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.
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Consider the over on Bijan Robinson’s longest rush prop
Against the Washington Commanders’ shaky defense, take the over on Bijan Robinson’s longest rush prop.
Bijan Robinson’s longest rush prop, current line:
- Take the over at 17.5 yards or lower
Last week we played this prop with Chicago Bears running back Khalil Herbert against Washington and won, and the same logic applies to Bijan Robinson.
Washington is allowing three or more yards before contact to running backs on 36% of carries, the league’s highest rate and far above the NFL average of 23%, per TruMedia.
When given at least three yards before contact, Robinson is averaging 12.3 yards per attempt.
Even when Washington stacks the box, it struggles to create early contact. The Commanders are allowing 2.0 yards before contact per attempt to running backs with seven or more defenders in the box.
So regardless of how Washington approaches the Falcons’ run game, we should expect Robinson to be given some clear running lanes.
Consider the under on Josh Jacobs’ longest rush prop
We lost this prop last week, but let’s stick with it and take the under Josh Jacobs’ longest rush against the New England Patriots.
Josh Jacobs’ longest rush prop, current line:
- Take the under at 12.5 yards or higher
Last week against the Green Bay Packers, Josh Jacobs broke off his longest run of the season at 24 yards, causing us to lose this bet. However, it was only the second time this year he’s produced a gain of 10 or more yards and the first time he’s hit the over this prop.
Although Jacobs did hit the over last week, he did so despite his offensive line continuing to struggle to produce running lanes.
Against the Packers, Jacobs was contacted at or behind the line of scrimmage on 45% of his carries, his second-highest rate of the season per TruMedia, and he had just three carries with three or more yards before contact (one of which produced the 24-yard run).
On the year, Jacobs is averaging 0.8 yards before contact per attempt, ranked 25th out of 31 qualified running backs.
Even when Jacobs does get a clear running lane, he’s struggled to take advantage of those opportunities. According to TruMedia, Jacobs has gained 10 or more yards on just 13% of his carries with three or more yards before contact, the league’s second-lowest rate.
This week, Jacobs has a tough matchup against the Patriots, who are allowing three or more yards before contact at the league’s lowest rate (9%).
Consider the under on Jerome Ford’s longest rush prop
The Cleveland Browns have a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, making this a good opportunity to bet the under on Jerome Ford’s longest rush prop.
Jerome Ford’s longest rush prop, current line:
- Take the under at 11.5 yards or higher
The performance of Jerome Ford over the last few games underscores just how valuable Nick Chubb was to the Browns offense.
Despite running behind a decent offensive line, Ford has been contacted at or behind the line of scrimmage on an unthinkable 66% of his carries, the worst rate in the league per TruMedia.
Ford’s inconsistent vision and hesitancy in the backfield was his biggest red flag as a prospect, and we’re seeing the effects of that this season as he fills in for Chubb.
Ford has a few long runs this season (his longest: 13, 17 and 69 yards) but running lanes will be tough to find against the 49ers.
San Francisco is contacting opposing running backs at or behind the line of scrimmage on 63% of attempts, the league’s second highest rate.
Consider the over on Brandon Aiyuk’s receptions prop
The Browns coverage scheme looks like a good matchup for this prop 一 take the over on Brandon Aiyuk’s receptions.
Brandon Aiyuk’s receptions prop, current line:
- Take the over at 4.5 receptions or lower
According to TruMedia, no team has played more man coverage than the Browns (39%). Based on the 49ers’ approach to man coverage, this should lead to increased opportunities for Aiyuk.
Take a look at Aiyuk’s target share when he, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle are all on the field together over the last two seasons, according to TruMedia:
- Versus man coverage: 32%
- Versus zone coverage: 23%
Since the start of the 2022 season, the 49ers have faced a man coverage rate of 35% or higher in three games in which Aiyuk was active. His target total in those games: eight, nine, and 11.
The Browns man coverage rate has been at 35% or higher in three of four games according to TruMedia and has never dipped below 30%.
These are some strong trends pointing in Aiyuk’s favor, so we should expect one of his heaviest workloads of the year.
Consider the over on Josh Downs’s receptions prop
Take the over on Josh Downs’ receptions prop as he should get a boost from Gardner Minshew at quarterback.
Josh Downs’ receptions prop prop, current line:
- Take the over at 3.5 receptions or lower
With Minshew taking over for the injured Anthony Richardson, we should expect Josh Downs’ usage to rise.
Minshew lacks Richardson’s scrambling ability, so he tends to get rid of the ball quicker. Take a look at their percentage of pass attempts released in 2.5 seconds or less according to TruMedia:
- Richardson: 55%
- Minshew: 64%
Since Downs typically lines up in the slot, he’s often the intended target in the quick passing game for Indy. 74% of his receptions have come on throws released in 2.5 seconds or less, so it should come as no shock that he’s seen a 25% target share from Minshew compared to 16% from Richardson.
Consider the under on Wan’Dale Robinson’s longest reception prop
It’s best to take unders with the New York Giants offense, so let’s play the under on Wan’Dale Robinson’s longest reception prop.
Wan’Dale Robinson’s longest reception prop, current line:
- Take the under at 14.5 yards or lower
Although Wan’Dale Robinson has seen an increased role in the Giants offense, he isn’t a big-play threat. The former college running back has been used like one in the passing game, seeing just 5.9% of his targets at 10 or more yards downfield, per TruMedia.
Robinson’s average target has been just 3.0 yards downfield.
This prop was inexplicably available at 17.5 yards last week – a number he’s topped just once in his career – so let’s hope it lands in a similar range against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football.