The NFL season is kicking off this week, and we’ll be having more sports betting content for the upcoming year. Our power rankings, fantasy football content, and season preview will all give more information leading up to opening kickoff on Thursday night, but today we’re going over the potential statistical leaders for some of the top categories. For each category, I’ll give a projected 2018 leader along with the best betting value. The odds are via Sports Intercation.
Pick: Tom Brady (+800)
With touchdown-machines Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers is an excellent bet to lead the NFL in touchdown passes in 2018. However, Tom Brady might be asked to get the ball in the end zone more this season, especially to his plethora of running back options in James White, Rex Burkhead, and Sony Michel, if the defense needs to adjust without Matt Patricia. His weapons are better than people are giving credit for.
Value: Russell Wilson (+1800)
The league-leader in touchdown passes is given just the tenth-best odds (tied) to lead the category this year. The Seahawks lost Jimmy Graham and might take a step back as a team, but Wilson is an obvious value for this category.
Pick: Tom Brady (+450)
Will the loss of Dion Lewis cause the Patriots to air it out more if their other running backs like Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel don’t stay healthy? Brady can put up 300-400 yards in any given week if New England’s gameplan calls for throwing the ball around.
Value: Jared Goff (+3000)
Jared Goff has just the 13th-best odds to lead the league in passing yards despite commanding the league’s top scoring offense from a season ago. Sean McVay is one of the best offensive minds in football, and Goff has shown he can throw the ball with great precision to all areas of the field after a big jump in his second NFL season. Goff could have another jump into a passing yardage leader in his third year.
Pick: David Johnson (+1300)
Todd Gurley is a fine pick after leading the league in touchdowns (19) in 2018, but David Johnson finished the 2017 season with 20 touchdowns and might not have opposing defenses as focused on him as they will be on the reigning Offensive Player of the Year Gurley. Sam Bradford’s accuracy and willingness to take the check down could lead to more red-zone scores through the air for DJ.
Value: Melvin Gordon (+1800)
At +1300, Johnson also could have been considered the value pick, but we’ll go with Melvin Gordon. The Chargers star has 12 touchdowns in each of the last two seasons, so he’s as good of a bet as anyone to get double-digit scores. The return of future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates might hurt Gordon’s value in the red zone, but he’ll still be a big part of the offense in that part of the field.
Pick: Ezekiel Elliott (+260)
I think the Cowboys are going to run Ezekiel Elliott like crazy this season, as they want to get back to the postseason and know handing Zeke the ball as much as possible gives them the best chance of getting back there. The offensive line injuries are a concern, but Elliott’s workload on the ground helps alleviate those concerns.
Value: David Johnson (+1300)
Johnson is going to be heavily involved as a receiver, but there’s no question Steve Wilks’ squad wants to set the tone by running the ball and relying on defense. If he remains healthy, DJ should eclipse the 300-carry mark for the first time in his career, which would be plenty of opportunities to break big runs and pick up a ton of yardage.
Pick: Julio Jones (+250)
Only two receivers in NFL history have had over 1,400 receiving yards in four straight seasons: Marvin Harrison and Julio Jones. The NFL’s all-time leader in receiving yards per game should be up above that mark again in 2018, which would certainly put him among the league-leaders in receiving yards. Also, Jones is playing for a new contract after the season, so this could be one of his best years yet.
Value: Allen Robinson (+12000)
I do not think Allen Robinson will be particularly close to leading the league in receiving, but at +120000 odds, he might be the best value of any player for any category. The ACL tear is a concern, but he’s a big-play receiver at full strength and is set for a featured role in Matt Nagy’s offense.
Pick: Joey Bosa (+1000)
Joey Bosa (23.0 sacks through two seasons) is already a monster, and the 23-year-old could be ready to break into the ranks of elite sack artists in 2018. Melvin Ingram being on the other side certainly helps, and the Chargers could be ahead in a lot of games if the offense takes a step forward in Anthony Lynn’s second season as head coach—which would give Bosa more opportunities to get after the quarterback.
Value: Justin Houston (+6600)
It seems like he’s been around forever—perhaps because he has 69.5 sacks in his career—but Justin Houston is just 29 years old and previously led the NFL in sacks, with 22.0 in 2014. Houston is another year removed from his ACL tear suffered in 2015, so he should be more explosive this season. The Chiefs might be in a lot of shootouts, and they’ll be relying on Houston to close the deal in opposing backfields.