Best NFL player props for Bears vs. Rams: To Higbee or not to Higbee?
Our first NFL Sunday of the season is capped off with the Chicago Bears traveling west to Los Angeles to take on the Rams. A primetime matchup between two teams featuring new quarterbacks. This is sure to drive a lot of uncertainty on the player prop market. Before I get to my pick of the game, make sure you check out our experts picks for game sides and totals.
Matt Stafford and Andy Dalton will take their first regular-season snaps for their respective teams on Sunday night. In what should be a game featuring contrasting styles, finding an edge with these new-look teams is tricky. However, there is one player in particular who not only is looking to benefit from an upgrade at quarterback but should also see an increased workload.
Tyler Higbee (LAR) over 3.5 receptions (-125)
Line available at time of publishing.
The installation of Stafford at quarterback upgrades the outlook for each of the Rams’ pass catchers. But with the departure of fellow tight end Gerald Everett in free agency, Higbee stands to benefit the most from the offseason moves. The Rams clearly think highly of the 5th-year tight end, as they inked him to a $29 million contract before last season.
In 2020, however, Higbee fans were saddened to see more of the same Rams tight end timeshare. Higbee barely out-targeted Everett on a per-game basis (4 vs 3.9). The promising 2019 for the Western Kentucky alum (69 receptions in 15 games, including 26 over a 3-game stretch with Everett sidelined), came to nothing.
New Guy in Town
Now with the annually underrated Stafford in town, there is renewed hope for a Higbee breakout. The new signal-caller has tracked to a pace of completing at least 65 passes per 16 games in 4 of the last 5 seasons. In 2 games versus his former intra-divisional rival last season, Stafford keyed in on his tight end. He peppered former tight end TJ Hockensen with targets, resulting in 12 catches over 2 games.
The Bears’ poor defense versus tight ends last season was not just limited to Stafford and the Lions. Chicago allowed the 6th-most catches by the position group (88). Rams receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are sure to draw plenty of attention from the Bears secondary, leaving Higbee free to roam against the Bears’ slow linebacking core.
Despite Higbee procuring only 4 catches in 4 games last season, this bet represents the leap I’m expecting him to take. I’m loving Higbee to have a career year, beginning with Week 1. I have the tight end projected at 5 catches today.