NFL best bets and player props for Week 1

Sep 12, 2020 |
NFL best bets and player props for Week 1
Von Miller's absence could make life a lot easier for Ryan Tannehill when the Titans face off against the Broncos on Monday Night Football.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports
Von Miller's absence could make life a lot easier for Ryan Tannehill when the Titans face off against the Broncos on Monday Night Football.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

NFL betting is back, starting with Thursday's season opener, and the remainder of the Week 1 slate is just around the corner. We're busy looking into every market in search of value and great numbers — so you don't have to!

Today, we are backing the reigning MVP against a busted secondary, betting on some young legs with a bad offense and finding value in a receiving total that can be found 34 percent lower between two books.

We break down the best NFL odds and team/player props and bring you our favorite free picks and predictions for Week 1.

(Just want the picks? Jump down to our Week 1 betting card.)

NFL prop picks for Sunday

Electric Lamar

In Week 1 last year, Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson went off for five passing TDs and 324 passing yards. This year, Jackson will face a Cleveland Browns secondary that finished in the bottom-half in DVOA passing defense and will be without three of their cornerbacks. The Browns will still have their highest Pro Football Focus-graded corner in Denzel Ward, but with such a lack of depth and skill, Jackson and the passing game could be in for a big day, especially if the run game opens up play-action.

The 2019 MVP’s passing total can be found at 220.5 yards, which the Baltimore QB went over in seven of his first ten games last year. He also topped that total in both games against Cleveland in 2019 and tossed six TDs in those matchups (Over 1.5 passing TDs is -140). This game is shaping up to be a shootout and both QBs could be balling. 

PREDICTION: Lamar Jackson Over 220.5 passing yards (-120)

Burrow boost

Young QBs on bad teams have to find ways to make things work, and a lot of the time it’s with their legs. Gardner Minshew, Daniel Jones and Kyler Murray all finished in the Top 8 in QB rushing yards last year. This year, first-overall pick Joe Burrow will try to lead a Bengals offense that scored the third-fewest points last year. 

It took some digging, but we found Burrow’s rushing prop sitting at just 15.5 yards. Burrow is no stranger to running, as the former LSU Tiger topped 20 yards rushing in 10 of his 15 NCAA games last year. His speed won’t blow you away (4.76 seconds 40 time), but it is just enough that this prop could cash early as the young QB adjusts to the speed of the NFL.

PREDICTION: Joe Burrow Over 15.5 yards rushing (-120)

 

Injury time in Buffalo

The New York Jets’ defenders are dropping like flies before their Week 1 matchup with the Buffalo Bills. New York will be without its Top-3 off-ball linebackers in Avery Williamson, C.J. Mosley and Patrick Onwuasor. Now without S Jamal Adams, the Jets’ next best safety, Marcus Maye, is questionable for the Week 1 game. These injuries are significant and the Buffalo offense should be upgraded against a New York defense that was ranked near the bottom coming into the year before the injuries.

Offensively, the Bills have added two highly skilled players in WR Stefon Diggs and rookie RB Zack Moss. The Bills should win the battle in the trenches as their offensive run blocking improved 15 spots from 2018 to 2019. Buffalo’s team total of 23.5 seems a bit high, so we are avoiding that and taking a look at the team total touchdown market instead. 

Buffalo Over 2.5 TDs is where we are laying our shekels and the lack of kicking experience and possible wind in Buffalo could keep the Bills from going for three.

PREDICTION: Buffalo Bills Over 2.5 touchdowns (-121)

Crystal Dallas

We wrote about the importance of Dallas Goedert to the Philadelphia Eagles offense in our Eagles-Washington preview and taking a look at his markets across multiple books we find some serious discrepancies in his market totals.

Goedert averaged 8.14 targets from Week 10 through to the playoffs last year, which he turned into 60.4 receiving yards on 5.9 catches per game. This week, the Eagles will be without wideout Alshon Jeffrey and RB Miles Sanders and they may only suit up one player who has played at the tackle position. Carson Wentz could be under pressure from the Washington defense and may have to look underneath — a lot — to the emerging tight end. 

