclipse 7½ starts considering all that money that’s been doled out to woo Johnny to the Cats. However, what you may not know is that former Oregon and Ole Miss QB Jeremiah Masoli had a fine season last year completing over 63 percent of his passes, throwing for 3,177 yards and 15 touchdowns strikes while rushing for four more trips into the end zone. Oh, and he tossed just five picks all season. Head coach June Jones (wow, haven’t heard that name in a while) said the following:
“Let me tell you something right now, he’s got his work ahead of him to beat out Jeremiah. He’s got a lot to catch up on, but he’ll spend the time to get that done. I know he will because he’s already learned that lesson.”
Manziel will get a taste of the spotlight but winning is the bottom line if a coach wants to – you know – keep coaching. I say go under 7½ in this prop.
Will Johnny Manziel Start Game 1 for Hamilton?
The incumbent Masoli has done nothing to warrant anything but a starting role, at least at the beginning of the season. Granted, professional sports is a, “what have you done for me lately”, kind of business but unless Masoli gets absolutely outclassed by Manziel in the offseason, it appears he will indeed be penciled into the starting lineup to open the season for Hamilton. But things happen, like injuries, and you can never say never. This might be a prop I steer clear of but if you want to bet this one then add it to a parlay. That way if Johnny Football does unseat Masoli as the starter on June 16 in Calgary, it won’t sting quite so much.