Over the past few months, we have seen sports like we never have before. Players who have played in front of tens of thousands of fans for years have been forced to playing in empty arenas. Some NFL teams will also have to play without fans for the time being, while others will allows fans at a 25% capacity.
Even with all the new changes to sports in the Covid Era, the one thing that hasn’t changed is betting on sports. In a season unlike any other in NFL history, this unique and challenging year presents opportunities to take advantage of the situation from a betting perspective. Here are some of my favorite NFL future and player props I have placed for the upcoming season.
The Steelers Make It Back To The Postseason While 2 Of Their Receivers Head In Opposite Directions.
Steelers to make the Playoffs -137 (DraftKings)
Steelers win the AFC North +350 (Unibet)
JuJu Smith-Schuster Under 1,100.5 Receiving Yards -110 (DraftKings)
Diontae Johnson Over 775.5 Receiving Yards -110 (DraftKings)
TJ Watt Defensive Player of the Year 14/1 (Unibet)
With the NFL changing their playoff format by allowing an additional team into the postseason, this is big news for the Steelers. If these same rules were in place the last 2 seasons, the Steelers would have qualified each season. I see the Black & Gold taking advantage of the new rules and reaching the playoff for the first time since 2017. Helping led them to the players will be first time captain and my Defensive Player of the Year bet/pick TJ Watt. Watt was very close to winning the award last year and I think that motivates him to put up even better numbers in 2020. JJ won’t be the only Defensive Player of the Year winner in the Watt household after this year.
But if you win the division, you don’t have to worry about the extra spot right? I bet the Steelers to win the AFC North following the release of Safety Earl Thomas by the Ravens last month. In a season like this, teams need to be all hands on neck and with no Thomas in the fold for Baltimore you could see their defense take a step back in 2020. Lamar Jackson is ridiculous but will now be without the greatest Guard in Ravens history Marshall Yanda who retired. The Browns I feel could also be in play for the division which could step up a sprint to the finish for the division crown. Take the value on the +350 with the Steelers.
People automatically thought JuJu was an elite wide out thanks to his inflated numbers thanks to being next to Antonio Brown his two years in the league. The LIT wide receiver came back down to earth last year while battling injuries and multiple QBs. Though I do believe JuJu’s numbers will improve with Ben back, I do feel there is still some value on the Under. The USC product can still have a 1,000 yard season and Under 1,100.5 yards can still hit. I see JuJu finishing between 950-1,050 yards for 2020, his last season in Pittsburgh. So long Boo Boo.
While I think JuJu will go Under, I feel Diontae Johnson will go Over his total. Way over baby. I was skeptical about what Diontae’s impact would be his rookie season with the Steelers, especially after Ben went down. Soon enough Johnson was showing that he has a bright future ahead of him in the Steel City. With Ben now throwing passes to AB 2.0 (without the Baby Mama drama and mental health issues) instead of Mason and The Duck, I can see Diontae going over 1,200 yards receiving in 2020. This was my favorite player prop of 2020 and would bet it up to Over 800.5 yards.
Another Sophomore Season Quarterback Wins NFL MVP
Kyler Murray: NFL MVP 26/1 (Fanduel), Over 3,805.5 Passing Yards -110 (DraftKings), NFL Passing Yards Leader 25/1, Arizona to make the Playoffs +275 (DraftKings)
Drew Lock: NFL MVP 100/1 (BetOnline), Over 3,450.5 Passing Yards -110 (DraftKings)
The NFL is a league of trends. Trends last a few years then die off. One trend over the past 2 years in the NFL has been quarterbacks in their second season in the league winning the MVP. Patrick Mahomes won it in 2018 and Lamar Jackson won it last year. The most obvious choice for a sophomore season QB to win the MVP is Kyler Murray. The former Heisman winner showed flashes of his potential in his rookie season and his coach, the heartthrob Kliff Kingsbury, was able to maximize his talent in their offense. And with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins, I believe Murray will put up big numbers in his second season and lead the Cardinals to the playoffs. Though it Is a long shot for him to lead the NFL in passing with how much the Cards will run on occasion, I believe his Over passing yards is a great play and Murray will be able to put up the combined passing and rushing yards that can help him capture the MVP.
Now for Drew Lock, this MVP bet is a bit of a flyer but with a lot of value. This number has been bet down from 100/1 when I got it a few months ago but even the new number which is around 66/1 still presents tremendous value. Lock showed a lot of promise after replacing the Elite One Joe Flacco. In the offseason, the Broncos added RB Melvin Gordon and added a few wide outs in the draft including Alabama star Jerry Jeudy. With these additions along with the weapons already surrounding Lock, I believe he will easily hit the Over on his passing yards. The Broncos would’ve been a good sleeper playoff team but the injury to Von Miller that could cost him his season wipes out any value on that. But for Drew Lock, lock it up.
Dak Prescott Will Ball Out To Force Jerry Jones’ Hand On A New Contract
Dak Prescott Over 4,275.5 Passing Yards -110 (DraftKings), NFL Passing Yards Leader 8/1 (DraftKings)
A lot of young QBs got big contracts his summer. Patrick Mahomes got paid. Deshaun Watson just got paid. Hell, even Ryan Tannehill got paid. The one QB who didn’t get a new big contract was Cowboys QB Dak Prescott. The Mississippi State product will be playing this season on the Franchise Tag after not being able to sign a long term deal. While Dak is still projected to make a lot of money in 2020, he does not have the insurance of that big contract. With Mike McCarthy now leading Dallas, look for the Cowboys to play much more efficient while still putting up big numbers. This starts with Dak. With the motivation of a huge deal from Jerry, I can see Dak easily going Over his projected passing yards and leading the league in passing. If Prescott wants to milk as much money out of this deal, 2020 could be something special for him.
The NFL Comeback Player Of The Year Won’t Be Big Ben or Cam Newton, It Will Be Given To A True Comeback Story.
Alex Smith to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year +300 (Unibet)
The Comeback Player of the Year Award has been traditionally given to the player who puts up the best stats after returning from injury. That’s just how it’s always has been, never for a player that doesn’t start a game or puts up no actual stats. Well, until Alex Smith in 2020. Smith will be the backup QB for the football team formerly known as the Redskins after suffering one of the most gruesome leg injuries in NFL history. The former Chief and 49er endured surgery after surgery to fix his leg and nearly lost his life in the process. Now he has been Washington’s 53 man roster and will backup Dwayne Haskins for 2020. After the injury, doctors were unsure if Smith would ever walk again normally. Now he’s back playing even if only as a backup. Incredible. While I don’t believe Smith will see any game action in 2020 outside of a few kneel downs to end some games, that doesn’t mean the media won’t vote for him. I feel the media breaks from tradition and gives the award to Smith, completing one of the best comeback from injury stories in sports in recent memory. Take the +300 and believe baby.
And Your Covid Super Bowl Winner Is?
Kansas City Chiefs +600 (Fanduel)
You must be thinking, he’s really going out on a limb picking the Chiefs. I get that, but in a season with limited offseason workouts and no preseason games, rolling with the defending champs is a smart move. Kansas City brings back nearly everyone back from their Super Bowl winner from last year with the biggest lost being Kendall Fuller, who signed back with Washington. A player who dazzled for the Chiefs in Miami RB Damien Williams did opt out for the 2020, but the Andy Reid was able to snag another running back at the end of the first round that dazzled on the championship stage in college last year. LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire put up big numbers for the National Champions in 2019 and could put up big numbers similar what Kareem Hunt did as a rookie in 2018. Experience and chemistry will be a big key in the Covid Era of the NFL and I feel betting the Chiefs to go back-to-back is a no brainer.