Kickoff is around the corner, and there's one thing left to do: Place some last-minute bets. If I'm placing bets on a Sunday, I'm not looking at full-game spreads or totals. Those are efficient markets that have been bet into all week. Instead, I'm looking for the obscure. It's my specialty anyway: It's what I build statistical models around to try and find an edge.
If there's an advantage to be found now, I think it's in small markets. So come along for the ride and see how we fare diving deep into Sunday props. Results from last week are at the bottom of the story.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook unless otherwise noted.
C.J. Stroud over 0.5 interceptions (-125)
Stroud has done well to avoid throwing a pick thus far this year. But he's still a rookie QB playing as an underdog, and the Jaguars' run defense has been really strong, so Houston will have to throw. The fair price here is -137.
Justin Herbert over 0.5 interceptions (+118)
Chargers-Vikings is going to be a shootout. But that also means a lot of pass attempts. Herbert is throwing farther downfield this year under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore (8.5 air yards per attempt this season compared to 6.3 last year) and that increases the chances of throwing a pick. This is a huge disagreement with the line: I have the number at -126.
D/ST anytime touchdowns
Dallas Cowboys D/ST Touchdown (+450 at FanDuel)
This is as good of a D/ST touchdown situation as you can imagine. The best defense in football as a heavy favorite going against Josh Dobbs and the Arizona Cardinals' offense. I have this as a massive 21.5% chance of happening at +365.
New England Patriots D/ST Touchdown (+650 at FanDuel)
The Patriots' defense has the privilege of facing not only Zach Wilson, but an offensive line with the worst pass block win rate in the league. There's pick-six and strip-sack-returned-for-a-touchdown potential here and my model puts the fair price at +490.
Detroit Lions D/ST Touchdown (+700 at DraftKings)
Cleveland Browns D/ST Touchdown (+700 at DraftKings)
Buffalo Bills D/ST Touchdown (+700 at FanDuel)
These are each eight-point spreads, so we're using the fixed price of the teaser to our advantage by getting a crucial six points that crosses both three and seven. Could consider adding the Saints (+7.5) here for a three-leg, too.
DeForest Buckner under 0.75 sacks (-180 at DraftKings)
Any heavy underdog defensive tackle is going to have tough sledding in the sacks department: the position lends itself to fewer sacks and when your opponent is ahead. Buckner's 17% pass rush win rate this year is well above average for the position, but is still well behind the Aaron Donald/Chris Jones/Javon Hargrave tier of interior pass rushers. My model gives him just over a 25% chance to get at least one sack.
Kaden Elliss under 0.25 sacks (-156 at FanDuel)
Elliss has eight sacks since the start of last season, but there's just no way he can keep up that pace given how few opportunities he actually gets. He has rushed the passer just nine times this season and this is just way too good of a price (I have the fair number at -334).
Daron Payne under 0.75 sacks (-200 at DraftKings)
Ed Oliver under 0.75 sacks (-238 at DraftKings)
Zach Sieler under 0.75 sacks (-195 at DraftKings)
Justin Houston over 0.25 sacks (+230 at DraftKings)
Jarran Reed under 0.75 sacks (-230 at DraftKings)
Josh Uche over 0.25 sacks (+158 at FanDuel)
Quinnen Williams under 0.25 sacks (-166 at FanDuel)
Jeffery Simmons under 0.25 sacks (+106 at FanDuel)
Jadeveon Clowney over 0.25 sacks (+140 at FanDuel)
Danielle Hunter under 0.25 sacks (+164 at FanDuel)
Khalil Mack under 0.25 sacks (+122 at FanDuel)
De'Vondre Campbell under 8.5 tackles + assists (-130 at DraftKings)
Campbell is coming off a 14-tackle game which I think may be inflating this line a little bit. Plus, he is playing just a little bit less this year: he has been on the field for 79% Green Bay's snaps this season as opposed to 94% last season.
That is the kind of thing that can turn a nine-tackle game into an eight-tackle game.
Kader Kohou over 3.5 tackles + assists (-115 at DraftKings)
With the Broncos likely to be trailing the Dolphins, Denver is going to have to lean more heavily on the passing game. That plays into the hands of a corner like Kohou, who has a 5% tackle share on run plays but 15% on pass plays.
Roquan Smith over 8.5 tackles + assists (-110 at BetMGM)
Micah Hyde under 4.5 tackles + assists (+105 at DraftKings)
Alex Highsmith under 3.5 tackles + assists (+130 at DraftKings)
Rams to score most points among teams playing Sunday and Monday (50-1)
My model has this at 42-1 and while it's a longshot, I picture two separate paths to this taking place. First, if Joe Burrow plays, it is likely this game will turn into a scoring bonanza between two offenses facing below-average defenses. If Burrow doesn't play, I think it could still work. Jake Browning starting means this game will have major blowout potential for the Rams.
So... defensive player props are winning, at least.
Interceptions: 1-3 (-1.5 Units)
D/ST Touchdowns: 0-3 (-3 Units)
Teasers: 1-0 (+1.6 Units)
Sacks: 7-5 (+2.9 Units)
Tackles: 3-2 (+0.5 Units)
Game Props: 0-1 (-1 Unit)
Overall: 12-14 (-0.5 Units)
Interceptions: 1-5 (-3.5 Units)
D/ST Touchdowns: 0-3 (-3 Units)
Teasers: 1-1 (+0.6 Units)
Weekly specials: 0-2 (-2 Units)
Sacks: 10-8 (+1.3 Units)
Tackles: 7-3 (+3.0 Units)
Game Props: 0-2 (-2 Units)
Overall: 19-24 (-5.6 Units)