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Crystal Ball: Bet on Justin Herbert, but Not Cooper Kupp

Looking at Conor Orr’s bold NFL predictions, here are 10 you might want to put your money on early.

Tuesday’s Daily Cover on SI.com was Conor Orr’s 100 bold NFL predictions for 2022. If you haven’t read it yet, be sure to check it out here.

Some predictions are truly bold, but a lot of others didn’t get an argument out of me. That got me thinking, maybe it’s time to check the futures market and lock in some value. After all, fortune favors the brave.

Here are 10 of Conor’s predictions that could be fun to make an early wager on. Take a look and let me know… would you bet that? (Hey, that’s a good idea for a video series…)

Let’s start out with his prediction for the big game:

The Buffalo Bills will defeat the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl LVII.
Josh Allen vs. Aaron Rodgers? I can back that play. Both teams did a lot to solidify their needs in the offseason. Currently, SISB has the Bills as +650 favorites to win the Super Bowl. O.K., so not that bold. But better than six-to-one odds is still a nice payday.

If you think Conor has the teams right, but not the champ, the Packers are +1000.

If you believe in the Bills, then you believe in Josh Allen, too. But Conor has another prediction that may surprise you…

Josh Allen will throw a career-high number of interceptions.
Wait, What?

“…but he will also throw a career-high 40 touchdowns.”

That’s more like it. Fantasy managers can breathe a sigh of relief.

Obviously that career-high in interceptions shouldn’t keep Allen from going to the big dance. If you think this is Allen’s year, the Bills QB is currently +1200 to lead the league in passing yards.

But, as good as the Bills may be, Orr has another young quarterback leading the league in passing yards and touchdowns. If Orr is on the money, the career-high 40 TDs for Allen won’t be enough to lead the league in 2022, because …

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10)

Justin Herbert will lead the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns.
I just took Herbert as my QB in SI’s mock draft, so I have to back this play. Herbert threw for 5,014 yards in 2021, second only to Tom Brady. He’s currently +550 to lead the league in passing yards for 2022.

But what about Tom Brady? Will un-retirement suit him? Brady led the league in passing yards and touchdowns last year, and now Conor has Herbert taking the torch.

Tom Brady will throw fewer than 35 touchdown passes.
Brady hasn’t thrown fewer than 40 TD passes since going to Tampa Bay. I don’t know, it’s hard to bet against Benjamin Button. But, Conor says:

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“[the] Buccaneers will be a dominant, run-heavy team in 2022, allowing Brady to be more of a table setter.”

I just can’t bet against Brady. That said, I could be willing to bet on Leonard Fournette. Fournette’s currently +4000 to lead the league in rushing yards. Sure, it’s a long shot, but you would get serious bragging rights if you actually won this one.

Now, here’s another take. I’m going to pivot altogether and say, not only can I not bet against the G.O.A.T., it would be perfectly “Tom Brady” to come back just to win an MVP and retire again. He arguably should have won it last year, and maybe he has some unfinished business. Brady is +800 to win MVP in 2022.

Rams receiver Cooper Kupp.

Eight to one odds? I’ll take that bet.

Cooper Kupp will have just under 100 receptions.
You’re killing me here, Conor. Did you see the season Kupp just had with the Super Bowl champion Rams? He was drafted No. 2 overall in our first SI.com fantasy mock.

Yet, I see the logic. Defensive coordinators will have the entire offseason to scheme how to limit Kupp. People will be smashing the over on whatever Kupp’s reception prop ends up being. It will be bold to take the under.

For now, I’ll avoid Kupp as the favorite for receiving yards at +700, and I’ll lean into CeeDee Lamb at +1800. The Cowboys are now without Amari Cooper, and Dak Prescott just asked for Lamb’s locker to be moved next to his.

These are bold predictions, after all. I can make a few, too.

Speaking of the Rams….

The Rams clinch the NFC West before their Dec. 4 matchup against Seattle.
So, the Rams will be really good, but they will fall short of another Super Bowl appearance. That’s a lot of faith in Aaron Rodgers without Davante Adams.

If you like the Rams to win the division, they are the favorites at +130. As the Packers are -200 and the Bucs are -333 to win their divisions, +130 looks pretty good for the reigning Super Bowl champs–even if Allen Robinson is the guy getting more attention than Kupp this year.

The Baltimore Ravens will win 12 or more games.
O.K., enough talk about how good the Ravens draft was. Don’t we say that every year?

Can they win 12 or more games? SISB says the number to beat is only 9.5. You can take the over on 9.5 wins for -140, and it should be easy money.

But, if the Ravens are winning 12 or more games, you may as well bet they win the division. They are currently +200--tied with the Browns–as the AFC north favorites.

The Detroit Lions will nail their win total over.
Who doesn’t love this bet? Dan Campbell’s tears after the loss to the Viking last year is enough to make anyone root for the Lions. Add to that the emergence of Amon-Ra St. Brown, the excellent draft they just had, which included edge Aidan Hutchinson, D.J. Chark, D’Andre Swift and a capable QB (don’t @ me) in Jared Goff, and how do you not bet on the lovable Lions to win more than 6.5 games at plus-money? The Lions are +110 at SISB to win 7 games or more in 2022. They’re +400 to make the playoffs.

Najee Harris will lead the NFL in rushing.
I’ll be honest: The only thing I am feeling about this take is the payout if it actually comes true. At +1000, it’s worth a gamble, even if it means he would have to outrush Jonathan Taylor (+500), Derrick Henry (+550), Dalvin Cook (+750) and Nick Chubb (+800).

This is a perfect example of how betting and fantasy diverge. From a betting standpoint, there’s no big value in taking JT or Henry to lead the league in rushing yards. Harris is a great futures bet. But, would I draft him ahead of Taylor or Henry?

No way.

The Eagles will win the NFC East.

As a Cowboys fan, I hate this. It also doesn’t do a lot for my CeeDee Lamb bet, but I get it.  I think people are counting a little too much on Jalen Hurts being as good at real-life football as he is at fantasy football, but he certainly has all the weapons he needs. The Eagles are +175 to win the division, and that’s a better payout than wagering on the favorites, the Dallas Cowboys, at +110.

So, would you bet that? 

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