NFL player props can be volatile. Some of the props we discussed on The Action Network NFL Podcast just last week have moved enough where I wouldn’t bet them anymore.
Fortunately, 12 of the 32 props we covered in our team previews are still “in play” for me at their current price. So if you’re looking for some last-minute action on futures before the season kicks off, here’s your starting place.
Kareem Hunt Over/Under 10.5 Touchdowns? (-115/-115)
After Hunt led the league in rushing and scored 11 touchdowns as a rookie, it’s safe to expect regression from him this season.
He was given a massive workload after Spencer Ware suffered a season-ending injury last preseason and benefited from getting touches all over the field. On top of having to compete with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins for touchdowns, Hunt will have a hard time matching his rookie numbers with Ware back.
This number is 0.5-1.0 touchdowns too high. Take the value on the under.
The Bet: Under 10.5 touchdowns
Philip Rivers Over/Under 26.5 Passing TDs? (-125/-105)
Rivers has failed to throw for 27+ touchdowns only once over the past 10 seasons. That is not to say that I feel this is a 90% chance of being a winner, but I would have this prop a full touchdown higher.
There is no doubt that losing tight end Hunter Henry to a torn ACL will hurt Rivers in the red zone, even with veteran Antonio Gates back on the roster. But look for him to lean on Keenan Allen and the Williamses (Mike and Tyrell) to help clear the over on this prop.
The Bet: Over 26.5 touchdowns
Matthew Stafford Over/Under 4,299.5 Passing Yards? (+100/-120)
Stafford’s pass attempts have been trending down since a career-high 727 in 2012, and the Lions indicated they want to be even more balanced in 2018 by spending a second-round pick on Kerryon Johnson and bringing in LeGarrette Blount.
While this should still be a highly efficient passing offense, fewer attempts have me with a slight lean toward the under. And after making it through seven straight seasons without missing a single game, any regression in injury luck would provide a slight additional edge.
The Bet: Under 4,299.5 passing yards
Dalvin Cook Over/Under 8.5 Touchdowns? (-125/-105)
While I believe Cook should be near 100% by Week 1 following the ACL tear he suffered in Week 4 last season, this prop offers slight value because a running back returning from an ACL tear is never a sure thing.
Another factor working against Cook is that Latavius Murray will likely steal goal-line carries, meaning Cook will have to earn every one of his scores and can’t bank on many cheap 1-yarders.
The Bet: Under 8.5 touchdowns
Demaryius Thomas Under 1,000.5 Receiving Yards? (-115/-115)
Thomas is entering the twilight of his career. He turns 31 in December and saw the Broncos this year draft a couple of prospects who could replace him in the coming years.
The impressive rookie Courtland Sutton has made some noise in the preseason. He could eat into both Thomas’ and Emmanuel Sanders’ targets as soon as this year; both veteran receivers have benefited from the lack of a third receiving option in past years.
This prop is a good 50-100 yards too high. There’s value on the under.
The Bet: Under 1,000.5
Marshawn Lynch Over/Under 675.5 Rushing Yards? (-105/-125)
When Lynch came out of retirement at 31 years old, it was anyone’s guess how it would turn out. But the result was better than anyone could have expected.
He managed to rush for 891 yards on only 207 carries last season, proving he still has some gas left in the tank. And based on how he looks heading into 2018, there’s a chance that he’s in even better shape than he was last season.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden would be wise to give Lynch around 250 carries this year. And given the sheer volume he’s expected to get behind a solid offensive line, I think this prop easily clears the total — especially considering Lynch has never had durability issues throughout his illustrious career.
The Bet: Over 675.5 rushing yards
Russell Wilson Over/Under 3,850.5 Passing Yards? (-105/-125)
Wilson’s pass attempts have increased in each of his six NFL seasons, but there are reasons to believe that trend will end in 2018: The Seahawks brought in a more conservative offensive coordinator in Brian Schottenheimer and spent their first-round pick on running back Rashaad Penny. And after losing wide receiver Paul Richardson and tight end Jimmy Graham, Wilson will be forced to rely almost wholly on receiver Doug Baldwin, who missed the entire preseason due to a knee injury and could be less than 100% to start the season.
All signs point to there being value on the under here. This number is about 75 yards too high.
The Bet: Under 3,850.5 passing yards
Todd Gurley Over/Under 15.5 Total Touchdowns? (-115/-115)
This is no slam dunk — I currently have Gurley getting exactly 15 total touchdowns — but there are reasons to lean toward the under.
After his whopping 19 total scores in 2017, the laws of regression are not in favor of a repeat — especially with his six receiving touchdowns on 64 catches. He had as many receptions in his first two seasons combined and went scoreless.
The dramatic offensive turnaround under coach Sean McVay makes me believe Gurley is more likely to approach 2017’s numbers than regress all the way back to his 2015-16 rates. But another path to the under on this prop will be if rookie preseason star John Kelly can carve out a role that allows the Rams to spell Gurley more.
The Bet: Under 15.5 touchdowns
Blake Bortles Over/Under 13 Interceptions? (-115/-115)
Bortles’ interception rate has gone down in each of his four seasons and was a respectable 2.5% in 2017. While it’s fair to assume that Bortles will either stabilize in this range or regress toward his 2.9% career average, total pass attempts will factor in here.
Last season, the Jaguars benefited from having a premier defense that managed to avoid any serious injuries. This allowed them to shut down their opponents and have a run-heavy offense to help shorten the game and limit Bortles’ pass attempts. It’s likely that he’ll need to throw more this year, which would play right into the over.
It’s also worth noting that Bortles has never thrown fewer than 13 interceptions in a season; the 13 he threw in 2017 were a career low. A better number for this prop would be 14.
The Bet: Over 13 interceptions
Delanie Walker Over/Under 5.5 Touchdowns? (-110/-120)
Despite entering his age-34 season, Walker is still playing at a high level and will be a focal point of the Tennessee offense again this season.
However, with the potential breakouts of wide receivers Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor, the Titans likely won’t have to lean on Walker as much as they have in years past. There’s also a chance that they allow their tight end of the future, Jonnu Smith, to see the field more in his second season.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Walker finishes with exactly five touchdowns, but the odds are in favor of the under.
The Bet: Under 5.5 touchdowns
Alvin Kamara Over/Under 12.5 Total Touchdowns? (-110/-120)
Kamara might be the most fascinating player to project for 2018.
While he is sure to regress in terms of efficiency, he is likely to get a big-enough increase in volume that it’s fair to expect him to repeat last season’s eye-popping performance. But it’s more likely that he will duplicate last year’s yardage totals than he will his 13 total touchdowns.
However, there is no doubt that Drew Brees will have positive touchdown regression in the passing game, which could keep Kamara in the range of 10 to 12 touchdowns.
The Bet: Under 12.5 total touchdowns
Calvin Ridley Over/Under 550 Receiving Yards? (-130/-130)
Betting on a rookie wide receiver tends to be a risky proposition, but Ridley could be the exception.
He turns 24 in December and is only six months younger than fellow former Alabama receiver Amari Cooper (who is entering his fourth NFL season). Ridley will find a role in the Falcons’ efficient passing attack almost immediately after they selected him in the first round to give defenses someone else to focus on beyond Julio Jones.
If Ridley manages to stay healthy all season, he’ll need to manage only 35 yards a game for this to cash.
This prop is about 75 yards too low.
The Bet: Over 550 yards