"Davante Adams was a hero, but way too soon" by marcoverch is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
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NFL Season Props: Part 2 (Divisional Position & Season/Team Specials)

The NFL Betting Season Begins Now

Our “NFL Season Props: Part 1” article addressed Divisional wins and Divisional finishing position. This time around, we will cover more Divisional Finish props, skip the Fools Gold bets (Exact Divisional Finish position) bets, and move straight into the Season and Team Specials. As the season draws closer, we will be able to do an entire props article on player props (yardage totals, etc). Be patient and it will pay off.

 

Notes to be aware of

We are skipping the “Exact Divisional Finish Position” bets because they’re awful in value. For example, The Buccaneers are -130 to finish first. The Saints are +130 to finish second. The Panthers are +130 to finish third, and the Falcons are -110 to finish fourth. Independently, those are great bets. If you get two of them correct, it’s likely a wash. If you get all four, that’s +420.

The silly part is, if you bet them to finish in that order in the “Exact Divisional Finish Position” section, the odds are just +250. There’s absolutely no reason to go the lazy route. Take the extra minute and book them each individually. The payoff is almost double.

 

Division Finishing Position

 

Philadelphia Eagles Division Finishing Position: 1st (+165)

The Eagles did a lot to improve through trades and Free Agency this offseason. The acquisition of AJ Brown signals the Eagles will attempt to balance their play calling (which became extremely run-heavy in 2021 as the season wore-on). With improvements on offense and defense, the Eagles have quietly perched themselves atop the NFC East.

As the season draws closer, the questions surrounding the effectiveness of Jalen Hurts as a passer and going through progressions will be the only thing keeping the Eagles odds reasonable. Aside from the concerns around Hurts, I believe the Eagles are a better coached team than the Cowboys and slightly more complete (overall). At +165, the odds are very favorable.

 

Green Bay Packers Division Finishing Position: 1st (-175)

The Green Bay Packers took a massive hit with the loss of Davante Adams to the Raiders. We know Aaron Rodgers is still an MVPlevel QB, but Davante Adams was far and away Rodgers’ most dependable weapon through the air. No one is going to step-in and fill that void with even remotely replicable success. The plan this season is more offensive focus on the run, play action, and deception. Expect a more run-heavy approach, but don’t expect the Packers’ air attack to completely fall off a cliff.

For as much as we criticize the Packers for getting worse offensively, their defense improved by a considerable amount. The Packers will resemble the Titans more nowadays and that still means they should continue to run the division. The Bears likely won’t be as awful, nor should the Lions, but the Vikings didn’t improve much, and the Packers were already comfortably dominating the division overall. Expect their dominance to continue, just more on the defensive side and less on the offense.

 

Indianapolis Colts Division Finishing Position: 1st (-125)

The Indianapolis Colts have been knocking on the door of the AFC contenders room for three years now. Following the collapse of the Texans and repeated trips to the divisional round by the Titans, the opening for the Colts in the AFC South has widened this offseason. The Titans have a weird mix of both old and very young players in important roles this upcoming season. Meanwhile, the Colts upgraded at QB and got a little deeper on offense through the draft.

When we look back on the Colts2021 season, we are reminded of their awful start (1-4), their drastic turnaround 8-2 stretch, and their untimely collapse (losing their final two games to the Raiders and Jaguars). On paper, Carson Wentz was solid, but in reality, he was bad when the team really needed him (ridiculous turnovers, failures to move the ball late in games). With Matt Ryan now at the helm, expect a few of those close losses to go the other way.

 

Tennessee Titans Division Finishing Position: 2 (+150)

The Titans should take a step down this season. Last season, the Titans still carried a lot of doubt and still managed to win games even after Derrick Henry went down. The Titans finished 12-5 last season, but 6-1 in games decided by three points or less. They were fortunate to finish where they did, and now the team loses AJ Brown to the Eagles. Even with the addition of Treylon Burks and Robert Woods, the Titans2021 fortunes probably won’t hold-up in 2022 (think 2018 Chargers to 2019 Chargers).

