The New York Jets had one of the worst offenses in the NFL last season. The Jets ranked second to the last in points scored per game and were dead-last in total yards per contest.
Sam Darnold’s illness-related absence caused the offense to struggle but aside from that, poor offensive line play contributed to the Jets’ offensive woes. Their offensive line ranked 28th in the league in pass blocking and 30th in run blocking. The Jets didn’t have a singe player ranked in the upper half of the league’s best run blockers.
Because of that, New York invested a total of $67.5 M during the offseason to add the likes of George Fant, Conor McGovern, and Greg Van Routen. They also picked two offensive tackles in the first four rounds of the 2020 NFL draft to shore up their offensive line.
Because of this, many people are expecting star running back Le’Veon Bell to have a big bounce back season. Bell is coming off his worst year ever and there is no doubt he wants to redeem himself this year. Having an improved line helps Bell, who has an unorthodox style.
Let’s take a look at the 2020 prop bets for Le’Veon Bell and see how the improved offensive line relates to his betting odds, released by the best football betting sites:
The Jets made a lot of additions to their offensive line. They drafted Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft and Charlotte offensive tackle Cameron Clark in round four. They also added McGovern, Fant, and Van Roten via free agency.
While they won’t have the best offense in the league this coming season, the player who looks to benefit from the upgrades is star running back Le’Veon Bell who is coming off a season where he posted career-lows in rushing yards (789), yards per carry (3.2) and touchdowns (4).
There is no questioning Bell’s talent and his capability to bounce back after a down season. However, Jets’ head coach Adam Gase’s “less is more” approach for the 2020 season could hurt Bell’s numbers. According to Gase, he plans to lessen the load on Bell’s shoulders and that he prefers using a committee of running backs to ease his star RBs workload.
I think this bet goes down to workload volume as there is no question that Bell is going to have a better year in 2020 at least because of an improved offensive line. Remember that this guy is coming off his worst season and he only came 62 yards short of the 851 total set for this bet. Bell played in 15 games last season and in 2017. If he is to play the same number of games, he will need to rush only an average of 56.7 yards per game to go over the total.
However, if Gase will make good on his plan to share the wealth, then not only will Bell miss this total but the Jets will be wasting a lot of talent in doing so. The Jets still owe Bell $13M and to me, it would be a waste of money ( as well as talent ) if they are going to minimize his workload.
Despite all the possible challenges he will have in 2020, I have confidence in Le’Veon Bell going over the total here. He’s topped that total in four out of his first six NFL seasons and I think that the upgrade in their offensive line is going to help Le’Veon Bell push his total rushing yards to over 850.5.
PREDICTION: OVER 850.5
This looks like Deja Vu from last season because this was the same projected total for Le’Veon Bell for the 2019 season. However, the 8.5 in 2019 was in rushing touchdowns while the current one is total touchdowns so you might be inclined to take the over right away, especially at plus money. But wait, he me out on this.
Bell has 300 or more touches in each of the last five seasons. He will be 28 years old this season and I think it’s fair to consider that his body will start to feel the wear and tear of a physical sport. Aside from that, I’m not 100% sure if Bell can stay healthy all-season long.
Sure, he played in 15 games during the 2019 campaign. However, he’s missed at least three games in three out of his six NFL seasons. When If a player misses three or more games in a season, he’s likely to go under when it comes to season-long props.
Another issue I have with Bell is that he didn’t have his explosiveness last season. His four touchdowns came via the following yardages: 9,2,1, and 1. These numbers show us that Bell relied more on his offensive line bringing him near the goal line than his ability to run the football.
The Jets averaged a mere 17.3 points per game last season and given the moves they have made during the offseason, I don’t see them improving much this year. Having said that, I think that the scoring opportunities will be hard to find for Le’Veon Bell and despite the optimism that he is going to have a bounce back season, I think he will struggle as the Jets struggle to put up points on the scoreboard.
PREDICTION: UNDER 8.5
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