NFL Predictions: Expert 2021/22 NFL Tips

Our NFL guru will be sharing his NFL predictions right throughout the 2021/22 season. Our NFL Analyst will have comprehensive previews for each prime-time match in the regular season, as well as the Playoffs and the Super Bowl.

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Denver Broncos @ Cleveland Browns

Line: Cleveland -3

Total Points: 40.5

The Browns host the Broncos on Thursday Night Football to kick week seven off. A loss to the Cardinals last week dropped the Browns down to a 3-3 record, with injuries to key players starting to accumulate. The Broncos also have a record of 3-3, but have dropped the last three games after starting on a three game winning streak.

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has been carrying an injury to his non-throwing shoulder for weeks, but seemed to suffer a setback in the week 6 loss. His status for this week’s game, off the back of a short week, is still up in the air, with backup Case Keenum not starting a game since the 2019 season. The change at quarterback could usually be covered by one of the strongest run games in the league, but injuries have struck in the backfield too. The two pronged attack of Nicki Chubb and Kareem Hunt both look likely to miss with calf injuries, with Chubb missing last week and unlikely to suit up after the short week and Hunt now set to miss a number of weeks. Both starting tackles are also on the injury report and a chance to miss the game (Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin), making the job for any of the backups that much more difficult.

The Cleveland defence has been a mixed bag to start the season, amongst the league leaders against the run while being torched by the top end quarterbacks they have faced. The Browns are allowing a measly 3.6 yards per carry (third lowest) for a total of 522 yards (sixth lowest in the league). But against the pass the Browns have given up monster games against star quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes (27-36, 337 yards, 3:0 TD:INT), Justin Herbert (26-43, 398 yards, 4;0 TD:INT) and Kyler Murray (20-30, 229 yards, 4:0 TD:INT). In between these games, they have completely shut down lesser quarterbacks Kirk Cousins, Justin Fields and David Mills/Tyrod Taylor with totals of 498 yards and 3;2 TD:INT in three games.

The Denver offence is dealing with their own quarterback injury this week, with Teddy Bridgewater dealing with a foot injury from last week’s game. Bridgewater also absorbed 17 hits and five sacks in the game, unlikely to be 100% even if he does start the game. The Broncos offensive line has allowed multiple sacks in all six games to start the season and will be up against a fearsome Browns duo of Myles Garrett and Jadaveon Clowney on the edges. With injuries in the pass catching corps, wide receiver Courland Sutton has emerged as the lead target for Bridgewater. Sutton leads the league in air yards per game (147.5) and leads the team in targets (53), catches (32) and yards (439)

The Bronco defence has been their strength again this season, allowing only 18.3 points per game (fourth lowest). While they have had some success on the defensive line and in the pass game, only seven TD’s allowed (sixth fewest), 6.7 yards per attempt (fourth lowest), 14 sacks (ninth in the league), their real strength has been in defending the run. Denver allows only 3.7 yards per carry (fourth lowest) and a total of five touchdowns (eighth lowest). Up against what may be an offense full of backups, the Broncos should look to attack on defence.

The injuries to key players may prove to be too much for the Browns, up against a stout Broncos defence that has had success early in the season. But with the points line dropping with the likelihood of Case Keenum, who had success as a downfield passer in his later starting job, getting the start in place of Mayfield, there looks to be some value in the overs.

Key Stats

BroncosRank BrownsRank
2122Points per game269
18.34Points all. per game25.222
65.213Plays per game64.715
57.51Opponent plays per game60.24
39.13%19Rush %50%3
60.87%14Pass %50%30
39.71%9Opp. Rush %40.72%15
60.29%24Opp. Pass %59.28%18
3-3Against the spread3-3

Betting Strategy

BACK — Total Points – Over 40.5

BACK — Courtland Sutton – Over 67.5 yards

Dominating the targets and air yards for the Broncos, Sutton should see plenty of downfield looks against a Browns team that has had their troubles in the defensive backfield.

Buffalo Bills @ Tennessee Titans

Line: Tennessee +5.5

Total Points: 53.5

Week 6 comes to a close with the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills visiting Tennessee to take on the Titans. The Bills have won four straight and have opened up a two-game lead on their division. The Titans also hold a two-game advantage in their division, with a record of 3-2 after last week’s win over the Jags.

The Bills offence has looked unstoppable since their Week 1 loss to the Steelers, averaging 39 points per game and not dropping below 35 points in their last 4 games. Josh Allen has been posting stellar numbers again this year after last season’s breakout, but Buffalo has been able to strike a much better balance this season. Last season the Bills ran the ball on 40.8% of offensive plays (21st), now it is up to 45.09% this season (10th). The Bills should outmatch the Titans in both areas, so expect to see the Bills offence to continue their hot form.

The real improvement for Buffalo from last season has been on the defensive side of the ball. The Bills rank in the top 6 for both sacks (14) and pressure rate (28.6%), while blitzing at the fifth lowest rate in the league (17.0%). The success at the line has led to elite pass coverage numbers, ranking first in yards per attempt (5.4), yards per completion (9.3), quarterback rating allowed (60.7%) – and second in completion rate allowed (57.7%) and interceptions (9). The opposing quarterbacks the Bills had faced in the early parts of the season were less than elite, but last week’s dismantling of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs has gone a long way to prove their legitimacy.

Even with the addition of Julio Jones this offseason, the Titans have remained as committed to the run as ever. Derrick Henry leads the league in rushing attempts, yards and touchdowns, with his 156 touches the most in league history through five games. Nagging injuries to key pass-catchers have been a factor in the lack of passing volume, as well as ongoing concerns with pass protection. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has taken more sacks than anyone else in the league (20) and is being pressured on 21.9% of his dropbacks.

The Titans’ defence ranks in the bottom-half in most defensive categories, including points per game allowed (26), sacks (10) and pressure rate (25.4%). They are also bottom-five in the league in yards allowed per attempt (8.4), yards per completion (13.2) and are allowing 4.5 yards per carry (7th highest in the league). The Bills will be the best offence the Titans have seen since their Week 1 thrashing at the hands of Arizona. This should cause issues for all levels of the Tennessee defence.

The Bills have looked like the AFC’s best over the last month of football. With the Bills strengths seemingly matching up to the Titans weaknesses, they should be too much for the Titans to handle.

Key Stats

BillsRank TitansRank
34.41Points per game26.410
12.81Points all. per game2624
69.22Plays per game73.21
59.25Opponent plays per game60.47
45.09%10Rush %46.99%5
54.91%23Pass %53.01%28
36.15%5Opp. Rush %41.39%16
63.85%28Opp. Pass %58.61%17
4-1Against the spread3-2

Betting Strategy

BACK — Buffalo Bills -5.5

Seattle Seahawks @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Line: Pittsburgh -5.5

Total Points: 42.5

The Seattle Seahawks visit Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers on Sunday Night Football. Seattle dropped to 2-3 with a loss to the Rams last week, losing quarterback Russell Wilson in the process. The Steelers will attempt to get their season back on track after taking the win last week, which followed three disappointing losses.

