The Z Report

Lance Zierlein: Odds and End$ - I’ve got your props

Leonard Fournette could be in for a big year. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

This is the time of year when the fantasy football owners out there are scouring the internet trying to glean as much information as they can about rookies, sleepers, expected targets for receivers, and emerging running backs.

For those who like to play the “game within the game”, this is the time of year they start looking for “futures” and finding the best values on the board. Because I love each and every one of you like you were my seventh or eighth child (I only have five), I’ve decided to give you action junkies my thoughts on some of the prop bets that I see right now. As for your fantasy ballers, I’ll get to you next week.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Derrius Guice (WAS) 10:1  * Update: Suffered torn ACL in 1st preseason game.

Sam Darnold (NYJ) 17:1

Calvin Ridley (ATL) 20:1

Saquon Barkley is the favorite at even money, but what fun is that? Sam Darnold has a good chance to be the man from start to finish with the Jets so 17:1 odds is a great value. Calvin Ridley is getting 23:1 odds which is terrific value considering his ability to hit big plays and his quarterback who can air it out. Derrius Guice is off to a strong start and I like him getting 10:1 better than Barkley at EVEN.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Roquan Smith (CHI) 3.5:1

Tremaine Edmunds (BUF) 9:1

Darius Leonard (IND) 20:1

I’m not going to lie, fading Broncos rookie DE Bradley Chubb at 3:1 won’t be easy, but the 2018 draft was the heavy with LB talent so let’s stick with these three. Roquan Smith is set to have a strong year right out of the gate and getting 3.5:1 is actually decent value. Tremaine Edmunds was as productive as they come in college and he has the athletic ability to translate that production into the pros. Leonard is flying under the radar somewhat, but he’s a great athlete who could end up playing all three downs for the Colts.

Rushing Leader

Leonard Fournette (JAX) 8.5:1

When you consider that Fournette had 268 carries last year, that young RBs are always most likely to get a heavy workload, and that Blake Bortles is the quarterback…. Well, you can see why I see this as such a value ticket.

Most Receiving Yards

Odell Beckham (NYG) 10:1

When he’s healthy (and happy?), Beckham might be the most talented receiver in the game today. Granted, it might not be safe to consider Beckham a happy camper right now, but he seems to believe that his contract will get worked out. If it does, then look out. If it doesn’t, he’s in a contract year and will likely be on his best behavior. Getting 10:1 for a talent like Beckham is great value.

Kirk Cousins OVER 25.5  Pass TDs

Alex Smith UNDER 23.5  Pass TDs

Ezekiel Elliott OVER 12.5 Rush TDs

Leonard Fournette OVER 10.5  Rush TDs

Michael Thomas OVER 7.5  Receiving TDs

Adam Thielen OVER 5.5  Receiving TDs


 

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Keep an eye on Alex Bowman this weekend. Image via: Wiki Commons.

For the first time since July 1984, NASCAR returns to one of its most popular cities in Nashville, Tennessee for the inaugural Ally 400 at Nashville Super Speedway. This track is a 1 1/3rd mile concrete oval that was dormant for nearly ten years and was only used as a testing facility. So it came as a bit of a surprise last season when it was announced that this track would be getting a date. For a lot of drivers, this will be a brand new racetrack, but we will see practice and qualifying, so that will be a huge help for the newcomers that haven't raced here before. Back when the Xfinity and Trucks ran here, this track featured a lot of first time winners. Back in 2008, future NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski shocked the world by jumping in Dale Jr's car and capturing his first win here. There will be a lot of veterans like Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick who have plenty of experience at this track, but it will be tough to compare. It should be fun with everyone coming into this race with minimal knowledge.

Last week, Kyle Larson continued his hot streak by winning the All-Star Race. Overall, while Larson and his Hendrick teammates probably enjoyed the race, the feedback from crews and fans was less than positive. As I was walking through the garage area and talking to a few crew members, a lot of them were very critical of the 450 horsepower motor and the tall spoiler to try and keep the cars bunched up. When I asked one of the crew-members what he thought about the package he told me, "Oh it's awful. The track is terrible, the package makes it impossible to pass and it's super hot out here." On green flag runs, it was the same as it ever was as the lead car would pretty much take off and the only time there was really any "pack racing" it came after there were restarts. The whole race was well-intentioned and the fans showed up as it was nearly a capacity crowd, but the whole thing just didn't make any sense. From the start time being in the nearly 100 degree heat to the wacky full-field invert at the end of each stage. Let's hope that next season's All-Star Race is a lot more concise.

In Silly Season news this week, Truck Series regulars GMS racing announced that they would be fielding a full-time cup series team. The team is currently owned by Allegiant Airlines CEO Maurice Gallagher and his son, Spencer, who used to drive for them in the Xfinity Series. This move seemed to come from out of nowhere as there was never any indication that this was a move they were exploring anytime soon after they turned down the opportunity to purchase Furniture Row Racing in 2019. This is certainly a great sight for the sport as there will be more new teams on the track and with their close relationship with Chevy, it wouldn't be a surprise if they step in and help this team become competitive. The favorite to drive their car has to be 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed. He has easily been their best driver in trucks, and it would make the most sense for him to get the promotion.

This week at Nashville, the driver that I have winning is Alex Bowman. Now while this is a brand new racetrack and he has a grand total of zero starts here, this track suits his driving style perfectly. With the inclusion of this track, there are now four tracks with a concrete surface. Nashville, Bristol, Dover and Martinsville. At the three of the tracks they have run at, he has shown a lot of speed, including a victory at Dover this season and a top ten finish at Bristol. This is also a track where crew-chief Greg Ives said Bowman has gravitated towards during testing. In an interview with Sirius XM Ives was quoted as saying "we used to have a lot of fun testing there," so this is clearly a track that they both enjoy going to. Another big factor going into Sunday will be just how fast these Hendrick Motorsports cars are, they have finished 1-2 over the last four points races. He has watched his teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott have immense success, and now this week I think he is due for a third win of the season. Look for the bright purple #48 Chevy to go to victory lane this week at Nashville.

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