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Player Prop Bet Picks: Thursday Night Football

The Denver Broncos are 3-point favorites in Week 15’s short-week showdown against Indianapolis. The Colts, 6-7 against the spread this season, are coming off a tough-luck loss at Buffalo in which their 34-year-old running back, Frank Gore, carried the ball a career-high 36 times in blustery conditions. The Broncos, 3-9-1 ATS, are coming off their best performance since September after shutting out the Jets 23-0.

Popular opinion on social media is that without point spreads and prop bets, this game would be tough to digest. Based on that previous paragraph, it’s hard to disagree.

All prop odds courtesy of Bovada.

C.J. Anderson Rush Yards O/U 50 ½
The Bet: OVER (-115)

At 4.0 yards allowed per carry, the Colts rush defense isn’t as bad as their 117.5 rush yards allowed per game may suggest. However, in terms of volume, Anderson carried the ball 15 times two weeks ago and followed that up with 22 more attempts against the Jets last Sunday. Devontae Booker hasn’t cut into Anderson’s workload as much as many anticipated. With the Broncos looking to just finish the season, I don’t anticipate any major time-share shakeups on the short week and the 50 ½ O/U threshold is manageable even if he were to carry the ball ~15 times.

Emmanuel Sanders Receiving Props
The Bet: Read Below

Sanders has averaged 13.5 receiving yards per game over the past month. That’s not a typo. However, his seven targets per game suggests his box score stat line can improve at any time. Tonight, against the 30th-ranked pass defense, is a great opportunity to flip the script.

Looking at Sanders’ O/U’s, I found it interesting that the vig on OVER three (3) receptions was -130, while the UNDER paid EVEN odds. In other words, the book believes it’s more than likely Sanders hauls in four or more passes tonight. He’s averaged better than 12 yards per catch, and with his Receiving Yards O/U set at 42 ½ (-115), I believe Sanders rebounds and take the OVER.

Jack Doyle Receiving Yards O/U 45 ½
The Bet: OVER (-115)

For as great as the Broncos defense is as a whole, their weakness at safety really does allow opposing tight ends to produce. They’ve allowed the position to rack up 63.2 receiving yards per game.

On top of that, and per the same assessment observed in regards to Sanders’ props, Doyle’s reception O/U is set at five (5). He’s been a reliable target for Jacoby Brissett all season and that doesn’t change tonight.

T.Y. Hilton Receptions O/U 4
The Bet: UNDER (-130)

While he’s always a threat to burn a defense deep, especially on turf, Hilton has caught fewer than four passes in seven out of the past eight games. With Aqib Talib expected to cover him most of the night, this isn’t a friendly matchup for the burner.

Broncos Successful Field Goals O/U 1 ½
The Bet: OVER (-150)

Over the past three games, less than 15 percent of the Broncos’ trips to the red zone have resulted in touchdowns – worst in the NFL. Their 40 percent red-zone scoring percentage (TDs only) on the season ranks second-to-last, just ahead of Indianapolis. While Trevor Siemian and Denver’s running back committee should be able to move the chains, it’s also likely they stall out in Colts territory several times. For that reason, Brandon McManus becomes a guy to trust inside Lucas Oil Stadium.

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In their previous 10 meetings in Atlanta, the Saints-Falcons’ average O/U point total has been 51.5 points per matchup. The UNDER hit six out of 10 times, but the OVER has hit two out of the past three. Combined, the Saints and Falcons average 52.2 points per game this season.

However, unlike in seasons past, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan both average fewer than two touchdown passes per game. Brees has thrown multiple touchdown passes only twice in the past seven games. Ryan has been held to one or no touchdown passes in seven out of 12 games this year, including a goose egg last week against Minnesota.

All prop odds courtesy of Bovada.

Drew Brees Completions O/U 25 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-105)

The more you track player prop bets week to week, the more you get the urge to go against the grain. Should I expect Brees to complete 26 or more passes? Possibly, but what’s the strongest argument for the OVER when …

  • The Falcons allow 22.8 completions per game?
  • Brees is averaging 24.3 completions per game?
  • Brees has completed more than 25 passes only once in the past six games?
  • The Saints running game is improving?

