Betting on defensive player props in the NFL is all about matchups. When it comes to Week 11 odds, I'm looking to fade a young Chiefs pass rusher against a future Hall of Fame right tackle while backing Lions end Aidan Hutchinson to have a field day in Detroit.
This week’s best sack and tackle props
- Aidan Hutchinson Over 0.75 sacks (-135 at DraftKings)
- Zaven Collins Under 0.25 sacks (-185 at bet365)
- George Karlaftis Under 0.25 sacks (-120 at bet365)
- Ahkello Witherspoon Over 2.5 solo tackles (+105 at DraftKings)
- Alex Singleton Over 9.5 tackles (+110 at DraftKings)
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Best Week 11 sack picks
Bears vs Lions: Aidan Hutchinson
Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson got off to a sizzling start this season. Although he hasn't picked up a sack in his last four games, the sophomore still has the sixth-best pass rush grade among all edge players according to Pro Football Focus.
On Sunday, Hutch gets a juicy divisional matchup against the Chicago Bears and rookie right tackle Darnell Wright, who has surrendered five sacks and has a pass block grade of 60.9. Justin Fields will also be back under center for Chicago and while he's extremely mobile, the Bears quarterback also has a tendency to stick around too long in the pocket and get hit.
In fact, backup QB Tyson Bagent was sacked on just 3.4% of his dropbacks when he took over for Fields — the lowest number in the league. However, Fields is 32nd in the league with a sack percentage of 12.9%.
Look for Hutchinson to get to Fields at least once in Week 11.
Aidan Hutchinson Prop: Over 0.75 sacks (-135 at DraftKings)
Cardinals vs Texans: Zaven Collins
Zaven Collins was the Arizona Cardinals' first-round pick in 2021, but the linebacker has been a bit of a disappointment so far. While Collins is starting to flash and already has a career-high 3.5 sacks, he's been held off the sack sheet in the last three games and he has a mediocre pass-rush grade of 65.8.
Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud was sacked 11 times in his first two games while he got adjusted to the speed of NFL defenses. However, he has made massive strides with his pocket awareness and has only been taken down eight times over the last seven games.
Collins can line up on either side of the line of scrimmage but regardless of where he comes from, he won't find it easy. Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil has a sizzling 80.8 pass blocking grade while right tackle George Fant has a 73.2 grade while allowing just one sack this year.
Zaven Collins Prop: Under 0.25 sacks (-185 at bet365)
MNF Eagles vs Chiefs: George Karlaftis
I should start calling this part of my column the "fade against Lane Johnson" pick. I've often found myself betting against whichever edge rusher has the unenviable task of matching up against the All-Pro Philadelphia Eagles right tackle.
Karlaftis is having a productive campaign with six sacks but he's largely been held in check by above-average offensive linemen. Now he faces the best RT in the league in Johnson, who has a pass-blocking grade of 80.1 and has given up just one sack since the start of the 2021 season.
George Karlaftis Prop: Under 0.25 sacks (-120 at bet365)
Best Week 11 tackle picks
Seahawks vs Rams: Ahkello Witherspoon
The Seattle Seahawks look to avenge an early-season beatdown against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Rams cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon didn't need to do much in that first meeting since Seahawks QB Geno Smith was unable to throw the ball in the second half.
However, Smith should have more time to throw downfield in this contest and he'll likely look to go after a subpar Rams secondary. That should mean plenty of work for Witherspoon, who has been making his tackles in recent weeks. The O/U on his solo stops for this week is set at 2.5 — a number he has eclipsed in each of his last five games.
Ahkello Witherspoon Prop: Over 2.5 solo tackles (+105 at DraftKings)
Vikings vs Broncos: Alex Singleton
It's the Grey Cup this Sunday, so it's fitting that I'm backing a former Grey Cup winner and CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player in Alex Singleton. The linebacker has been a tackling machine for an improving Denver Broncos defense and has racked up double-digit tackles in six of his last seven games.
Singleton has become an integral part of this stop unit and has played in every defensive snap for the Broncos since Week 4. It also helps that the Broncos will face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football.
With Joshua Dobbs at QB, Minnesota will likely run the ball at a high rate while throwing short and intermediate passes to the middle of the field — areas where Singleton patrols.
Alex Singleton Prop: Over 9.5 tackles (+110 at bet365)
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How are sack and tackle props calculated?
It's important to read the wording associated with the sack props at each specific sportsbook. Most books will list an Over/Under number which is set at 0.25 or 0.75, since players can be credited for 0.5 sacks for sharing a sack with a teammate. Other books will mark a sack as a "yes" or "no" proposition in which case half a sack will count as the player recording a sack.
Books often have props for solo tackles, assists, and tackles which are made up of both solo tackles and assisted.
Best strategies to bet sack and tackle props
There are several factors to consider when handicapping sack totals. The most obvious involves the defensive player himself. How often does he get sacks both in terms of his recent history and also over a larger sample size, and does he consistently generate pressure. A player might have picked up sacks in three consecutive games but if he doesn't consistently beat his blocker, he's likely due for regression. On the other side of things, a player might be held off the sack sheet in four straight games, but if he's constantly pressuring opposing passers, it's only a matter of time before he gets a sack.
Who the defender is matching up against is also an important factor. How well does the projected starter opposite from him perform as a pass blocker and is that opposing player injured or playing out of position? In addition, is the offense able or willing to double-team the defender? Certain quarterbacks also hold on to the ball longer, have less pocket awareness, or don't have the mobility to evade pass rushers.
It's also important to consider how the rest of his team will affect a player's ability to get sacks. Perhaps his defensive coordinator is using him more in coverage, perhaps another defender is poaching his sacks or allowing him to get easier matchups. Improved play in the secondary can also lead to coverage sacks.
Game situation also matters since an offense that throws the ball a lot or is expected to play from behind, will also give a defense more opportunity to get sacks.
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