4 NFL Prop Bets to Target in the Conference Championships
I used to love playing NCAA Football on Xbox. I'd still play it if my Xbox hadn't passed away after many, many years of faithful service.
Creating a school, recruiting, running the option with Pat White and Steve Slaton, trying to head for the pylon on breakaway touchdowns and jumping right before the end zone so the player would do a cool dive -- I freakin' loved that game. My friends and I put our thumbs through a gauntlet in college.
Something the game added over time that I was particularly fond of was the camera shake feature, where the screen would wiggle a bit when you were on defense and the crowd was jacked up. It got the juices flowing for a big third-down stop.
Adding the camera shake took a game that was already loads of fun and made it just a wee bit better. Prop betting is the same type of thing. Watching football is already a blast -- putting a little coin on the line with a few prop bets takes things up a notch.
With that in mind, here are four prop bets on FanDuel Sportsbook you should zero in on this weekend.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Over 31.5 Receiving Yards (-112)
Allen Lazard was the secondary receiver who had a big game for the Green Bay Packers last week, and that masked the encouraging usage for Marquez Valdes-Scantling. While Lazard played 18 more snaps than MVS did, Valdes-Scantling and Lazard logged eight targets apiece. Valdes-Scantling wasn't very efficient with those looks, hauling in only four of them, but he went for 33 yards.
Facing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that ranks first in run D, per our schedule-adjusted metrics, the Packers may have to be a more pass-heavy offense than usual on Sunday, and that would play right into MVS' hands. Targeting receivers is the way most foes chose to attack this Tampa defense this season as the Bucs permitted the 5th-most targets and 5th-most catches to the position.
MVS has gone for more than 31.5 yards in 10 of 17 games this season, and our model sees a lot of value here as we project him to total 43.6 receiving yards in the NFC title game.
If you want more bang for your buck than this -112 line offers, you can get +400 odds on MVS to have four-plus catches in a Green Bay win. He's also +290 to score a touchdown, and those implied odds (25.6%) fall right in line with our projection (0.26).
Aaron Jones, Under 14.5 Rushing Attempts (-112)
Aaron Jones played only 62% of the snaps last week and accounted for merely 42% of the Packers' running-back carries. He ended up getting 14 rushing attempts, and it was the continuation of what we saw over the final two games of the regular season, when Jones garnered only 10 carries in Week 16 and 11 totes in Week 17. Green Bay has seen a positive game script in each of its last three games, and Jamaal Williams didn't play in Week 16.
Maybe Jones is banged up -- he did miss some practice time prior to Week 16 -- but whatever is going on, it's tough to back him for 15-plus carries on Sunday as long as Williams and A.J. Dillon suit up, which they appear to be in line to do. Williams recorded 12 carries in the Divisional Round and played just 19 fewer snaps than Jones did.
Oh, and this certainly doesn't profile as a spot in which Green Bay will find a bunch of success on the ground against the Bucs' top-ranked run defense.
We project Jones for 12.0 carries, and this is a prop to target as long as Williams and Dillon play.
Patrick Mahomes, Under 308.5 Passing Yards (-112)
It feels scary to take the under on anything Patrick Mahomes, but this line is just too high, according to our model.
Mahomes is facing a Buffalo Bills defense that improved throughout the season and wound up allowing the 11th-fewest passing yards per game. The Bills aren't nearly as good against the run, giving up the 13th-most rushing yards per game, and that's with the majority of the 13-win Bills' opponents seeing a negative game script.
We saw this play out when the Kansas City Chiefs beat Buffalo in the regular season. KC ran for a season-best 245 yards in that game, with Mahomes generating only 221 passing yards. The Chiefs didn't have more than 175 rushing yards in any other game.
And we need to factor in Mahomes' health. He's banged up after suffering toe and head injuries in the Divisional Round. It's not crazy to think that the Chiefs' star man won't be firing on all cylinders on Sunday.
We really love the under as we forecast Mahomes for only 284.6 passing yards. If 284.6 yards feels low to you, know that Mahomes didn't go for more than 278 yards in any of his last two regular-season games, and he hit the under on this line in exactly half of his 16 games this season.
Sticking with the Chiefs' passing game, our numbers are a little lower on Travis Kelce, too. His receiving yards prop is set at 96.5 yards (-112), and we have him going for 85.4.
Devin Singletary, Over 41.5 Rushing Yards (-112)
While Devin Singletary isn't efficient and isn't getting a lot of work, this is a low bar to clear in a game in which it wouldn't be surprising to see the Bills be a bit more run-oriented than they have been of late.
Sans Zack Moss last week, Singletary got his chance to shine as the Bills' clear-cut lead back. He played 84.2% of the snaps and got 77.8% of Buffalo's running-back carries. That sounds wayyyy better than it actually was, though, as the Bills handed it to a running back just nine times, with Singletary getting the rock on seven of them. He turned that into only 25 rushing yards.
Buffalo's ultra pass-heavy gameplan last week may have been due to their matchup with a Baltimore Ravens defense that we have as the second-best run D in football. Things flip to the other end of the spectrum this week as the Bills take on a KC defense that checks in fourth-worst versus the ground game.
All year teams have tried to take advantage of Kansas City's soft run D as a way to keep Mahomes on the sidelines. Despite winning 14 games, the Chiefs have faced the 10th-most rushing attempts. It's just that opponents usually have to abandon that plan at some point in an effort to play catch-up. The Bills might be able to keep this one close enough to avoid doing so. Heck, Buffalo may even play with a positive game script.
Our projections have Singletary running for 66.9 yards, so we see him cruising past this line. If you're into Singletary, you can also get him to score a tud in a Bills win at +390.