Unlike the leaders in interceptions, the NFL leaders in tackles are often consistent, and the top competitors for the tackle title are always usually there every year. The last two seasons have been exceptions; rookie Darius Leonard starred in 2019 on his way to the title with a mammoth 163 combined tackles, while Bill Preston Brown (now a Bengal), an underrated LB who’s never made a Pro Bowl, was the tackle leader in 2017. But other recent winners like Bobby Wagner, Luke Kuechly, NaVarro Bowman and London Fletcher? They were always towards the top every year, so this can be a very weird prop bet. Bet on this one at your own risk, but here is a favourite and two long shots for this popular prop bet.
The Favourite – Darius Leonard, LB, Colts (+700)
Who said that last year’s winner can’t go for back-to-back honours? ‘The Maniac’ was exceptional right off the bat in 2018, recording 163 tackles in a monstrous rookie season, earning First-Team All-Pro honours and winning Defensive Rookie of the Year in the process, while also being named by his peers as the 26th best player in football on the ‘NFL Top 100’ list. He is only 24 years old, and should be one of the NFL’s best tacklers for many years, so it makes sense for him to be the favourite to lead the league in tackles once again in 2019.
Underdog #1 – Joe Schobert, LB, Browns (+3200)
The co-leader in tackles in 2017, Schobert has been a consistent force in the Cleveland defense for years now, and with the Browns defensive line getting better and better, the former Wisconsin Badger will get many chances to get easy tackles in 2019. Schobert is a key piece to that defense, and though his 2018 was a step down in production (103 tackles compared to 144 in 2017), it isn’t unrealistic to say that Schobert could be one of the best tacklers in the league once again in 2019.
Underdog #2 – Alec Ogletree, LB, Giants (+5000)
How about a bit of a surprise selection here? Ogletree has averaged less than 100 tackles per year in his 6 years in the league after being chosen in the first round by the Rams in 2013, but at +5000 odds he is worth a punt here. The main tackling force in the middle of the Giants last season, Ogletree recorded 93 tackles in 13 games, but in his last healthy season (2016) Ogletree starred with 136 tackles in 16 games. With the Giants offense being a dumpster fire, the Giants defense will get a lot of time on the field, and Ogletree will get lots of tackles in the middle of the field for NYG. He could definitely be a guy who sees a dramatic increase in production in 2019.