Seattle lost their star quarterback to a finger injury in week five, with Wilson looking likely to miss between four to eight weeks after surgery. The Seattle offence had been working at an unsustainable efficiency with Wilson at the helm, with replacement Geno Smith unlikely to be able to match Wilson’s output after not starting a game since 2017 and not throwing for multiple touchdowns in a game since 2014. The Seahawks offense just haven’t been able to keep themselves on the field, averaging the lowest amount of offensive snaps in the league. Seattle hasn’t been able to consistently run the ball this year and will be up against one of the stronger run defences, heaping more pressure on Smith.

The Seahawks defence has struggled to defend the pass to open the year, allowing 305.6 yards per game (third highest) at 8.3 yards per attempt (seventh highest). The issues are starting at the line of scrimmage, with the defensive line only creating pressure on 25.2% of dropbacks (20th) and recording 10 sacks (23rd). The run defence numbers aren’t much better, allowing the second most totals yards (726) and attempts (162). While some of their issues are volume based, they still do allow a healthy 4.5 yards per carry (seventh highest).

Steelers quarterback Ben Roesthisberger is coming off his best game of the season, passing for 253 yards at 10.12 yards per attempt (6.14 over the first four games) and throwing two touchdowns for the first time this season. Pittsburgh also rushed for over 100 yards for the first time in 11 games, totalling 147 yards against a strong Denver defence. A matchup against a Seattle defence who hasn’t been able to stop anyone is just what Big Ben and the Steelers need to keep last week’s momentum rolling.

The Pittsburgh defence hasn’t been as imposing as it was last season, sitting middle of the pack in a lot of defensive categories. An injury to star pass rusher T.J Watt would account for some of the struggles, but he should be back at full fitness now against an offensive line that has relied on Wilson’s brilliant scrambling ability in the past. Keeping pressure on SMith in his first start in four years will be key for the Steelrs.

Pittsburgh should be too strong for this Seattle unit without their talisman, giving the Steelers the perfect opportunity to get their season back on track and back in the playoff hunt.

Key Stats

SeahawksRank SteelersRank
2413Points per game18.827
25.222Points all. per game22.410
54.232Plays per game61.420
73.232Opponent plays per game6319
42.80%13Rush %32.90%30
57.20%20Pass %67.10%3
44.26%24Opp. Rush %39.68%11
55.74%9Opp. Pass %60.32%22
2-3Against the spread2-3

Betting Strategy

BACK — Pittsburgh Steelers -5.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Philadelphia Eagles

Line: Philadelphia +7

Total Points: 52.5

Week six kicks off with an in-form Tampa Bay Buccaneers visiting the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bucs crushed the Dolphins 45-17 last week and sit atop the NFC South, while the Eagles came back from a 12 point deficit to beat the Panthers in week five, taking their record to 2-3.

The Bucs offence continues to roll, with quarterback Tom Brady showing no signs of slowing down. The Bucs pass at the highest rate in the league (69.71%) and have the largest share of their offensive yardage coming from passing (80.9%). Brady leads the league in attempts (225), completions (149), passing yards per game (353.4) and is in the top five in touchdowns (15) and quarterback rating (108.5). The Bucs will continue to keep the ball in Brady’s hand and attack through the air, who boast one of the strongest groups of pass catchers in the league.

The Tampa defence hasn’t started the season as strong as projected, especially struggling in the pass rush. The Bucs blitz at the highest rate in the league (40.2%), but create pressure at the seventh lowest rate (22.2%) and rank 23rd in sacks (10), categories they ranked in the top five in last year. The run defence has shown no struggles though, leading the league in yards per carry allowed (3.6). Teams now all but abandon the run against the stout Bucs run defence, facing the least rushing attempts in the league (358) and having the lowest percentage of yardage allowed coming from the run (12.7%).

The Eagles haven’t been shy in passing the ball themselves, ranking 10th in pass rate (63.07%) to start the season with quarterback Jalen Hurts averaging 42.8 dropbacks per game. With some injuries to the Bucs back seven and the strength of the run defence, expect the pass focused offence to continue. One area the Bucs have been vulnerable is allowing receptions to running backs, with the Eagles having two backs in Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell who are more than capable of receiving out of the backfield.

Philly’s defence has started the season relatively strong in pass defence, assisted by a heavy zone scheme that has resulted in an average depth of target of just 6.3 yards. But they have only faced two top tier passers in their five games, both of whom picked apart the Eagles defence in a highly efficient manner (Mahomes: 24-30, 278 yards, 5 TD’s, Prescott: 21-26, 238 yards, 3 TD’s). Tom Brady definitely fits into this category.

With the Bucs able to put up 40+ points on any given week and their struggles on defence, shootouts are looking likely most weeks. Both teams passing at such high rates should keep the clock stopped, giving plenty of opportunities to score points. The best value looks to be on the total points in this one.

Key Stats

BucsRank EaglesRank
33.43Points per game2316
24.419Points all. per game24.821
686Plays per game61.222
62.818Opponent plays per game67.226
30.29%32Rush %36.93%23
69.71%1Pass %63.07%10
25.16%1Opp. Rush %49.70%31
74.84%32Opp. Pass %50.30%2
2-3Against the spread2-3

Betting Strategy

BACK — Total Points Over 52.5

Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens

Line: Baltimore -6.5

Total Points: 46.5

Week five comes to a close, with the Baltimore Ravens looking to make it four in a row against the Indianapolis Colts, who record their first win for the season last week against the Dolphins.

Carson Wentz’s reunion with head coach Frank Reich, who was the offensive coordinator during Wentz’s best years in Philly, has not gone to play so far this season. Wentz should have been playing behind the best offensive line of his career this season, but the Colts will again be missing All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson and right tackle Braden Smith, which has seen Wentz pressured more than any other quarterback. The extra attention Wentz has received has led to injuries to Wentz all season, including two sprained ankles in one game, but he looks like he will suit up for this game.

The Colts defence looks a different unit to last year’s, who were one of the leaders in turnovers forced. This year the Colts are creating pressure at the second lowest rate (18.3%) and have only recorded 8 sacks (11th worst). The lack of pressure has seen the Colts allowing league high in passing touchdowns (11) and touchdown rate (10%) while allowing 8.4 yards per attempt (sixth highest).

