Updated September 2, 2021 - 5:02 pm
Mark DeRosa has won almost $1 million the past two years betting on NFL player props and futures. The professional sports bettor will try to extend his hot streak this season with wagers on several potentially lucrative long shots.
He won more than $300,000 on Lamar Jackson to win the 2019 NFL MVP award, taking home an oversized check from Circa Sports along the way for $63,000 for a $500 bet he placed at 125-1 odds.
DeRosa followed by winning more than $300,000 on Tom Brady’s 2020 team to be the Buccaneers and on Tampa Bay to win the NFC. He then split with a friend more than a half million dollars in winnings on the Bucs to win the Super Bowl.
Now, the Florida resident is banking on big years from New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston, New England Patriots running back Damien Harris and Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer.
In May, months before Winston was named the Saints’ starter over backup Taysom Hill, DeRosa loaded up on Winston to win the NFL MVP ($2,000 to win $160,000) and Comeback Player of the Year ($5,000 to win $125,000) awards.
He also bet $2,000 to win $150,000 each on the former No. 1 draft pick to lead the league in passing yards and touchdown passes. In 2019, Winston led the NFL in passing yards (and interceptions) and was second in TD passes for Tampa.
“There’s a possibility he opens things up for the offense that Drew Brees could not do,” DeRosa said. “Brees was kind of hindered by his lack of arm strength, so the Saints had to keep everything short as far as the passing game goes.
“Physically, Jameis is still in his prime. Sean Payton is a smart enough coach and adaptive enough to cater to his strengths.”
DeRosa said the best value on Winston, 27, is to win Comeback Player of the Year — Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is the +220 favorite — after sitting behind Brees last season. He got odds as high as 33-1, but still recommends a play on Winston at 12-1 at BetMGM.
The former Heisman Trophy winner from Florida State is 60-1 at the Westgate SuperBook to win MVP, 65-1 at Station Casinos to have the most TD passes and 66-1 at BetMGM to have the most passing yards.
“Now that he’s definitely going to be the starter, he’s definitely in play,” DeRosa said.
Let’s be Blount
Former New England running back LeGarrette Blount led the league in rushing TDs in 2016 with 18, and DeRosa said that’s “in the realm of possibilities” for Harris, especially after the Patriots parted ways with running back Sony Michel and QB Cam Newton, who ran for 12 TDs last season.
Before those moves were made, DeRosa bet $1,500 to win $100,000 on Harris to have the most rushing TDs and also wagered $500 to win $100,000 on the Alabama product to have the most rushing yards.
“Damien Harris looked really good last year, but he wasn’t really featured around the goal line because of Cam Newton,” DeRosa said. “I was basically betting on the high side that Michel was not going to get the workload and Mac Jones would eventually be the starter.
“Once they got a quarterback who is not a goal-line threat, those rushing TDs would have to go somewhere. If Harris gets 13 or 14 rush TDs, he could win it.”
Harris’ odds to have the most rushing yards are down to 50-1 at BetMGM. His odds to have the most rushing TDs are at 40-1 at MGM, and DeRosa said he still would recommend a play at those odds.
After winning three college national titles, Meyer will try his hand at the NFL, where he inherits a Jacksonville team that went 1-15 last season.
DeRosa bet $3,000 to win $100,000 that Meyer will do enough in the AFC South — the NFL’s weakest division — to win the Coach of the Year award.
DeRosa is counting on No. 1 draft pick Trevor Lawrence to help his cause.
“Trevor Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck,” he said. “What happens if Lawrence is good from the get-go like Luck was? The Colts won their division and went to the playoffs in his rookie year. The AFC South is really, really weak this year. I think Jacksonville can win the division if the ball bounces their way and they have a little luck.
“If they do that and go from one win to eight, nine or 10 wins and win the division, I think Urban Meyer will be firmly in the conversation to win that award.”