- Patrick Mahomes probably let down OVER bettors
- Cam Newton rush yards are worth risking the biscuit
- Look at a longshot to catch Tom Brady's first touchdown
It’s not very often a quarterback passes for three touchdowns en route to a 14-point blowout win and still manages to let down bettors. However, it’s quite likely that Patrick Mahomes’ 211 passing yards against the Texans Thursday night allowed online sportsbooks to cash in on his pedestrian passing total. The Chiefs’ franchise quarterback passed for fewer than 251 yards just three times and averaged 297 passing yards in two games against Houston last year. If you took Mahomes’ passing total OVER and, in turn, embraced an “L” on your first NFL prop bet of Week 1, the good news is BetOnline offers hundreds of player props every week of the regular season. Here are a few of my favorites opening weekend.
Quarterback – Cam Newton 41-or-more Rush Yards (+146)
Still only 31 years old, Newton has plenty left in the tank. Prior to his injury-shortened 2019 season due to a Lisfranc foot injury, the Patriots new quarterback averaged 34.9 rush yards per game in 2018 and 38.4 in 125 career games. In its current state, New England’s receiving corps is below league-average, which would leave one to believe that Newton has the green light to tuck the ball and run when he deems the timing is right. One of the favorites to win Comeback Player of the Year, Newton has a shot to start the season off on the right foot with a big game against Miami.
Quarterback – Dak Prescott UNDER 300 Pass Yards
Leaning on the UNDER here isn’t a slight of Prescott nor his receiving corps – which reloaded with the addition of CeeDee Lamb via the draft – but more to do with the fact that Ezekiel Elliott is going to run over the Rams. Last season, Zeke racked up 117 yards on 24 carries with two scores, while RB2 Tony Pollard kicked in 131 rush yards on 12 carries. Thus leaving Prescott to only pass for 212 yards. The Rams defense lost a critical cog in Cory Littleton to free agency, leaving their linebacking unit well-below average. This will open up running lanes for Zeke once he hits the second level.
Running Back – Josh Jacobs 103-or-more-yards (+118)
With a new-look receiving corps, Derek Carr’s constant will reside in the backfield in the form of second-year tailback Josh Jacobs. One of many former Alabama backs wreaking havoc in the NFL, Jacobs missed three games due to a shoulder injury last season, but was in contention for Rookie of the Year honors pre-bum shoulder. He averaged better than 88 rush yards per game last season and faces a below-average Panthers defense that lost Luke Keuchly to retirement this past offseason. Carolina’s defense allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs last season and opposing backs averaged 5.2 yards per carry.
Running Back – Austin Ekeler vs Cincy
One of the most underrated players in the NFL, Ekeler lost an ally when Philip Rivers decided to take his talents to Indianapolis. With Rivers behind center, Ekeler caught 92 passes on 108 targets last season. With Rivers out and Tyrod Taylor in for the time being, this is a tandem you want to study before placing any bets. Now that Melvin Gordon is in Denver, Ekeler is the featured back, but at just 5-foot-10-inches is undersized and won’t be slamming between tackles if Los Angeles wants to get 16 games out of him. The juice on 6-or-more receptions at BetOnline is -111 and seems high with Taylor behind center. Believe it’s best to watch and observe because Ek can be a cash cow the rest of the season once we have a firmer grasp on the new-look Chargers offense.
Wide Receiver – Michael Thomas 10+ Receptions (+183)
Tampa Bay’s secondary allowed the most fantasy football points to opposing wide receivers last season. Though most pundits believe year-over-year improvement is inevitable, containing Michael Thomas this Sunday is not. The league’s top receiver of a year ago averaged 9.5 receptions per game in two against the Buccs last year. Though they added veteran Emmanuel Sanders, Thomas should maintain his target share. Brees targeted his favorite receiver 185 times for a reason and that’s trust. The competitive fire of Brees looking to outperform Tom Brady in his Tampa Bay debut will be cranked to 11 and Thomas will be the beneficiary.
Wide Receiver – Odell Beckham Jr. UNDER 75 Rec. yards
Forget his off-the-field drama, Odell Beckham is clinging to what remains of his star receiver status. Is that too harsh? Maybe, but the proof is in the pudding and 1,035 receiving yards and four touchdowns – his 2019 stat line – isn’t going to cut it if the Browns want to usurp the Ravens in the AFC North. It just so happens the team formerly known as the Cleveland Browns host the 2.0 iteration this Sunday in Baltimore. OBJ averaged just 32 receiving yard in two meetings with the Ravens last season. As a placeholder, I just put UNDER 75 until more definitive OVER/UNDER odds hit the board Sunday morning, but a good rule of thumb is to fade Beckham props this weekend.
Tight End – George Kittle 74+ Yards (-115)
One of the most colorful characters in all of football, Kittle punished secondaries throughout the 2019 season. He averaged 75.2 receiving yards per game in 14 contests as Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite target. Through he missed the second matchup against the Cardinals, Kittle made some noise in the first one to the tune of six receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown. The 2020 Niners offense looks just like the 2019 version, which means more of the same from Kittle against the Cards this Sunday.
Tom Brady’s First Touchdown Pass
Mike Evans is nursing a hamstring injury, but did practice Friday, which is a great sign that he’ll play this Sunday against the Saints. As you can see above, Evans and Chris Godwin are the top two favorites to catch Tom Brady’s first touchdown pass. Brady’s security blanket in New England all those years, Rob Gronkowski, is 3-to-1 to haul in the first score. However, if you want to take a flier on a longshot, look at Scotty Miller at +2200. The Buccaneers slot receiver embodies similar attributes to Julian Edelman and while Miller didn’t play quarterback in college like Jules, they both played for Mid-American Conference programs, Edelman Kent State and Miller Bowling Green State. The return on investment could pave the way to a profitable 2020 season.