Alright, last year was fun. I made 10 prop bets in the preseason and overall I went 4-6, which was disappointing, but not surprising. *Remember, bet at your own risk and probably do the opposite of what I do.* Losing Dak Prescott destroyed my Cowboys over in win total and Josh Allen (under 7.5 rushing touchdowns) + the Ravens coming up 1 win short of 12 games was quite heartbreaking. I did however nail the Calvin Ridley over 6.5 touchdowns and 49ers under 10.5 win total. So what am I saying here? I was pretty damn close on hitting more than I lost. My overall predictions from 2020 are below:
Baltimore Ravens Win Total: OVER 11.5 - Actual: 11 (L)
D.J. Chark Jr. Receiving Yards Total: OVER 949.5 - Actual: 706 yards (L)
Dallas Cowboys Win Total: OVER 9.5 - Actual: 6 (L)
Michael Thomas Receiving Yard Total: UNDER 1,499.5 - Actual: 438 yards (W)
New England Patriots Win Total: UNDER 9 - Actual: 7 (W)
Lamar Jackson Passing Yard Total: OVER 3,199.5 - Actual: 2,757 (L)
San Francisco 49ers Win Total: UNDER 10.5 - Actual: 6 (W)
Calvin Ridley Touchdowns Total: OVER 6.5 - Actual: 9 (W)
Houston Texans Win Total: OVER 8 - Actual: 4 (BIG L)
Josh Allen Rushing Touchdowns Total: UNDER 7.5 - Actual: 8 (L)
2021 is a new year and remember that teams are now playing 17 games! R.I.P. to the 8-8, 9-7, 0-16 records we have come to know and love. I've got some fun predictions for you again this year and hopefully more winners than losers (doubtful). Let's ride!
(Image via AP Photo/James Kenney)
1. Tennessee Titans Win Total: 9
The Titans have won at least 9 games in 5 consecutive seasons coming into 2021. They seemed prime to continue that trend after the acquisition of Julio Jones. The defense will need to improve as they were one of the worst units in football. 9 feels like a steal to me, especially when you consider the shape of their division. Jacksonville and Houston are in the early stages of a rebuilding. Not to mention the massive question mark surrounding Deshaun Watson. Indianapolis is a solid team, but Carson Wentz remains the wild card in terms of their overall ceiling in 2021. I like the Titans to go 5-1 in division, which should allow them to get to 10 wins on the season. A dominant run game with Derrick Henry + Julio/AJ Brown = a 10 win team in 2021. I think we're starting off with a winner here.
Prediction: OVER 9 Wins
(Image via NFL.com)
2. Shaquil Barrett Regular Season Sacks: 11.5
In 6 seasons, Shaq Barrett has had double-digit sacks one time (2019). 11.5 seems extremely high, even for one of the best pass rushers in football the past two years. However, Sam Darnold and Matt Ryan were two of the most sacked quarterbacks in football last season. Darnold is now with the Panthers, so we don't know what quite to expect there. Jason Pierre-Paul should take away some sacks from Barrett this season again. They are an incredible duo, I just wouldn't count on Shaq getting more than 11 sacks this year. Brady will control the ball on the other side and limit the opposing offensive possessions. I believe Barrett will have a great year, I just don't like the over here.
Prediction: UNDER 11.5 Regular Season Sacks
(Image via The Sports Rush)
3. New Orleans Saints Win Total: 9
Doubting Sean Payton's ability to get the absolute most out of his team is a dangerous game. He's done it in spurts with Taysom Hill and Teddy Bridgewater in recent years. This year, however, it's going to be really tough and I don't think they can sustain the loss of Drew Brees. Even at his worst last year, he still gave them a chance to contend for the division crown. Atlanta is going to be better this year and Tampa Bay is bringing back the band for another run. The defense will need to be in the Top 5 to give this team a chance to win 10 games. Can Jameis Winston cut down on his turnovers? I feel like their ceiling in 2021 is 10-7 if everything goes well.
Prediction: UNDER 9 Wins
(Image via CBS Sports)
4. Cooper Kupp Regular Season Receiving Yards & Receiving Touchdowns: 1005.5 & 6
Cooper Kupp is one of my breakout candidates in 2021. It scares the hell out of me because he needs to stay on the field to reach that lofty goal. However, in the last two seasons, Kupp has only missed one game. Matthew Stafford should love throwing the ball to his new weapon in Los Angeles. He is coming off back-to-back seasons of at least 90 receptions, with over 1,100 yards receiving in 2019. With an improved quarterback in Stafford, look for the Rams offense to be one of the best in football. All-aboard the Cooper Kupp train in 2021.
