Our 5 Best NFL Prop Bets for Sunday’s Main Week 1 Slate
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Sammy Watkins, Philip Rivers, Christian Kirk
- Mike Randle identifies five NFL props worth betting for Sunday's main Week 1 slate.
- They involve Philip Rivers, Lamar Jackson, Sammy Watkins, Christian Kirk and Dallas Goedert.
NFL player prop bets offer tremendous value on the board every week. They receive less action and money than the traditional bets, so savvy bettors can gain a big edge by reacting to news quicker than the books. The betting lines for prop bets are often less efficient than NFL sides and totals, opening up attractive opportunities.
One of the best resources to help determine which prop bets to wager is our FantasyLabs Player Props tool.
We leverage the listed prop bets against our player projections from Sean Koerner, the No. 1 in-season fantasy football ranker in three of the past four seasons.
Each prop bet receives a Bet Quality grade between 1 and 10, with 10 being the biggest edge.
Now let’s take a look at five props with a Bet Quality of at least 8 for Sunday’s main slate. Last season, props with a grade of 8 or higher went 992-664-47 (59.9% win rate).
Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
THE PICK: Over 0.5 Passing Touchdowns (-250)
Bet Quality: 10/10
In the eight games Jackson started last season (including playoffs), he threw seven touchdowns. While that ratio could lead bettors to take the under, our model has this bet as the highest projected differential.
In their last 32 home games, the Dolphins have allowed an average of 22.8 points to opponents. Last season, they ranked dead last in weighted defense. Their most recent offseason moves have caused many to speculate if Miami is openly tanking the upcoming season.
Our model projects 1.3 passing touchdowns for Jackson, a full half-point more than the implied total of 0.8. Look for the Ravens defense to pressure veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick into turnovers, and bet on Jackson finding the end zone through the air at least once.
The -250 line is high, but it’s always worth an investment to bet a 10-graded prop with more than a 100% difference in expectation.
Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins
THE PICK: Under 60.5 Receiving Yards (-115)
Bet Quality: 10/10
Watkins truthers keep waiting for a bigger piece of the Chiefs’ offensive pie, but it won’t come this week at Jacksonville.
Last season, Watkins was a much more efficient player at home. He averaged 78.5 receiving yards in four home games, but only 34.1 receiving yards in six road games. This prop is based on the public belief that the Jaguars defense will “focus” attention on Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, opening the door for Watkins to have a decent game. However, head coach Andy Reid does not shy away from targeting his best players, and Watkins’ target share was significantly less on the road. In 2018, he saw a 52.1% decrease in his per-game road targets vs. home targets.
The Jaguars defense was less efficient than their dominant 2017 version, but still finished sixth-best in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA.
Our model projects Watkins at 43.6 receiving yards, more than 31% less than the implied projection. This under grades out as a 10 in our props tool. Last season, those specific type of prop bets finished with a remarkable 72.7% win rate (152-57).
Chargers QB Philip Rivers
THE PICK: Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns (-137)
Bet Quality: 9/10
Several factors point to a multiple touchdown day for Rivers.
First, the Chargers have averaged 25.7 points at home over the past two seasons. Second, they will play this game without running back Melvin Gordon, who has scored 28 rushing touchdowns over the past three seasons. Finally, they face a Colts team that ranked fourth-best in run defense DVOA last season. Indianapolis has allowed fewer than one rushing touchdown per game in each of the past two seasons.
In his past 24 home games, Rivers has averaged 1.96 passing touchdowns per game. With an Indianapolis pass defense that was only 20th-best last season, and Chargers tight end Hunter Henry now healthy, Rivers should easily go over on the 1.5 touchdown passes.
Eagles TE Dallas Goedert
THE PICK: Over 21.5 Receiving Yards (-115)
Bet Quality: 8/10
A preseason calf injury combined with Zach Ertz’s historical 2018 season produces an easily attainable receiving yard prop bet for this second-year tight end.
Goedert was a full participant in Friday’s practice and should see a dramatic increase in his 54.7% snap share from last season. Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson has stated he will deploy more 12 personnel sets, meaning more opportunities for the athletic playmaker.
While the Redskins have ranked 12th-best in tight end receiving yards allowed in 2018, they’ve historically struggled to limit tight end production in Philadelphia. Ertz himself has averaged 9.33 targets, eight receptions and 94.7 receiving yards in the last three home games against Washington. The Redskins are strong at the cornerback position, which should limit top receiver, Alshon Jeffery, allowing Goedert to roam the short to intermediate area for most of the game.
We project Goedert at 25 receiving yards, a 12% increase over his implied total.
Cardinals WR Christian Kirk
THE PICK: Under 4.5 Receptions (-162)
Bet Quality: 8/10
Kirk was a popular early-summer fantasy target based on the belief that 2019 would be his breakout season. However, his preseason usage with the Arizona starters was noticeably inconsistent.
Kyler Murray has played 28 snaps this preseason. Christian Kirk has only been in on 13 of them.
Note Kirk has been in slot on 77% of his snaps. That's where Larry Fitzgerald (17-of-28 snaps, 88% in slot) lines up.
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) August 16, 2019
If the Cardinals use a majority of three wide receiver sets, All-Pro Larry Fitzgerald will dominate the slot work. The signing of veteran Michael Crabtree combined with rookies Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson will further limit Kirk’s opportunities.
Last season, while logging an 85.9% snap share per PlayerProfiler, Kirk totaled four or fewer receptions in 10 of his 12 games. It’s next to impossible to see him log that percentage of snaps given his target competition and preseason usage.
With rookie Kyler Murray starting his first game, this is my favorite Week 1 prop on the Sunday slate. We project an 11% decrease from Kirk’s 4.3 implied reception total.