Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season is finally here, and DraftKings Sportsbook has a ton of exciting prop bets for all of your favorite players in the games this weekend. In this weekly column, I’ll walk you through some of my favorite prop bets available on DraftKings and explain why I think they are strong bets. For the latest news and information, as well as the best welcome bonus available, check out our DraftKings Sportsbook sports betting page.
Over 59.5 rushing yards, over 86.5 rushing + receiving yards
I’m betting on the Steelers’ rookie running back to hit the ground running this season. I’m not scared of a Week 1 matchup against the Bills, who ranked 20th against the run as they allowed 123.2 rushing yards per game last season. Harris will see a heavy workload right away as Pittsburgh attempts to incorporate a rushing attack into their offense this season, and this line is way too low. Mike Tomlin has always tended to give on lead back an overwhelming majority of the workload, and that’s not changing after the Steelers spent a first-round pick on Harris, who should be in for a great season. Pittsburgh’s offensive line is likely to be one of the worst in the NFL, but we’ve seen great running backs produce behind poor blocking time and time again, and Harris is absolutely talented enough to do that.
Under 224.5 passing yards, over 0.5 interceptions
Sometimes a change of scenery really helps a player’s production, but that’s not going to be the case for Jared Goff. He goes from throwing to Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods in Sean McVay’s Rams offense to T.J. Hockenson and Tyrell Williams in a Lions offense that figures to be one of the worst in the NFL. In eight career games against the 49ers, Goff has thrown for just 197.5 yards and just under one interception per game. Now, with a worse offensive talent to support him and a worse offensive scheme, he’s expected to outproduce his career averages against a stout defense? That doesn’t add up to me, and I’m betting against Goff in his Detroit debut.
Over 68.5 rushing yards, longest run over 15.5 yards
Detroit will be hopeful that their new additions on defense can help mitigate that porous run defense, but I have to see it to believe it. While Raheem Mostert fell in fantasy drafts due to injury concerns and the 49ers spending a third-round pick on Trey Sermon, he’s firmly entrenched as the starter and set for a huge game against the Lions who allowed 134.9 rushing yards per game last season, the fifth-most in the NFL. Mostert is an elite per-touch runner – he’s averaged 5.6 yards per carry throughout his career – so he may not even need more than 11 or 12 carries to hit the over on this mark. Additionally, as one of the fastest players in the NFL, a long run of over 15.5 yards seems possible against the Lions.
Over 67.5 rushing yards
James Robinson wasn’t insanely productive against the Texans last season despite Houston fielding one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Robinson ran for 73.5 yards per game across two meetings with Houston. However, the Texans’ defense has gotten worse since last season, and the Jaguars’ offense should be better, with rookie Trevor Lawrence providing more competent quarterback play than the team saw last season. I was wary of Robinson’s upside for production this season after Jacksonville drafted Travis Etienne in the first round. Still, his season-ending injury paves the way for a large role for Robinson of 15+ carries per week. If Robinson hits 15 carries in this game, which he should hit given the likelihood for a positive game script, he will surely get to 68 rushing yards against a defense that allowed 5.2 rushing yards per carry last season, the most in the NFL.
Over 0.5 interceptions
I’m generally hopeful that Carson Wentz can turn his career around in Indianapolis, but I’m banking on him throwing at least one interception in Week 1. He threw 15 picks in 12 games last year, and while that was likely an outlier season for inferior play, he’s thrown 50 interceptions in a career 68 games – that’s about 0.74 per game. Seattle’s defense also averaged 0.8 interceptions per game last season. Russell Wilson, D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett could explode in any game offensively, and that would put pressure on Wentz to feel like he needs to go out and make big plays. When Wentz forces the issue, that generally leads to turnovers. I’m banking on that being the case at least once in this game.
Over 2.5 receptions
It’s easy to forget how big of a role Nyheim Hines had in the Colts’ offense last season with how much hype there is surrounding Jonathan Taylor. In 12 of 16 games last year, Hines had 3+ receptions and went well above that number on a few occasions. Sure, the Colts’ backfield is crowded with Taylor, Hines, Marlon Mack, and Jordan Wilkins all vying for touches, but bettors should view Hines more in the context of the entire offense. With T.Y. Hilton out and Parris Campbell banged up, Carson Wentz will need to find reliable pass-catching from somewhere, and Hines should provide it. Seattle allowed the third-most passing yards per game last season, and while they’re hopeful for improved defense, they’re still suspect. Hines should take advantage of a solid performance, including 3+ catches.