The Ravens offence remains one of the run heaviest in the league, ranking third in the league in rushing yards (658) and yards per carry (5.2) while rushing on 48.47% of their offensive snaps (fourth highest rate). But when they do pass, quarterback Lamar Jakson has been attacking deep downfield, leading the league in air yards per completion (9.3) and rate of completions to gain 20 or more yards (25.3%). The Colts zone defensive scheme should protect them from runs from Jackson, but there is nothing about this defence that would suggest they can stop the Ravens quarterback.

The Baltimore defence has tightened up after allowing 30+ points in the first two weeks, only allowing 24 points total over the last two games. Still blitzing at one of the highest rates in the league (31.8%, fourth highest) and creating pressure at the third highest rate (30.6%), they’ll be up against Wentz who has yet to throw a touchdown while facing pressure this season

The Ravens look to have too much talent against a Colts team that is really struggling with injuries on offence. The depleted offensive line would usually see Wentz scrambling, something he has had success doing in the past, but he has looked far less mobile than in previous seasons. Expect to see the Ravens make it four in a row and take control of the AFC North.

Key Stats

ColtsRank RavensRank
20.821Points per game26.28
24.216Points all. per game2311
6514Plays per game65.513
56.84Opponent plays per game6211
41.15%19Rush %48.47%4
58.85%14Pass %51.53%29
48.02%30Opp. Rush %33.47%4
51.98%3Opp. Pass %66.53%29
2-2Against the spread2-2

Betting Strategy

BACK — Ravens -6.5

Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs

Line: Kansas City -3

Total Points: 56.5

Sunday Night Football brings us a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game, with the Buffalo Bills visiting Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. The Chiefs bounced back from two straight losses with a win over the Eagles last week, while the Bills made it three in a row with a convincing 40-0 win over Houston.

The Bills have been able to control the ball on offence, running the second most plays in the league (72.8), while allowing the second lowest (54.2). After a slow start to the season, quarterback Josh Allen has picked things up over the last two games. His average passing yards have increased from 224.5 to 303, average yards per attempt from 5.35 to 8.3 and average touchdowns from three to six. In last year’s matchups with the Chiefs, Allen struggled under pressure. He was pressured on 46% of his dropbacks, connecting on only 35.7% of his passes at 3.8 yards per attempt.

Buffalo’s defence has been dominating to begin the season, allowing only 11 points per game and holding two teams scoreless. They are creating pressure at the second highest rate in the league (34.3%) and allowing the fourth fewest rushing yards per carry. But the opposing offences and quarterbacks faced have been less than stellar. After a Week 1  loss to an aged Ben Roethlisberger, the Bills have faced backup quarterbacks in Jacoby Brissett, Taylor Heinicke and Davis Mills. Facing Patrick Mahomes will be the Bills defence’s first real test.

The Chiefs lost two games in a row for the first time since October 2019 before getting back in the winners column last week, putting up 42 points to take down the Eagles. Offence hasn’t been the Chiefs’ issue, leading the league in points per possession (3.56) and yards per play (6.9). Mahomes had no issues with the Bills defence in last year’s playoffs, throwing for 325 yards and three touchdowns while seeing pressure on only 7.7% of dropbacks. If Mahomes sees as little pressure as he did in his last matchup with the Bills, he has every chance to put up similar numbers.

Kansas City’s problems start on the defensive side of the ball, allowing over 30 points per game to opponents. They are allowing a league-high 45.6 yards per possession and the most red zone possessions to opponents (19), allowing 15 of those to be converted into touchdowns. Their struggles aren’t contained to the passing game, allowing the highest yards per carry (5.4) and most rushing touchdowns (8) to opponents.

The Bills defence has started the season hot, but will get a shock to the system up against Mahomes this week. In two career games against Bills’ head coach Sean McDermott, Mahomes has posted totals of 550 yards on 78% completion rate at 8.6 yards per attempt, with five touchdowns and no interceptions. Even with the Chiefs’ shaky form to start the season, I’m backing them to keep up this dominance of Buffalo.

Key Stats

BillsRank ChiefsRank
33.52Points per game33.52
111Points all. per game31.231
72.82Plays per game66.218
54.22Opponent plays per game63.817
43.99%12Rush %41.37%18
56.01%21Pass %58.63%15
38.71%8Opp. Rush %42.35%20
61.28%25Opp. Pass %57.65%13
3-1Against the spread1-3

Betting Strategy

BACK — Kansas City Chiefs -3

Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks

Line: Seattle +2.5

Total Points: 54.5

The Rams head up to Seattle to take on divisional rival Seahawks to kick off week five. The Rams dropped their first game last week, while the Seahawks secured a key divisional win in San Francisco.

LA’s offense had been rolling before last week’s loss to the Cardinals, averaging 31.6 points per game and leading the league in passing yards per play (9.3) and points per offensive play (0.549). But the passing yards dropped to 6.8 last week in what was Stafford’s worst game for the Rams. He shouldn’t see a tonne of pressure from the Seattle defensive front and stay in a lot of clean pockets, a position he has excelled in so far this season.

The Rams defence has struggled to contain two of the leagues best quarterbacks in the last two weeks, allowing 700 passing yards at 75% completion rate at 8.05 yards per attempt, three touchdowns with no interceptions and 53 yards and a touchdown rushing to Kyler Murray and Tom Brady. The Rams are blitzing on 26.1% of opponent dropbacks, which may need to be dialled back with Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson excelling against the blitz this year. Wilson has completed 18 of 24 passing attempts at 10.5 yards per attempt with four touchdowns to start the season.

The Seattle offense has relied on super efficient play from Wilson, something they have been able to do in patches in previous seasons. The Seahawks rank last in plays per game and have yet to have a game where they run 60 offensive plays, the only team in the league to do so. Wilson leads the league in both yards per attempt (9.6) and quarterback rating (129.9), while posting a career high 72.5% completion rate and throwing for nine touchdowns and no interceptions. Season’s past has shown this efficiency can’t last, with a similar start last year fading as the season went on.

The Seahawks haven’t been able to get off the field on defence, allowing the most plays against in the league (74.8) and most yards from scrimmage (462.8). Lacking any real pressure on the opposing quarterback (22.7% pressure rate) and allowing a generous 4.6 yards per carry (8th worst) on the ground, the Seattle defence sits middle of the road in most defensive categories and might struggle to contain the high powered Rams offense.

With both offenses looking good to start the season, an entertaining matchup is on the cards. LA’s superior talent on the defensive side of the ball gives them the edge for me and should see them cover the short line.

Key Stats

RamsRank SeahawksRank
28.86Points per game25.810
24.818Points all. per game2519
59.226Plays per game52.832
7029Opponent plays per game74.832
41.77%17Rush %43.13%14
58.23%16Pass %56.87%19
37.5%6Opp. Rush %44.48%23
62.50%27Opp. Pass %55.52%10
2-2Against the spread2-2

Betting Strategy

BACK — LA Rams -2.5

Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angeles Chargers

Line: Los Angeles -3.0

Total Points: 51.5

Week four comes to a close with a divisional matchup between The Las Vegas Raiders and LA Chargers. The Raiders enter this matchup undefeated, winning in overtime in two of their three games. The Chargers took down the Chiefs last week, taking their record to 2-1.

