By Andrew Doherty
Here. We. Go.
The Divisional Round is one of the best weekends of the year for football fans. It’s also one of the more profitable weekends in the NFL season for sportsbooks. As the number of games each week declines, the efficiency on each prop/line increases. There are still some market inefficiencies to exploit however, and luckily for you I’ve gone through the props for the entire slate in search of the best value. Here’s what I like for Sunday:
Joe Mixon over 75.5 rushing + receiving yards
The Bengals have struggled to protect Joe Burrow all season long, so having 3 backups starting on their offensive line on Sunday likely doesn’t drastically change their game plan. Part of neutralizing Buffalo’s pass rush will be focused on first read targets for Mixon to get the ball out of Joe Burrow’s hands quickly. The Bengals could also opt to use the short passing/screen game with Mixon as an extension of their run game if they struggle to get it going. With the elite downfield weapons in the Bengals passing attack, Buffalo projects to play a lot of 2 high coverages with some double teams sprinkled in, which creates opportunities for Mixon to reach the second level. Mixon, who’s seen double digit carries in 5 straight games, averaged almost 17 carries per game during the Bengals postseason run last year.
Christian McCaffrey under 65.5 rushing yards
This probably won’t be a very popular bet based off the perception of his performance since being traded, but as they say, numbers don’t lie. The numbers in this case are McCaffrey’s splits when Elijah Mitchell is active. CMC has handled 58% of rushing attempts when Mitchell isn’t active vs 34% when he is. His per game rushing averages drop from 92 yards to 54.6 yards with Mitchell in the fold. The 49ers also prioritized getting Deebo Samuel some backfield touches last week as well, and that added usage doesn’t bode well for CMC as a rusher. CMC will be a big part of the game plan and get the bulk of or all of the passing downs and goal line work, of course, but expectations of him as part of the ground attack should be kept in check.
Devin Singletary under 43.5 yards rushing
The biggest story here is that Singletary was out touched 12-10 by James Cook and predominantly played on passing downs last week. While I’m not confident enough that trend will continue to start taking Cook overs, that along with the matchup makes Singletary’s under very appealing. Despite the Bengals being ranked 14th in DVOA against the run, they’re a tougher matchup than they appear on paper. The Bengals have a very good run defense when DJ Reader (who missed 6 games this year) is on the field, averaging 3.6 yards per carry when he’s out there vs 4.6 when he’s not. Reader is one of the leagues premier run stuffers and will be causing problems all day for whichever Buffalo running back is getting the ball.