In this weekly NFL player props preview, we’ll highlight some bets you should consider for the upcoming week. Since player props typically aren’t posted until closer to game day, this early preview will look at some particularly favorable or unfavorable matchups that could become actionable.
This doesn’t mean we should automatically bet on these props, but these are some of the first players to check when lines are posted. Hopefully, oddsmakers haven’t identified the same trends as us, and we can find favorable value on these player props.
Also, be sure to check out the Sharp Angles Betting Podcast every Thursday for further discussion on these player props and more betting advice for the week ahead.
CONSIDER THE UNDER ON KAMREN CURL’S TACKLES PROP BET
Washington safety Kamren Curl was a breakout performer in the second half of 2020 when playing time opened up due to an injury to veteran Landon Collins. In Washington’s final nine games, Curl played 98% of the defensive snaps.
With Collins back, it appears as though Curl’s role will be diminished again. In Week 1, although he took the field as a starter, Curl played only 46% of Washington’s snaps 一 Collins was on the field for 80% of the defensive snaps.
As a full-time starter, Curl averaged 7.9 tackles per game as a rookie, but never recorded more than three tackles when playing a reserve role. In Week 1, against the Los Angeles Chargers, Curl also recorded three tackles.
Further limiting Curl’s expected production is the potential for this to be a slow-paced game. In Week 1, the New York Giants ran 59 plays, ranked 24th, while Washington ran only 49, the fewest in the league.
Washington played at a much faster pace last season (65.9 per game), but New York’s slow pace was expected as they ranked 30th in 2020 (60.4). And with backup quarterback Taylor Heineke taking over for Washington, perhaps their slower pace will remain.
The line on Curl’s tackles opened at 5.5 on the DraftKings Sportsbook and has since dropped to 4.5. Taking the under on 5.5 is an easy choice, and 4.5 looks like a strong bet as well.
CONSIDER THE UNDER ON JARVIS LANDRY’S RECEIVING YARDS PROP BET
Jarvis Landry had a solid day against the Kansas City Chiefs with five receptions for 71 yards. However, a few concerning trends emerged that should make us skeptical about a repeat performance against the Houston Texans in Week 2.
Landry’s five targets generated only 17 air yards, for an average depth of target (aDOT) at 3.4 yards downfield, according to Sports Info Solutions. Landry has never been an elite deep threat, but even for him, this was conservative usage.
It’s possible the addition of third-round pick Anthony Schwartz has caused Cleveland to adjust Landry’s role in the offense. Schwartz also saw five targets, but for 124 air yards (24.8 aDOT).
With Schwartz taking on a bigger role in the downfield passing game, it also appeared to cut into Landry’s overall workload. In games without Odell Beckham Jr. on the field in 2020, Landry averaged 7.8 targets per contest and saw five or fewer only twice in eight games.
With the Browns heavily favored against the Texans, we should also expect a diminished workload for all Browns receivers. In 11 Browns victories in 2020, Landry was held to 51 or fewer yards seven times and held to 62 or fewer yards nine times.
CONSIDER THE UNDER ON D.J. CHARK’S RECEIVING YARDS PROP BET
This is a tricky one to predict without seeing the line first, but D.J. Chark’s 12 targets for 195 air yards (16.3 aDOT) were well-publicized over the weekend. If the oddsmakers react to those numbers, Chark’s receiving yards prop could rise high enough to make the under a strong bet.
While Chark’s usage was encouraging, Trevor Lawrence’s performance was not. According to Next Gen Stats, Lawrence had the worst completion percentage over expected (CPOE) in the league at -12.9%.
Those struggles dramatically affected Chark, who saw only five catchable targets, according to Sports Info Solutions. As a result, despite 195 intended air yards, Chark only saw only 92 catchable air yards.
Chark and the Jacksonville Jaguars now take a significant step up in competition level, at least on defense, to the Denver Broncos in Week 2.
CONSIDER THE OVER ON D’ANDRE SWIFT’S RECEPTIONS PROP BET
The line on D’Andre Swift’s receptions could rise significantly this week after an eight-catch performance against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. We have to mention it, however, because it was inexplicably available at 2.5 on BetMGM last week, despite Swift never playing a full game with fewer than three receptions.
Obviously, the coaching change could have altered his role, but new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn gave Austin Ekeler plenty of usage in the passing game with the Chargers and new quarterback Jared Goff has a strong track record of targeting running backs as well.
Unfortunately, that 2.5 number is highly unlikely to be available this week, but 3.5 would still make for an easy choice to bet the over and 4.5 could be worth consideration.
The Detroit Lions are 10.5-point underdogs against the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night, so a heavy passing volume is likely. In two games against Green Bay last year, Swift netted reception totals of four and five.