Quarterback Derek Carr and the Vegas offence have started the season fast, vaulting Carr into early MVP conversations. Carr has averaged 401 passing yards per game and has thrown two touchdowns in each of his three games while leading the league in completion percentage on pass attempts of over 15 yards (25.2%). Starting running back Josh Jacobs could also miss a third straight game to a toe injury, mounting more pressure on Carr and the passing game.

The Raiders defence has performed above expectations to start the year, with edge rushers Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby causing pressure without the need for additional help via the blitz. The Raiders are creating pressure on 29.4% of opponent dropbacks (ninth in the league) at a 10.3% blitz rate (second lowest). But Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert should provide the Raiders defence with its biggest test of the year, being a superior passer and behind a stronger offensive line than those previously faced.

Justin Herbert had his best game of the season last week, throwing for 281 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions. It was his first multi touchdown passing week of the season, after having multiple touchdowns in 10 of his first 15 career starts. Surrounded by solid passing weapons, wide receivers Mike Willaims and Keenan Allen are both averaging over 80 yards receiving per game to go along with a combined five receiving touchdowns, expect Herbert to attack through the air again this week,

The Chargers defence has committed to stopping the vertical passing game in the first three weeks of the season, keeping Dak Prescott to his lowest air yards per attempt and quarterback rating on the season and allowing Patrick Mahomes to only 5.9 yards per pass attempt. Opposing passers have completed only 11.1% of passes over 15 yards downfield (lowest in the league), while their defensive scheme is preventing these passes from even happening (9.8% pf passes, second lowest in the league). This has left their defence vulnerable to the run and short to intermediate passing through the middle of the field, but the Chargers look to be happy to allow this kind of attack.

The Raiders injuries in the backfield could lead to Carr continuing to attack downfield, playing into the hands of the Charger defence. I can see the weapons Herbert has at his disposal being too much of the Raiders

Key Stats

RaidersRank ChargersRank
306Points per game22.319
2415Points all. per game207
751Plays per game677
6724Opponent plays per game61.714
36%24Rush %34.83%27
64%9Pass %65.17%6
37.31%10Opp. Rush %47.57%26
62.69%23Opp. Pass %52.43%7
2-1Against the spread2-1

Betting Strategy

BACK — Chargers -3.0

BACK — Darren Waller – Over 67.5 yards

The Chargers allowed 104 yards on 11 targets to Travis Kelce last week against the Chiefs. After a couple of quieter weeks, Darren Waller could see similar volume and wide open spaces through the middle of the field, especially if the Chiefs fall behind on the scoreboard and the Chargers try to further limit big plays.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New England Patriots

Line: New England +7.0

Total Points: 49.5

Week four brings us one of the most anticipated matchups of the year, the return of Tom Brady and his Buccaneers to New England to take on the Patriots. The mind games started early with some well timed comments from Brady’s camp in the lead up to week three, questioning his treatment in his final few years with the Patriots. But with both teams suffering disappointing losses in week three, the tensions will be high heading into Sunday Night Football.

The Patriots were favoured against the Saints last week, but were thoroughly outplayed on both sides of the ball. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones threw his first career interception in the game, which was soon followed by his second and third, and really struggled with the Saints pass rush wh blitzed often. Jones has faced the blitz on 34.1% of his dropbacks on the year (third highest rate), completing just 26-46 pass attempts for 235 yards at 5.7 yards per attempt with one TD and one interception on these plays. The Patriots were unable to get their run game going against a stout Saints defence, averaging 1.9 yards per rushing attempt by their running backs last week.

New England’s pass defence has started the season strong, leading the league in interception percentage (6.2%) and posting top five totals in total yards allowed (479), completion percentage (59.3%), touchdowns allowed (3) and quarterback rating allowed (65.9). But the Patriots have faced a less than stellar lineup of quarterbacks in their first three games, Tua Tagovailoa, Zach Wilson and Jameis Winston, none of whom can be put in the same tier as Tom Brady.

Brady enters this week only needing 68 yards to move into first place in NFL history for passing yards (34.3), fitting that it should occur at a ground he called home for 20 seasons. The Bucs have been the league’s highest scoring team, while also passing at the highest rate (75.38%). They also pass on 82% of first downs, with that rate only dropping to 75% when leading the game, both the highest rates in the league. Alternatively, Tampa Bay has all but abandoned the run game. Averaging just

3.9 yards per carry and their two rushing touchdowns have come on Tom Brady quarterback sneaks.With an array of passing weapons, this offense is purely in Brady’s hands.

The Bucs defense hasn’t lived up to the lofty preseason expectations, with the feared pass rush only recording three sacks to start the season while blitzing at the highest rate in the league (41.5%). Expect to see the blitzing continue in this game, hoping to unsettle the rookie quarterback who looked rattled last week under constant pressure. One area the Bucs defence has excelled again this year is stopping the run, allowing only 3.1 yards per carry (third lowest).

Tom Brady left New England looking to prove he could win it all without long time coach Bill Belichick, which he was able to do in his first season away from the Patriots. This game presents the first opportunity for Brady to beat his old team, something he should be able to do comfortably.

Key Stats

BuccaneersRank PatriotsRank
34.31Points per game1826
29.327Points all. per game175
6512Plays per game65.710
69.728Opponent plays per game60.8711
24.62%32Rush %36.04%23
75.38%1Pass %63.96%10
29.67%1Opp. Rush %50.55%30
70.33%2Opp. Pass %49.45%3
1-2Against the spread1-2

Betting Strategy

BACK — Tampa Bay -7.0

BACK — Daimen Harris – Under 49.5 rushing yards

After rushing for 100 yards on 23 attempts in week one, Harris’ usage has steadily declined in the following weeks, rushing only six times for 14 yards last week. There have also been pass protection issues for Harris, who lost snaps in passing situations last week as the Patriots trailed early. Expect Harris’ usage to drop again this week unless the Patriots find a way to keep pace with the Bucs.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals

Line: Cincinnati -7.5

Total Points: 46

Week four kicks off with a battle of the last two number one draft picks, with Joe Burrow and Bengals hosting Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars. Cincinnati come into this game off the back of a big win against the Steelers, while the Jags are still searching for their first win for the season.

Trevor Lawrence has struggled in the first three starts of his career, throwing for yardage totals of 332 yards (51 attempts), 118 yards (33 attempts) and 219 yards (34 attempts). He’s also thrown for multiple interceptions in each game and has had nine turnovers total, only recording more than one touchdown in one outing. Last week’s offensive spark came from special teams, with an attempted 68-yard field goal returned for a 109-yard touchdown on the stroke of halftime giving Jacksonville hope.