Now, if the Saints are trailing late in the fourth quarter, Brees has a knack for accumulating completions in rapid succession in his attempt to rally. However, I’m of the opinion they lead late and look to run and milk the clock.

Drew Brees Interceptions O/U ½
The Bet: UNDER (-115)

Drew, just avoid the tipped pass interception caveat and you’ll be fine. The Falcons have picked off opposing quarterbacks only three times this season. Although he’s attempting fewer passes, Brees has completed 71.5 percent of them (see: precision) with only five interceptions, and he has only one pick in the past six games.

Alvin Kamara Rush + Rec Yards O/U 110 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

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Alvin Kamara Receptions O/U 5 ½ Rec
The Bet: OVER (EVEN)

The Offensive Rookie of the Year keeps rising with no signs of regression heading into Week 14. He’s racked up more than 111 Rush+Rec yards in five straight games. If you’ve caught any of Kamara’s games and/or highlights, he’s not going down after first contact, which makes the total yardage O/U more appealing.

There’s some risk with the need to haul in six passes tonight, but the vig is attractive and if Mark Ingram’s toe – which kept him out of practice this week – is bothering him, that only means more targets and touches for Kamara. He’s averaged 5.6 receptions per game the past five with Ingram active.

Julio Jones Receiving Yards O/U 85 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

Despite the quiet season by his standards, Jones is still averaging better than 88 receiving yards per game. After missing the past few games with a bad ankle, New Orleans cornerback Marshon Lattimore is expected to play. Jones will no doubt test the rookie’s bad wheel. Any defensive back playing at less than 100 percent against Jones is asking for trouble.

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What a difference a Zeke makes, eh? As was the case against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thanksgiving, the Dallas Cowboys are home underdogs heading into tonight’s short-week showdown with Washington. The Redskins – who are 5-6 against the spread this season – are 2-point favorites at the Jerry Dome. The point spread is actually up a ½ point since Wednesday afternoon.

So, no Zeke and no Sean Lee for the Cowboys. Washington’s Jordan Reed will miss his fifth straight game as he battles a hamstring injury.

All prop odds courtesy of Bovada.

Dak Prescott Passing Yards O/U 217 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-105)

Five of Prescott’s nine interceptions have come in the past two games. He has no passing touchdowns and is averaging 166.6 pass yards per game since Zeke’s suspension began. Not to say he won’t improve, but his confidence is shot at the moment. The Redskins held another struggling offense – the Giants’ – to 113 passing yards last week and in an earlier season meeting held Prescott to 143 passing yards. However, in that instance, that was because Elliott ran over Washington for 150 yards with two scores.

Alfred Morris Rushing Yards O/U 60 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

Morris just needs to keep shooting his shot. He’s averaging 4.8 yards per carry the past three games. A workload issue comes in the third and fourth quarters when the Cowboys have trailed and need to go to the air to move the chains. If Dallas can keep the score relatively close, Morris will drill this OVER with ease. It would be great to see him break out against his former team. Given 15+ carries, I think he’ll do so. Washington has allowed 118 rush yards per game over its past five contests.

Jason Witten Receptions O/U 4
The Bet: OVER (-115)

This guy’s production has been all over the map. The veteran tight end could boost Prescott’s confidence with some shorter routes and completions. It’s unlikely Witten will gain huge chunks of yardage as he did when Tony Romo was behind center, but he has caught seven passes from Prescott in two of the past three games.

Dez Bryant Receiving Yards O/U 64 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-115)

Since Dallas’ Week 6 bye, Bryant has played in six games and averaged 52 receiving yards per contest. With Zeke out the past three games, that average dipped to 46.3. Tonight, he’ll face Josh Norman. The Redskins cornerback held him to 39 yards on four receptions in their first matchup.

