Special Props & NFL Picks for Week 1

Matthew Jordan

Friday, September 11, 2015 8:51 PM GMT

Friday, Sep. 11, 2015 8:51 PM GMT

Bovada is a great sportsbook during the NFL season because it offers some unique weekly specials. For example, in Week 1 there are two yardage props comparing three top QBs and three top RBs in fantasy points -- calculated by Draft Kings. Let's examine.

Eddie Lacy Vs. Marshawn Lynch Vs. Adrian Peterson
Green Bay's Lacy is the +150 favorite for most rushing yards on NFL odds and appears to have the best matchup as his Packers are in Chicago. The Bears' defense has been a mess for two seasons, probably the worst two-season stretch in history for a franchise that prides itself on defense -- hence the nickname Monsters of the Midway. Last year, Chicago was 30th in total defense and 31st in scoring. It was a marginally better 17th in rushing defense, allowing 112.7 yards per game. Those units were coordinated by the over-his-head Mel Tucker. Now under new head coach John Fox, it's led by highly-respected coordinator Vic Fangio, formerly of the 49ers. HIs defenses were  among the best in the NFL the past few seasons, but the Niners also had way more talent than these Bears do. Chicago is shifting to a 3-4 scheme under Fangio and really doesn't have the players suited for that yet. Might the Packers run more this season under offensive coordinator Tom Clement? He has held that title for years but will call the plays for the first time in 2015 as Coach Mike McCarthy, who used to, wants to focus on the big picture during games. There's also the loss of No. 1 receiver Jordy Nelson for the season to consider, but I'm not sure how you take the ball out of Aaron Rodgers' hands more than you have to. The Packers routed the Bears twice last season so Lacy wasn't needed too much. He had 17 carries for 48 yards in a 38-17 win in Chicago and 14  carries for 50 yards in a 55-14 win in Lambeau.

The Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch and the Vikings' Adrian Peterson are both +180. Seattle faces a very good defense in St. Louis. The Rams might have the best front four in the NFL and that was before adding former Lions tackle Nick Fairley in free agency this offseason. Now it's scary. That unit started slow last season but then really came on, including consecutive shutouts. The Rams ranked only 14th against the run in  2014, allowing 110.3 yards per game. Lynch was so-so in two games vs. St Louis last year, carrying 18 times for 53 yards in a loss in St. Louis and 14 times for 60 yards in a home win.

Adrian Peterson, meanwhile, is going to be playing with a barn-sized chip on his shoulder after being suspended for all but the season opener last year due to child abuse charges. His Vikings are in San Francisco on Monday night, and the Niners' defense was No. 7 vs. the run last year. But that group has lost nearly everyone of note this offseason to retirement, free agency, suspension, coaching changes, etc. It will not be that good again in 2015 so take Peterson with your NFL picks.

NFL Pick: Adrian Peterson +180 at Bovada

 

Aaron Rodgers Vs. Andrew Luck Vs. Russell Wilson
I touched on the Packers above as they play the Bears. Rodgers owns that rivalry. Chicago allowed the third-most passing yards in the NFL last season and opposing quarterbacks had a rating of 101.7 against Chicago, which was the highest any team allowed. So no surprise that Aaron Rodgers is the heavy +120 favorite for the most passing yards in this trio. In 15 starts against Chicago, Rodgers is 12-3 with an overall pass-rating of 106.2. In last year's easy win in Chicago, Rodgers was 22-for-28 for 302 yards and four scores. In the rout in Green Bay, he was 18-for-27 for 315 yards and six scores. Is there any way he doesn't get at least 300 yards here?

Andrew Luck (+160) will face one of the NFL's best defenses as his Colts travel to Buffalo. The Bills were No. 3 in the NFL last year in passing yardage allowed and likely will be even more aggressive in 2015 under new head coach Rex Ryan. Buffalo also led the NFL in sacks in 2014 and Luck is likely to be under pressure all day behind a very questionable offensive line. Wilson (+275) frankly is never a good idea on a prop like this. His Seahawks run the ball too much and don't throw downfield much. Wilson might put up a few more yards this season with the addition of tight end Jimmy Graham but probably not drastically so. Wilson faces a strong Rams defense in St Louis. He did throw for 313 in a loss there last year and then 239 in a home win vs. the Rams.

NFL Pick: Aaron Rodgers +120

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