NFL nut Kyle Robins (@AhhYeahKyleYeah) shares his expert opinion on the best bets in the ante-post Player Props markets ahead of 2020/21.
NFL 2020/21: Player Props
Now when analysing markets involving quarterbacks, there are a lot of variables to take into consideration. Receiving core, offensive line, defensive strength and schedule. When looking at the Most Passing Yards market, ideally we’d want a play who ticks all those boxes in a positive manor.
Another key factor to consider is we want a player who runs a primarily passing heavy offense. An element which proved true last year, as Jameis Winston took home the Passing Leader award as part of an offense that passed the ball on 63% of their plays (seventh-highest in the league).
It’s also rather interesting looking at the fact that Baltimore and San Francisco ranked as the two lowest teams in terms of passing play percentage. The two teams with the best records in football. So we certainly won’t be taking Jimmy G or Lamar Jackson for this award.
The obvious favourites lead the way in the market. Pat Mahomes sits at 9/2 favourite with William Hill. Dak Prescott sits at 7/1 with Boylesports after finishing second to Winston last year and Matt Ryan is in as third favourite, best priced at 8/1 with Paddy Power.
Now they’re certainly all worthy of their prices given the high powered passing games they operate in, but I’m thinking a little bit further outside the box.
I’m not going to much deeper into the market, but at 16/1 with Bet365, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford really catches my eye.
The 32-year-old quarterback was on somewhat of a renaissance last season before going down with non-displaced fractures in his upper thoracic spine, forcing him to miss half of their 16 regular season games.
When you consider through eight games, he had thrown for 2,499 yards and 19 touchdowns compared to just 3,777 and 21 touchdowns in 2018 through 16 games, it’s more than fair to say Stafford looked rejuvenated under a new regime. On track for 5,000 yards and 38 touchdowns, he was on course for his best season since 2011.
Now the Lions are certainly a team that rely heavily on their passing attack, giving their run game over the years has been pretty much non-existent. Now they have acquired rookie D’Andre Swift, but the offense is still very much built around Stafford.
With Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr, Danny Amendola & TJ Hockenson, he certainly has plenty of weapons around him. Add that to the Lions weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball, one could certainly assume they’ll be chasing a fair few of their games.
So look for Stafford to have a bounce back year. But if you don’t quite fancy him, Matt Ryan at 8/1 with Paddy Power is my next best shout in an Atlanta team that passed the ball on a league high 67% of plays last year.
Another quick bet I did pick up on and fancy a small punt on, for its value alone, is Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson All to Score 8+ Rush TDs Each, D. Prescott 5+ Rush TDs, priced up at 80/1 with SkyBet.
Now whilst this didn’t win last year, it did come extremely close, so is definitely worth chasing again this season. All four quarterbacks do see a fair amount of rushing attempts, especially Jackson and Allen, where it plays a crucial part to their game.
Allen actually totalled the most rushing touchdowns for a quarterback with nine, whilst Lamar finished with seven, Watson with seven and Dak with just three.
We shouldn’t have to worry too much with Allen and Jackson, who should get somewhere close to that mark of eight. Deshaun still sees plenty of goal line opportunities under Bill O’Brien and with a new regime in Dallas under Mike McCarthy, who’s shown faith in quarterbacks near the goal line with Aaron Rodgers, Dak could certainly see more chances and has actually reached six rushing touchdowns in each of his first three seasons prior to last term.
So whilst this is a complete coin flip, for me, it certainly seems a little overpriced of 80/1.
Markets involving wide receivers are possibly the hardest of the bunch when it comes to projections. Obviously, you have the elite tier players in Michael Thomas, Davante Adams, Julio Jones and Deandre Hopkins, who are most people’s top four receivers in the game.
They’re undoubtedly bound to lead their teams in targets, receptions and yardage, so for obvious reasons all sit near the top of the market for Most Receiving Yards.
Thomas, who heads the market at 11/2 with Boylesports, led the league in targets, receptions and yardage last year, finishing over 300 yards ahead of second-placed Julio Jones. He possesses probably the best set of hands in the league, and also caught 81% of passes thrown his way, another league high for receivers. He quite simply rarely drops passes.
Now there isn’t any real reason, despite the New Orleans Saints addition of Emmanuel Sanders, that Thomas’ target volume should decrease this season. Given how unguardable he was last year, Brees will certainly be throwing is way an awful lot again.
Whilst there shouldn’t be such a wide market between Thomas and the field this year, I for one, can’t see any reason why he can’t produce the same numbers as last year, if not better. He averaged 107.8 yards per-game a season ago, and really does live up to his Twitter handle ‘CantGuardMike’.
I know it’s an easy out to just pick the market favourite, but giving how dominant he can be, even with a backup quarterback at times, I’m taking a decent price at 11/2, considering he is 3/1 in some places.