Goedert’s receiving total can be found as low as 33.5 and as high as 50.5. That range is too good not to take in a great matchup (Washington allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to TEs last year). We are doubling down on both the tight end’s receptions and yards.

PREDICTION: Dallas Goedert Over 33.5 receiving yards (-120) and Over 3.5 receptions (-113)

NFL prop picks for Saturday

Shake your money Baker

It’s tough to get excited for Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns after last year’s faceplant, but this is a Browns team that is loaded with weapons. If only they had some coaching to help better use them. Enter head coach Kevin Stefanski, who helped Kirk Cousins throw for over 4,000 yards and finish with the seventh-best QB rating last year. Stefanski is exactly what Mayfield and the Browns need.

Last season, Mayfield finished 31st (yikes!) in QB rating at 78.8 but in play-action passing the Browns QB  was 23.7 points higher at 102.5. Baker was also a better passer out of heavy personnel packages and now has TE Austin Hooper and RB Kareem Hunt for a full season. Stefanski called play-action and used heavy personnel in Minnesota at a rate much higher than 2019 HC Freddie Kitchens, putting Mayfield in a much better chance to succeed in Week 1. 

With massive injuries to the Browns' secondary, Baker could be chucking it up on Sunday against a very good Ravens passing defense. Still, with an intelligent coach and a possible pass-heavy game script, Baker has a great shot to exceed his passing total of 245.5 yards. 

PREDICTION: Baker Mayfield Over 245.5 passing yards (-115)

Hanged, drawn and quartered

Marked with the second-highest spread of the week (+8), the Jacksonville Jaguars are getting a ton of points for a home division game against the Indianapolis Colts. The weather will also be in the favor of the Jags, as the indoor Colts will be playing in near 100-degree temperatures. So why is the spread so high? It's simple: the Colts are a great team and the Jags are Triple-A

Indy rolls into Florida with a healthy T.Y. Hilton, a solid two-horse running game, the league’s best O-line and a competent QB to run a familiar system in Philip Rivers. The Jaguars lost D-linemen Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue and have zero depth in the secondary and may have to lean on rookie corner C.J. Henderson.

There are plenty of ways that a bettor could find a number they like in any of the pro-Indy markets. You could go big and take the Colts to win every quarter at +750 or you could look at something a little more reasonable but still priced nicely: Indianapolis to score in every quarter +162. Indy won this bet against the Jaguars back in Week 11 and these odds seem a little high for an Indy team that is going to dominate the line scrimmage on Sunday.

PREDICTION: Indianapolis to score every quarter — YES (+162)

Hock if you're horny

The Detroit Lions have a chance to take the NFC North with Green Bay and Minnesota heading for negative regression, but things could be off to a rocky start ahead of their matchup with the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Star receiver Kenny Golladay was a DNP at practice on Thursday and is questionable, with Detroit beat writers assuming the WR will miss the match.

The next best receiver in Detroit is Marvin Jones, whose receiving total market has jumped up to 69.5 yards. Jones went Over 70 yards five times last year and averaged 59.9 yards on the season. Second-year tight end T.J. Hockenson’s receiving total is 44.5 yards and the Bears averaged 55.5 yards to opposing TEs in 2019. Hockenson also went for a 6/131/1 in Week 1 last year and could be counted on to do it again in Week 1 with Golladay likely out.

PREDICTION: T.J. Hockenson Over 44.5 receiving yards (-115)

Haskins before your eyes

If you haven’t bet QB rushing props weekly, you haven’t truly lived. Watching signal-callers take off knowing you could possibly win a bet on that one rush is exhilarating. It gets the action juices flowing. You don’t always have to go to the big dogs — Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Josh Allen, etc — there is plenty of gold in those mines.

Washington’s second-year QB Dwayne Haskins has a bad team and a running game filled with unknowns. His rushing total is a modest 11.5 yards, which is a total he cleared in four of his nine games last year. He faces the Philadelphia Eagles, who allowed an average of 26 rushing yards to opposing QBs over the final four games of last year including a 26-yard rushing performance from Haskins in Week 15. One rush could be a winner on Sunday.

