Going into the NFL season, almost all of the talk surrounding the season and player props features offensive stars. Today I want to break away from the mold and discuss a few defensive player props to check out for this upcoming season.
Last season, Darius Leonard burst onto the scene as the league leader in tackles and he really captured this title by a landslide. Going into this season, Leonard is the favorite at +550, but his odds are still rather odd.
If you look at the tackle leaders of the last decade, you will not find a single back-to-back leader. Luke Kuechly has done it multiple times, but not in consecutive years. I do think that this is a bit misleading though. There are often guys that show up in the top 5 consistently, like another player that we will discuss in a minute.
I do like laying a bit down on Darius Leonard at +550 to become a repeat leader. The Colts defense is in a fantastic position to see a lot of plays this year. Leonard should still be growing as a player and the only difference could be the addition of 3rd round pick Bobby Okereke. I am not concerned that Okereke’s addition to the linebacking core is going to change Leonards production this season.
The other player at the top of the board is Blake Martinez at +1200. Martinez has had 144 tackles in back-to-back seasons, which is good for 1st in 2017 and 2nd in 2018. This consistent production as an elite option here is just too low at +1200.
Sacks are another statistic that can fluctuate a lot year over year because gameplans and teammate support can change drastically. Aaron Donald is the favorite for this title at +300 after a dominant 20.5 sacks last season.
I like Donald at +300 because I think that the way he gets sacks is relatively tough for certain teams to stop. Last season, Donald seemed to feast on poor offensive lines and I think that this was because they had no way to contain him, even when they gameplanned for it. As a tackle on this list, Donald has a different skill set and toolbox than most players on the list, which makes him unique to defend.
If you want to go for a longer shot here, I really like Joey Bosa at +2200. In his second season in the NFL, Bosa had 12.5 sacks. He began last season injured, but returned to have 5.5 sacks in just 6 starts last season.
On the Chargers, he has good defensive play around him, especially with Melvin Ingram on the other side of the line taking some pressure off. Also, the Chargers look to be a top end team who should force a lot of dropbacks this season to trailing teams. Bosa has the talent and team to flash this season.
Determining the interception leader is like picking a rabbit out of your hat and the odds would suggest that as the highest odds are Kyle Fuller at +2500. That being said, I want to take guys a bit further down the board here that could prove to be in good situations to get interceptions. I preferably want to take someone on a good team that has a good pass rush, because those are the two things that lead to opponents making mistakes in the pass game.
Denzel Ward was banged up for a lot of the second half of the season, but he came down with 3 interceptions in the first 5 weeks of the season as a rookie. I think that the Browns defense should be improved and I think that Ward’s elite speed should make him a great candidate for a breakout season at +4000.
Damontae Kazee is my other pick at +4000 again. Kazee had a breakthrough season in his second year in the NFL with 7 interceptions on a defense that was riddled with injuries. I expect the Falcons to be improved from a year ago and playing in a division with Jameis Winston and Cam Newton could help.
Take a look at all of these bets and many more when you head to the leader in pay per head bookie, at www.A1PPH.com.
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