Welcome back for another Props special. Last time, we tackled more player props in the Part 3 article for Player Props. This week, we are going after NFL team props, futures, and a Week 1 pick you should make now.
Every preseason, we catch a ride on some hype trains and pass on others. It’s not advisable to hop on every hype train, but it is very difficult to discern between hype and promising development. One thing to pay attention to is the frequency of amazing plays you see from a player. A single great play is enough to generate hype, but you have to stay focused on how that player is used by the team and keep an eye on the specifics.
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Yesterday, Jalen Reagor’s hype went into effect after running one clean out-route. That’s nothing to get too excited about. Now, if reports come he’s getting good separation in his routes and makes a few more plays showing that in pre-season games, then we should be getting excited. That’s the difference here.
Without further adieu, it’s time to exploit the hype this week!
Seattle Seahawks -1 at Indianapolis Colts (September 9th)
The Colts have a large number of players listed on the injury report that are questionable for Week 1. Even if most of them somehow play, many have been hurt most of the entire preseason. They’re going to be rusty and not up-to-speed from a preparation standpoint.
Quarterback Carson Wentz is brand new to the team and had mental blocks through most of last season in Philadelphia. The number of players currently on their injury list is wild. Currently, there are 18 players on their injury list as of today. 14 of them will be questionable to probable by Week 1. The point by mentioning this is their lack of time together prior to Week 1 will likely hurt their opening performance.
If you go back to last year, the Jaguars had one win all season. Do you know when that win occurred? It was a Week 1 win in Indianapolis. Now, I’m not saying Frank Reich is inadequate at preparing teams to start a season, but that team was also using a veteran QB for the first time and it took some time for them to get going. I’m not saying this is a sound theory, but last season’s opener is enough to make me skeptical they can win the opener this season when they’re so banged up.
LA Rams to make playoffs -200
The Rams had the best defense in football last season. They also had an offense plagued by an inability to function in the passing game. Well, that’s all changed now, as the Rams acquired Matthew Stafford from the Lions. Stafford will give the Rams something they’ve never had in the Sean McVay era, a quarterback who can function well, under duress, in the passing game.
Stafford’s arrival removes the glaring limitations McVay’s teams had under Goff. With the offense now unshackled, the Rams should look more like the unstoppable force that terrorized the NFC during their last Super Bowl run. Last year, the Rams made it to the divisional round before falling to the Packers. This season, the team is even more offensively dynamic, so I’m not sure why these odds aren’t longer.
Washington Football Team Over 8.5 Wins -120
The WFT had a terrific defense last season. Unfortunately, their offense was a mixed bag, dependent more on the ineptitude of its opponents’ defensive weaknesses rather than their own strengths. Like the Rams and Saints, the WFT was very offensively limited and had to rely more on short passes, trickery, and a creative running game.
With the addition of Ryan Fitzpatrick in the offseason, the WFT finally has a guy who can lead the team back from a large deficit. Fitzpatrick has been known to get into turnover-prone habits — often for a few consecutive quarters — but he seems to have settled those habits over the past season. The WFT has a capable receiving group, including deep threat Terry McLaurin.
With McLaurin’s ability to stretch the field, the WFT may now have the key (Fitzpatrick) to balancing this offense and opening up lanes for Antonio Gibson on the ground. Defensively, the WFT has probably the best personnel group next to the LA Rams. The division is still largely a question mark.
Both the Giants and Cowboys are having some issues in camp, while the Eagles are still very confusing, as usual. I expect the WFT to win the division, but even if they don’t, their defense alone should win them enough games.
Futures Parlay: WFT & Tampa Bay to both win their divisions +400
We’ve already gone over the WFT and why they’re our pick to win the NFC East. You should feel equally confident in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the NFC South. Last season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 7-5, before reeling off eight straight wins and hoisting the trophy in the end.
The chemistry seemed to grow as the season wore on, and you have to think much of that, along with much of their roster, will be intact in 2021. Prior to last season, the Bucs struggled defensively until the latter half of the 2019 season.
Last season, the Bucs struggled to plug holes in the secondary for much of the year. As far as the division goes, there is a lot of transition happening with the other teams. The Falcons have a new coach and a defense under construction. The Panthers and Saints have new quarterbacks to get acclimated as well.
Though the Saints probably are the next best competition in the division, their passing game is largely in question. With things a little more solidified in the secondary and the chemistry the defense had down the stretch, the Buccaneers are well-positioned to run the division in 2021.