The Los Angeles Rams had fun raising their Super Bowl banner on the NFL’s opening night, but it was all Buffalo the rest of the way, as former Ram Von Miller led a dominant night by the Bills’ defensive front as quarterback Josh Allen got his MVP candidacy off to a strong start on the other side.
With the NFL opener in the books, the first full weekend of action is quickly approaching, and The Professor is ready to start making some money. Here are nine prop bets that The Professor’s model indicates are good values entering Week 1. Odds are from DraftKings.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow, Over 255.5 Passing Yards, -115 (Model Number 286.3)
There is a vast talent discrepancy between Cincinnati’s wide receivers and Pittsburgh’s cornerbacks, and while safety Minkah Fitzpatrick can defuse certain areas of the field, he can’t help on Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Hayden Hurst all at once. Joe Burrow is reportedly ramping up well from appendicitis entering the season – look for him to start out hot.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
AJ Dillon, Over 14.5 Receiving Yards, -115 (Model Number 20.9)
Romeo Doubs, TD Scorer, +240 (Model Number 0.4)
Two value plays in Green Bay that may not be available again. Packers coach Matt LaFleur was ecstatic when discussing the improvements running back AJ Dillon made as a route runner this offseason, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers suggested Dillon could catch 50 balls this season. As for rookie Romeo Doubs, I’m banking heavily on my film evaluation of the preseason, and I’m willing to push in on what I’ve seen from Doubs. With veteran Allen Lazard likely to be unavailable, one of Green Bay’s receivers will need to step in alongside Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb, so Doubs should get his opportunities.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Brandin Cooks, TD Scorer, +180 (Model Number 0.4)
Brandin Cooks is likely to see a lot of cornerback Stephon Gilmore in this matchup, but even assuming Gilmore is back to a relatively high standard of play, this may not be his best matchup. As NFL fans saw with the Stefon Diggs-Jalen Ramsey matchup, bigger cornerbacks can run into some issues against smaller, quicker receivers, and Cooks certainly fits that bill. Regardless of his matchup, he should see a solid share of targets.
Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets
Rashod Bateman, TD Scorer, +160 (Model Number 0.4)
The Ravens are set to have one of the more focused target shares in the NFL, and after showing promise despite playing through a lot of injuries as a rookie, Rashod Bateman could be set up for a big year catching passes from quarterback Lamar Jackson. Perhaps the Jets make a big leap forward, but I’ll believe it when I see it; Baltimore should put up points in this one, and Bateman is likely to benefit.
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa, Over 0.5 Interceptions, -105 (Model Number 0.7)
This number dropped from +105 to -105 overnight, indicating more than a few folks are on this bet. The combination of young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa going against a Bill Belichick-led defense with a mandate to get the ball downfield to new receiver Tyreek Hill seems likely to lead to some mistakes. Tagovailoa to throw an interception is still a solid bet at -105.
Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
Mike Williams, Over 55.5 Receiving Yards, -115 (Model Number 71.3)
Mike Williams started 2021 on a tear, and a matchup against a Raiders secondary that lacks anything resembling a shutdown cornerback on the outside gives Williams a chance to start 2022 in similar fashion. The knee injury he suffered slowed his pace last season, but Williams should be healthy headed into this game.
Monday Night Football: Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson, Over 255.5 Passing Yards, -115 (Model Number 277.4)
Courtland Sutton, TD Scorer, +135 (Model Number 0.5)
What seems to have gotten lost in all the discussion about the Geno Smith-Drew Lock quarterback battle is a Seattle defense that is set up to be absolutely atrocious. Former first-round pick Jordyn Brooks has developed into a rangy linebacker, but this team has no juice at edge rusher, their most proven cornerback is Sidney Jones, and Jamal Adams is still one of their safeties, which will be a problem even if his stud backfield mate, Quandre Diggs, is fully healthy coming off last year’s late-season leg injury.
It all sets up for fireworks from Russell Wilson when he leads his new team into Seattle on Monday Night Football; receivers Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy could both have big nights, but as Sutton has the longer TD odds, I’ll play him over Jeudy as a TD scorer.
If you haven’t signed up to get The Oracle’s picks, be sure to do so ahead of the NFL’s first full slate of action on Sunday! You can check out more of The Professor’s NFL content at BeerLife Sports.
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.