Vernon Davis Receiving Yards O/U 47 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

Before last week’s goose egg against the Giants, Davis averaged 61.2 yards the past six and 71.6 the past three games. Without question he’s a target Kirk Cousins has trusted all season with Jordan Reed often on the mend. Sean Lee’s absence for Dallas has allowed opposing tight ends to roam the middle of the field with great results the past few weeks to the tune of nearly 62 receiving yards per game.

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Aside from Joe Thomas, it’s hard to remember an offensive lineman earning as many headlines as Tyron Smith has the past two weeks. The Cowboys left tackle is set to return after missing the past two games with a groin injury. Dak Prescott was sacked 12 times during his absence.

Our prop bet focus for the Thanksgiving Day triple-header will be on the two late games just in case you need to scratch multiple itches after the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and a tall glass of eggnog.

All prop odds courtesy of Bovada.

Dak Prescott Touchdown Passes O/U 1 ½
The Bet: UNDER (+105)
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Dez Bryant Receiving Yards O/U 62 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-105)
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Alfred Morris Rushing Yards O/U 77 ½
The Bet: OVER (-115)
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Anytime Touchdown Scorer
The Bet: Alfred Morris (+125)

All four Cowboys prop bets are interwoven. So, it’s better to break down and analyze as a whole.

The Chargers haven’t allowed multiple touchdown passes since Week 5 and only three times all season. Prescott has thrown multiple touchdowns in a game only once in the past month. He’s also known for calling his own number on passing downs around the end zone.

Since the Week 5 bye, Dez has averaged 55.4 receiving yards per game over the past five games. He’s only eclipsed 73 receiving yards in a game once this season, when he posted his high-water mark of 98 against the Rams in Week 4. Pro Football Focus notes his matchup against the Chargers’ Casey Hayward is sub-optimal. Bryant has oddsmakers so confused, the vig is negative on the OVER and UNDER.

Perhaps the Eagles were content letting the clock run when Alfred Morris gashed them for 91 yards on 17 carries (5.4 yards per rush). In two starts, Morris is averaging 5.1 yards per carry. The Chargers allow a league-high 139 rush yards per game and although that per contest average dipped slightly, they’ve regressed the past two weeks, allowing 116 rush yards per game.

Orleans Darkwa Rushing Yards O/U 64 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

The Giants lead back is averaging better than 70 rush yards over the past three games, but more importantly he’s earning more than 15 carries per pop. After they were gashed for 178 rush yards at New Orleans last week, the Redskins have now allowed more than 126 yards on the ground per game over the past month. With the Redskins 7 ½-point home favorites, there’s some concern that New York will have to abandon the run, but due to the fact their receiving corps is so weak, Darkwa can stay involved even if his team is trailing by double digits.

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It’s Week 11 and the Pittsburgh Steelers are to play just their fourth home game when they host the Tennessee Titans in Thursday night’s short-week showdown.

The lack of home cooking could explain Ben Roethlisberger’s clunky 2017 season to date. His home/away splits for his career are impressive. Although he’s played in four more away games, he’s tossed 41 more touchdown passes at home (177:136). With the Titans rush defense holding the opposition to 3.6 yards per carry, Le’Veon Bell averaging just 3.3 yards per rush over the past three games, the Titans having allowed 17 pass touchdowns in nine games, and the Steelers favored by 7 points, I expect Big Ben to pad his home/away splits tonight.

All prop odds courtesy of Bovada.

Antonio Brown Receiving Yards O/U 90 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)
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Antonio Brown Receptions O/U 6 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)
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Touchdown Anytime
The Bet: Antonio Brown (-150)

Typically, I’m one who embraces diversification. However, tonight’s matchup has all the makings of another Antonio Brown highlight-reel performance. After torching the Chiefs and Jaguars for 150+ receiving yards in back-to-back games, Roethlisberger’s top target has been held to 60.6 receiving yards per game the past three contests.

Pro Football Focus suggests Brown has the third-most favorable matchup this week as he’s up against cornerback LeShaun Sims, who has allowed 24 catches on 30 targets this season.

Plus, with JuJu Smith-Schuster scoring in three straight games and starting to see a larger slice of the target pie, it forces the Titans secondary to pick their poison. Brown bounces back in a big way.

