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NFL Week 7 Player Props and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 10/20/2011

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New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham

In my Week 6 player props story, there weren’t too many immediate results for us to look back on – in other words I tackled a few season-ending totals for NFL players, such as 50-yard field goals for Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski (he was two-yards shy of adding one in Week 6), sacks for Minnesota’s Jared Allen (he added No. 9.5 against the Bears on Sunday) or total starts for Denver’s Tim Tebow (he makes No. 1 this week at putrid Miami).

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The only Week 6 specific prop I addressed was on Tony Romo throwing an interception against the Patriots. His ‘over/under’ for picks was .5 and I recommended taking the ‘under’ only because the ‘over’ was a huge -280 favorite. To cover yourself, I said to also take that Romo throws a pick-six at +700. Unfortunately, Romo did throw a pick and it wasn’t returned for a score. So that’s a loss.

Looking ahead to Week 7, the NFL news of the week certainly was the Oakland Raiders giving up the farm to acquire quarterback Carson Palmer from the Bengals. The Raiders were dealing in a position of weakness because they lost QB Jason Campbell to a broken collarbone suffered in Week 6. Apparently Palmer will start this week vs. Kansas City even though he hadn’t played or practiced once this year until Wednesday as he was holding out on the Bengals.

So needless to say there are several props at Bodog on Palmer’s outing this week against the Chiefs. You can bet ‘over/under’ on Palmer’s passing yards (230.5, both at -115), touchdown passes (1.5, ‘under’ a -165 favorite) and interceptions (.5, ‘over’ a -175 favorite).

Now realize that Oakland is a rush-heavy team behind NFL rushing leader Darren McFadden – the Raiders lead the AFC at 160.0 rushing yards per game and are behind only the Eagles in the NFL. The Chiefs are No. 21 in rush defense, so Oakland should be able to run. K.C. is a little better against the pass, ranking No. 17 (249.6 ypg). However, no team has given up more TD passes than the Chiefs’ 12 – that’s tied with the Saints, but K.C. also has played one fewer game. I see no way a rusty Palmer goes ‘over’ the yardage total, but I would go ‘over’ the TD passes and ‘under’ the picks purely on value. The Raiders may want to build his confidence with a few short TD passes near the goal line (instead of running) but also will keep it conservative so maybe he doesn’t throw a pick.

There are three other quarterbacks making their starting debuts this week: Washington’s John Beck, Minnesota’s Christian Ponder and Denver’s Tim Tebow. Let’s look at the same three ‘over/under’ categories for each:

Beck at Carolina: 225.5 passing yards (both at -115), 1.5 TD passes (‘under’ the -175 favorite) and .5 interceptions (‘over’ -200 favorite). I’m going ‘under’ on all three. The Panthers are OK against the pass but No. 31 in the NFL against the run. Mike Shanahan is making this change because Rex Grossman is a turnover machine – all 11 Skins turnovers this year are courtesy of Rex. Thus, the game plan will be safe and conservative for Beck, who also won’t have tight end Chris Cooley.

Ponder vs. Green Bay: 200.5 passing yards (both at -115), 1 TD pass (‘over’ is -130 favorite) and .5 interceptions (‘over’ a huge -300 favorite). The Packers have one of the best run defenses in the NFL (No. 4) and worst pass defenses (No. 31). I have no doubt that they stack the box to stop Adrian Peterson and make Ponder, a rookie making his first start, beat them – although they will no doubt blitz him plenty. I expect a blowout here so I think Ponder goes ‘over’ the yardage. But I think the Vikes could well be shut out or held to field goals. Thus, I would stay ‘under’ on the TDs and also the picks just because you get great value at +240 on no interceptions.

Tebow at Miami: 175.5 passing yards (both at -115), 1 TD pass (both at -115), .5 interceptions (both -115) and, because Tebow obviously will run plenty, 45.5 rushing yards (both at -115). Also, will he score a touchdown: ‘no’ the -150 favorite (I presume this only means rushing/receiving). The Fins are, of course, awful and are No. 28 against the pass and No. 12 against the rush. Remember that Tebow doesn’t have his No. 1 receiver, with Brandon Lloyd traded to the Rams this week. When Tebow started the final three games last year he had at least one TD pass in all three games (two in one) and at least one pick in two of the three (two in one). He would have exceeded that 175.5-yard passing total in two of the three games and rushed for totals of 78, 27 and 94 yards in those three games. I think Tebow has a great game as it’s his first start back in his native Florida and the Dolphins are honoring his 2009 UF National Championship team during the game. Thus I am going ‘over’ every total and saying he does score a rushing touchdown because he did in all three starts last season.

Finally, just to say we aren’t addicted to quarterback props, let’s look at Saints tight end Jimmy Graham. Why, you ask? He apparently can set an NFL record for a tight end with his fifth consecutive 100-yard receiving game this week at home against Indianapolis. And Bodog has a prop on whether he gets another: ‘yes’ at +200 and ‘no’ at -300. You know the Saints are going to throw plenty with Drew Brees. The Colts are in the middle of the pack against the pass. It’s always hard to project what a tight end does. But by comparison, let’s look at another good tight end, who also happens to be from the University of Miami: Tampa Bay’s Kellen Winslow. In the Bucs’ game against the Colts a few weeks ago, Winslow had five catches for 33 yards. I just think the Saints may spread it out too much and get far enough ahead that perhaps Graham comes out early. So you have to go ‘no’ here despite the -300 number.
 

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