Despite my confidence in Thomas, I do still have another couple of bigger-priced fancies for this market. Davante Adams is a decent option at 14/1 with Paddy Power giving his target share in what is a poor receiving core in Green Bay, but my two picks outside picks are Kenny Golladay (20/1 with Betfred) and Allen Robinson (40/1 with BetVictor).
Firstly, my pick for Golladay goes hand-in-hand with that for Matthew Stafford to lead the league in passing yards. Through seven games with Stafford ;ast year, Golladay accumulated 508 receiving yards, but was actually able to maintain that production with inconsistent play at quarterback, finishing the year with 1,190 yards off 65 receptions.
Whilst he can be inconsistent at times, and go missing from week-to-week, he’s improved in each of his first three years in the NFL, so there is certainly hope for his production and consistency to continue to improve as he goes into year four.
Chicago wide out Allen Robinson is my third and final pick at 40/1 with BetVictor. The former Jaguars man produced his best numbers since 2015 last season, accumulating 1,147 on 98 receptions. Now yes, Chicago did have one of the worst offences in the entire league last year, but Robinson was certainly a bright spark.
Heading into this season thing haven’t changed too much either. They have one of the weakest receiving units in the league and although Trubisky just got named the week one starter, a few dodgy performances could force them to shift over to Nick Foles, and he is known to be a gun slinger at times.
Given the amount of target volume set to come Robinsons way and the talent he has, the 40/1 is most definitely worth taking a punt on.
The Most Rushing Yards market is another where you have to take an awful lot into account, and it relies on more than just induvial talent alone. Now of course yes, that plays a big part, but scheme and the level of the offensive line play just as much.
You could put the greatest running back of all time, Walter Jackson, in the backfield, but if he’s behind a group of incapable run blockers, he’s going nowhere.
Now according to Pro Football Focus, the best offensive line in the NFL belongs to the Indianapolis Colts. So when you consider their running back Marlon Mack was classed as a disappointment last year, yet still finished 11th in rushing with 1,091 yards, that should tell you a lot about the ability of their offensive line.
Now they too obviously weren’t thrilled with Mack’s contribution, and preceded to spend a second round pick on running back Jonathan Taylor out of Wisconsin. Usually I would snap up Taylor at 80/1 for the rushing title, but I think it’s just a year too early or him given the fight uncertainty over who is the lead back.
If he can outperform Mack and solidify the position as his own, then certainly look out for him next year.
My first pick and third favourite in the market currently is Cowboys back Ezekiel Elliot. The fifth year running back led the league in Rushing back in 2016 and 2018, so why can’t he continue the two-year trend and take the title home in 2020?
Since coming into the league Elliot has always had the benefit of playing behind one of the top offensive lines in the NFL and this year is no different as the unit ranks third on Pro Football Focus. It’s not been an easy road for him along the way, however. Legal disputes, contract holdouts. My god, he brings with him a lot of baggage, but all the ability in the world too.
He did have somewhat of a down year last season, averaging career lows in both rushing attempts (18.8) and yardage per-game (84.8), but its more than fair to say the Cowboys inconsistent and rather disappointing season overall didn’t help his cause.
Now despite that, he did finish fourth in rushing with 1,357 yards, and in a year when the Cowboys finally look like one of the better rosters in the NFL. Elliott could be set to shine once again. Take him at 9/1 with Bet365 and watch him roll over the opposition.
I’m heading over to the AFC West for my next pick, in the shape of Las Vegas Raiders second year back Josh Jacobs. In his rookie year, the first round pick out of Alabama rushed for 1,150 yards, averaging 88.5 yards along the way, third highest in the league. He also managed to accumulate these totals in just 13 games, so going by his averages, if he did play in all 16 games, he could have finished closer to 1,400 yards.
Now the Raiders ranked 18th in run blocking last year, but Pro Football Focus has them taking a step forward, and they’re currently ranked at 11th in the rankings. The other benefit for Jacobs is he really doesn’t have much behind him in terms of competition and should see a heavy workload. 16/1 with SkyBet looks a very decent price to me.
NFL 2020/21 – Matthew Stafford to have the Most Passing Yards (16/1 Bet365)
NFL 2020/21 – Matt Ryan to have the Most Passing Yards (8/1 Paddy Power)
NFL 2020/21 – Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson & Deshaun Watson All to Score 8+ Rush TDs Each, D. Prescott 5+ Rush TDs (80/1 SkyBet)
NFL 2020/21 – Michael Thomas to have the Most Receiving Yards (11/2 Boylesports)
NFL 2020/21 – Kenny Golladay to have the Most Receiving Yards (20/1 Betfred)
NFL 2020/21 – Allen Robinson to have the Most Receiving Yards (40/1 BetVictor)
NFL 2020/21 – Ezekiel Elliot to have the Most Rushing Yards (9/1 Bet365)
NFL 2020/21 – Josh Jacobs to have the Most Rushing Yards (16/1 SkyBet)