Not a ton of Week 1 specials props out at sportsbooks as of this writing, so I will focus mainly on season-long props this week. But look for weekly specials updates and picks every Thursday here at SBR.
Who Will Have More Rushing Yards In 2016?
Arian Foster -150/Jay Ajayi +120
I'm not sure why the Miami Dolphins let Lamar Miller walk away in free agency without making a legitimate offer. I felt he was a very underrated running back and that he's going to have a big season in Houston. The Fins looked like they were prepared to hand the starting job to Ajayi, a second-year player from Boise State. But the fifth-round pick didn't show much last year in nine games, carrying 49 times for 187 yards and a touchdown while catching seven passes for 90 yards. So right before training camp started, the Dolphins signed Foster ... whom Miller is replacing in Houston. The Texans released Foster in March after seven years. Foster, who rushed for a total of 6,472 yards and 54 touchdowns with the Texans, both franchise highs, had salary-cap number of almost $9 million for the 2016 season. Guy is a very good back when healthy, he just rarely is. Last year, Foster was limited to six games. But as recently as 2014, he rushed for 1,246 yards and eight scores. Miami got Foster on a low-risk, high reward one-year deal worth $1.5 million with incentives that could bring its total value to a maximum of $3.5 million. He has been named the starter ahead of Ajayi. Neither looked great in the preseason.
NFL Free Pick: On this prop, you are betting on Foster staying healthy at age 30. I don't see it. Take Ajayi.
Highest Win Total For NFL Team: 'Over/Under' 13
Which Team Will Finish With Best Record?
Lowest Win Total For NFL Team: O/U 3
Which Team Will Finish With Worst Record?
The 'over' is a -160 favorite on the highest prop and the 'under' is a -220 favorite on the lowest on NFL odds. The NFL likes to promote parity, and every year since 1990 at least four teams have made the playoffs that didn't the previous year. That's fine and good. But there's still a distinct class of elite teams and those in full-blown rebuild each season. Last year, just one club topped 13 wins: Carolina at 15-1. No team won fewer than 3, which is what Tennessee and Cleveland had. In 2014, the highest win total was 12. The Buccaneers and Titans had the fewest wins with 2 each. No team won more than 13 games in 2013, while Houston was the lone one under three with 2 victories.
On the best record prop, Green Bay is a heavy -450 favorite. The Packers have the easiest strength of schedule in the NFL if you go by opponents' combined strength of schedule in 2015. The Packers' foes were a combined 117-139 last year. Green Bay gets to face the two worst divisions in football from 2015 in the NFC East and AFC South. The Pack has five games against 2015 playoff teams. Two of those are against division-rival Minnesota, which no longer has Teddy Bridgewater. Houston and Seattle visit Lambeau and the Pack go to overrated Washington. Seattle (+700), New England (+750), Carolina (+800) and Pittsburgh (+800) round out the favorites.
On the worst record prop, Cleveland is +375, followed by San Francisco at +500 and Tennessee at +900. Then there's a huge drop-off. I will say I'm surprised that Philadelphia is +1600 following the Sam Bradford trade. It should be closer to Tennessee's odds. Cleveland opens in Philly in Week 1 and the Browns visit the Titans in Week 6. The loser of that could well get the No. 1 overall pick next year. The 49ers might win Week 1 at home vs. the Rams, but they don't have any other pushovers. The Titans actually have some talent now with Marcus Mariota, DeMarco Murray, and Derrick Henry.
NFL Free Picks: Go 'under' the 13 wins, 'under' the 3 wins. Green Bay does have the best record simply due to that schedule. San Francisco has the worst.
Which Division Wins Super Bowl?
Even though New England and Green Bay are the two current Super Bowl favorites, the division favorite is the NFC West at +400 on NFL picks. Makes sense considering you get Seattle and Arizona, and I believe both are locks for the playoffs. Obviously one would have to get to the Super Bowl via the wild card. The AFC North is +450, where you get Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Baltimore. The long shot is the AFC South at +1200.
NFL Free Pick: While I'd lean NFC West, the AFC West is good value at +650 as you get Denver, Kansas City and rising Oakland.
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