Battle of two QBs
Ben Steele: The future of the AFC looks set to be a battle between two quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson.
Off the back of a historic playoff run and Super Bowl MVP honours, the Chiefs signed Mahomes to a monster 10-year, $500m contract and then set about adding to his array of offensive options. The 24-year-old quarterback already has two receiving stars in the shape of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, but with Mecole Hardman a further year in to his development and rookie running back Clyde Edwards both flashing the ability to make big plays in the passing game it is tough to see past Mahomes leading the league in passing yards this season. 9/2 is too good of a price in a field where the Kansas City man is the standout candidate.
In Baltimore, Lamar Jackson was the unanimous MVP last season as he became a key part of the Ravens record setting rushing attack. Jackson's versatility saw him throw 36 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,206 yards and a further seven TDs. This season I expect teams to focus on trying to stop Jackson and the Ravens from running the ball which should open up opportunities in the passing game. Tight End Mark Andrews will provide the safety net for Jackson and Marquise 'Hollywood' Brown has garnered offseason publicity for his fitness regime.
With teams desperate to stop the run I'm backing Jackson to have a career best season throwing the ball. Over 3,200 yards passing and Over 26.5 TDs are both worth a look.
Ben's bets: Patrick Mahomes to have Most Regular Season Passing Yards 2020-21 @ 9/2
Lamar Jackson - 2020-21 Regular Season Total Passing Yards - Quarterback Regular Season Props - Over 3200 @ 5/6
Lamar Jackson - 2020-21 Regular Season Total Passing TDs - Over 26.5 @ 5/6
Gronk can get TDs in Tampa
Dave Gray: When looking for a player to lead the league in rushing there are a few key things you want to see. A team that isn't going to be constantly playing from behind and throwing the ball and a player that does not have much competition for carries. Two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott certainly has a chance and 9/1 is a fair price, but the Cowboys look set to lean on Dak Prescott a lot more this season.
The name that really stands out is Josh Jacobs. 1150 yards was good for eighth in the league in his rookie season but that included three games missed with injury. On a per game basis only Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb outgained the former Alabama star. The 22-year-old has very little competition for carries in Las Vegas and while there are three other running backs on the roster right now, all are much more of a threat in the passing game. If the Raiders are running the ball then Jacobs will be handling it. 14/1 feels far too big for such a talented runner that has already shown he's in that elite group of running backs.
Rob Gronkowski returns to the NFL after a year away doing various things, including a short stint in WWE. But he reunites with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay and while he may not be at his peak, at 31 he still has plenty in the tank. The year off has allowed him to heal up and even when he could hardly move at the end of his run in New England, he was still a huge threat in the red zone.
He's evens to have over 5.5 touchdowns this season and he could go over that. He has eight or more in all but three seasons where he missed lots of games with injury. The early signs in Tampa are that he's as healthy as he has been in years. If he plays even 12 games, Gronk is almost certain to reach those numbers once again.
Dave's bets: Most Regular Season Rushing Yards 2020-21: Josh Jacobs @ 14/1
Rob Gronkowski: Over 5.5 receiving touchdowns @ EVS
Goff to benefit off McVay's ingenuity
Mark Kirwan: Sean McVay's LA Rams found themselves butting their collective heads against a wall last season. As they went from NFC champions in 2018 to missing the playoffs a year later, Todd Gurley mysteriously drifted in and out of the offence and quarterback Jared Goff's play couldn't match up with McVay's coaching nous or cover for instability along the offensive line. Injuries to key receivers didn't help either, and their 9-7 record heralded significant changes on both playing and coaching staffs.
Despite the turmoil and his own patchy play, however, Goff still managed to throw for 22 touchdowns. His total line this season has been set at 24.5. I can't imagine McVay will allow his team to endure the turgid offensive spells they did in 2019, and, just like he did in 2017 and 2018 when he threw for 28 and 32 scores respectively, Goff will benefit from McVay's ingenuity. Backing Goff Over 24.5 Passing TDS at Evens is an easy call for me because you're betting on one of the best coaches in the league to bounce back from a down year.
A more speculative line is AFC South Exact Finishing Order. This stands out because the Indianapolis Colts have the easiest schedule in the league according to the very shrewd NFL analyst Warren Sharp, and also have one of the most well-rounded rosters in the league. Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Jaguars are in desperate shape and should be locked in for the division's wooden spoon.
It then comes down to who you prefer from the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans. I'd plump for the Deshaun Watson-led Texans because he can beat teams on his own - and may have to given some of his franchise's offseason moves. Also, the Titans' reliance on Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill last season looks very difficult to repeat, so I'd bet on a regression causing them to slip behind Houston in 2020. At 5/1, Colts, Texans, Titans, Jags is worth a punt.
The Colts are also an eye-catching outside bet at 20/1 for the league's best record in 2020, but I'm keener on the contrary market, Team with Worst Regular Season Record 2020-21.
Both New York teams are priced at a tasty 14/1 for this "honour", and while the Giants could fall apart, I'd rather bet on the morale vacuum that is Jets coach Adam Gase leading his team to the worst record in the league. Gang Green are light on talent across the roster and look primed to crater under a lame duck coach. 14/1 is a generous price.
Mark's bets: Jared Goff Passing Touchdowns: Over 24.5 @ Evens
AFC South Exact Finishing Order: Colts, Texans, Titans, Jaguars @ 5/1
Team with Worst Regular Season Record 2020-21: New York Jets @ 14/1