This article will highlight ten prop bets on quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends that appear favorable based on the output of the Professor’s predictive model along and game-specific considerations. The numbers and prices available are from DraftKings.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB vs. PIT: 253.5 Passing Yards
Pittsburgh edge rusher T.J. Watt is set to return to the field this week, but Nick Bosa’s presence on the San Francisco defense didn’t derail the Green Bay offense, which did an excellent job scheming the offense to minimize the number of times the line had to hold up in dropback pass protection. Rodgers has topped 253.5 passing yards in each of the past two weeks and is playing as well as any quarterback in the league; Watt’s return helps, but the Steelers don’t have Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu on the defensive line, and their cornerback group hasn’t lived up to last year’s standard. The Packers’ offense should have success in this one.
The model has Rodgers at a mean projection of 269.9 passing yards; I’ll take the over at -115.
Justin Herbert, QB, LAC vs. LVR, 2.5 Passing TD and Derek Carr, QB, LVR @ LAC, 1.5 Passing TD
This Monday Night Special fits into a projected shootout between the Chargers and Raiders. Herbert’s line is set at 2.5 touchdowns coming off a four-touchdown performance in Kansas City, but at a price of +165, the over is attractive against a Raiders defense that may lack the corners to cover the Chargers’ receivers. Carr should be able to keep up; receivers Hunter Renfrow, Henry Ruggs, and Bryan Edwards are all trending in the right direction behind lead receiver Darren Waller, which should allow Carr to find holes in the Chargers’ defense. Carr’s over on 1.5 touchdowns is priced at -170, which balances out the +165 on Herbert for record-keeping purposes and gives us a bonus bet on the week.
The model has Herbert at a mean projection of 2.2 touchdowns and Carr at 1.8 touchdowns. I’ll take the over on both quarterbacks, with Herbert at +165 and Carr at -170.
Jameis Winston, QB, NO vs. NYG, 0.5 Interceptions
Jameis Winston has thrown 90 interceptions in 79 career games (73 starts). Against the New England Patriots last week, the price on his over 0.5 interceptions was in the -180 price range. That didn’t hit, but it wasn’t for lack of effort on Winston’s part, who was fortunate a notably awful decision to throw the ball while getting dragged down ended in a touchdown rather than an interception in a 7-0 game.
This week, Winston’s price for the over is at +125, which is a bargain against a Giants defense with a talented secondary led by cornerback James Bradberry, who has a history of capitalizing on Winston’s mistakes from their NFC South matchups in Carolina and Tampa Bay.
The model has Winston at a mean projection of 1.3 interceptions; I’ll take the over at +125.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, KC at PHI, 54.5 Rushing Yards
Clyde Edwards-Helaire posted 100 yards on 17 carries last week and continued to get usage despite his second fumble in as many games. Philadelphia’s run defense had done a reasonable job of limiting their opponent’s run game efficiency before Dallas backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard shredded, so Edwards-Helaire may not put up a huge average, but the Chiefs are primed for an offensive rebound after turning the ball over in Chargers’ territory on their first three drives last week. Edwards-Helaire could take advantage of Philadelphia’s two-high safety looks early and be the closer late.
The model has Edwards-Helaire at a mean projection of 64.8 rushing yards; I’ll take the over at -115.
Najee Harris, RB, PIT at GB, 52.5 Rushing Yards
Najee Harris is averaging 3.1 yards per carry and the 49ers struggled to run the ball against the Packers with a notably more talented offensive line than Pittsburgh’s. Green Bay’s defense is a transformed unit with cornerback Eric Stokes providing sticky coverage across from Jaire Alexander. Stokes’ presence allows the Packers to more successfully employ schemes such as Cover 4, which puts both safeties in run support but puts pressure on the corners to hold up in what is essentially man-to-man on the outside.
