Jordan Love started his first season at the helm for the Packers on fire with six touchdowns and no picks in his first two games, but has since come back to Earth in a huge way with three interceptions in his last two contests. Going up against a porous Raiders defense, he could be poised for a big day, so let’s dig into some Jordan Love player props for this week’s edition of Monday Night Football.
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Love has had a couple of tough games in a row, but the Saints and Lions both have far better defenses than the Raiders. With most of his weapons healthy and a softer opponent than usual, Love is in a great position to put up some big numbers, so let’s take a look at his props.
Jordan Love to Throw For More Yards Than Jimmy Garoppolo (+135)
This is a very interesting prop to get in plus-money, and while Love hasn’t always been particularly prolific in the yards department this season, Garoppolo hasn’t either. Love has tossed for 245 or more yards in three of his four starts, while Jimmy put up 200 and 185 in his first two of his three starts so far this year.
Oftentimes for these kinds of props, we talk about game script- if one team is going to be ahead by a lot, they’ll focus on the run, or if they’re behind, they’ll be predominantly passing- but that shouldn’t be a factor here. The spread for this game is in the neighborhood of just a point, with the exact number depending on your sportsbook, so both teams should be running a fairly normal offense, meaning that they’ll simply call plays that exploit their most favorable matchups
For the Raiders, that probably means running the football. The Packers’ run defense is a major liability, as they rank 27th in run defense EPA and 25th in run defense DVOA. Josh Jacobs and the Vegas rushing attack have not gotten off to a good start to the year, but this has all the makings of the game where that turns around.
Furthermore, top wideout and former Packer Davante Adams seems to be less than 100% healthy, as he was limited in Saturday’s practice and is listed as “questionable” for this contest. If he sits out or is limited, the Raiders might simply opt to feed their star back instead of leaning on a pass attack without their elite pass catcher.
The Packers, conversely, are more likely to throw the ball. Lead back Aaron Jones is less than 100% healthy, while key wideout Christian Watson made his return from injury last week. He was in a limited role, but still scored a touchdown, and should be more of a full participant this time out, and Romeo Doubs has also been playing well lately.
This leaves Love with plenty of options to attack the Raiders’ pass defense, which ranks 30th by EPA and 27th by DVOA, as compared to a run defense that is below average but nowhere near the league’s cellar like the pass prevention unit.
Jordan Love Under 0.5 Interceptions (-105)
We’ve been on the other side of this prop in the past, when Love’s unsustainably good start to the season was skewing the market in the wrong direction. Well, now he’s thrown three picks in his last two games, a pace we also can’t expect from him the rest of the way, and the market has overcorrected. While he got a bit lucky over the first two weeks with no picks on two turnover worthy plays, we’ve seen that flip more recently; he was picked off twice by the Lions without actually registering a turnover-worthy play.
Even aside from the obvious- the Raiders’ secondary problem- let’s take a look at a peripheral factor, the pass rush. This issue isn’t unique to Love, as many young passers struggle working under pressure, but Love is particularly susceptible to it. Love has been relatively well protected this season with pressures recorded on 28.9% of his dropbacks, but he’s completed just 33.3% of his passes on those snaps, and recorded two of his four turnover worthy plays.
Luckily for him, he shouldn’t have to deal with too much pressure this week; the Vegas pass rush is 29th in the league in pressure rate, while the Packers are third in PFF’s pass blocking grade and 11th in adjusted sack rate. Combined with a very weak secondary, this isn’t a pass defense that has much of a chance to put Love into a bad position where he’s making suboptimal plays.
Jordan Love Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns (-110)
This one also has a lot to do with Watson’s health. Even more than yardage, the North Dakota State product has been a touchdown magnet early on in his NFL career. He scored the first touchdown of his career in week 10 of last year- as well as his second and third- and totaled seven touchdowns for the season. Even in a limited role, he was able to secure a touchdown grab last week, so he gives the Packers a major threat near the end zone.
Interestingly enough, while PFF loves the Packers’ o-line in terms of pass protection, the rating system isn’t as high on the same unit when it comes to run blocking, where they rank 24th. This is a serious problem down by the goal line, especially as the Raiders’ run defense is a relative strength. The Packers should be able to move the ball on the pedestrian Vegas defense, and they should routinely turn to the air game to finish off their drives without having to lean too heavily on their shaky run-blocking o-line.