The Jags defence has been torched in the passing game all year, allowing the third-highest completion rate (74.3%), third-highest yards per attempt (9.3), the fifth-highest quarterback rating (111.6) and the seventh-highest yards per completion (12.5). Unable to slow down the offences they have faced, of which only Arizona would be considered top tier, trailing by double digits for 52.2% of their offensive snaps (2nd most in the league).

The Bengals have changed their offensive strategy to start this season, possibly to protect quarterback Joe Burrow after last year’s season-ending injury behind a shaky offensive line. Burrow has had 30 or fewer passing attempts in each game this year, a mark he was at or above in every one of his first 10 career games, with a high of 61 attempts. 29.3% of Burrow’s attempts have come on first down (31st in the league), a rate that was 38.6% in his rookie year.

But Burrow’s efficiency in his limited passing opportunities has been elite, top ten in both completion rate (70.7%) and yards per attempt (8.5) and posting a 9.3 touchdown percentage (third in the league). The main beneficiary of the lowered pass rate is running back Joe Mixon, who is second in the league in both rushing attempts and rushing yards, and should see a big workload against a poor Jaguars run defence.

Cincinnati’s defence has started the season strong, fourth in the league in sacks and fifth in quarterback pressures. The passing defence has also been performing well, albeit against the Bears duo of Andy Dalton/Justin Fields and a washed up Ben Roethlisberger in the last two weeks, leading the league in yards per completion (8.8), third in yards per attempt (6.0) and sixth in quarterback rating against (84.7). This should continue against Lawrence and the Jaguars offensive line, who have struggled to protect their quarterback.

The Bengals have had a promising start to the season and will look to continue their good form against a Jacksonville team that has struggled all over the field. The Jags haven’t been able to cover the line in any of their games and look unlikely to change that.

Key Stats

JaguarsRank BengalsRank
17.727Points per game22.717
30.328Points all. per game186
61.322Plays per game5530
68.727Opponent plays per game7129
33.15%30Rush %48.48%4
66.85%3Pass %51.52%29
49.03%29Opp. Rush %33.33%5
50.97%4Opp. Pass %66.67%28
0-3Against the spread2-1

Betting Strategy

BACK — Cincinnati -7.5

BACK — Joe Mixon – Over 84.5 rush yards

The game script should favour Mixon in this game, with the Bengals likely to be leading for a large portion of time. With Mixon averaging over 22 rushing attempts per game and his last outing against the Jags resulting in 181 yards, his rushing line should be in play.

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Line: Dallas -3.0

Total Points: 51.5

Week three closes with a divisional matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. Both teams enter this matchup with a record of 1-1 and will have genuine hopes of winning the wide open NFC East.

The Eagles offence struggled to get going against a stout 49er’s defence last week, outside of a 91-yard pass play that accounted for 47% of Jalen Hurts passing yards for the day. Hurts made up for the lack of pass production with 82 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Dallas has faced pocket passers Tom Brady and Justin Herbert to start the season, Hurts should provide a completely different style. Hurts did manage 69 yards rushing in one of his late-season starts last year against the Cowboys, a game that also saw his career-high in passing yards (342).

The Philadelphia defence has started the season strong, only allowing 11.5 points per game (4th in the league) and picking up where they left off last season in the run game, only allowing 3.8 yards per carry. One area where they excelled last season but have struggled in the first two weeks is the pass rush. Last year the Eagles ranked in the top three in sacks (49) and pressure percentage (29.7%), while blitzing at the fifth-lowest rate (22.2%). This year, only three sacks (28th in the league) and pressure on 20.8% (23rd). With last year’s top pass Brandon Graham going down to a season-ending achilles injury, this could continue to be an area of concern.

Cowboy quarterback Dak Prescott hasn’t missed a beat on his return from serious injury last season, averaging a 76.47% completion rate and 320 passing yards per game over the first two. Adapting their game plan to match the opponent to start the season, 18 rush vs 58 pass attempts vs the Bucs stout run defence and 31 rush vs 27 pass attempts against the Chargers, I’d expect to see another big passing game for Prescott against the pass funnell defence of the Eagles.

Prescott has faced the blitz at the third-highest rate this season (41.3%) but should see a different look from the Eagles who have only blitzed on 6.9% of dropbacks (third lowest in the league). When not blitzed, Prescott is 40-48 (83.3%) for 397 yards at 8.3 yards per attempt.

The Dallas defence has been able to turn the ball over on 30% of their opponent’s possessions this year, the highest rate through the first two games of the season. But the defensive line will be without three of its top four edge rushers with DeMarcus Lawrence (foot), Dorance Armstrong (ankle), and Bradlee Anae (Covid) all set to miss.

Rookie linebacker Micah Parsons was moved to the edge last week and had success against the Chargers, with that move likely to be repeated again this week. Outside of the turnovers, the Dallas pass defense numbers haven’t been strong but they have passed two of the better passers in the league, including an opening matchup with Tom Brady.

The Eagles will go into this game encouraged by the success Jalen Hurts was able to have in last year’s matchup with the Cowboys, but the Dallas defence looks to be a more talented and better-coached unit than last year. Keeping up with the high powered Cowboy offence will be of more concern to the Eagles, something I can’t see them doing this week.

Key Stats

PanthersRank TexansRank
21.518Points per game24.510
11.51Points all. per game2420
617Plays per game68.511
661Opponent plays per game6316
49.1810Rush %35.775
50.8223Pass %64.2328
48.485Opp. Rush %26.1914
51.5228Opp. Pass %73.8119
1-1Against the spread2-0

Betting Strategy

BACK — Dallas -3.0

BACK — CeeDee Lamb – Over 77.5 yards receiving

With Michael Gallup on IR and Amari Cooper battling through a rib injury, CeeDee Lamb looks to see an increase of his already huge target share (28.6%) in one of the league’s most voluminous passing attacks. Lamb has cleared this mark in both of the first two weeks and should see plenty of opportunities to again in this game.

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

Line: San Francisco -3.5

Total Points: 49.5


Two of the preseason favourites to take out the NFC go head to head on Sunday Night Football in Week 3, with the San Francisco 49ers hosting the Green Bay Packers. San Fran have started the season 2-0, while the Packers rebounded from a nightmare Week 1 to record a win in Week 2.

