Last night the Chiefs and Texans kicked off the 2020 NFL Season. It really wasn’t much of a game, the Chiefs waxing the Texans for the next decade will be the equivalent to Tom Brady’s Patriots dominating the Steelers every time they met up.
Chiefs-Texans about to be Pats-Steelers for the next decade.
— Crossing State Lines (@CSLPodcast) September 11, 2020
And while it was great to get the NFL back, the real NFL we all know and love starts on Sunday. When you’re constantly checking your fantasy team and the projected points total. Turning on NFL Red Zone at noon and not turning it off until like seven. And for those of you who don’t have NFL Red Zone I truly feel sorry for you, it’s just the best. Betting on the early kick games and then either trying to double your winnings or drag yourself out of a hole during the late kick offs.
And while I am a betting man and have some spreads in which I like this week (Panthers +3) I am here more to talk about some season long prop bets.
You may remember I wrote a blog way back in I think May about picking a NFL MVP and I will still stand by that blog and pick. But I have also found some other good value plays that I like for the 2020 season.
MVP: Russell Wilson +800
Alright let’s start with the relatively easy one. Read my blog for a more in depth analysis of the award. But over the last decade I broke down what makes this an easier choice than most. It goes to the quarterback, on a playoff team, who did not win it the year before and no rookies and the story has to be decent. So while Lamar Jackson seems like a good bet again, he is not. We have seen what he does already, the WOW factor won’t be there again.
But I feel good about taking Russell Wilson here. Wilson has played well enough to take home the award in other seasons and it feels like the narrative on him is becoming more “he’s doing all of this in spite of.” Plus making the postseason in the consensus agreed toughest division in football the NFC West makes this I think an easy choice.
And the value here is incredible for a player as talented as Wilson. Depending on your sports book and what line you get, put down $10 today on Wilson at these odds, nets you $80 at the end of the season.
Carolina Panthers: Over 5.5 Wins
I think the Panthers are getting a bad rap this season. For some reason no one believes in Carolina. While their defense is putrid, the offense should be actually pretty good. Last years Carolina team was terrible, but remember that outside of two games with Cam Newton their quarterback was Kyle Allen. They have since brought in Teddy Bridgewater who might not be a sexy name who makes a big splash but he is a good quarterback. He went 5-0 as the Saints starter last season and now as the facilitator of the football between Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore who is a criminally underrated wide out, watch out the Panthers will be a tougher out than people expect of them.
Now yes they have a new head coach in Matt Rhule. For those that don’t know much about Rhule, he is a fiery personality. Sometimes that doesn’t work in the NFL, sometimes it does, depends on the situation. But what I do know is that he took a downtrodden Baylor team and turned them around into a Big 12 and College Football Playoff contender. With a good defense, which mind you, is a tough thing to do in the Big 12.
I expect bigger things than a 5-11 season out of the Panthers this year. And again, they are +3 this Sunday, at home, against the Raiders.
Most Passing Yards: Tom Brady +900
They will be throwing the ball all over the yard down in Tompa Bay this season. While the Bucs added Leonard Fournette last week, I don’t see that as a move towards taking the ball out of Brady’s hands. When you have the receiving corps that Brady does, you’re going to throw it.
While Byron Leftwich is the man making the play calls into Tom Brady’s helmet, Bruce Arians loves the passing attack scheme. In his years at Arizona, Carson Palmer finished in the top ten in passing yards three times. And in his first season in Tampa Bay Jameis Winston led the league in yards last season. Did I mention they added Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to the team?
Brady has also led the league three times in yards, with his last time taking home the award not too long ago during the 2017 season. If there were ever a season that Brady wants to prove himself, it’s this year.
Wild Card Team: NFC West – Seahawks (+230), 49ers (+250), Rams (+300), Cardinals (+450)
This year the new NFL playoff format comes into play where there will be seven playoff teams, and only one gets the bye week to the divisional round and now we have three wild card teams. As I mentioned before the NFC West is the best division in football. However I find it murky to predict a division winner. That’s why I would say it’s more plausible that we could see at the very least one, if not two of the wild cards come from this division making this a lucrative bet.
