In this weekly NFL player props preview, we’ll highlight some bets you should consider for the upcoming week.
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.
Consider the over on Khalil Herbert’s longest rush prop
On Thursday Night Football, take the over on Khalil Herbert’s longest rush against the Washington Commanders.
Khalil Herbert’s longest rush prop, current line:
Over the last two seasons, Khalil Herbert has cleared this number nine times in 17 games, so he has a decent track record and draws a favorable opponent this week.
According to TruMedia, Washington has allowed three or more yards before contact on 38% of carries by running backs, the league’s highest rate.
This is a critical stat for this prop, as 79% of plays gaining 15 or more yards start with at least three untouched yards.
Washington has also contacted running backs at or behind the line of scrimmage on just 21% of carries, ranked 28th.
Since the start of the 2022 season, Herbert has gained 10 or more yards when crossing the line of scrimmage without contact at the league’s fourth-highest rate (22.5%), per TruMedia.
So we should expect Herbert to have some clear running lanes against Washington and to capitalize on those opportunities to hit the over on this prop.
Consider the over on Miles Sanders’ receptions prop
The Detroit Lions look like a good matchup for this prop, so take the over on Miles Sanders’ receptions.
Miles Sanders’ receptions prop, current line:
- Take the over at 2.5 receptions or lower
We played this prop and won when the Carolina Panthers played the Seattle Seahawks based on Miles Sanders’ usage and Seattle’s tendency to bring standard pressure, and we’re revisiting for the same reasons.
Running backs tend to see more opportunities in the passing game when defenses do not blitz, which makes teams like the Seahawks and Lions a good opponent for this type of prop.
Take a look at the target share breakdown for running backs across the league, according to TruMedia:
- Against blitz: 12%
- No blitz: 20%
The Lions have blitzed at the league’s third-lowest rate (16%), and that strategy is unlikely to change against Carolina 一 Bryce Young has been blitzed at the league’s sixth-lowest rate (22%), per TruMedia.
The low blitz rate Young has faced has likely contributed to the over winning on Sanders’ receptions prop in every game this year (available at 2.5 each week).
Consider the under on Joe Burrow’s longest completion prop
As the Cincinnati Bengals’ offense continues to struggle, it looks like it’s time to start betting against them 一 so take the under on Joe Burrow’s longest completion against the Arizona Cardinals.
Joe Burrow’s longest completion prop, current line:
- Take the under at 34.5 yards or higher
Shockingly, Joe Burrow has been the NFL’s worst downfield passer by a wide margin through four weeks.
According to TruMedia, Burrow is 2-22 一 a disturbing 9.9% completion rate 一 on throws 15 or more yards downfield. Burrow and struggling rookie Bryce Young are the only quarterbacks below 25% (the average is 44%).
The blame for these struggles appears to fall on Burrow (possibly due to his injury). According to TruMedia, 36% of Burrow’s attempts at 15 or more yards downfield have been inaccurate, the league’s second-highest rate behind only Kenny Pickett.
Obviously, these struggles have limited Burrow’s ability to generate big plays in the passing game, and only two of his throws have gained 30 or more yards.
Although Arizona’s defense has struggled, opponents have not challenged them downfield. The Cardinals have faced the fourth-fewest throws at 20 or more yards downfield 一 potentially due to their high rate of two-high safety coverages and/or their struggles defending the run.
Partially due to the conservative approach against them, the Cardinals have allowed just two pass plays of 35 yards or more.
The game script could also work in our favor, limiting Burrow’s downfield attempts. Cincinnati is favored by three points, so expect a conservative run-heavy game plan in an effort to keep Burrow out of harm’s way, especially while the Bengals are playing with a lead.
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Consider the over on David Montgomery’s rush attempts prop
The Detroit Lions backfield picture has become crystal clear, so take the over on David Montgomery’s rush attempts.
David Montgomery’s rush attempts, current line:
- Take the over at 17.5 attempts or lower
This prop is 3-0 on the year, with the line never rising about 14.5 attempts.
Montgomery has at least 16 attempts in each of his games and 21 and 32 attempts in the Lions’ two victories. With Detroit favored by nine points against the Carolina Panthers, this seems like another opportunity to bet the over.
During the three games in which he’s been active, Montgomery has received 57% of the team’s handoffs to running backs.
While Detroit gets Jahmyr Gibbs involved in other ways, it is clear Montgomery is the workhorse in their backfield because they trust him to keep the chains moving.
Gibbs is a home run hitter, but his tendency to swing for the fences also leads to negative plays. So when Detroit wants to keep things on schedule, Montgomery is the better option. Check out the rate at which each ball carrier gets stuffed for zero or negative yards, via TruMedia:
- Gibbs: 26%
- Montgomery: 13%
So in this matchup with the Panthers, which is expected to be an easy win, Montgomery should see a strong workload.
Consider the over on T.J. Hockenson’s receptions prop
This prop is no longer undefeated, but we’ll stick with it anyway 一 play the over on T.J. Hockenson’s receptions.
T.J. Hockenson’s receptions prop, current line:
- Take the over at 5.5 receptions or lower
We lost this prop for the first time last week, so let’s take a look at a few reasons why:
- Vikings ran a season-low 44 offensive plays (averaged 65.3 entering the game)
- Panthers played two-high coverage on 38% of dropbacks, the second lowest rate versus Minnesota since Hockenson arrived
I acknowledged last week that the Panthers’ low rate of two-high coverage was a minor risk. However, I never would have guessed this would be one of the slowest-paced games of the year.
Only one team has run fewer than 44 plays in a game so far this season, and it’s the fewest for the Vikings since a 2013 game with Christian Ponder at quarterback.
Fortunately, the risk of a slow-paced game against the Chiefs is minimal. When Patrick Mahomes is starting, opponents have averaged 64.5 plays per game against the Chiefs in his career.
We also get a better coverage matchup in this one. Kansas City lines up in two-high safety coverages on 49% of plays outside the red zone, the league’s 10th-highest rate per TruMedia. This scheme opens up the middle of the field, where Hockenson has seen 64% of his targets.
Consider the under on Josh Jacobs’s longest rush prop
Let’s revisit this winning prop from a couple of weeks ago and take the under on Josh Jacobs’ longest rush.
Josh Jacobs’ longest rush prop, current line:
- Take the under at 10.5 yards or higher
We played this prop two weeks ago when Josh Jacobs played the Pittsburgh Steelers and won despite Jacobs breaking off his longest rush of the year (10 yards).
I chose to stay away last week because the Los Angeles Chargers run defense has struggled, but Jacobs still maxed out at only nine yards. In fact, the Chargers’ poor run defense would have worked in our favor, as the line was surprisingly high at 14.5 yards.
This week’s opponent, the Green Bay Packers, has also not been great against the run, allowing 10 or more yards to running backs on 12.6% of carries, the league’s seventh-highest rate.
Fortunately for us, the Las Vegas Raiders offensive line is even worse.
According to TruMedia, Jacobs is averaging 0.7 yards before contact per attempt, ranked 28th out of 35 running backs. And he’s gained 10 or more yards on just 1.6% of his carries, the league’s lowest rate (average is 9.7%).
Let’s start treating this as a matchup-proof prop until Jacobs and the Raiders offense prove they create big plays in the run game again.