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.

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Consider the over on Alec Pierce’s receiving yards prop

The over on Alex Pierce’s receiving yards prop looks like a strong bet based on his matchup against the New England Patriots. 

Alec Pierce’s receiving yards prop, current line:

  • Take the over at 45.5 or lower

In recent weeks we’ve been taking advantage of the Patriots’ unique coverage scheme. As most of the league has shifted to more two-high safety coverages, Bill Belichick has stuck with his tendency to lean on single-high coverage. 

The Patriots use two-high formations on 21% of plays outside the red zone 一 the lowest rate in the league and half the league average rate, per TruMedia/PFF.

Single-high coverage creates opportunities on the outside 一 so we should expect increased usage from receivers who see a disproportionate number of targets in that area of the field. 

Excluding Week 2 (when both Pierce and Michael Pittman Jr. were out), here’s a look at Piece’s target share outside the red zone:

  • Two-high coverages: 7.6%
  • Single-high coverages: 17.4% 

Pierce’s increased usage versus single-high coverages held true last week with Sam Ehlinger at quarterback, as Pierce saw all four of his five targets against single-high coverage 一 good for a 36% target share versus single-high.  

Pittman also sees a usage increase versus single-high, but his target share only increases from 23% to 28% 一 so the more significant effect seems to be Pierce’s usage. 

Consider the over on Travis Etienne’s longest rush prop

The recent explosiveness of Travis Etienne makes the over here compelling.

Travis Etienne’s longest rush prop, current line:

  • Take the over at 17.5 or lower

Etienne has broken off a run of at least 30 yards in four straight games, and while we certainly can’t bet on him keeping that streak alive, his explosive production is no fluke. 

Etienne has gained three or more yards before contact at a rate 62% above expected, relative to the rate his opponents allow to other running backs 一 the highest rate in the league, per TruMedia. 

It’s worth noting, the Raiders excel at limiting yards before contact, and have allowed three or more on just 18% of carries by running backs, the third-lowest rate in the league per TruMedia. Based on Etienne’s track record, however, we should trust his ability to produce untouched yardage more than Las Vegas’s ability to prevent it. 

Consider the under on Miles Sanders’s longest rush prop

Due to an elevated line on this prop, the under on Miles Sanders’s longest rush looks like a good bet on Thursday night. 

Miles Sanders’s longest rush prop, current line:

Sanders’s longest rush has been 13 yards or lower in four of seven games this season. So this high line appears to be a reflection of the Texas defense more than Sanders. 

The Texans are allowing three or more yards before contact on 30% of carries by running backs, the worst rate in the league per TruMedia. 

So there’s definitely reason to believe the likelihood of a long run is elevated in this matchup. However, Sanders is one of the least explosive running backs in the league, even when given untouched yardage. 

Take a look at Sanders rate of gaining 15 or more yards:

  • Overall: 3.5%, ranked 33rd out of 46
  • With 3+ yards before contact: 6.1%, ranked 39th

With the Eagles favored by 14 points and playing on short rest, we should probably also expect a slightly reduced workload for Sanders in this matchup. 

In a blowout win over the Steelers last week, Sanders had just nine carries while playing a season-low 29 snaps. A similar workload is plausible against Houston.

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