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 Caleb Huntley’s rushing yards
The San Francisco 49ers have a strong run defense, but it looks like the books have yet to adjust to the success the Atlanta Falcons’ run game is having this year 一 take advantage of this and bet the over on Caleb Huntley’s rushing yards.
Caleb Huntley’s rushing yards prop, current line:
- Take the over at 31.5 or lower
Cordarrelle Patterson hit the over in two of his three full games, and both Huntley and Tyler Allgeier hit their overs last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Atlanta’s running backs have gained three or more yards before contact on a league-high 31% of their carries, per TruMedia.
This stat speaks volumes about the dominance of Atlanta’s offensive line, as the Falcons are running into a stacked box at the league’s fifth-highest rate (82%).
Atlanta appears to be dividing up the early-down workload, as Allgeier (11 carries) narrowly out-touched Huntley (8 carries) against Tampa.
If the available lines for Allgeier and Huntley are closer, go with Allgeier. Last week, however, Huntley’s prop was available at 27.5 yards, compared to 44.5 for Allgeier.
Consider the under on David Njoku’s receptions
Browns tight end David Njoku is on pace to have a career year, but draws a difficult matchup against the New England Patriots 一 it’s a good opportunity to fade his hot start and take the under on David Njoku’s receptions prop.
David Njoku receptions prop, current line:
- Take the under at 4.5 or higher
The under has been a winner for tight end receptions against the New England Patriots in four of five games this season 一 only the Ravens’ Mark Andrews hit his over.
Opponents are also averaging 1.6 fewer completions to tight ends per game against New England, relative to their average against other opponents.
Part of the reason for this is likely due to the Patriots’ defensive scheme.
Tight ends tend to see a higher target share versus two-high safety formations, which leaves the middle of the field open. New England has used two-high coverages on a league-low 18% of opponent dropbacks, per TruMedia.
For the Browns, Njoku has seen a team-high 23% target share versus two-high coverages, compared to 17% against single-high formations.
Consider the over on Amari Cooper’s receptions
If Njoku is going to lose targets, someone else has to benefit 一 so take the over on Amari Cooper’s receptions prop against New England.
Amari Cooper receptions prop, current line:
- Take the over at 4.5 or lower
The Patriots’ two-high safety usage is low due to the amount of time spent in man coverage. According to TruMedia/PFF, 40% of the Patriots’ defense snaps occur in Cover-1 or Cover-0.
Man coverage makes it easier for the league’s elite route-runners, such as Cooper, to get open. So it’s no surprise Cooper leads the Browns with a 32% target share versus Cover-1 or Cover-0.
Consider the over on Nick Chubb’s longest rush
Let’s add one more Browns prop to the portfolio this week 一 take the over Nick Chubb’s longest rush.
Nick Chubb’s longest rush, current line:
- Take the over at 19.5 or lower
I recommended the over on Chubb’s longest rush a few weeks ago (it was a winner), and it’s time to go back for more.
Chubb has at least one 20-yard run in nine straight games dating back to last season.
I’m particularly interested in the prop this week due to New England’s tendency to give up easy untouched yardage.
The Patriots are allowing three or more yards before contact on 29% of rushing attempts, per TruMedia.
Although Chubb is certainly capable of breaking tackles on long runs, the early untouched yardage is critical to long gains. Chubb has gained at least three yards before contact on 13 of his 19 rushing attempts of 20 or more yards since the start of last season.
Consider the under on Aaron Rodgers’s longest completion
The Green Bay Packers offense has become more conservative, so it looks like a smart bet to take the under on Aaron Rodgers’s longest completion prop against the New York Jets.
Aaron Rodgers’s longest completion, current line:
- Take the under at 33.5 or higher
The odds of Rodgers having a big play against the Jets are diminished due to New York’s defensive scheme. According to TruMedia, the Jets use the combination of zone coverage and no blitz on 71% of opponent dropbacks, the league’s fourth-highest rate.
Rodgers throws the ball at least 20 yards downfield at the league’s ninth-highest rate overall (14%)一 but he drops to 30th (5%) when facing no blitz and zone coverage.
Likely due to Green Bay’s lack of talent at receiver, Rodgers has been more comfortable taking what the defense gives him, which is usually underneath routes against that coverage scheme.
Against zone coverage, 44% of Rodgers’s passes don’t even cross the line of scrimmage, per TruMedia.
Dating back to the start of last season, 70% of Rodgers’s passes to gain 30 or more yards have been thrown at least 20 yards downfield. So if the Jets defense is going to limit his willingness to attack downfield, we should assume his odds of producing a big play are greatly diminished in this matchup.