NFL Best Bets and Player Props for Week 1: Winston's Rushing Total Too Low

Jameis Winston is an underrated rusher and actually posted formidable rushing totals in many of his limited starts last season. We're betting his Over in Week 1 with a line that's disrespectfully low. Find out more in our latest NFL prop picks update.

Josh Inglis - Betting Analyst at
Josh Inglis • Betting Analyst
Sep 11, 2022 • 08:16 ET • 4 min read
Jameis Winston New Orleans Saints NFL prop picks
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Not much will be getting done around the house this Sunday as the NFL is finally here! With the increase of prop-betting popularity, prop lines have become more efficient than ever, but that just means more digging on my end. 

I’m looking at the injury to George Kittle and how it affects the receivers, finding the best angle to bet on Jerry Jones’ love with Zeke, and fading the legs of a quarterback.

Here are my free NFL player prop picks for Week 1 of the NFL season.   

Latest NFL prop picks

  • Mariota Under 24.5 rushing yards (-110)
  • Winston Over 10.5 rushing yards (-135)

Check out full analysis of picks below, or click here to view the full betting card.

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NFL prop picks for Sunday

Making moves on Mariota

Marcus Mariota will be under center for the first time with the Atlanta Falcons Sunday and don’t get fooled into thinking this is a running quarterback.

Mariota was used more as a decoy in the red zone when he was with the Raiders. He had just 13 rushes in 10 games last season and has just two rushing touchdowns over his last three seasons. He started six games in Tennessee in 2019 (played seven) and averaged just 18 rushing yards per game on 3.4 rushing attempts per game. He’s topped 35 yards rushing just once over his last 13 starts.

Now he matches up against one of the best defenses in football in the Saints who allowed just over 16 rushing yards per game to opposing QBs a season ago. New Orleans blitzed at a Bottom-10 rate a season ago, and with more defenders in front of him, stepping up and taking off is much more difficult when the defense brings just four. The Saints also used nickel and dime formations 83% of the time last year so there is plenty of speed to keep Mariota in check. 

In Mariota's tune-up game in the preseason, he attempted zero rushes and performed well as a passer — completing six of 10 attempts for 132 yards and a score. 

Desmond Ridder is also a threat to steal some snaps Sunday as head coach Arthur Smith has stated he wants to get the rookie QB some work after an impressive preseason. Mariota hasn’t started a game since 2019 and his leash is one of the shorter ones in football.

This is not a great matchup for Mariota even if he does decide to take off.

Marcus Mariota Prop: Under 24.5 rushing yards (-110 at BetRivers)

Winning with Winston

Going in the exact opposite direction of the Mariota pick is my assessment of the legs of the quarterback opposing him. Jameis Winston is a very underrated rusher who topped 19 yards rushing in six of his eight starts last season including games of 26, 37, 40, and 40 yards. Most books are giving us a line of 15.5 (10.5 at PointsBet) this weekend and THE BLITZ is projecting him for over 27 yards making this a huge difference in implied vs. projected odds.

Over his five-year career, the former No. 1 pick is averaging over four carries per game and pushed that 5.2 totes per match last season with this same offense and 23.7 rushing yards per game. 

He was dealing with a foot injury during training camp and preseason but looked fine in his only preseason action where he went 4-for-4, passing for 59 yards, and led the offense to a TD drive in his only series. 

The speed and threat of Alvin Kamara is also a great thing for Winston. With defenses overreacting to Kamara, Winston can keep an RPO and take off for a big gain vs. a defense that allowed the third-most rushing yards per game (25.2) to opposing QBs.

This is a number that I’d feel comfortable laddering if it's available at your book. bet365 has a milestone market with 25 yards (+170) and 50 yards (+570) which are tempting, too. The 10.5 total won't be available all weekend but I'm comfortable playing this up to 19.5.

Jameis Winston Prop: Over 10.5 rushing yards (-135 at PointsBet)

NFL prop picks for Saturday

Calling Carter

Joe Flacco and the New York Jets take on the new Baltimore defense Sunday as 6.5-point home dogs but despite the Jets likely playing from behind, I’m high on Michael Carter getting his touches.

Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur endorsed Carter as the “heartbeat of the Jets’ offense” and his pass-catching abilities will help him stay on the field. There's only one other mouth to feed in this rushing attack in Breece Hall, whose opportunities will likely come later in the season as rookie running backs’ volume often does.

The Jets ran on first down at a 56% clip last season (quarters 1, 2, and 3) which was a Top-10 rank. This also came with a modest 40% success rate behind a bad O-line, which was better than I initially assumed and put them on par with teams like the Bills and Raiders. This was also an offense that didn’t abandon the run when trailing by two or fewer scores and still had a rush rate of 52% when trailing by 14 or fewer (Q1, 2 and 3).

Carter averaged over 11 carries per game last season, and that was with a more crowded backfield. He also had more yards after contact per rush than Christian McCaffrey and Najee Harris. 

Baltimore is not an easy team to run against but that is being priced into Carter’s rushing attempt total which sits at 8.5 (-115 to the Over) at bet365 while some other books are sitting at 9.5. 

It’s Week 1 and I doubt Lafluer wants to see Flacco pass the ball 40 times. This could be the biggest workload Carter sees as Hall will blend in with the offense more throughout the season. It looks like Carter’s backfield Sunday. 