The Niners are still the best team in the division, but Super Bowl hangovers work in mysterious ways. The Seahawks are usually always in the playoff picture. The Cardinals with the addition of Hopkins and the possible break out of Kyler Murray could be the very lucrative pick here. They were better than people realize last season.
The Rams are really the only team I can’t get behind here, I think they are a dumpster fire waiting to happen. They are top heavy, with plenty of star names on that team but not a ton of depth.
Still you can pick and choose which teams you feel best about and hedge who you want to hedge, but someone from the NFC West is getting a Wild Card spot.
Defensive Player of the Year: Nick Bosa (+1400)
I actually can’t believe this is the line for Nick Bosa. He’s the Bosa on the 49ers by the way.
In the last decade, only three times has the Defensive Player of the year award not gone to a pass rusher. Troy Polamalu (2010), Luke Keuchly (2013) and Stephon Gilmore (2019). As you can see, no repeats in the secondary as well, where as pass rushers have repeated as DPOY.
Nick Bosa won rookie defensive player of the year in 2019. Only once in this last decade has someone gone from RDPOY to straight up DPOY and that was Keuchly (2012-2013). But I believe Bosa will be the second one to do it. Like I said, he’s a pass rusher and he was a monster down the stretch for the Niners. I
Most total pressures generated among rookies in 2019:
1. Nick Bosa – 80
2. Josh Allen – 49
3. Maxx Crosby – 45
4. Montez Sweat – 31 pic.twitter.com/zGwoGWaWu1
— PFF (@PFF) September 6, 2020
And that value at +1400? You have to take that all day long.
I know he’s not the greatest of human beings, I’m not asking you to love the guy or stand with his beliefs, but just use him to win some cash, that’s all.
Josh Allen 525.5 Regular Season Rushing Yards: Under (-115)
Josh Allen has become a fantasy football darling through his first two seasons because of his ability to run the ball and score quite often for a quarterback who’s known more for his big arm.
So while 525.5 rushing yards seems certainly attainable for the QB I don’t think he will run quite as much as in the last two seasons. In fact the Bills themselves might be trying to curb his scrambling unless absolutely necessary.
In 2018, Allen appeared in 12 total games and rushed for a career high 631 yards on 89 carries. An average of 7.4 yards per attempt and 52.6 yards per game.
In 2019, Allen started in all 16 games for Buffalo. He rushed for only 510 yards on 109 carries. An average of 4.7 yards a carry and 31.9 yards a game.
So while two years is a very small sample size we already see his average rushing attempts and yards decrease from one year to the next. The addition of Stefon Diggs and rookie pass catching back, Zack Moss, I am sure will also keep Allen anchored more to the pocket and want to use his arm before his legs.
The book is also out on Allen. His rookie season teams did not take his running ability quite as serious, allowing him to be unchecked and to take off whenever. Now teams gameplan for that, making Allen try and beat them with his lack luster accuracy rather than with his legs.
Comeback Player of the Year: Cam Newton (+300), Ben Roethlisberger (+350)
I am here again telling you to hedge your bets on this one.
I can’t determine who will clearly win this award but I feel as though it is a forgone conclusion that it will be one of these two players. They’re both quarterbacks, playing for historically rich franchises and both have good comeback stories.
It’s very possible both of these players lead their respective teams to the postseason, which would automatically make them the front runner for this award.
Your other options are Alex Smith (+400) which is a nice thought, but not sure he ever starts or gets any playing time. Matthew Stafford (+700) is just a nope, nope, nope from me as long as Matt Patricia runs that inept Lions team. Rob Gronkowski (+1100) though he would seemingly fall more towards Brady makes Gronk great than Gronk actually coming back. JJ Watt (+1400) though he isn’t a quarterback which with the candidates this year takes him out of the running. And Myles Garrett (+1600) absolutely no way, are you kidding me?
Hedge your bet here between Newton and Roethlisberger and you’ll win some cash, guaranteed.
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