Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our Sports Betting Strategy and Advice page is for you. You can get started with our 101 section — including How to Choose a Sportsbook — or head to more advanced strategy — like Which Sports Are Most Profitable to Bet? — to learn more.
Football will have a much different feel in 2020. There are many unknowns, such as if fans will be allowed in attendance and what other safety procedures will be in place to combat COVID-19.
One known difference is the playoff format. Starting this year, seven teams in each conference will now make the postseason. Instead of first-round byes going to the top two seeds, only the first seed in each conference will get a bye.
Another big difference? The Raiders have moved to Las Vegas, marking the third city in which the franchise has played. They made a splash in the 2020 NFL Draft as the first team to select a wide receiver. In hopes of sparking its offense, Las Vegas used the 12th overall pick on Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III.
FanDuel Sportsbook has listed Ruggs’s over/under for receiving yards at 740.5. FanDuel’s rules stipulate that teams must play a full 16-game regular season for a player prop wager to stand.
This article will make the case for both the over and under on Ruggs’s total receiving yards before ultimately making a prediction. In addition, we have identified a number of player props we love as part of a series of picks released over the last month.
Check out all of our 2020 NFL Player Prop Bets here.
Will Henry Ruggs III go Over/Under 740.5 Receiving Yards?
Over 740.5 (-112) / Under 740.5 (-112) (odds via FanDuel Sportsbook)
The Case for the Over
Before the 2020 NFL Draft, most sportsbooks had Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb as the favorite to be the first receiver taken. The fact that Las Vegas surprised many by taking Ruggs III suggests they are high on him and have big plans for him in its offense.
Ruggs made a splash at the combine by showing off his blazing speed. He ran a 4.27 40-yard dash, easily the fastest time of all receivers in this year’s class and just shy of John Ross’s record of 4.22 seconds.
Ruggs is absolutely electric with the football in his hands. In his three-year college career, he scored a touchdown on 24.5% of his receptions. He is so dynamic that Alabama also used him on special teams to return kickoffs. Ruggs ranked fifth in the SEC in kickoff return yards in 2019.
Although a major burner, Ruggs possesses more than just straight-line speed. He has quick feet and is an exceptional route-runner with the ability to stop on a dime and juke defenders anywhere. At Alabama, he lined up all over the field. He had just as much success on the outside as well as in the slot. Look for the Raiders to get him the ball in a variety of ways through screens, quick outs, and vertical go-routes.
In 2019, four rookie wide receivers topped 740.5 yards, while a fifth (Darius Slayton) just missed with 740. Given how much talent Ruggs possesses, exceeding that mark does not seem daunting.
Quarterback Derek Carr has been starving for a big-play receiver on the outside for quite some time. In 2019, only tight end Darren Waller surpassed Ruggs’s projected total of 740.5 yards. Fellow receivers Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow lack the explosiveness that Ruggs has.
It could be argued that Ruggs steps in right away as the team’s No. 1 receiver.
The Case for the Under
There is no denying Ruggs’s blazing speed, as the stopwatch says it all. But is he a complete receiver? Ruggs never topped 746 yards receiving in any of his three seasons at Alabama. Granted, he never played 16 games as he will in the NFL. However, he won’t be part of a juggernaut offense either.
Critics will argue that his modest statistics were already amplified by the system. Ruggs was surrounded by fellow first-round pick Jerry Jeudy, and former teammate Devonta Smith also projects to be a first-rounder in the future.
Thus, college defenses had too much to worry about with Alabama’s offense to double-team Ruggs. Between Alabama’s power running game and containing Jeudy, Smith, and Jaylen Waddle, Ruggs often benefited from man-to-man coverage. In Las Vegas, he will surely receive added attention since Williams and Renfrow are not considered dangerous receivers.
Rookie wide receivers have recently been very hit or miss. Yes, four surpassed 740 yards in 2019. However, only D.J. Moore and Calvin Ridley accomplished the feat in 2018. In 2017, just JuJu Smith-Schuster, Cooper Kupp, and Keelan Cole (beat the mark by seven yards) topped 741 yards.
To surpass 740 yards, one must average 46.3 yards per game over a full season. While those seem like modest numbers, just five rookie wide receivers from 2017-2018 accomplished this feat. Thus, there is a case to make that the speed of the NFL game is too much for receivers in their first years, and it takes a special player to top 740 yards right out of the gate.
The numbers over the last few seasons suggest that anywhere from two to four rookie receivers will surpass 740.5 yards. Henry Ruggs III is in a great position to be one of them. Head coach Jon Gruden sees a star in Ruggs and will likely force-feed him early and often.
Ruggs is in a great situation in Las Vegas. He gets to learn from a Super Bowl-winning coach while catching passes from a veteran quarterback in Derek Carr. In addition, there is not too much competition for targets outside of tight end Darren Waller.
As a rookie, Ruggs is arguably the most talented wide receiver on his own roster. Though the AFC West is loaded with premier pass defenses, Ruggs should take advantage of potential shootouts against NFC South crossover opponents.
Ruggs will prove worthy of being the first receiver taken in the draft and surpass his projected total of 740.5 receiving yards.