Michael Carter Prop: Over 8.5 rush attempts (-115 at bet365)

No room for Mike

It’s a big week for Mike McDaniel and this new-look Miami offense, but one player who might not get as much attention in the new system is Mike Gesicki.

The Miami Herald’s David Wilson reported in late August that the tight end’s role has been diminishing within the offense. He’s being asked to stay in and block while also losing snaps to Durham Smythe. With the addition of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle one more year experienced, Gesicki’s arrows are pointing down.

Additionally, there have been rumors that the Dolphins tried to trade the TE ahead of their final cuts. Rumours general manager Chris Grier denies. 

George Kittle thrived in his blocking roles under McDaniel’s offense but it seems the transition hasn’t been easy for Gesicki, whose receiving yardage totals are dropping but can still be had at 30.5, with other books hitting 28.5.

The TE will also have to deal with a New England defense that allowed the fewest receiving yards to opposing TE’s a season ago at 25.9 per game. Last year, the Patriots held Gesicki to zero yards on three targets in the Week 1 opener, and 22 yards in the Week 18 meeting.

Mike Gesicki Prop: Under 30.5 receiving yards (-125 at PointsBet)

NFL prop picks for Friday

Home Deebo

It’s Week 1 and, already, George Kittle is banged up. He missed practice Wednesday which puts his availability for Sunday vs. the Bears into question. The optimistic scenario for the tight end is a game-time decision and likely limited, meaning a bump to the other pass-catchers for the 49ers.

Kittle was sitting with a receiving yard total of 50.5, but those yards are going somewhere else — and that’s Deebo Samuel’s way.

The cog of this offense is sitting with a receiving total of 50.5 while prop-market favorite Brandon Aiyuk has moved up to 47.5 yards. Considering how much Samuel was targeted by Trey Lance when he was under center, these lines are too close together.

In his three games last season (two starts), Lance attempted 70 passes, with 24 of those heading Samuel’s way and just 11 aimed at Aiyuk. 

Samuel sat out practice last week but was back on Monday and reports are that he is good to go after resting a minor injury. He wasn’t listed on the injury report for this week and is 100%.

Kyle Shanahan will also make Lance’s life easy as the QB mastermind has had some success with a sad list of signal-callers — including C.J Beathard, Brian Hoyer, and Nick Mullens — while also helping Jimmy Garoppolo complete 68% of his passes. 

The Bears allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers last season and are in rebuild mode, so the matchup is great too. 

Samuel’s total opened at 48.5, but this number should be much higher, especially if he doesn’t have a big role in the rushing game with a healthier San Francisco backfield. This is also a player that led the league YAC per catch last season and is always a threat of breaking one off. 

Deebo Samuel PropOver 50.5 receiving yards (-105)

Matchup x opportunity = Under

I love Tony Pollard and think he should get a bigger piece of the Dallas rushing game, but I’m also not Jerry Jones, who dreams about Ezekiel Elliott nightly. Jones has been on the record this summer talking about how this team runs through his higher-paid back and hot-seat coach Mike McCarthy might be obliging early in the season. 

Elliott will get the first cracks with the offense on the opening drive, with Pollard likely spelling him more than taking over for an entire series. The opportunities will be limited for the quicker back, just as they were a season ago.

The matchup is also awful on paper for the Cowboys, who lost left tackle Tyron Smith to injury, and also Connor Williams and La’El Collins in free agency. Now, this brand new O-line has to face one of the best defensive fronts in football. Tampa allowed just 91.6 rushing yards per game this season.

The Dallas offense could also struggle to move the stick as this is not the same pass-catching group as last season with Amari Cooper moving on and Michael Gallup injured. 

With a tough matchup and an offense that’s committed to Elliott, another poor volume outing for Pollard is on the horizon. 

Tony Pollard PropUnder 30.5 rushing yards (-110)

Running Up That Tannehill

Not many quarterbacks are going into Week 1 looking to move the sticks with their legs, and with Ryan Tannehill, that especially holds true.

Tennessee comes into Sunday’s matchup with the Giants as 5.5-point favorites at home and has a healthy Derrick Henry. The game script is going to lean towards the Titans playing with the lead, and if Tannehill does need to pass, the Giants have just 11 total NFL starts between their No. 2 starting corner and their slot corner, so he should be able to find the open man.

All this leads to the Tennessee QB staying put and refraining from taking off and rushing. His rushing total is 12.5 yards but the BLITZ projects him for just over 8.0 yards. 

In a must-win game in Week 18 last season as a double-digit favorite without Henry, Tannehill’s rushing total closed at 9.5 as the signal-caller finished with minus-2 rushing yards thanks to a victory-formation kneel — something that is very possible this Sunday. 

Only five other defenses averaged fewer QB rushing yards against than the Giants last season, and with a rookie QB as the No. 2 in Malik Willis, health is a priority. Tannehill likely won’t be put in any precarious positions play call-wise. 

Ryan Tannehill PropUnder 12.5 rushing yards (-111)

  • Marcus Mariota Under 24.5 rushing yards (-110)
  • Jameis Winston Over 10.5 rushing yards (-135)


  • Michael Carter Over 8.5 rush attempts (-115)
  • Mike Gesicki Under 30.5 receiving yards (-125)


  • Samuel Over 50.5 receiving yards (-105)
  • Pollard Under 30.5 rushing yards (-110)
  • Tannehill Under 12.5 rushing yards (-111)

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