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2019 NFL Combine Prop Bets: Will Josh Jacobs Run the 40 Faster Than 4.50?

The top players in college football are set to converge on Indianapolis, and we’re breaking down some of the best NFL Combine prop bets.

Props on specific players weren’t out earlier in the week, so we went ahead and looked at a ridiculously good value prop on breaking the 40-yard dash record.

Individual lines started hitting the streets Friday, but unfortunately, many of the best bets were gone almost as soon as they were released. For example, the under on DK Metcalf’s 40-yard dash prop of 4.59 seconds opened at -120 and within minutes hit -500.

There’s still some meat on the value bone, though, and we start with a look at Alabama RB Josh Jacobs, who’s set to run on Friday, March 1st with the rest of the running backs.

Josh Jacobs, Best 40 Time

The book has set the number at an even 4.50, with equal juice on both sides.

combine prop bets

Jacobs was a three-star recruit for the Crimson Tide, and in his 2017 spring workout tests, he ran the 40 in exactly 4.50 seconds. He also had the best vertical jump on the team at 35.5 inches, hinting at the explosiveness we’d see throughout his three-year collegiate career.

However, that is the only official, or even unofficial time, I was able to find for Jacobs — nothing from high school, not even so much as a “hand timed” rumor floating around the interwebs.

For what it’s worth, Walter Football projects Jacobs to run a 4.49 40-yard dash, but as we’re about to see, historically, Jacobs is more likely to run slower than 4.50. 

Sizable Expectations

Size matters when it comes to RBs. Big backs who run fast are coveted assets and also relatively rare.

The Crimson Tide’s official site lists Jacobs at 212 pounds, while Wikipedia and 24/7 Sports lists him at 216. That makes him about average in terms of today’s RBs.

  • Last year, the average weight of the RBs invited to the NFL Combine was 218.5 lbs
  • The year before that, 212.1 lbs

That puts his weight roughly middle of the pack, but the same can’t be said his projected time of 4.50, given his size.

I used the PFR Combine Tool to find every RB from the last five years to run the combine at a weight of between 212 to 219 pounds.

YearPlayerHeightWt40YD
2016Shadrach Thornton6-02174.75
2015Josh Robinson5-82174.7
2014Silas Redd5-102124.7
2015Gus Johnson5-102154.7
2018Demario Richard5-92184.7
2014Kapri Bibbs5-92124.67
2017Dare Ogunbowale5-112134.65
2018Lavon Coleman5-112154.65
2015Thomas Rawls5-92154.65
2017Kareem Hunt5-102164.62
2015Terrence Magee5-82134.62
2015John Crockett6-02174.62
2015Mike Davis5-92174.61
2017Wayne Gallman6-02154.6
2016Alex Collins5-102174.59
2017Jamaal Williams6-02124.59
2015Michael Dyer5-82184.58
2017Chris Carson6-02184.58
2017Alvin Kamara5-102144.56
2016Devontae Booker5-112194.56
2016Kenneth Dixon5-102154.56
2017Brian Hill6-12194.54
2018Sony Michel5-112144.54
2017Elijah McGuire5-102144.53
2015Cameron Artis-Payne5-102124.53
2015Melvin Gordon6-12154.52
2017Marlon Mack5-112134.5
2017Jeremy McNichols5-92144.49
2014George Atkinson6-12184.48
2014Charles Sims6-02144.48
2016Keith Marshall5-112194.31

Some takeaways:

  • The average time of this group is 4.59 seconds
  • Only four of 31 runners ran faster than 4.49 (12.9%)
  • Keith Marshall was an absolute freak show, and it’s shame we never got to see him play in the NFL

Even if we cast a wider net, not too much changes. If we include lighter cohorts – every RB from the last 10 years between 207 and 219 pounds – we see 28 of 108 (25.9%) backs running faster than 4.50.

If we throw in the big boys (every back between 207 – 230 lbs over the past decade), the hit rate is 25.4%.

So even if we generously assume that Jacobs comes in at 207 lbs, and not his listed weight of 212-216, historically, we should expect to see him go sub-4.50 about a quarter of the time.

Considering the coin-flip odds on offer, we’re printing money by betting the under in the long term.

The Pick: Josh Jacobs, Over 4.50 40 Time (-120)

Jacobs has the overall skill set which has put him in contention to be the first RB taken in the NFL Draft, but there’s nothing out there indicating he’s a straight-line blazer.

I’m no film grinder, but when I watch him play, I see a back with power, acceleration, and elusiveness, but not a ton in terms of top-end speed.

I’m certainly willing to be wrong on that last point (again, really not a film guy!), but I’m happy to play what looks like a significant historical edge for a guy of Jacobs’ size.

Take the over, but if this number moves at all, I think the value disappears pretty quickly. 

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