PREDICTION: Dwayne Haskins Over 11.5 rushing yards (-135)

NFL prop picks for Friday

BRING IT MACK

It’s always tough to rely on rookie running backs early in the season and especially Week 1. One fumble or a missed block in pass protection could significantly decrease usage. Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts has been one of the buzziest rookie running backs coming into the season after getting selected in the second round this year. Running behind arguably the league’s best O-line, expectations are high for the former Badger. However, Thursday’s news that the rookie could be spelling 1,000-yard rusher Marlon Mack to start the year has Taylor enthusiasts scrambling.

Mack is listed as the starter and is coming off a year where he averaged 4.4 yards per carry, which isn’t super impressive but the veteran didn’t fumble at all last year and has the trust of the coaching staff. Taylor will likely be the starter sometime this year but Mack seems to be the man in the driver seat in Week 1 versus a Jacksonville Jaguars team that finished 2019 with the second-worst DVOA rush defense. The Jaguars also lost key parts to their defensive line and have a sad linebacking group that doesn’t have any player that ranks in the top-half at their position.

PREDICTION: Marlon Mack Over 54.5 rushing yards (-122)

TRADING JACOBS

No team allowed more rushing TDs per game last year than the Carolina Panthers as they conceded 1.9 rushing scores per contest. This week, Las Vegas Raiders' 2019 standout rookie running back Josh Jacobs gets to feast after finishing last year with some injuries. 

Reports are good out of Las Vegas on Jacobs, who averaged 4.8 yards per rush last year which landed him in the Top 10. In 2020, Jacobs is another year wiser and is expected to get more action in the passing game as reported by the Athletic. Vic Tafur expects the RB to “easily double” his reception total in 2019 which would put Jones in the 50-60 reception range. This would be great news for the Las Vegas offense as it will likely be without No. 1 wide receiver Tyrell Williams, who is dealing with an injury.

As the focal part of an offense in the Raiders' first game ever representing Las Vegas, Jacobs should see a healthy amount of action and bettors should take notice. His rushing total can be found at 92.5 with 19.5 carries but it is his receiving yards we are focusing on as it sits at a possible two-catch winner of 13.5 yards.

PREDICTION: Josh Jacobs Over 13.5 receiving yards (-119)

 

LOCKETT OF THE DAY

Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks will get to ball against Pro Football Focus' third-worst rated secondary heading into 2020 in the Atlanta Falcons. Ranked 21st last season, this year the Falcons are starting a rookie corner on one side and a player who allows 65.5 percent of the balls thrown at him to be completed over his career on the other. Things get even worse at the slot corner position, as second-year player Kendall Sheffield allowed a QB rating of over 100 on passes in his coverage. 

Seattle receiver Tyler Lockett ran over 60 percent of his snaps out of the slot last year and will be a big part of Pete Carroll’s game plan against Atlanta. The Falcons’ weakness lies in its pass defense and even Carroll is smart enough to exploit that instead of the run.

Lockett saw the Falcons in Week 6 last year and grabbed six balls for 100 yards and also finished the year with the second-most red zone receptions at 17. Lockett’s receiving total sits at 67.5, which seems like a great number considering the receiver averaged 75.5 yards in indoor games last season and 64.7 yards in outdoor stadiums. 

PREDICTION: Tyler Lockett Over 67.5 receiving yards (-120)

NFL prop picks for Thursday

Going long on Thursday

With NFL action beginning on Thursday, we are not going to wait any longer than we have to for some prop action. The Kansas City Chiefs scored seven touchdowns of over 40 yards in their last eight games in 2019 and scored the longest TD in seven of those eight matches. Loaded with burners at every position, K.C. can take it to the house on any play better than any club in the league.

The Chiefs finished second in the league in yards per point and even their return game scored the longest TD in 2019. The Houston Texans also gave up the fifth-highest yards per rush last year, which is great news for rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Week 1 of 2020 could be the toughest week to handicap in football history, but one thing you can bet on is speed and talent and Kansas City has a surplus of it.