Kenny Clark and Green Bay’s defensive line has a notable advantage over Pittsburgh’s offensive line, which should translate to another tough day for Harris. The model has Harris near the DraftKings total, but that is due to a lower limit on yards per carry projections that is meant to keep the output in the range of reason. Based on the dreadful results Harris has achieved behind this offensive line, an exception may need to be written into the code, as the current limit is arguably providing unjustified inflation.
The model has Harris at a mean projection of 53.3 rushing yards; I’ll take under at -120.
Myles Gaskin, RB, MIA vs. IND, 51.5 Rushing Yards
Myles Gaskin came close to this number with 49 yards in Week One and went over in last week’s game against Las Vegas, but the Indianapolis defensive front has a significant advantage over Miami’s offensive line. This is particularly true on the interior, where defensive tackles DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart should dominate, which will define the run fits for the athletic linebacker tandem of Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke. This number is close to the model’s projection, which rates the defense as a unit, but Indianapolis is better against the run than the pass and I expect Gaskin to end up on the bottom side of his mean projection.
The model has Gaskin at a mean projection of 52.2 rushing yards; I’ll take under at -115.
A.J. Green, WR, ARI at LAR, 3.5 Receptions
BeerLife fans who follow The Professor’s takes may be aware I was down on Green coming out of last year’s disappointing season, but Green looks like a different player this year. He’s not what he was at his peak, but he can run again and is finding open space in an Arizona offense loaded with weapons. The Rams have deployed Jalen Ramsey in numerous roles this season, but a matchup with DeAndre Hopkins seems likely this week. Hopkins will get his wins in that matchup but it still puts the onus on Green, Christian Kirk, and Rondale Moore to produce against the rest of the Rams’ secondary.
The model has Green at a mean projection of 3.7 receptions; I’ll take the over at +115.
D.J. Moore, WR, CAR at DAL, 77.5 Receiving Yards
D.J. Moore is off to an outstanding start this season, but Cowboys corner Trevon Diggs, who has been as impactful as any defender in the league, is likely to follow Moore in this game. Moore is a talented player in his own right, but Diggs is playing at a dominant level and Carolina has a deep cast of weapons to use against the more vulnerable areas of the Dallas defense. Moore is on track for a career year, but this is a week to fade him.
The model has Moore at a mean projection of 71.2 receiving yards; I’ll take the under at -115.
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, SF vs. SEA, 42.5 Receiving Yards
The Seattle pass defense is bad, particularly on 3rd down. They can’t rush the passer and they don’t have the players to hold up in the back end when they blitz. The 49ers run game should have more success than it did against the Packers but expect quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to post another strong performance after he nearly brought the 49ers back in the second half of that game.
Lead receiver Deebo Samuel is another potential over at a higher yardage total, but Brandon Aiyuk has re-established his position in the receiver rotation behind Samuel and George Kittle. Kittle will face stiffer opposition up the middle, but I like Samuel and Aiyuk against any cornerback in Seattle’s nickel group (D.J. Reed, Tre Flowers, Ugo Amadi).
The model has Aiyuk at a mean projection of 46.0 receiving yards. I’ll take the over at -115.
Darren Waller, TE, LVR at LAC, 67.5 Receiving Yards
Travis Kelce racked up seven catches for 104 yards last week, so while the Chargers will pay special attention to Darren Waller in coverage, Waller should have opportunities to put up another big prime-time performance. One difference is that the Raiders don’t have a Tyreek Hill to divide the defense’s attention but with quarterback Derek Carr in a zone, Waller should have the opportunity for a standout performance on Monday Night.
The model has Waller at a mean projection of 69.1 receiving yards; I’ll take the over at -115.
This article examined several prop bets for the upcoming week. To get full access to the output of The Professor’s machine learning model, check out this week’s BeerLife Sports article featuring the Professor’s Fantasy Value Predictions, where you can also see his highlighted bets for other positions.
Steven Clinton, better known as "The Professor", is a former D-1 Quality Control Assistant (Northwestern, Toledo) who holds a B.A. in Economics and M.S. in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University. He maintains an end-to-end NFL game projection model and is a film junkie who breaks down the tape of every NFL game.
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