NFL Kicker Props: Week 1 Strategy & 3 Players To Consider
Week 1 of the NFL Season is here, and one of the more underrated betting markets is returning. Kicker props don’t have the notoriety of some of the more prominent NFL props you can bet, but they can be quite soft and potentially profitable because of it. Kicker props come in a variety of forms – total points bets, field goals, PATs, and even length of longest kick odds. For Week 1 odds, there are three kicking props that I am betting.
Kicker Props Strategy
There are various ways of attacking the kicker props markets. That said, if you’re looking for teams whose kickers will be more likely to get some work, it’s not merely random. Quarterback play and coaching are key determinants of how often a kicker will be used.
For Week 1 NFL Kicker Props, I’m focusing on teams who were top 10 in Field Goal Attempts last year, Bottom 10 in 4th Down Attempts with their offenses, and whose QB was outside the top 15 in Dropback EPA. Conservative coaches who won’t go for it often and mediocre QB play that’s unlikely to march the ball down for touchdowns is the sweet spot.
This week there’s three such bets.
Patriots K Chad Ryland: Over Total Points
The Patriots have been one of the more conservative teams in recent years on 4th downs. They ranked 6th in the NFL in Field Goals Attempts and 29th in the league in offensive 4th Down Attempts in 2022. And they traded up in the draft to draft a kicker in the fourth round, who won the starting job in training camp. And Mac Jones is still the Patriots QB.
28th in Dropback EPA and 32nd in Success Rate, Jones suffers from the disadvantage of not being good. Kicker props are mostly about factors outside the kicker’s control, and QB skill is a huge factor. Too good of one, and kickers will be mostly kicking PATs. Here, Ryland won’t likely have to deal with too many of those.
The Eagles return most of the pieces from their 4th ranked by EPA defense from 2022, and added an elite talent in Jalen Carter in the Draft this year. Even when the Patriots get some forward progress offensively, it’s likely ending in kicks, not touchdowns, especially with Belichick’s conservative game calling.
Steelers K Chris Boswell: Over Total Points
The Steelers led the league in Field Goal Attempts in 2022 and were 27th in offensive 4th Down Attempts. There is little reason to think that won’t continue again, especially against the Niners stout defense. Kenny Pickett was 25th in Dropback EPA last year as well, so even if he’s better this year he’s still unlikely to pull the Steelers out of their conservatism.
Against San Fran, the Steelers are going to want to keep the game low-scoring and will put a premium on points. This will be especially true since the Niners defense is so good. Boswell has been a staple in Pittsburgh and there’s every reason he’ll cruise past this number this week.
Falcons K Younghoe Koo: Over Total Points
Arthur Smith’s 2022 was a classic case of managing an offense around an offense that just wasn’t talented enough. 24th in offensive 4th Down Attempts and 7th in Field Goal Attempts, the Falcons didn’t have the offense and coached accordingly. In the limited action we saw from Desmond Ridder in 2022 he was a slightly negative QB by EPA, but with an offseason as the QB, he should improve. That said, he’s unlikely to improve so much that the Falcons become an elite offense, meaning they’ll still have to kick a lot of FGs.
The Falcons being home favorites helps this bet, too – had they been underdogs, they might have had to be more aggressive by gamescript. As a home favorite in one of the lowest total games of the week, a premium will exist for points. And without a proven QB, those points will likely overwhelmingly come from the leg of Younghoe Koo.
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Kicker props can be incredibly profitable if you know what to look for in the process. These three bets all make sense within the context of the coaching and offensive situations these teams find themselves in.
Obviously, individual drive contexts are impossible to predict with certainty, but finding coaches with conservative 4th down tendencies and teams that lack top-end QB talent will sustainably kick more FGs, making these bets sensible in the context of Week 1 NFL.
Best of luck betting Week 1 NFL Kicker props.