Preseason football is in full swing, meaning the 2021 NFL regular season is just around the corner. Fans won’t have to wait much longer for Week 1 of the action, which is now less than a month away.
As position battles begin to be settled and there’s more clarity surrounding each team, it’s also becoming easier to identify potential betting trends for the upcoming season.
Our writers gathered to make their boldest NFL predictions for the 2021 season and a recommended bet to make for each prediction.
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2021 NFL Bold Predictions
Derrick Henry rushes for fewer than 1400 yards.
The Titans added future Hall of Fame wide receiver Julio Jones. Henry has racked up 827 touches over the last two (includes postseason). The Titans project to pass more with Julio and reduce Henry’s workload. — Frank Ammirante
Derrick Henry Prop Bet: Under 1555.5 Rushing Yards (-130) at DraftKings Sportsbook
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Jonathan Taylor will lead the NFL in rushing.
Jonathan Taylor popped for 1,169 rushing yards last season, good for third among running backs, which is shocking since he really didn’t get going consistently until Week 11. With the Colts’ offensive line back in full swing and despite a quarterback upgrade in Carson Wentz, Taylor will be the focal point of the Colts’ offense.
Even if Wentz and Quenton Nelson miss time early, Taylor is talented enough to overcome the obstacles and weather the storm. The Colts will go as Taylor goes in 2021. — Anthony Cervino
Jonathan Taylor Prop Bet: NFL Rushing Leader (+1000) at BetMGM
Lamar Jackson becomes the first quarterback to eclipse 4000 passing yards and 1000 rushing yards in the same season.
Back in the 2019 NFL season, Lamar Jackson became the first quarterback in league history to contribute 3000+ passing yards and 1000+ rushing yards in the same season en route to becoming the youngest quarterback to win MVP.
While Greg Roman has held Jackson back to a certain extent, the team has added more weapons for Jackson in Sammy Watkins and rookie Rashod Bateman.
With an assortment of weapons on offense, Jackson will outdo himself by surpassing his own record by cementing himself as the first quarterback to total 4000+ passing yards and 1000+ rushing yards in the same season. — Skyler Carlin
Lamar Jackson Prop Bet: Over 945.5 Rushing Yards (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Jalen Hurts gets benched for Joe Flacco.
My trepidation with Hurts is more as a real-life QB than for the sake of fantasy where his rushing will certainly provide weekly value. The Eagles are in a transitionary period, and while Hurts has every opportunity to take on the role of a franchise QB, it is very unlikely given his limitations as a passer.
He entered the Eagles’ starting lineup last season and threw defenses off due to their lack of film on him, but he was quickly figured out prior to the season’s end. He will make mistakes, the Eagles will lose games, and eventually, a QB change will occur when frustrations mount. — Kev Mahserejian
Jalen Hurts Prop Bet: Under 20.5 Passing Touchdowns (-125) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Rob Gronkowski will lead the NFL in touchdown receptions.
Gronk is entering his age-32 season. However, he played at a high level after taking a few games to shake off his 2019-retirement rust. Tom Brady frequently utilized his long-time partner in crime in the red zone last year, and the Buccaneers passed at one of the highest rates near the end zone.
Tampa Bay projects to be an offensive juggernaut again. Being tied to a high-scoring unit is an integral part of leading the NFL in receiving touchdowns. Having incredible rapport with the G.O.A.T. doesn’t hurt, either.
If Gronk can slightly build on his pace of scoring seven receiving touchdowns in his last 11 games last year and extend it over the course of a full season, he’ll find himself near the top of the touchdown reception leaderboard. — Josh Shepardson
Rob Gronkowski Prop Bet: Most Regular-Season Receiving TDs (+10000) at BetMGM
Christian Kirk will finish with over 1000 receiving yards.
I expect Kyler Murray to take another step forward in the passing game. The number two wide receiver role behind DeAndre Hopkins is wide open. I don’t expect A.J. Green to stay healthy or be overly productive when he is on the field, which should leave Kirk with added opportunities in the Cardinals’ offense. — Mike Barner
Ezekiel Elliott will finish with more fumbles lost than Daniel Jones.
Daniel Jones appears to have grease on his hands, but it can be argued that Ezekiel Elliott does too. Last year, Jones only had one more fumble lost when compared to Elliott. Do not be surprised if Elliott ends up losing more footballs than Jones in 2021. — Chris Wassel