- Kyle Fuller, Xavien Howard and Damontae Kazee led the NFL in interceptions last season with seven apiece
- Carolina Panthers corner Donte Jackson is the favorite to lead the league in picks in 2019
- There’s good value on the board with Eric Weddle at +3500
Three players tied for the most interceptions in the 2018 season as Kyle Fuller of the Chicago Bears, Damontae Kazee of the Atlanta Falcons, and Xavien Howard of the Miami Dolphins each picked off seven passes.
Which player is the best bet to lead the league in INTs in the 2019 season? Bovada gives Donte Jackson of the Carolina Panthers by far the best odds.
Odds To Lead The NFL In Interceptions In 2019
|Player (Team)||Interceptions In 2018 (Rank)||Odds at Bovada|
|Donte Jackson (Panthers)||4 (T7th)||+1400|
|Damontae Kazee (Falcons)||7 (T1st)||+2000|
|Curtis Riley (Giants)||4 (T7th)||+2200|
|Damarious Randall (Browns)||4 (T7th)||+2500|
|Derwin James (Chargers)||3 (T18th)||+2500|
|Eddie Jackson (Bears)||6 (4th)||+2500|
|Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Bears)||3 (T18th)||+2500|
|Kyle Fuller (Bears)||7 (T1st)||+2500|
|Xavien Howard (Dolphins)||7 (T1st)||+2500|
|Marshon Lattimore (Saints)||2 (T81st)||+2800|
|Minkah Fitzpatrick (Dolphins)||2 (T81st)||+2800|
|Jordan Poyer (Bills)||4 (T7th)||+2800|
|Darius Slay (Lions)||3 (T18th)||+2800|
|Harrison Smith (Vikings)||3 (T18th)||+2800|
|Jalen Ramsey (Jaguars)||3 (T18th)||+3000|
|Denzel Ward (Browns)||3 (T18th)||+3000|
|Casey Hayward (Chargers)||0||+3000|
|John Johnson III (Rams)||4 (T7th)||+3000|
|Shawn Williams (Bengals)||5 (T5th)||+3000|
|Tyrann Mathieu (Chiefs)||2 (T53rd)||+3000|
*Odds taken 08/01/19.
Everyone Is A Long Shot
When you take a look at this board, you can glean a lot by seeing just how many different players are available for betting. The table above only lists 20 of the 67 players on the board, and all but Donte Jackson are at 20/1 or longer.
There is no one player who has the inside track or is in better position. We’re mostly throwing darts.
The Challenge With Betting Good Corners
One of the tricky parts of handicapping this prop is that, typically, smart quarterbacks will avoid the best cornerbacks in the league. Someone like Jalen Ramsey is a stud, allowing the third-lowest completion percentage and fourth-lowest passer rating in passes thrown his way since 2016.
Offensive coordinators know this; quarterbacks know this; and it results in fewer opportunities for a guy like Ramsay, unless he has an equally strong corner on the other side that forces the opposing quarterback to make tough decisions.
Donte Jackson Is Favored
If you’re a bit surprised with the player that’s at the top of this list, you’re not the only one. Carolina Panthers corner Donte Jackson is the favorite to lead in this category, which is a bit of an oddity. He had four picks last year and nine pass breakups – his rookie season – and is a player that’s on the rise.
ESPN has made the bold prediction that Jackson will emerge as one of the top corners in the game. That might be the case but it’s a bit of a leap to expect him to lead the league in picks.
NFL Interception Leaders Over The Last 5 Seasons
|Year||Player (Pos.)||Number Of Interceptions|
|2018||Kyle Fuller (CB) / Xavien Howard (CB) / Damontae Kazee (S)||7|
|2017||Darius Slay (CB) / Kevin Byard (S)||8|
|2016||Casey Hayward (CB)||7|
|2015||Reggie Nelson (S) / Marcus Peters (CB)||8|
|2014||Glover Quin (S)||7|
The recent leaders have been pretty evenly distributed between safeties and corners.
Some Value With Derwin James?
Derwin James was one of the league’s best defenders in his rookie season and the expectation is that he’s going to improve incrementally in his second season.
That’s a scary thought.
When you take a look at the division he’s in, he plays with pass-happy teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders. He should have plenty of opportunities.
While he had just three interceptions last season, he did have 13 passes defensed, which tied him for 13th in the league. However, keep in mind that the pass rush was subpar last season as Joey Bosa wasn’t healthy for most of the year. With a full season from Bosa, there should be more errant throws flying into the secondary.
Can Damontae Kazee Repeat As Leader?
Falcons safety Damontae Kazee was tied for the league lead in interceptions last season, but he’s one of the worst bets on the board here. Keep in mind that the Falcons lost both of their starting safeties last year when Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen were out. They’re back and they should regain their starting jobs.
Even if they don’t, Kazee is facing a rotational situation, at best. Maybe all three get on the field or maybe one of them gets moved, but at this point, it’s hard to bet on Kazee at +2000 to repeat what he did last year. He had plenty of opportunity thanks to injuries last season. That’s not the case right now.
What’s The Best Bet?
This is mostly a dart throw but I’m going to go with Los Angeles Rams safety Eric Weddle. He’s no young sprite at age 34 and is coming off a season where he didn’t collect a single pick, but I think he’s in a great position.
Weddle now plays for the Los Angeles Rams and they play in a lot of high-scoring games. On top of that, he is in a division with a couple of young quarterbacks in Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyler Murray, who might be prone to picks.
Lastly, I like the set up as he has good corners to work with in Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. That means quarterbacks will already have to work with small windows. On top of that, there’s a decent pass rush with Aaron Donald making a push up front.
I’ll take a flier with Weddle at +3500.
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