The SI Sportsbook has launched and the betting lines are up. To help build the excitement on the betting side, I will look at the player props each week to identify some favorable opportunities while reflecting on my daily game projections.
QB Mac Jones, Patriots (O/U 28.5 pass attempts)
This game projects to be a low-scoring game (over/under – 43.5), which invites more runs. Rookie Mac Jones starts for the Patriots after playing well in the preseason. In this matchup, the books have Jones mispriced in the passing game (19.5/28.5 for 226.5 yards and 1.5 touchdowns).
The best opportunity in his stat line is over 28.5 passing attempts. It’s almost as though they just slipped Jones into Cam Newton’s stats without upgrading his passing chances. Newton ran the ball 137 times in 2020 over 15 games (nine per game).
Jones is a pocket passer who offers minimal value as a runner. His most productive runs will come on three kneel-downs to seal Patriots’ victories.
In 2019, Tom Brady averaged 38.1 passes per game in an offensive below par receiving options. New England upgraded the tight end position via free agency. They have a pass-catching back, plus Jakobi Meyers brings a possession skill set.
Jones fits the franchise quarterback mold, and he will be active passing the ball in this offense. In 2020, only two teams averaged fewer than 20 passing attempts (New England – 27.5 and Baltimore – 25.4).
I have Jones projected for 35 passes against the Dolphins.
Bet: Over 28.5 passing attempts for Mac Jones (-130)
RB Antonio Gibson, Football Team
(O/U 13.5 rush attempts)
There are multiple betting opportunities on Gibson in Week 1. The coach-speak out of Washington over the summer is that they want to use him in a high-volume role similar to how the Panthers feature Christian McCaffrey in their offense.
Here are the props for Gibson in this matchup:
- Running Attempts: 13.5
- Rushing Yards: 62.5
- Receptions: 2.5
- Receiving Yards: 14.5
I have Gibson projected for 19 rushes for 83 yards and a touchdown with four catches for 29 yards. I’m bullish on him being more active in the passing game.
LA finished 18th in rushing yards allowed (1,917) with 17 rushing touchdowns and 13 runs over 20 yards in 2020. The Chargers gave up 4.5 yards per carry.
Los Angeles should be better against the run, but Gibson only needs 14 runs to deliver a win on Sunday. Last year he averaged 18.4 rushes over his final five full games. I expect a similar role in 2021.
Bet: Over 13.5 rushing attempts (-120)
QB Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
(O/U 2.5 passing touchdowns)
Last year Mahomes tossed 38 touchdowns over 15 games, which falls in line with his Week 1 betting line. He struggled in the postseason against the Browns (255/1).
Cleveland dropped to 22nd in passing yards allowed (3,962) with 31 passing touchdowns with 11 interceptions in 2020. Quarterbacks gained 7.2 yards per pass attempt while being sacked 38 times. The Browns improved their defense in the offseason by signing S John Johnson, DE Jadeveon Clowney, CB Troy Hill, and DE Takkarist McKinley and drafting CB Greg Newsome II and LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
I expect defenses to be behind offenses in Week 1. Mahomes should find a way to toss three touchdowns. His Sports Illustrated passing projection in Week 1 came to 305 yards and four passing touchdowns.
Bet: Over 2.5 passing touchdowns (+120)
WR Jakobi Meyers, Patriots
(O/U 3.5 catches)
Without question, Meyers will be the top receiving option for the Patriots. He brings a possession-type skill set to their offense, and his chemistry with Mac Jones should improve as the season moves on.
Meyers was New England’s best wide receiver over their final 11 games (58/722 on 80 targets) in 2020, highlighted by two contests (12/169 and 7/111). His catch rate (72.5) commands more chances. In his matchup in Week 15 in Miami, he caught seven passes for 111 yards.
I have Meyers projected for five catches for 74 yards with a 50 percent chance of scoring in Week 1.
Miami has plenty of talent in their secondary with a good foundation of players at linebacker. However, the Dolphins’ lack of impact pass rushers does lengthen the passing window on some plays. I’m not convinced the run defense will be much better, but better play offensively will help control the clock. Overall, the Dolphins are getting closer to having a top-tier defense. They need to upgrade their pass rush from the defensive line plus find an anchor run stopper at nose tackle.
Meyers should find a way to catch a minimum of four balls in this matchup. After the change to Mac Jones at quarterback, I raised his projections to 80 catches for 988 yards and five touchdowns.
Bet: Over 3.5 catches for Jakobi Meyers (-140)
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Senior analyst Shawn Childs is a multi-sport, high-stakes fantasy legend with lifetime earnings in the high six-figures. He has been providing in-depth, analytical break downs for years all while helping his subscribers to countless titles and winnings across season-long & DFS. An inaugural inductee of the NFBC Hall of Fame, Shawn can teach you how to prep like a champ!