The cherry on top of this football weekend is the annual Monday Night Football Doubleheader to cap Week One of the NFL Season. We have Ravens/Bengals and Raiders/Chargers as AFC North and West rivalries take center stage. Chris Mackinder will be around later with game previews on each contest. But, why wait? Lets get right to the previewing with a breakdown of the player props available right now for the Ravens/Bengals game. We’ll look at the props for the west coast game a bit later and if more props are released for Game One, we’ll update this post. For now, per sportsbook.com, here are the props available for the first MNF game of the year.
Andy Dalton Over/Under 20.5 completions, 225.5 passing yards, 1.5 touchdowns, Will He Throw an INT, Yes -200, No +160……..Dalton took over QB chores for Cincy as a rookie and led them to a surprise wild card berth. Like most rookie QBs, however, he was not a stat sheet stuffer. He went over the completion total seven times last year and surpassed the yardage total just six times. He did go Over those totals in both matches with the Ravens. Do we have a Raven killer here? Maybe, but some of his numbers were pretty impressive against the Big, Bad, Baltimore D. He didnt have the best completion percentage, but the Bengals were not shy letting Dalton throw the ball around the park in close games in a playoff chase against the Ravens. His basic lines were 24/45 for 373 yards and 22/44 for 232 yards, so he went over on tonight’s completions and yards both times against Baltimore. He only threw one TD against the Ravens last year while tossing three picks, while he had a 19 to 10 ratio against the rest of the league. His season averages of 18.75 completions and 212.37 passing yards per game, however, lean towards the Under.
A.J Green Over/Under 4.5 catches, 68.5 receiving yards, will he score a TD, Yes +145, No -165…….Green had about a solid a rookie season one can have at wideout, finishing with 65 catches, 1057 yards and seven scores. Yet he only went over this bar of catches and receiving yard seven times respectively in 2011. He did have four catches, however, another three times, so he was always in range of going over 4.5. If you think he takes his game up even another step in his second year in the league and second year with Dalton, then both these totals should be manageable. However he did next to nothing last season year against Baltimore. He missed the first game with injury, then only had two catches for 25 yards in the rematch at home in the regular season finale. Some books might offer a prop on longest catch of the night for Green, (I’m seeing O/U 23.5 yards at a couple places, sportsbook.com included) which should intrigue the savvy prop players since the flanker had 11 catches a year ago of 35 or more yards, the most by a rookie since Randy Moss.
Jermaine Gresham Over/Under 3.5 catches, Will He Score a TD, Yes +170, No -220…..The Sooner tight end, like most quality pass catchers at that position, became a reliable security blanket for the Bengals young quarterback. In 14 games last year, Gresham had more than 3.5 catches nine times and caught exactly three another four times. If you take the Over, you should be in contention, and I am a little surprised the juice on the Over, currently at -145, isnt a steeper price. In the two games with the Ravens a year ago, he went 3 catches, 48 yards and 5 catches, 72 yards. He had touchdowns in six games last year, so the TD prop is a coin flip, although he didnt find paydirt against Baltimore. You’re on your own there.
Joe Flacco Over/Under 19.5 completions, 242.5 passing yards, 1.5 TD passes, will he throw an INT, yes -140, no +110……..Oh, those tricky oddsmakers. Flacco averaged exactly 19.5 completions a game a year ago and 19.43 completions over the last three seasons. If you’re making a call on that one, I hope you are using your best lucky coin. Flacco averaged 225.62 passing yards a game in 2011 and 225.93 yards over his last 48 starts. Hiting for Over 242.5 yards will be tough as he’s only done it in 26 of 73 career starts. In eight career starts against the Bengals, he’s averaged just 17.1 completions and 183.62 passing yard with a 7 to 10 TD/INT ratio. None of these bars are set all that high, but Flacco’s career numbers so far trend towards taking the Unders or passing altogether.
Ray Rice Over/Under 95.5 rushing yards, 4.5 catches, Will He Score a TD, Yes -160, No +130…..From his days at Rutgers, Ray Rice has been one of my favorite football players. I like the kid’s game a lot, relished how he became the face of a college football program while dragging it to some of its biggest heights ever and am pleased he’s become a factor at this level. Too bad its for the Ravens, my Steelers’ biggest rivals. Rice kills the Steelers and last year he finally learned how to kill the Bengals. He topped the century mark in both games last year against Cincy going 20/104 and 24/191. Otherwise, he’s averaged 85 rushing yards a game in his career against Cincy. He scored two touchdowns in each game and has scored in three straight games and in five of the last six against the Bengals. As for the 4.5 catches prop, Rice might be the premier receiving back in the NFL. He’s caught more than 4.5 balls in 31 of his last 53 games and has 26 catches in his last six games against the Bengals. As of now, I cant find a rushing/receiving yards combined prop anywhere. I’d be interested in that one, so I will keep looking throughout the day.
Anquan Bolden Over/Under 4.5 catches, 57.5 receiving yards….Bolden only went over these totals 5 and 6 times respectively in 14 regular season games played a year ago. But in two playoff games, he would have gone over the yardage total both times and the catches bar once. He didnt play in the Week 17 finale agains Cincy and in the first game between the clubs last year caught just one ball for 35 yards. His career numbers against the Bengals are a bit pedestrian. In five games, he has 18 catches for 201 yards, but he does have three touchdowns, so if you can find a TD prop it might be a sneaky play.