In this weekly NFL player props preview, we’ll highlight some bets you should consider for the upcoming week. Since player props typically aren’t posted until closer to game day, this early preview will look at some particularly favorable or unfavorable matchups that could become actionable.
This doesn’t mean we should automatically bet on these props, but these are some of the first players to check when lines are posted. Hopefully, oddsmakers haven’t identified the same trends as us, and we can find favorable value on these player props.
Also, be sure to check out the Sharp Angles Betting Podcast every Wednesday for further discussion on these player props and more betting advice for the week ahead.
Consider the over on Nick Chubb’s longest rush prop
I’ve been referencing this prop all year, either in these articles or on the podcast, so let’s keep the streak alive and play the over on Nick Chubb’s longest rush against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Nick Chubb’s longest rush prop, current line:
- Take the over at 18.5 yards or lower
The over on Chubb’s longest rush prop is 13-3 on the season, and he’s cleared 20 yards in all but five games.
In each of the past two weeks, this line has been available at 17.5 yards and is likely to stay there, give or take a yard, against a decent Steelers run defense.
Since the Browns are eliminated from playoff contention, there’s some risk in Chubb seeing a reduced workload, however, there are plenty of reasons to expect a typical effort from Cleveland in this rivalry game.
For starters, Chubb is 52 yards away from 1,500, a threshold he has never reached. The coaching staff will likely ensure Chubb reaches that milestone.
Additionally, Cleveland has an opportunity to eliminate Pittsburgh from the playoffs, and can sweep the season series from the Steelers for the first time since 1988. That’s likely enough incentive for Cleveland to play its starters in an effort and close the season on a high note.
From a matchup perspective, Pittsburgh is susceptible to giving up long runs based on their issues creating early contact.
The Steelers allow three or more yards before contact on 25% of carries by running backs, which ranks 22nd, per TruMedia.
So we should expect a fairly normal workload for Chubb, and some opportunities to break off some long gains.
Consider the over on Zack Moss’s longest rush prop
The Houston Texans are a great matchup for this prop, so let’s take the over on Zack Moss’s longest rush.
Zack Moss’s longest rush prop, current line:
- Take the over at 14.5 yards or lower
Moss only has two carries of 15 or more yards this year, but the Texans have struggled to defend the run all season.
There have been 15 instances of a running back getting at least 12 carries against Houston this year, with 13 of those players breaking off at least one run of 15 or more yards.
Some key numbers on the Houston run defense, via TruMedia:
- Allows three or more yards before contact on 28% of carries, ranked 30th
- Allows 10 or more yards on 15.6% of attempts, ranked 32nd
Based on Moss’s recent usage, we should also assume he gets a strong workload, despite the Colts having been eliminated from playoff contention long ago.
It appears as though Jeff Saturday is enjoying Moss’s power running style, and is stubbornly leaning on the run game at a high rate. Since Saturday took over, 56% of the Colts first down plays have been handoffs to running backs, the league’s second-highest rate.
With the Colts favored, we should also expect a slightly increased workload for Moss, based on a favorable game script.
Consider the over on James Conner’s rushing yards prop
The line on this prop is tough to predict, but if it comes in at a favorable number take the over on James Conner’s rushing yards.
James Conner’s rushing yards prop, current line:
- Take the over at 44.5 yards or lower
The San Francisco 49ers run defense has been great this season, but the rushing yards props against them have been shifted so low that players are starting to hit the over at increased rates.
Take a look at the recent performance for running backs with the highest rushing yards line against San Francisco:
- Josh Jacobs: 66 yards, going over 55.5 yard prop
- Brian Robinson: 58 yards, going over 46.5 yard prop
- Kenneth Walker: 47 yards, going under 47.5 yard prop
- Rashaad White: 56 yards, going over 31.5 yard prop
None of those were remarkable performances, but the lines are so low that the over hit in three of the last four games, with Walker missing the over by just one yard.
Conner’s average line has been 54.5 yards this year, but we should assume it drops significantly against San Francisco.
Conner picked up 42 yards on 14 carries against the 49ers in their last meeting, and a similar performance could be enough to hit the over if the line falls far enough.
We should be aware that this is a meaningless game for Arizona, however, there’s no indication Arizona is throwing in the towel on the season. An upset over playoff-bound San Francisco could potentially help save Kliff Kingsbury’s job, so he will likely be coaching as if this is a normal game.
Consider the under on Amon-Ra St. Brown’s longest reception prop
The Green Bay Packers’ defensive scheme is perfectly suited to take away big plays, making this a good opportunity to take the under on Amon-Ra St. Brown’s longest reception prop.
Amon-Ra St. Brown’s longest reception prop, current line:
- Take the under at 22.5 yards or higher
The key to this prop is the Packers’ recent trend of using two-high safety formations, which tends to take away the deep ball at a higher rate by limiting one-on-one opportunities on the outside.
Early in the season Green Bay relied on single-high formations but has shifted toward two-high coverage since losing cornerback Eric Stokes.
According to TruMedia, through Week 9, Green Bay used two-high coverage on 30% of opponent dropbacks, the league’s sixth-lowest rate.
Since Week 10 (when they lost Stokes), that rate has climbed to 40% and it’s been over 50% in each of the Packers’ last three games.
This coverage scheme likely limits St. Brown’s downfield opportunities and decreases his chance of a big play. When facing two-high coverages this year, St. Brown has just two receptions of 20 or more yards.