Aaron Rodgers doesn’t often have two bad games in a row and last week was no different. Rodgers rebounded with 255 passing yards on 22-27 attempts at 9.4 yards per attempt, with four touchdowns and no interceptions, looking like he had another gear to move up to if needed. Three of those four passing touchdowns went to running back Aaron Jones, who added a fourth touchdown on the ground to go along with his 115 total yards. One of the most efficient offences over the last few seasons, the Week 1 performance is more than likely to be an outlier for the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers defence was dominated in Week 1 by the Saints, before seeing a much softer matchup against in Week 2, causing three turnovers against the Lions. But the pass rush has been almost nonexistent, recording only one sack and pressuring the opposing quarterback at a league low 7.9%. They’ll be up against a 49ers offensive line that has allowed a QB hit on only 3.3% of dropbacks (the lowest rate in the league) and is led by arguably the best tackle in football in Trent Williams.

The 49ers struggled offensively in Week 2 against the Eagles after putting up 41 points to start the season. QB Jimmy Garoppolo should see plenty of clean pockets in this game, allowing the 49ers to play their short passing game that relies heavily on yards after the catch. One area of concern for San Francisco is the running back position. After losing starter Raheem Mostert for the season in Week 1, three more running backs ended up on the injury report after Week 2. Rookie Elijah Mitchell had taken control of the starting job, but had already missed the first practice session of the week. With rookie Trey Sermon in the concussion protocol, if neither are available on game day the 49ers will be starting a player signed in the last week.

The San Francisco defence hasn’t quite made it back to the levels it was playing at in 2019, sitting middle of the pack in most pass rusher categories. The pass defence has been strong though, allowing only 6.6 yards per attempt (8th in the league) and 62.5% completion rate (5th). But Aaron Rodgers is on another level to the QBs already faced, Jared Goff and Jalen Hurts, who will look to attack a secondary that is struggling with injury.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offence looked back on track last week, which could see this game turn into a shootout. While the 49ers will look to run the ball early, their injuries in the backfield could see them put the ball in the air to keep pace with the Packers offence. I see the 49ers taking the win in a close, high scoring game.

Key Stats

PackersRank 49er'sRank
1926Points per game298
27.523Points all. per game2211
56.527Plays per game61.520
586Opponent plays per game69.527
40.71%18Rush %53.66%3
59.29%15Pass %46.34%30
50%29Opp. Rush %50%9
50%4Opp. Pass %61.87%24
1-1Against the spread1-1

Betting Strategy

BACK — Total Points Over 49.5

Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans

Line: Houston +7.5

Point Total: 43.5


Week three starts with the Panthers visiting Houston to take on the Texans on Thursday Night Football. Carolina have looked lively in their 2-0 start to the season, while the Texans have gone 1-1.

The Panthers were impressive in their 26-7 victory over the Saints last week, with new QB Sam Darnold throwing for 300 yards for the first time since midway through the 2019 season. Darnold’s yards per attempt sits at a respectable 8.0 on the season (12th in the league), up from his career mark of 6.6 in his time with the Jets. Surrounded by far superior skill position players and better coaching, there’s no reason Darnold’s breakout season shouldn’t continue in week three. One of those skill position players is running back Chrstian McCaffrey, who missed a lot of time to injury last season but has picked up where he left off in 2019 to start this season. McCaffrey has seen 59 touches through the first two games, including 12 in the red zone.

Carolina lead the league in opponent points allowed and opponent plays per game after two weeks, neither area’s where they excelled last year. Their young defensive line also lead the league in sacks (10), QB pressures (35) and have forced opposing quarterbacks into three turnovers so far. They will come up against a rookie quarterback with only 11 college starts under his belt behind one of the league’s weakest offensive lines.

The Texans will move to third round rookie QB Davis Mills after an injury to Tyrod Taylor, one that will keep him up to a month. Mills played the whole second half last week, posting a stat line of 8-12 passing for 102 yards at 5.7 yards per attempt, with one TD and one interception. Houston has run the ball on 51.88% of offensive plays (5th in the league) and should look to keep this up, protecting Mills in his first NFL start. The running backs are also heavily involved in the Texan passing game, accounting for 64.8% of the total team touches. That rate is the highest in the league, but these running back touch’s are only returning 3.6 yards per touch, which ranks 30th in the league.

The Houston defence has struggled to create any pressure in the pass rush, recording only three sacks (5th lowest) and pressuring the opposing quarterbacks only 10 times (lowest in the league). While the defensive backfield have started the season with two decent games on paper, these games have come up against Trevor Lawrence in his first career start and Baker Mayfield without his top two wide receivers. I’d predict the Houston pass defence to start trending towards the lower end of the league over the next few months.

The Panthers improving defence should have a big day against the rookie quarterback this week, keeping the momentum they have created to start the season. On the offensive side of the ball, the Panthers have far too much talent and should take care of the Texans comfortably.

Key Stats

PanthersRank TexansRank
22.518Points per game2910
10.51Points all. per game2620
687Plays per game66.511
51.51Opponent plays per game62.516
44.12%10Rush %51.88%5
55.88%23Pass %48.12%28
33.01%5Opp. Rush %40.00%14
66.99%28Opp. Pass %60.00%19
2-0Against the spread2-0

Betting Strategy

BACK — Panthers -7.5


The Kansas City Chiefs start the season as favourites and rightly so. The most exciting offense in football brings back all their important pieces and shores up an Offensive Line that was overpowered by the Bucs in the Super Bowl. The Bucs are another team that didn’t lose anyone in the offseason, returning all 22 starters from the Super Bowl win. If they can keep healthy, the Bucs will no doubt be in contention when the playoffs come around. Of the two favourites, I prefer the Chiefs to go all the way. The consistency shown by Andy Reid’s squad over the last five years, especially the last three years with Patrick Mahomes, gives confidence the Chiefs will be around when games move into late January.

But I see the value in what I believe will be the teams battling it out for the NFC West and AFC North. Both the Rams and 49er’s project to have dominant defences and have two of the most creative offensive minds in the game calling the plays. While in the AFC North, the Browns and Ravens will have two of the best running offenses in the league and could end up with top 10 defences. All four of these teams sit between $15.00-$17.00 and I would be surprised if at least one wasn’t in the Super Bowl come season’s end.

The 49er’s and Cleveland would be my picks of that bunch, with the Browns my favourite value bet for the Super Bowl to start the season. With a matchup against the Chiefs at Arrowhead stadium to open up the season, 17/1 could be the highest the odds the Browns see with a win to start the season.

BACK — San Francisco 49ers to win the SuperBowl

BACK — Cleveland Browns to win the SuperBowl


The MVP award has belonged to Quarterbacks in recent years, with 10 of the last 11 winners coming from the position. All 10 were on teams that won the division and earned a first round bye in the playoffs, with 8 of the 10 being the number 1 seed in the conference. Matt Ryan in 2016 won with 11 wins for the year, all others have had win totals of 12 or more. Passing touchdowns and Quarterback Rating/QBR have also been a consistent factor amongst winners, with all 10 in the top 3 for touchdowns and only Cam Newton in 2015 outside the top 3 in the two rating metrics. These consistent factors can be used to narrow the field to around half the starting Quarterbacks in the league, with these factors varying from likely to possible.

