By Steven Marcuz (@sidskeat)
Even though the NFL does a great job of keeping us tuned in every month, June is tough. We get a small glimpse of our favorite teams or fantasy stars in OTAs but in the blink of an eye they’re gone again and we are left waiting for training camps. But that doesn’t stop the sportsbook from putting up all kinds of things for us to throw our money at. Although it’s only June, I thought I’d give out some prop bets that caught my eye. I feel that there was some value to be had with these bets, plus I’m pretty bored. So here you go!
(All prop totals and values taken from sportsbok.ag)
Matt Ryan Total TD Passes Thrown UNDER 32.5 (-115)
I don’t think that anyone expected the season that the Falcons ended up having last year and no one expected Matt Ryan to be as good as we has either. He had the most efficient season of his career, breaking personal records in yards, TDs, INTs, completion percentage and a few more stats that you probably don’t care about. But that career performance is what concerns me. This season we just saw is not the Matt Ryan we’ve come to know and tolerate. The biggest difference is the departure of OC Kyle Shanahan, who skipped town to coach the 49ers. I know the Falcons have said they’re going to keep the offense the same but I think that’s easier said than done. But this is about touchdowns only. Focus Steven. Matt Ryan has only thrown 30+ TDs prior to last year one time and even then, he wouldn’t have covered this line. The season following that 32 TD season, he threw 6 less TDs to end with only 26. I think Matt Ryan ends 2017 closer to his career average of 26 TDs. I don’t think the Falcons as a whole will be as efficient as they were in 2016 which combined with a regression for Matt Ryan personally means he falls short on this prop bet.
Jameis Winston Total TD Passes Thrown UNDER 30.5 (-115)
As most of you who read this also have some interest in the fantasy side of football, this one might come as little bit of a surprise. With the offseason that the Bucs have just had it’s hard to believe that I would bet on Winston to fall short of this TD total. The Bucs added DeSean Jackson, deep threat extraordinaire, to the mix. In the draft, they added TE OJ Howard, another WR in Chris Godwin plus more RB depth with Jeremy McNichols. If you’ve listened to the FLAFFL House podcast you know I’m a big fan of Jameis Winston and have him ranked as a top 10 QB this season. That said, I don’t think that will be from a huge boost in TD production. Dirk Koetter had mentioned numerous times last year that he would like to see Winston throwing less and you’re already starting to hear those same sentiments again this year. I think the Bucs want to see improved utilization and production from the stable of RBs they have back there while trying to limit the amount of mistakes Winston tends to make. I see the addition of all these offensive weapons as an opportunity for Winston to help out his overall efficiency as opposed to boosting his overall production. I see 30 TDs as a high projected ceiling for Winston and feel he falls just short of covering this one.
Le’Veon Bell Total Rushing + Receiving TDs OVER 11.5 (-130)
This is probably my favorite prop bet of the 4 which means I think it’s the easiest and has the best chance of covering. Although upon further research, I was amazed to see that Bell has not passed or covered this line in any of the 4 seasons that he’s played. One of the main reasons being is that he’s only played one full 16 game season (2014) where he fell just short, ending the year with 11 total TDs. Whether it be through suspension or injury, Bell has failed to complete 3 of 4 seasons which is something that must be taken into consideration when looking at this total. Being an optimist and an overall positive person, I like to assume the best. So hopefully Bell has gotten his head screwed on straight and he can make it through this year unscathed. In 12 games last year, he was able to score 9 total TDs so if you’re projecting a full season, I think this total is a lock. The Steelers, if you can believe it, will also have more weapons this year than they did a year before with the return of Martavis Bryant along with drafting JuJu Smith-Schuster to beef up an already explosive receiving core. This offense is potentially unstoppable. Bell (when healthy and not suspended) is a machine and I’d love to see what we can get from him in a full season. I think we get to see that this year.
Marcus Mariota Total Passing + Rushing TDs OVER 29.5 (-115)
I’ll admit, it took me a lot longer than it should have to realize that Marcus Mariota was a legit starter in the NFL. I was burned in 2015 with his season debut of 4 TDs and no INTs and it turns out that was just a sign of things to come. The dude hasn’t thrown an INT in the red zone to this day and his second year in the league saw him throwing more TDs while making less mistakes. The Titans were once viewed as a ground and pound, smash mouth offense and they still have the tools to be just that, but they’ve also added weapons that alludes to them letting Mariota really open it up in 2017. Tennessee just signed FA Eric Decker and back in April they used the 5th overall pick to draft Corey Davis. Mariota scored 28 total TDs last season without playing in the season finale due to broken leg and I think that he will be even better this year with not only his improved offense, but an improved defense as well which should lead to more opportunities to score per game. All of sudden the AFC South has three teams worthy of competing for a playoff spot. If the Titans want to have a legit shot, they’ll need their signal caller to have a great year, and I think they’ll get it.
Dak Prescott Total Passing + Rushing TDs UNDER 30.5 (-115)
I don’t think anyone expected the rookie season from Dak we saw last year. He completed almost 68% of his passes while throwing 23 TDs and only 4 INTs while rushing for another 6 TDs. I think that is his ceiling for 2017 unfortunately. For 2017, I think he throws less TDs, rushes for less TDs, and throws more INTs as the sophomore slump claims another victim.
Andrew Luck Total Sacks OVER 32.5 (-115)
I think everyone knows that Andrew Luck has spent more time on his back in his time in the NFL than...I’m actually gonna take the high road here. He gets sacked...a lot. In two of his four healthy-ish seasons he has been sacked more than 40 times. The Colts have done some work to their line but I don’t think it’s enough to make this
Perfect Regular Season by Any Team (16W-0L) NO (-1500)
If you’ve got the money, you can go ahead and throw a few thousand on this one and sit back and wait to collect. For every $15 you can win $1 but this bet has only failed to cover, what, 2 times over the course of NFL history? It as close to a lock as wagers get these days, throw down! [Editor’s Note: Or you could bet on the Patriots to do this again and win $8 for every $1 you wager!]