NFL Week 1 Player Props Predictions: 3 Exotic Picks for Jalen Hurts, Najee Harris, Matt Ryan
Joe Sargent/Getty Images. Pictured: Najee Harris.
While sides and totals are still the standard when it comes to NFL betting, player props have exploded in popularity for the casual and seasoned bettor alike. New prop markets are being offered every season and finding an edge in one of these offerings can be quite profitable.
For the 2022 season, while I’m known as the anytime touchdown prop specialist with The Action Network, I’ve decided that I can’t deny my love for ALL player prop bets and will give out my best ones every week. This could include markets like receiving yards, rushing attempts, passing yards, touchdown passes, interceptions and many more.
Each week during the regular season and playoffs, I will give out my three favorite player prop picks on Fridays. For the 2021 season (postseason included), my record on props was 43-25 for +21.7 units in profit. Had you blindly tailed me each week, you’d have made money in 17 of 22 weeks.
As always, you can get all of these picks as soon as I lock them in by downloading The Action Network app.
Here we go for Week 1!
NFL Player Prop Picks
Over 47.5 Rushing Yards (-110)
Jalen Hurts’ rushing yards was one of my go-to bets last season. He topped 48 yards or more in nine of 15 games, including against a very similar Lions squad in Week 8 (71 yards on 7 carries). Detroit also ranked 29th in rushing yards allowed per game last season.
This number is a bit higher than we were used to getting during the 2021 season — when it was in the low 40’s — but as long as it’s below 50, I’m going to keep riding it. Last season, after Hurts had a six-game stretch of averaging 56.4 rushing yards from Weeks 7-12, books had no choice but to up his prop line to 49.5. He dealt with an ankle injury the remainder of the season and never topped that number again, but the ability is still there. Hurts led all quarterbacks in rushing attempts (139) and was fourth in yards per carry (5.8).
Over 3.5 Receptions (+115)
I hate to use the term “trap bet” but this almost seems too good to be true. The Steelers' Najee Harris had 74 receptions last season, which was the season leader for all running backs. Even if you just did simple math of dividing 74 catches by 17 games, it still comes out to 4.3 receptions per game. But don’t just bet it on that. Take a look at the Bengals' defense.
Despite its Cinderella run to the Super Bowl, Cincinnati had some pretty clear flaws on defense. One phase being pass-catching running backs. The Bengals ranked 28th in receptions allowed to running backs during the regular season, and during their playoff run, they allowed multiple RBs to have three or more catches.
Harris is likely going to be asked to be an even bigger threat in the passing game with starting QB Mitch Trubisky’s tendencies to throw balls in the dirt. Did I mention Harris also had a game against Cincy last season in which he had 14 receptions? Based on volume alone (5.5 targets per game in 2021), I’m taking the swing.
To Throw Interception (+170)
Interception props may have single-handedly been the most profitable market I played in 2021. Banking on the incompetence of quarterbacks is a guilty pleasure of mine and some of my “victims” last season included Ryan Tannehill (x2), Matthew Stafford, Patrick Mahomes (x2) and Baker Mayfield, all at plus-money.
We’re going against the grain and picking a former MVP to get off to a rough start with his new team. We’re banking on Colts quarterback Matt Ryan to cough one up and throw an interception against the Texans.
Ryan has had double-digit INTs in four of the past five seasons, and he’s playing on the road again a divisional rival. A lot went wrong in Houston last season, but one of the lone bright spots was its ability to force interceptions. The Texans were seventh in total INT and one of two teams to be in the top 10 in that category while also having a losing record. Boasting an improved secondary with rookie Derek Stingley, I'm willing to take a stab on these odds.