In this weekly NFL player props preview, we’ll highlight some bets you should consider for the upcoming week.
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.
Consider the over on Travis Etienne’s receiving yards prop
The over on this prop is 6-2 on the year and riding a four-game win streak, so let’s hop on the bandwagon and take the over on Travis Etienne’s receiving yards.
Travis Etienne’s receiving yards prop, current line:
- Take the over at 25.5 yards or lower
Travis Etienne has a modest 13% target share in the Jacksonville Jaguars offense, but the team makes a point to keep him involved every week. Etienne has at least three targets in every game and at least three receptions in all but one contest.
Etienne consistently hits the over on this prop because he’s more than just a checkdown option in the passing game.
According to TruMedia, 37% of Etienne’s receptions have produced 10 or more yards 一 the eighth-highest rate among running backs 一 and he’s had a reception of at least 15 yards in four of his eight games.
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Consider the over on Josh Jacobs’ receiving yards prop
The New York Jets are a favorable defense for this prop, so take the over on Josh Jacobs’ receiving yards.
Josh Jacobs’ receiving yards prop, current line:
- Take the over at 25.5 yards or lower
Like most running backs, Josh Jacobs sees more action in the passing game on non-blitzes. Take a look at his target share based on the defense’s pass-rush approach, via TruMedia:
- Versus blitz: 5.7%
- Non-blitzes: 18.5%
Jacobs’ pass-game production has been somewhat muted this year, but that appears to be a direct result of a scheduling fluke that has forced them to play the league’s most blitz-heavy defenses early in the year.
Take a look at the teams that have held Jacobs to 20 or fewer receiving yards, and their blitz rate rank, per TruMedia:
- Giants, 2nd
- Steelers, 3rd
- Packers, 4th
- Patriots, 6th
- Bears 23rd
Against teams ranked outside the top six in blitz rate, Jacobs has topped 20 yards four times in five games.
This week, Jacobs draws the Jets, who rank 31st with a 16% blitz rate, per TruMedia. This has undoubtedly contributed to the receiving yards over hitting in five of eight games against New York.
Consider the over on Kyle Pitts’ longest reception prop
Against a terrible Arizona Cardinals defense, take the over on Kyle Pitts’ longest reception.
Kyle Pitts’ longest reception prop, current line:
- Take the over at 19.5 yards or lower
We used similar logic to take the over on Amari Cooper’s longest reception last week and won, so let’s go back to the well.
Arizona is allowing an embarrassing 64% completion rate on throws of 15 or more yards, the league’s highest rate per TruMedia (average is 43%). So we should consider the over on this prop for any receiver who sees a significant downfield target share.
Kyle Pitts has been Atlanta’s most-targeted downfield receiver, with 29% of the team’s targets at 15 or more yards downfield and an average of 1.9 such targets per game, per TruMedia.
After a slow start to the season, Pitts’ production has picked up and he’s hit the over on this prop in four of his last five games.
There’s also reason to believe there’s value in this prop now that Taylor Heinicke has taken over at quarterback.
Heinicke threw 15 or more yards downfield on 32% of his attempts last week 一 a rate Desmond Ridder has never reached and far above Ridder’s 19% season average.
Consider the over on DeAndre Hopkins’ longest reception prop
With Will Levis officially named the Tennessee Titans starter, we should take the over on DeAndre Hopkins’ longest reception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
DeAndre Hopkins’ longest reception prop, current line:
- Take the over at 24.5 yards or lower
Longest reception overs are a combined 5-1 for DeAndre Hopkins, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, and Treylon Burks in Levis’ two starts.
This trend is no fluke, as Levis has been the league’s most aggressive downfield passer through his first two games.
According to TruMedia, 34% of Levis’ attempts have been 15 or more yards downfield, the league’s highest rate by 10 percentage points.
Through Levis’ two starts, Hopkins already has eight targets at 15 or more yards downfield, while he was averaging just 2.5 per game from Tannehill.
Burks (four targets at 15 or more yards from Levis) and Westbrook-Ekhine (three targets) have been involved as well, and it might be worth taking the longest reception over for all three — Burks is questionable because of a concussion.
Westbrook-Ekhine’s longest reception was available at just 11.5 yards last week while Burks’ was at 13.5 yards.
This week, Levis and company face a Buccaneers defense that has allowed 20 or more yards on 10.8% of opponent dropbacks, the second-highest rate according to TruMedia.
Consider the under on Deshaun Watson’s longest completion prop
The Cleveland Browns offense draws a tough test against the Baltimore Ravens, so take the under on Deshaun Watson’s longest completion.
Deshaun Watson’s longest completion prop, current line:
- Take the under at 32.5 yards or higher
Last week, we bet on the Browns offense by taking (and winning) the over on Amari Cooper’s longest completion against a pitiful Arizona Cardinals defense.
However, two long completions to Cooper were Deshaun Watson’s only plays of 20 or more yards, and his job gets a lot harder this week against the Ravens.
Take a look at the percentage of opponent dropbacks on which Baltimore allows big plays, per TruMedia:
- 10 or more yards: 18%, ranked first
- 20 or more yards: 5%, ranked third
- 30 or more yards: 2%, ranked first
Opposing quarterbacks have topped 32 yards as a longest completion in just four of nine games against the Ravens and topped 35 yards just three times.
Watson will also have some questionable protection, as Cleveland will be without both opening-week starting tackles. Right tackle Jack Conklin has been out for a while (replaced by rookie Dawand Jones), and now left tackle Jedrick Wills is gone as well.
Wills has struggled, ranking 33rd (out of 38) left tackles in pressure rate (9.5%), per TruMedia. That’s not ideal, but his replacement James Hudson has been worse. Hudson has allowed a 22% pressure rate over his career when lined up at left tackle.
With poor protection, Cleveland’s offense, which already lacks explosive playmakers, will likely struggle to create plays downfield against the Ravens.