Deshaun Watson prop offers value in ‘Monday Night Football’

Don't expect <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/houston/" data-ylk="slk:Texans">Texans</a> quarterback <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/30125/" data-ylk="slk:Deshaun Watson">Deshaun Watson</a> to run a lot on Monday night. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Don't expect Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson to run a lot on Monday night. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Yahoo is partnering with The Action Network during the football season to bring you expert sports betting information and analysis.

Player props can offer some of the best betting value on the board in any given week. They typically feature smaller limits and take less action than traditional game bets, so the market can often be less efficient than NFL sides and totals.

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This is where the FantasyLabs Player Props tool comes in handy.

We leverage prop bets against our player projections from Sean Koerner, the No. 1 in-season fantasy football ranker in three of the past four seasons.

Each prop bet then receives a Bet Quality grade between 1 and 10, with 10 being the biggest edge. Note that unders have typically done the best in our tool, and last season those bets were profitable even with grades below 10:

  • Unders with Bet Quality of 10: 152-57 (72.7 percent win rate)

  • Unders with Bet Quality of 9: 183-123 (59.8 percent win rate)

  • Unders with Bet Quality of 8: 413-256 (61.7 percent win rate)

  • Unders with Bet Quality of 7: 627-474 (57 percent win rate)

  • Unders with Bet Quality of 6: 1,005-697 (59. percent win rate)

Overall, unders in our tool hit at a 59 percent rate in 2018. Don’t take our word for it, though: Our props tool keeps track of its record at all times, so you can query performance of any time frame.

Let’s take a look at three props with a Bet Quality of eight or better for the Monday Night Football doubleheader.

Texans QB Deshaun Watson

The pick: Under 38.5 rushing yards (-125)

Watson has blossomed into one of the best QBs in the league, and he’s definitely a threat to do damage with his legs in addition to his arm. Still, he was much more content to beat defenses with his passing ability as the season progressed in 2018.

He averaged 31.8 rushing yards per game over his final 11 games last season, and he hit the over on this current number in just three of those contests.

The Texans also spent a lot of capital trying to give Watson more time in the pocket this season. He had to run around for his life at times last year, resulting in a league-high 62 sacks. They traded for LT Laremy Tunsil during the offseason and used two of their first three picks in the draft on offensive linemen as well.

Watson also benefits from one of the best groups of receiving weapons in the league. DeAndre Hopkins is a bona fide superstar, and Will Fuller is one of the best field-stretchers in football when healthy. Keke Coutee and Kenny Stills have also shown the ability to succeed at the NFL level, while running back Duke Johnson is one of the better pass-catching backs in the league.

Add it all up, and Watson should be content to sit back and let his playmakers do more of the work this season.

This line seems inflated even if Watson runs as much as he did last season, so there’s value in taking the under. Don’t play it at higher than minus-135, though.

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/24057/" data-ylk="slk:Emmanuel Sanders">Emmanuel Sanders</a>' return and <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/8795/" data-ylk="slk:Joe Flacco">Joe Flacco</a> coming on board aren't good for <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/31083/" data-ylk="slk:DaeSean Hamilton">DaeSean Hamilton</a> (17). (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Emmanuel Sanders' return and Joe Flacco coming on board aren't good for DaeSean Hamilton (17). (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Broncos WR DaeSean Hamilton

The pick: Under 3.5 receptions (-115)

Hamilton was thrust into a big role for the Broncos at the end of last season, earning an average of 9.5 targets per game over the last four weeks. That said, he was pretty nonexistent until the injury to Emmanuel Sanders: Hamilton saw just seven total targets through his first 10 games.

He figures to be a larger factor in the offense this season, but he still looks like the third receiver option at best for new quarterback Joe Flacco. Hamilton saw just two targets on Flacco’s 16 attempts during the preseason, ranking behind Sanders, Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant.

Even if Hamilton does see more targets than expected, there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to take advantage of them. Flacco graded out as the No. 22 QB according to Pro Football Focus last season.

We’re committed to team #BetTheUnder this season, and this looks like a good one. We’re willing to play it up to minus-130.

Raiders RB Josh Jacobs

The pick: Under 24.5 receiving yards (-135)

The Raiders spent a first-round pick on Jacobs, so expect him to be a big part of their offense this season.

That said, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to be involved in the passing game. He still has to compete with Jalen Richard for targets, and Richard was the 10th-best receiving back in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. Richard saw 81 targets for the Raiders in 2018, while no other Raiders RB saw more than 24.

The Broncos also represent a difficult matchup. They ranked fifth in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA and fourth in pass defense DVOA last season. They also upgraded their defense during the offseason, bringing in two of PFF’s top-14 rated corners in Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan.

Jacobs didn’t play much during the preseason, so he’s still a bit of an unknown. Koerner is only projecting Jacobs for 16.5 receiving yards in this matchup, so it’s worth rolling the dice on the under up to minus-150.

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