If the prop is too juicy at -160, there is also value in the longest TD over 44.5 (-115) as Kenny Stills and Will Fuller are also options to gain big yardage, especially if Houston is playing from behind. Shop around as the total can be found as high as 51.5 yards.

PREDICTION: Team to score the longest touchdown - Kansas City (-160)

 

Tinker Bell

The New York Jets’ $13-million running back, Le’Veon Bell, is coming off his worst professional season and now has the ageless Frank Gore sniping snaps. The news out of New York’s training camp was that Bell and Gore split snaps 60-40. Head coach Adam Gase stated to the media that he wants to control Bell’s workload early in the year to keep his No. 1 RB fresh for the 16-game schedule.

Bell faces the Buffalo Bills and their No. 7-ranked DVOA in Week 1. The Bills allowed the 11th-fewest yards to running backs and those numbers got even smaller at home — now called Bills Stadium. Bell rushed for over 60 yards just three times in his first 12 games last year and averaged a sad 3.06 yards per carry in two games versus Buffalo last year.

PREDICTION: Le’Veon Bell Under 55.5 rushing yards (-116)

New Gurley in town

Sometimes finding a good prop bet takes a little research — and math. Former Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley has moved to Atlanta and the comfy indoor confines of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Falcons OC Dirk Koetter told the media that he expects Gurley to absorb at least 15 touches a game.

Gurley averaged 4.2 yards per touch last year with the Rams, while the Falcons averaged 4.4 yards per touch from their running backs in 2019. Taking the average of those two totals and multiplying by 15 touches gives us a good floor indicator for Gurley’s possible yardage total in Week 1. With his yardage total set at 83.5 at some books, that gives us a near 23 percent discrepancy to the Under with a calculated total of 64.5 total yards on 15 touches. 

A new team, a new system, and a lack of a normal preseason could also be in Gurley faders favors.

PREDICTION: Todd Gurley Under 83.5 total yards (-115)

Faith Tannehill

The big news on Wednesday was the possibly season-ending injury to Denver Broncos star linebacker Von Miller. Miller ranked 22nd out of 104 players at his position and his absence leaves a big hole in Denver’s pass rush, especially with Bradley Chubb (knee) not back to full speed. This means that Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill could see plenty of clean pockets in a game where his team has jumped 2.5 points on the spread since the beginning of the week.

Tannehill had an incredible season in 2019, after taking the reins of the offense from Marcus Mariota in Week 7. He finished as Pro Football Focus' third-highest rated QB and ended the season with a 68.5 percent pass completion rate. With Tannehill’s passing yard total at 230.5 — a total he had eclipsed in four of his last six games — we are playing the
Over and are not afraid of a Denver pass defense that finished 16th in 2019 and allowed an average of 260.3 passing yards per game in its final three games last season.

PREDICTION: Ryan Tannehill Over 230.5 passing yards (-115)

  • Lamar Jackson Over 220.5 passing yards (-120)
  • Joe Burrow Over 15.5 yards rushing (-120)
  • Buffalo Bills Over 2.5 touchdowns (-121)
  • Dallas Goedert Over 33.5 receiving yards (-120) and Over 3.5 receptions (-113)
    --
  • Baker Mayfield Over 245.5 passing yards (-115)
  • T.J. Hockenson Over 44.5 receiving yards (-115)
  • Indianapolis to score every quarter — YES (+162)
  • Dwayne Haskins Over 11.5 rushing yards (-135)
    --
  • Marlon Mack Over 54.5 rushing yards (-122)
  • Josh Jacobs Over 13.5 receiving yards (-119)
  • Tyler Lockett Over 67.5 receiving yards (-120)
    --
  • Team to score the longest touchdown - Kansas City (-160)
  • Le’Veon Bell Under 55.5 rushing yards (-116)
  • Todd Gurley Under 83.5 total yards (-115)
  • Ryan Tannehill Over 230.5 passing yards (-115)

Where can I find NFL player props?

You can bet on NFL team and player props at nearly every online and casino sportsbooks. Head over to our best-suggested sportsbooks for the top spots to bet on NFL player and team props in your area.

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