Voter fatigue is also a real thing in a lot of American sports, who’s season long awards are usually voted on by the media. There hasn’t been a back to back winner of the MVP award since Peyton Manning in 2008/2009. Comeback stories and narratives can have a real effect on the award, with the ‘Russell Wilson had never received an MVP vote’ narrative taking off early last year before his play dropped off in the second half of the year.

The Favourites

  • Patrick Mahomes: $6.00
  • Aaron Rodgers: $11.00
  • Tom Brady: $13.00
  • Josh Allen: $14.00

Mahomes starts the year favourite for the award, and rightfully so. Mahomes is widely regarded as the best QB in the league and the Chiefs are projected to win the most games in the league. It’s worth noting that the Chiefs face three tough matchups to begin the year, vs the Browns, at the Ravens and against division rival Chargers. A slow start could see Mahomes odds increase, but a 3-0 start could mean the $6.00 odds are the shortest they will be all year.

Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers return to the Packers sees him move into second favourite. While Rodgers is in a strong situation, his offensive line will be in worse shape than last year. Last season’s combination of touchdown percentage (9.12%) and Quarterback Rating (121.5) is only rivalled by his own 2011 season and Peyton Manning’s 2004 season, which both resulted in MVP wins. That sort of production isn’t something that can be relied on year on year.

Off the back of another Superbowl win, there has been plenty of discussion of Brady’s status of the GOAT this offseason. Another MVP run at age 44 would garner plenty of clicks and airtime, something that definitely has an effect on the MVP vote that is cast by sportswriters. The Bucs bring back all the pieces from last year’s team and could face less competition in their division and overall, so 13+ wins is definitely a possibility. With that kind of success, it’s likely that Brady is in the mix.

Last year’s longshot pick Josh Allen started last season with odds of 66/1, in a winnable division with a stronger supporting cast than he had previously in his career. While the size of jump in passing efficiency was a little unexpected on his way to a 2nd place finish in voting, Allen’s situation to start last season was amongst the best. With longer odds than multiple RB’s (Henry, McCaffrey, Barkley) and similar other QB’s in far less desirable positions (Carr, Stafford, Cousins were all extremely unlikely to win their division), it shows value can be found in some of the higher priced options. With a division that should offer a little more competition this year, I’m not liking Allen’s value as much as a year ago.

The Next Tier

  • Dak Prescott: $18.00
  • Lamar Jackson: $18.00
  • Matthew Stafford: $18.00
  • Justin Herbert: $21.00
  • Russell Wilson: $21.00
  • Kyler Murray: $23.00
  • Baker Mayfield: $23.00

This next tier can be split into a few groups. I don’t see too many scenarios where Prescott or Herbert can win the award. With Prescott, the Cowboys have a real chance to win the division but I’m not sure they are good enough to rack up the win total needed, especially on defence. He is also returning from a serious leg injury suffered last year, one that could see him start slowly. For Herbert, it’s unlikely the Chargers win their division. The Chiefs are favourites for the Superbowl and it would take some turnaround for the Chargers to pick up 7 wins over the Chiefs. A bet on Herbert is basically a bet against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, something I’m not willing to do at this point.

Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray were both in the MVP discussion early last year, before slowing down in the second half of the season. But I have the Rams and 49er’s above both the Cardinals and Seahawks in the NFC West, which has me looking elsewhere. If you expect either the Cardinals or Seahawks to win the division, which you’d expect to take at least 12 wins, a bet on their QB is good value at these odds.

The last group contains some options I like more. The Browns and the Ravens look to be two of the best teams in the AFC, with 12+ wins a good possibility for both. Mayfield’s chances would require more of a jump in production, in an offensive system that has historically been more about passing efficiency than passing volume. If all goes to plan for the Browns, they will still be a run first team which may make things complicated for Baker Mayfield. The Ravens won 14 games in Lamar Jackson’s MVP season two years ago, before struggling with injuries and Covid (including Jackson himself contracting the virus) in last year’s 11 win season. With a few new passing weapons, we could see Jackson take the league by storm again this year. Matthew Stafford is an interesting option, known as a gunslinger since entering the year, but has been stuck on a bad Lions team for the last few years. This year he will work under one of the most creative offensive minds in the league, Sean McVay.

The Rams offense performed well last year before they entered the red zone, where they didn’t seem confident in previous QB Jared Goff to make the touchdown throws. The Rams were 11th in offensive yards gained, but 20th in offensive touchdowns, only 15% of their touchdowns came from outside the redzone (second lowest in the league). When in the red zone they ran the ball 61% of the time (4th most), that figure moving up to 71% when inside the 10 yard line (only behind the Patriots, who used Cam Newton as a rusher almost exclusively on goal to go looks) and around 70% inside the 5 yard line. Stafford’s passing ability could change this approach completely and result in high passing touchdown numbers.

BACK — Lamar Jackson to win the MVP

Best Of The Rest

  • Tua Tagovailoa: $61

Tua is one of my favourite MVP bets for this season at odds in the 60’s. One of the highest rated QB prospects in college before suffering a dislocated hip in his last year of college, entering the NFL while still recovering. Now fully healthy with a training camp under his belt, I expect to see a big jump in Tua’s play. The Dolphins won ten games last year and added serious speed and downfield threat to a pass catching group that really struggled to create separation last season. The main weakness on this team is the offensive line, but has considerable draft capital invested into it over the last couple of years. It would take a jump in production from Tua and some regression from the Bills, but the Dolphins have a realistic path to one of the more competitive divisions in the league.

BACK — Tua Tagovailoa to win the MVP

Offensive Rookie of the year

Prior to 2010, the Offensive Rookie of the Year had only been won by Quarterbacks on 4 occasions, with three of those between 2004 and 2009. Since then, 6 of the last 11 have come from the QB position, showing a change in philosophy across the league when It comes to starting a rookie QB. Of the QB’s to win the award since 2004, only two have been drafted outside the top 6, Ben Roethlisberger (11th overall) and Dak Prescott (4th round). With there being 5 first round QB’s selected in this year’s draft, Mac Jones and Justin Fields would fall out of that very top end range that usually takes out the award. But both may have been nearer the top of other drafts, with this year’s crop of passers deeper than most other years.

