NFL Picks Week 1: Saints vs. Packers, Thursday Night Prop Wagers
The popularity of proposition wagers has exploded since the advent of fantasy football and Las Vegas absolutely loves offering them.
During my time of supervising the sports book "Inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas," many of the sharper clientele wouldn't even bother handicapping a side or total, as the advantage was found solely in these offerings.
Thursday's 2011 NFL regular season-opener between the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers is going to be one of the city's biggest handles of the entire year, and a lot of it will be riding on the arms of quarterbacks Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.
Let's take a look at the top five props in this highly-anticipated contest.
Aaron Rodgers, Total Passing Yards
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The odds-makers have set Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' passing yards at 280.5 for Thursday's contest.
It's a very high number, and I definitely recommend playing the under. Rodgers has failed to break the 200-yard mark in all three of his Week 1 starts since taking over for Brett Favre.
Recommendation: Under 280.5 passing yards
Drew Brees, Total Passing Yards
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I'm also going to recommend a play on the under for Drew Brees to fall under 285.5 passing yards against the Packers in the opener.
Brees has gone over this number in his first road start of the year just once, throwing for 288 yards in Week 2 of the 2009 season against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The lines-maker may have gotten lazy in sending out this number as well—Brees averaged 285.4 yards per game on the road in 2010.
Recommendation: Under 285.5 passing yards
Player to Score the First Touchdown
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New Orleans Saints rookie running back Mark Ingram will not be afraid of getting involved in this contest, as he's the son of a former NFL wide receiver.
The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner also scored 42 touchdowns during his career at Alabama, which broke Shaun Alexander's school record (41).
The Green Bay Packers' backfield combo of Ryan Grant (+600) and James Starks (+1,000) offer similar odds, but I'm going to take a shot.
Recommendation: Mark Ingram (+800)
Longest Touchdown of the Game
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Perfect weather conditions are expected in Green Bay, Wisc., Thursday night, and both teams have explosive playmakers at the wide receiver position.
It's also no secret that both quarterbacks, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, like to go vertical in the passing game.
Busted coverage in the secondary due to the NFL lockout anyone?
Recommendation: Over 45.5 Yards
Will Either Team Score Three Unanswered Times?
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Eight percent of bettors are picking this game to go over the posted total of 47, but many are forgetting that each of these teams had defenses that finished in the top 10 a year ago.
If it does turn into a shootout, both quarterbacks are capable of sustaining drives and matching scores.
Great value here in my opinion.
Recommendation: No (+169)