Over 306.5 passing + rushing yards
Last season the Titans allowed 270.8 passing yards per game last season, and while they did bring in a couple of new defensive pieces, this looks like it should be one of the highest-scoring games of the week. Despite dealing with a shoulder injury over the second half of the season, Kyler Murray surpassed 306.5 passing + rushing yards in 9 of his 16 starts. Now, he’s fully healthy and will benefit from added pass-catching talent in veteran A.J. Green and rookie Rondale Moore. Few quarterbacks match his ability to beat defenses on the ground and through the air in the NFL, and he should start his 2021 season with a strong effort against a beatable defense in a shootout.
Over 1.5 passing touchdowns
As much as I like Kyler Murray against the Titans, I might like Ryan Tannehill against the Cardinals even more. The Tennessee quarterback threw for multiple touchdown passes in 11 of 16 games last season. The Cardinals’ secondary appears very beatable as they look to be starting Robert Alford and Byron Murphy at cornerback. Those two are no match for A.J. Brown and Julio Jones on the outside, and the Titans should be able to move the ball through the air all game long. The ever-present possibility for Derrick Henry to run for multiple touchdowns does limit this prop somewhat. Still, I love Ryan Tannehill’s fantasy prospects this week, and part of it stems from my confidence in a multi-touchdown effort through the air.
Over 3.5 receptions
The disrespect for Logan Thomas continues this week as the Washington tight end is surprisingly not projected to have a very productive Week 1. Thomas was given a lofty 3-year, $24 million extension over the offseason, and it’s clear Washington views him as a crucial piece of the offense. Now, Curtis Samuel has been placed on short-term Injured Reserve, and Thomas appears to be the #2 receiver behind Terry McLaurin. Thomas was on the field for 98+% of snaps in eight of the final nine games of the season last year and should see a similar snap count this week against a somewhat beatable passing defense in the Chargers. Four receptions should be very obtainable, even though I don’t see the game as a shootout.
Over 285.5 passing + rushing yards
The sample size of four starts from Jalen Hurts last season isn’t enough to draw any grand conclusions, but he looked good enough that I’m confident in his ability to take advantage of a weak Falcons’ defense in Week 1. Hurts can beat defenses on the ground or through the air, and he should do a bit of both this week. This game is being played indoors and has one of the highest over-under totals of the week. Hurts threw for over 330 yards in two games last season and ran for over 60 yards in each of those games. While he may not hit those marks this week, he’s certainly capable of an explosion of over 400 passing + rushing yards in a shootout.
Over 3.5 receptions
Speaking of Jalen Hurts in a shootout, I have high hopes for DeVonta Smith in his NFL debut. The Eagles will need to throw the ball in this game as I don’t think their defense can stop the likes of Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley, and Kyle Pitts. I don’t have much faith in any of the Philadelphia pass-catchers outside of Dallas Goedert and Smith. DeVonta Smith had 117 catches in 13 games last year in his senior season at Alabama, and while he likely won’t see 9 catches in his pro debut, he’s clearly capable of handling a massive workload in the passing game. Smith could hit 4 catches on the game’s first drive, and this truly feels like almost a lock as a prop bet.
Over 0.5 interceptions
The Bears’ starting quarterback is simply a placeholder for the franchise’s future in Justin Fields, and it feels like Chicago has decided to throw Dalton to the wolves in Week 1 against the Rams’ elite defense to protect Fields. Dalton isn’t necessarily the most turnover-prone quarterback; he has thrown for 126 interceptions across 144 career games – that’s about 0.875 per game. However, the Rams will terrorize a weak Chicago offensive line as Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd will wreak havoc while Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams roam around waiting for Dalton to make a mistake under pressure. This will be an ugly game for the Bears’ offense, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Dalton throws multiple interceptions as the starter.
Tua Tagovailoa under 251.5 passing + rushing yards
Brandon Aiyuk over 3.5 receptions
Jordan Akins over 1.5 receptions
Joe Burrow under 264.5 passing yards, under 274.5 passing + rushing yards
Dalvin Cook over 121.5 rushing + receiving yards
Melvin Gordon over 49.5 rushing yards