The Titans really walked a dangerous line in 2021. Now, they have a much more vicious schedule in 2022. According to Sharp Football Analysis (sharpfootballanalysis.com), the Titans have the 21st easiest schedule this upcoming season, while the Colts have the 3rd easiest. According to that same site, the Colts projected win total is 9.8 while the Titans sit at 9.4. With the slight advantage on what appears to be a coin flip, take the plus money the Colts win the division and the Titans finish 2nd.

 

Season Specials: Lowest Scoring Team

 

Regular Season Lowest Scoring Team: Seattle Seahawks +900 & Atlanta Falcons +600

The Texans, Bears, and Falcons all have shorter odds, but Seattle has holes on the offensive line, a bad QB, and is in a division with really good defenses. I do actually like the Falcons as well at +600, but the Texans were surprisingly potent at times with Davis Mills at QB (check the tape). The Bears have the advantage of a running QB (likely will extend drives with his legs), while the Panthers have more than a few explosive offensive weapons.

I really think the Seahawks at +900 and Falcons at +600 are tremendous values for this category. Even if Sam Darnold struggles, Matt Corral ran an efficient, fast-paced offense at Ole Miss. He is good with short accuracy and should be a decent enough replacement for Darnold, should Darnold struggle again. As for the Seahawks, it’s between Geno Smith and Drew Lock to keep them off the cellar floor this season. I don’t have faith in either of those guys and neither should you.

 

Season Specials: Highest Scoring Team

 

Regular Season Highest Scoring Team: Buffalo Bills +550

The Bills have the lowest odds right now, but Vegas appears to have gotten this right. Buffalo was 3rd in the NFL in points scored last season, but they look to be even more potent this season on offense. The emergence (finally) of Gabriel Davis, the arrival of an actually elusive pass catching running back (James Cook), and the aggressive and open nature of the Bills offense puts them ahead of the pack.

When considering a bet like this, we have to look at their opponents and the other contenders in this category. For one, the Bills division got a lot stronger offensively. Both the Jets and Dolphins vastly improved on offense, so the necessity to score will be greater this season for the Bills. As far as the other contenders for this bet, the Chargers, Chiefs, Cowboys, and Buccaneers have the next best odds.

All four of those teams have some things that should hold them back. The Chargers improved greatly on defense, the Bucs didn’t move much, but their offense will be without some weapons for a little while. The Chiefs lost their best offensive weapon to a trade, while the Cowboys will also be experiencing some loss on the offense. The door is open for Buffalo this season to turn themselves into the top scoring team in the entire NFL.

 

Team Specials

 

LV Raiders -> Davante Adams Under 1250.5 receiving yards

Davante Adams has been an elite receiver in the NFL for the last six years. Now, Adams will be teaming-up with his former college quarterback in Las Vegas. Adams was traded to the Raiders in the offseason and now assumes the #1 WR role in Las Vegas. With Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller the only likely competition in the passing game, Vegas has been optimistic about Adams’ season projections.

Despite the great situation, there are some noteworthy concerns. First, the 29 year old Adams has played 8 seasons in the NFL and only eclipsed this yardage total three times. Second, Aaron Rodgers absolutely peppered Adams with targets every week. Adams’ target share over the past four seasons has him atop the entire NFL. Now, he’s going into an offense that spreads the ball around more, with a QB not nearly as accurate or as talented as Aaron Rodgers.

Adams isn’t a burner, which means the likelihood of him getting cheap yards on deep balls is not great. Adams also has only eclipsed this yardage total when targeted at least 149 times in a season. Derek Carr has never targeted a player more than 146 times in a season (Darren Waller in 2020), and that player is still on the Raiders.

For Adams to accomplish this feat, he’s going to need to take over as the far and away target monster on a team with two guys who also get a substantial amount of targets. 1150 yards is realistic but 1250 seems like a much longer shot. There’s also Adams’ plantar fasciitis to monitor. That can creep-up at any moment and take him out for 2-5 weeks, as it’s done to him before. Take the under here.

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