Panthers and Broncos are kicking off the 2016 season and Jordan Shap takes a look into the player props and provides you with some exclusive NFL picks and predictions.
It's football season at last! We have waited months for this very night and finally we get to see some real football between the Panthers and Broncos. It's that time of the year once again, so after crushing our preseason NFL week 1 predictions, here are my best player prop picks based on the lines posted at the top rated sports betting site BetOnline for the opening night game.
Devin Funchess O/U 3 receptions
Devin Funchess had the ball coming to him the entire third preseason game for the Panthers, catching five of his 10 targets for 49 yards. Funchess came on strong at the end of last season and even with Kelvin Benjamin coming back for the Panthers, Funchess is going to be a big part of the offense going forward.
Even though it might be hard to get the offense going on opening night in Denver, Funchess' target volume could easily ensure he comes down with four catches in this one. If he does, the NFL Odds value for it is awesome at +115, so with the way he was targeted in the preseason, the over is my best prop of the night.
Funchess was targeted 15 times in three preseason games and if Benjamin is truly getting eased back after tearing his ACL a year ago, Funchess, along with Greg Olsen are going to be the main benefactors of such a move.
Funchess was inconsistent as a rookie, especially early, but he still put up a strong yards per target of 7.4. He increased that mark slightly from Week 10 on, so I have no doubt that he will start to come down with more passes, especially in this game. Between the Panthers' running game and Newton's ability to scramble, someone is going to be open down the field and Funchess may be it. Bank on him getting four or five catches for the nice NFL Odds payday.
NFL Football Picks Week 1: OVER 3 (+115)
Tedd Ginn O/U 32.5 receiving yards
Last season Tedd Ginn went over 32.5 yards in 10 regular season games and twice in the playoffs, so when you first look at this number and think back to last season, it immediately seems too low. However, that may be by design and since we are bullish on another Carolina receiver, (see above) it might be a strong idea to take the under with Ginn in this one.
Don't get me wrong, it's somewhat of a risk. Ginn could catch one long pass and cash the over with this prop. He and Cam Newton connected for a long bomb already this preseason and after watching Ginn go for 10 touchdowns last season I will admit this is a risk.
However, with Funchess looking to take more of the offense, Kelvin Benjamin back in the fold and Greg Olsen still hanging around the middle of the field, Newton has a lot of options.
The Broncos defense is also pretty good and on the road in Mile High is not the ideal scenario for a long Ginn touchdown. Last season Ginn got 96 targets when Funchess was a rookie and Benjamin was out. Even though the Panthers plan to ease Benjamin back into the fold, and even though Ginn averaged nearly 17 yards per catch last year, it's a bit misleading.
Ginn averaged less than eight yards per target in 2015, while ranking inside the top 50 receivers in targets. He also had the lowest number of receptions per game last year of any player on that top 50 list, so while that is also impressive, between Benjamin coming back, Funchess taking on more of a load, Olsen, the running game and Newton, there won't be much volume for Ginn.
NFL Football Picks Week 1: UNDER 32.5 (-115)
Also, just a reminder, check out our NFL Futures page, because the NFL preseason future odds will be closing this week! And as you get ready to make some money off your bookie, remember to visit our list of the best sportsbook bonuses and get an inside track on how to make the best out of that free play money.