Prediction: OVER 1005.5 Regular Season Receiving Yards & OVER 6 Receiving Touchdowns
(Image via Kamil Krzaczynski-USA Today Sports)
5. Chicago Bears Win Total: 7.5
Our resident Justin Fields expert Christian Williams will like this piece of my article. Andy Dalton is the starting quarterback, according to the soon-to-be-fired head coach of the Bears, Matt Nagy (apologies to the Nagy family). I mean no disrespect to the man, I just think this is about it for him in Chicago. This situation screams Hue Jackson/Tyrod Taylor/Baker Mayfield in 2018. If Justin Fields outperforms Dalton and is still sitting in Week 1, we could be looking at a similar situation as to the one in Cleveland back then. My gut feeling is that they roll with Dalton, lose a few games early, and then turn to Fields after Nagy has been let go midseason. Fields will get his chance to play this year, but they will be in too large a hole to get to 8 wins. However, I know a lot of us to feel like Fields is going to be the steal from this draft. The Bear's future is bright, just not in 2021 in terms of victories.
Prediction: UNDER 7.5 Wins
(Image via Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
6. Joe Burrow Regular Season Passing Touchdowns: 26.5
There are quite a few intriguing comeback player of the year candidates this season including Saquon Barkley and Dak Prescott. Joe Burrow is also one of those candidates after a gruesome knee injury in his rookie season. In response to that, the Bengals front office went out and added veteran OT Riley Reiff, drafted his former teammate at LSU at wide receiver in Ja'Marr Chase, and picked up two more offensive linemen in the draft. Burrow now has a potential all-pro running back in Joe Mixon and a vast array of receivers to throw the ball to, including Chase, Tyler Boyd, and Tee Higgins. Burrow should shine in 2021 with better protection and time in the pocket.
Prediction: OVER 26.5 Regular Season Passing Touchdowns
(Image via Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
7. Pittsburgh Steelers Win Total: 8.5
The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be on a mission in 2021. They were flat-out embarrassed at Heinz Field by the Cleveland Browns in the AFC Wild Card round last season. Injuries on the defensive side of the ball were a huge detriment to their playoff chances. Ben Roethlisberger looked like a shell of himself. I'm already doubting myself when looking over their schedule in 2021. Pittsburgh opens up @ Buffalo and home versus the Raiders. Depending on the availability of Aaron Rodgers, Week 4 @ Green Bay is also a tough game. I'm relying on the Steelers to get back to playing in the trenches, with the addition of rookie running back Najee Harris. They haven't been the same since LeVeon Bell's departure in 2019. If Harris is everything he's advertised to be and they can stay healthy on defense, I like this team to get to 9 wins in a tough division. I believe the AFC North will have 3 playoff teams in 2021.
Prediction: OVER 8.5 Wins
(Image via Tim Heitman, USA Today Sports)
8. Arizona Cardinals to win the NFC West: +575
The Arizona Cardinals may be one of the sexiest picks this season. The NFC West is a grueling division, but I also feel like it's up for grabs. Everyone is hammering the Rams, but with the loss of Cam Akers, that could definitely hurt in the long run. Another coach on the hot seat is Kliff Kingsbury. I feel like it's now or never for him this season too. I know it's only his third season, but I want to see his team take the next step and get in the playoffs. Nagging injuries to Kyler Murray cost them down the stretch last season. The addition of J.J. Watt, provided he can stay healthy, should be a huge boost for Chandler Jones and the rest of that defensive line. Budda Baker is an elite, all-pro safety in the secondary that holds up the back end. With a variety of weapons including DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Rondale Moore, and Christian Kirk, Arizona has everything it needs to win the division this season.
Prediction: Arizona Cardinals win the NFC West (+575)
(Image via Getty Images)
9. 2021-22 NFL MVP: Dak Prescott (+1700)
Prescott is coming off a major injury, so I think this is a great value pick. The Cowboys have a great array of weapons, including a rejuvenated Ezekiel Elliot, 2nd-year receiver CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin. If the offensive line can hold up, not many teams have the weapons that the Cowboys have. Getting him at +1700 has a lot of upside. Again, relying on the Cowboys is like jumping on my own sword, but I just can't help it!!!! Dak Prescott to win MVP in 2021 is something I would throw a few dollars on, especially at these odds. He's more than capable of putting together an MVP season.
Prediction: 2021-22 NFL MVP
(Image via Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
10. Las Vegas Raiders: +340 to make the Playoffs
You can look at this any way you want to. I hate the Raiders. Always have, always will (sorry Randy). However, there's no denying they have the talent to make the playoffs in 2021. Derek Carr is good enough to get them there and other than the Chiefs, no one in this division scares me. The only thing that would change my mind is if the Broncos land Aaron Rodgers. Jon Gruden has to be feeling the pressure after three seasons of a .500 or below the record. It's now or never for the Raiders. +340 is a nice value for this team. Yes, many of you will point to the Chargers and Justin Herbert as being contenders. I need to see that to truly get on board. The Raiders need to make the playoffs this season or they will need to go into a rebuild in my opinion.
Prediction: Las Vegas Raiders = Wild Card Berth