It seems like we say this every July, but can you believe how close football season is? The Hall of Fame game is literally just two weeks away.
If you are looking for a distraction from your season-long fantasy prep, consider taking a look at some of the player and team props heading into this season. Here are some that caught our sharks eyes, and who they like as a favorite and underdog for each. For those interested in any of these lines, we are pulling them directly from the SportsBook.ag website.
Super Bowl Winner
Best Bet – LA Rams
Go Big or Go Home – Seattle Seahawks
It’s an all NFC West Super Bowl prediction… The Rams come in at +900 just behind the Patriots and Eagles for favorites this season, and with good reason. They went 11-5 last season, won the NFC West, but were ultimately knocked out in the wild card round by the Falcons. They return everyone and added Ndamukong Suh to what was already a dominant defensive line and arguably the best secondary in football.
The Seahawks are not a team that I love this season, but I think the line here is way off. Despite a bad year, they still finished 9-7 good for second in the NFC West. They have one of the better defensive lines in football, and their most glaring weakness, offensive line, should be improved this season. Duane Brown, Justin Britt, and Ethan Pocic are all solid, and Fluker will be an upgrade at RG, if they can even be average the Seahawks will return to the playoffs this season.
Best Bet – Carson Wentz
Go Big or Go Home – Patrick Mahomes
Wentz comes in at +550 to win the MVP, just behind Brady (+500), but in our eyes it’s his to lose heading into this season. We think he would have won it last season had he stayed healthy. The Eagles are the favorite to win the NFC again, and Wentz looked unbelievably good through 14 weeks last season with a 33/7 TD/INT ratio.
The fact that Andy Reid had Alex Smith playing at an MVP level for the past two season, and couldn’t wait to show him the door and move on to Mahomes says something. Reid clearly believes that Mahomes can play at an MVP level right now, and he has the roster around him to allow him to do so. With a solid offensive line, weapons like Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, and Kareem Hunt, and one of the best offensive coaches ever, Mahomes is going to put up big numbers this season, if the wins come along with the stats he could be a legit MVP candidate at +5000.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Best Bet – Josh Allen
Go Big or Go Home – Nyheim Hines
The best bet for offensive rookie of year may have been the hardest pick to make in this article. The line on the favorite, Saquon Barkley isn’t worth touching at +140, and the upside isn’t really there with Derrius Guice (+1500) and Ronald Jones (+1800) as both guys would have to not only win their position battle, but then be effective in offenses that can’t run the ball.
This pick is clearly opinionated, but we think Josh Allen was the best QB in the 2018 draft, has that rare combination of size and skill set that you can’t teach, and happens to play on a team that made the playoffs last season and has a QB in front of him that he could easily beat out this preseason.
I think there is a chance Nyheim Hines becomes a star in Indy. There are very few players in the league with his sort of skill set, and it’s going to be hard for Reich to not put the ball in his hands… particularly if Mack runs like he did last season (negative rushing yards on over 34% of his runs). Hines is a game breaker similar to Chris Thompson, and could carve out an even larger role as a runner than Thompson has been able to. As a related side note, this Colts offensive line is suddenly a young and extremely talented group that is going to be worth keeping an eye on this season.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Best Bet – Jaire Alexander
Go Big or Go Home – Kemoko Turay
Jaire Alexander comes in as our best bet simply because guys like Bradley Chubb (+175) and Roquan Smith (+500) carry very little upside at their current odds. At +1800 Jackson carries considerable upside, and should be a day one starter in a Packers defense that needs playmakers. Alexander should be able to immediately start for this Packers defense, yet has worse odds to win defense ROY than second round pick project corner Josh Jackson.
When I bet on defensive ROY I tend to look towards pass rushers. It’s much easier to win the award by racking up sacks than tackles or passes broken up. Turay looks like a Ziggy Ansah type raw pass rusher that could give opposing lines fits this season. A raw pass rusher out of Rutgers, Turay is 6’6″, explosive, and has an extremely high work rate. Matt Eberflus is a guy that has proven he is capable of coaching up his front 7, and I believe he will have polished Kemoko Turay into a pass rushing specialist by the start of this season.
Most Passing Yards
Best Bet – Matthew Stafford
Go Big or Go Home – Andrew Luck
Stafford was just 130 yards from winning this title last season, despite starting the season with a new OC yet again, having issues and injuries all over the offensive line, and having no run game. The offensive line has been reworked and is now a strength (PFF ranks as 8th best in NFL), and he gets Jim Bob Cooter back for another full season. With Tate, Jones, Galloway, and Riddick back he has plenty of weapons, and an improved running game will only help to sustain drives and keep opposing defenses guessing.
The fact that you can get Andrew Luck at +3000 is crazy. He is one of the top 5 QB’s in the NFL when healthy, and his 286 YPG in 2016 proves he is more than capable of putting up the numbers. This is the best offensive line he has had in front of him, gets an offensive minded HC in Frank Reich, and has a decent group of weapons around him with Hilton back, Ryan Grand added, a solid duo of tight ends in Ebron and Doyle, and a nice set of pass catching backs in Mack and Hines.
Most Rushing Yards
Best Bet – Leonard Fournette
Go Big or Go Home – Jay Ajayi
Fournette was 5th in the NFL in rushing YPG behind a bad offensive line in a predictable system. Bortles looks improved, and the offensive line will be dramatically improved with the addition of Andrew Norwell one of the better guards in football. He should be among attempts leaders again, and with a year of experience under his belt and improved QB and OL play, Fournette (+900) is a legit threat to lead the league in rushing at.
Jay Ajayi is not getting enough love this offseason and it shows with this +5000 number. The Eagles were the third leading run offense in the NFL and have no runners other than Ajayi. Ajayi averaged nearly 6 YPC here last season, and was 4th in the NFL in rushing yards on a bad Dolphins team in 2016. This is one prop bet that we are jumping on right now.
Most Receiving Yards
Best Bet – T.Y. Hilton
Go Big or Go Home – Davante Adams
If you simply consider best bet to be most likely to hit, it’s clearly either AB or Julion, but the odds on them are awful right now. At +2000, give me the 2017 receiving yards leader, T.Y. Hilton to make a push to lead the league again this season. Hilton led with a healthy Andrew Luck, and less of a share in targets than I think he will get this season. Even with Brissett at the help last season, Hilton finished 18th in the league on just 57 receptions.
I think Davante Adams will be a popular prop bet in Vegas this offseason, because of the insane target share he is in line for. Playing a somewhat favorable schedule, with the best QB on the planet, and a limited run game, should result in massive production for Adams. That being said, Jordy never finished higher than 4th in the NFL in receiving yards in this role, so Adams will have to have one of the better WR years the Pack have seen in order for this bet to pay off.