  • Trevor Lawrence: $5.05
  • Mac Jones: $5.50
  • Justin Fields: $7.80
  • Trey Lance: $8.10
  • Zach Wilson: $8.10

Of the five selected, three now have been named starters for week 1. Mac Jones odds were out closer to 11/1 when training camp started, but early reports of him outperforming Cam Newton had those odds coming in. Newton was cut from the roster, which saw Jones move into second favourite. Jones’ situation is amongst the best, slotting into a team with a strong defence and an established playbook for an accurate passer who never leaves the pocket. If Jones and the Patriots put up good win numbers, voters could have visions of a young Tom Brady which could get Jones over the line. Zach Wilson has been the presumed starter since the start of camp, but the lack of true talent and a below average offensive line around him could limit his chances. Not as mobile as some of the other candidates, if the O Line doesn’t hold up it could see Wilson take some hits. Number 1 pick Trevor Lawrence never really had his starting position in doubt, but the trade of backup Gardiner Minshew cemented that. With the Jags Offensive Line looking poor in preseason, coupled with Mac Jones winning the starting job, Lawrences odds for the award have moved from around 3/1 to 5/1.

Two of the five have yet to be named starters, which makes things a little more difficult. The 49er’s made a Super Bowl run with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm  and don’t appear to be in a rush to hand over the reins just yet, especially considering Trey Lance only started a total of 19 games in college, including only one in 2020. The situation in San Francisco would be as near to perfect as any highly drafted rookie would see, if he were to win the job early enough in the season he could realistically become the favourite for the award. Justin Fields is the other QB still listed as the backup, but all the talk from Chicago is “when” not “if”. Fields’ performances in preseason had the Bears crowd chanting his name when starter Andy Dalton saw the field, that change looking more likely to happen earlier and earlier. The Bears could just be looking to protect Fields from a week 1 matchup with the Rams and their feared defensive front, who should be no match for a Bears O Line that projects to be amongst the worst in the league. Even behind that line, Fields scrambling and rushing ability should create plenty of highlight plays which could catch the eye of the voters.

Unlike the MVP, the other skill positions do get a chance in this award. Last year WR Justin Jefferson received 9 of the 50 votes in a season where he broke the receiving yards record for a rookie, losing out to Chargers QB Justin Herbert, who broke a number of rookie passing records himself.

  • Najee Harris: $10.20
  • Kyle Pitts: $12.25
  • Javonte Williams: $21

Of the Wide Receivers taken early in the draft (Chase, Smith, Waddle), I don’t see any getting the volume and consistent Quarterback play to put up the type of numbers Jefferson was able to last year. One pass catcher who might see that volume is Tight End Kyle Pitts, who was taken 4th overall. Tight Ends don’t usually produce much in their rookie year, but Pitts is a different beast and possibly the most hyped Tight End prospect ever. With Julio Jones leaving Atlanta, there are plenty of targets available and he should see solid QB play from former MVP Matt Ryan. Pitts would likely need something in the region of 1,000 yards and 10 TD’s to take the award, both would be the best returns for a rookie Tight End since 1961.

Of all the RB’s, Najee Harris looks set for huge volume this season. The Steelers were unable to run the ball at all towards the end of last season and spent a first round pick to bring some talent in at the position. The Offensive Line is poor in Pittsburgh which could lead to average efficiency for Harris, but by the end of the season he could have accrued the type of raw numbers that are hard to ignore if there are no other stand outs for the award. The other running back prospect I like for this award is Javonte Williams, who currently sits behind Melvin Gordon on the Broncos depth chart. Gordon has shown little since moving across to Denver, leading to trade chatter and talks of possibly being cut prior to the season. Williams showed elite elusiveness and tackle breaking ability in college, which led to the Broncos trading up to draft him, usually a good indicator that the team is willing to give the player a larger role in the offense. The Broncos also face one of the weakest schedules of run defences, giving Williams a chance to win control of the backfield and put up strong numbers as the season goes on.

With the talent at QB taken in the first round, I think the winner will come from that group of five. I was high on Mac Jones’ at the longer odds when training camp started, but can’t see the value at $5.50 for someone who has a considerably lower ceiling than the others. I think Lawrence now presents the best value after spending most of the preseason at 3/1, now out to 5/1 without any real change in his environment. Outside of the QB’s, I like the narrative Pitts can create with no other Tight End ever winning the award.

BACK — Trevor Lawrence to win Offensive Rookie of the year

BACK — Kyle Pitts to win Offensive Rookie of the year

Defensive Rookie of the year

The last ten years of this award has seen six edge rushers win the award, all of which were drafted in the first half of the first round. The previous two winners were both taken with second overall pick and were pure pass rushers. Two Cornerbacks have won the award in that span, but Corners usually rely on interceptions and defensive touchdowns when winning accolades, two things that are usually hard to predict. Marcus Peters had 8 interceptions and 2 defensive touchdowns in 2015, Marcus Lattimore had 5 interceptions and 1 touchdown in 2017. They were career highs in both statistics for both players.

  • Micah Parsons: $7.00
  • Jamin Davis: $8.50
  • Patrick Surtain II: $8.50
  • Jeremia Owusu-Koramoa: $10.00
  • Jaelen Phillips: $11.00
  • Kwity Paye: $11.00

With no edge rushers taken in the first half of the first round in the draft, the odds see some Middle Linebacker’s as favourites. With that position usually racking up the most tackles it can become a position that wins the awards when there are no other standouts. I don’t love the fit at the position within the defence for either Parsons or Davis, with both the Cowboys and WFT having some talent at the position which could lead to a reduced number of snaps, not ideal if both are looking for high tackle numbers. Owusu-Koramoa also falls into this category with Cleveland.

The two highest pure pass rushers were Jaelen Phillips and Kwity Paye at pick 18 and 21 respectively. Phillips has had concerns with concussions in his college career, even temporarily retiring from the game due to injuries. Any missed games would put serious doubts over his ability to win the award. Paye should start for the Colts, but on a Colts Defensive Line that lost its top two rushers in Justin Houston and Denico Autry, which could see Paye double-teamed if he has success.

  • Azeez Ojulari: $18.00
  • Nick Bolton: $34.00

Azeez Ojulari had one of the highest draft grades amongst pass rushers and led the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss, but a questionable medical report on his knee had his draft stock slide. He should start for a Giants defence that has other dominant talent on the defensive line, which should allow him to rush one on one on most snaps. If he can stay fit, Ojulari could have the highest sack numbers in the rookie class. A Linebacker who was taken in the second round but should see plenty of playing time is Nick Bolton. He should be in line to start in week 1 for a Chiefs team that has been weak against the run for years now, which leads to high tackles for the Middle Linebacker’s. The Chiefs also play a high number of nationally televised games, an interception or a touchdown in one of these high profile games would go a long way. With one of the weaker defensive drafts in recent years, I see more value in the longshots for this award.

BACK — Azeez Ojulari to win the Defensive Rookie of the year

BACK — Nick Bolton to win the Defensive Rookie of the year

2020 Results

Total Units Staked: 55.00

Total Units Returned: 52.59

ROI: -4.38%

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