2017 NFL Props: How Many Games Will Rob Gronkowski Play

by Kevin Roberts
on August 8, 2017

One big thing to watch going into each new NFL season is which players go down in training camp and preseason play. Injuries can rattle how we look at preseason Super Bowl odds and, in turn, completely change how teams look at the season before it even starts.

A year ago Teddy Bridgewater shredded his knee and forced the Minnesota Vikings to make a desperate play to land Sam Bradford in a trade with the Eagles. This year a Ryan Tannehill knee injury has the Miami Dolphins pushing their chips into the center of the table with Jay Cutler coming out of retirement.

Yeah, injuries can make teams do crazy things.

But it’s not always just about watching out for big NFL injuries before the season starts or even gauging how teams react to it. Sometimes it’s about projecting what massive injuries could arrive later in the year, well before they actually happen.

Rob Gronkowski Injury Odds

One star player we should consider doing this with every season is New England Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski. The man known as “Gronk” has been the face of Madden and without a doubt the league’s best tight end, but he also has had a laundry list of injury problems during his illustrious 7-year career.

The shakiness with Gronkowski is pretty apparent, probably a little more so if you’re a Pats fan and crystal clear if you’ve had him in fantasy football leagues during his more brutal injury stretches.

We got a heavy dose of Gronk’s fragility in 2016 when he missed a whopping 8 games and wasn’t with New England on their Super Bowl run. That makes two Super Bowl runs Gronkowski has missed out on, while we’ve seen him suit up for all 16 regular season games just twice in the past seven years.

It gets worse, as Gronkowski’s numerous ailments have led to him sitting out 5+ games three different times, while he’s missed at least one game in each of his last five seasons.

Rob Gronkowski – Total Games Played Odds

Understandably, some of the top NFL betting sites are jumping on Gronkowski’s past health woes by offering a fun prop bet in regards to how many games he’ll play this year. Here’s the Over/Under at BetOnline right now:

  • Over 10.5 Played (-150)
  • Under 10.5 Played (+120)

At first glance, this is a very interesting bet. On one hand, the sportsbooks don’t particularly love Gronkowski’s odds of missing more than 10 games this year. That was the case last year, but he’s been able to rehab from back surgery for half a year and is reportedly 100% and ready to rock.

On top of Gronkowski’s current health, a lot of his past ailments seem to be of the flukey variety. Gronkowski took a helmet to his knee when he tore his ACL back in 2013, while arm and ankle problems he’s endured in the past haven’t popped back up since.

Based on history, Gronk gets hurt rather frequently, but he seems to always bounce back. The year after he shredded his knee, the guy posted a nasty 82-1,124-12 line and followed that up with a sick 72-1,176-11 line the following season.

Both of those years included elite performances out of a healthy Gronkowski; one in which played 15 games in each season. An old back injury did flare up last year and prevented Gronkowski from finishing 2016 healthy, but these are isolated incidents and he seems to be at full strength.

That’s the positive outlook.

The reality is Vegas still seems unsure. This is still a pretty close line and while Gronkowski successfully crushed this game plateau in two of the last three seasons, he’s still failed to eclipse it two different times.

Truth be told, we’re looking at a total toss-up. Going into any NFL bet, all you can really ask for is a 50% shot at coming out on top, and when the oddsmakers give you incentive to take the would-be losing side, it sometimes makes sense to bite.

We are getting nice value with Gronkowski’s Under here. The nice part is this Under isn’t even that ambitious. Gronkowski can still suit up for 10 games and we win. But that leaves us with plenty of outs, too.

Maybe at some point Gronkowski’s back injury returns, maybe he takes another shot to the knee, or perhaps a big hit lands him in concussion protocol. The point is this is the NFL and injuries happen. For Gronk, they happen quite a bit.

We’re not betting on Rob Gronkowski to suffer a season-ending injury or to be terrible in 2017. We’re taking value on a bet that aligns with his rough history at the pro level. Odds are Gronkowski will not finish the 16-game season without missing some time.

This isn’t necessarily just about Gronkowski being sidelined by a massive injury, either. New England has been known to play it safe with him in the past, whether it’s been minor hamstring or groin issues, or something to do with a serious ailment.

If there is a sniff of something serious, a legit title contender like New England won’t risk their top weapon just to accrue stats or win a few meaningless regular season games. Instead, the Pats are much more apt to hold Gronkowski out any time he’s banged up until he’s 100% ready to play again.

Given his physical nature, how opposing teams target star players and Patriots players specifically, it makes perfect sense to attack the Under.

Pick: Under 10.5 Games Played (+120)
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