Eric Decker Receptions O/U 2 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-115)

Decker is a forgotten man. With Corey Davis back from injury, Delanie Walker (wrist) removed from the Week 11 injury report and Rishard Matthews pacing the passing game in a rush-first, rush-second offense, the veteran receiver’s odds of seeing 3+ targets in a subpar matchup are slim.

Reason to Fade: garbage time production

Titans Successful Field Goals O/U 1 ½
The Bet: OVER (-115)

Ryan Succop has split the uprights on 12 of 13 field-goal attempts between 40 and 49 yards – most in the NFL. He’s made two or more field goals in five of nine games. Tennessee is notorious for wearing out the turf between the 30s. For this OVER to hit, however, I do believe Succop will need to convert two before halftime.

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With so much attention on, first, David Johnson’s injury and, later, Carson Palmer’s broken arm, the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive regression has slipped under the radar somewhat or not been hammered on as NFL pundits tend to do.

The Cardinals ranked second in total defense, fourth in pass defense and ninth in rush defense last season. They ranked fourth in takeaways and first in sacks (48). Now, to be fair, they were bit by free agency (see: Calais Campbell’s 10.5 sacks for JAX) and the injury bug, but their loss could be bettors’ gain. This season, Arizona ranks 23rd in total defense and 27th in scoring defense at 25.1 points allowed per game. For context, the 0-8 Browns allow 25.3 points per game.

Tonight, the Cardinals face one of the most explosive offenses of the past three weeks in Seattle. The Seahawks have averaged 6.4 yards per play during that stretch – fourth-most in the NFL. While the O/U 41 may suggest a lack of fireworks, if they do come it’ll be via the arm and legs of Russell Wilson.

All prop odds courtesy of Bovada.

Russell Wilson Pass Yards O/U 265 ½
The Bet: OVER (-140)

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Russell Wilson Rush Yards O/U 29 ½
The Bet: OVER (-130)

Despite the Seahawks’ sieve of an offensive line, part of me truly believes Russell Wilson has enjoyed scrambling and making chicken soup out of chicken droppings on broken plays. Due to the necessity to survive and advance, the sixth-year quarterback has been able to showcase his mobility skills and arm strength on a weekly basis. Now, some of those deep shots downfield do come with a wink and a prayer before the jump ball is won, but over the past three games, he’s averaging 361 passing yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions and has eclipsed 30 or more rushing yards in five of eight games this season.

Arizona just allowed C.J. Beathard to pass for 294 yards and run for 16. Opposing quarterbacks have averaged 296 passing yards per game with eight touchdowns the past four games against the Cardinals.

Note: Although Seattle’s offense has been notoriously slow out of the gate, the best odds for “first half winning margin” are the Seahawks 13 or more points (+300). With not much of a running game, this could translate into huge numbers for Wilson early.

Drew Stanton Completions O/U 19 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-130)

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Drew Stanton Touchdown Passes O/U 1 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-175)

The Arizona QB2 wishes he could face San Francisco every week. He’s 5-1 with six touchdown passes against the Niners lifetime. The problem is, of his four games with multiple touchdown passes, three have come against San Francisco with the fourth against the Lions in 2014.

On top of that, the last time Stanton completed more than 19 passes in a game also came in 2014. (ATL / DET). The only other time it happened was during an overtime win at Tampa Bay in 2010. Seattle is holding opposing quarterbacks to 20 completions per game and they’ve faced Rodgers, Goff, Watson and Cousins. The secondary has allowed nine touchdowns – fifth-fewest in the NFL.

Adrian Peterson Rush Yards O/U 69 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

Pump up the volume!

It’s all about A.P.’s play share when it comes to this prop.

While I find it hard to believe that Peterson will carry the ball 35+ times for a second consecutive week, it’s likely he’ll finish with about 25 rush attempts against the Seahawks. If that’s the case, all we need is 3.0 yards per attempt against a rush defense allowing 4.3.

Reason to Fade: Seahawks build too big a lead and Stanton is forced to pass most of the second half.

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