Givin Props: NFL Week 1

Nov 7, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) runs with the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium.
Image Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Each week, BetPrep’s Player Prop Guru and NBC Sports Betting Analyst Brad Feinberg discusses how the site’s historical data shaped his picks with Michael Salfino of The Athletic and FiveThirtyEight. Here are some highlights from the latest episode of the Givin’ Props Podcast.

First prop pick of the new season is Devin Singletary of the Bills Over 8.5 and 33.5 as a combo

Brad: Usually I like to say I show my work and I have the math on my side here. I don’t have a ton of math on my side. First, in the yards, he went eight of 16 going Over eight carries last year. So 50/50 bet. As a rookie, he did go 10 of 12 over. You get all this data right from the BetPrep site, which really is the best source of information. But here’s the thing: Last year, carries were say 52/48 split but the buzz now is that it’s going to be 65/35 or even 70/30 in Singletary’s favor.

The Steelers are 13th in rushing yards allowed per attempt. So I think that the way to attack this Pittsburgh defense is with balance plus Buffalo is a 6.5-point favorite. 

Brad: Yeah, exactly. And I think that he’s going to get his nine carries and 34 yards, minimum. (Singletary averages 4.8 yards per carry in his two-year career.) You can bet a half unit on the carries and a half on the yards, since they are likely highly correlative.

Here’s one that would have Ace Rothstein firing people in “Casino”: Julio Over 54.5 receiving yards against the Cardinals. Since 2014. Julio Jones has averaged 99.6 receiving yards per game. What is going on? 

Brad: As I say, trying to beat the individual games is very hard. Beating props is relatively easy because a lot of lines just make no sense. If you’re looking to make money, listen to this show, do your own research at BetPrep for props you like. I have 40 that I like and these are just the ones I like the most. That doesn’t mean the Julio Jones bet is gonna win. But it has to be 65%-plus likely to win. Even last year, Julio still averaged 85 yards a game which has been topped by one receiver in history, Calvin Johnson. And barely.

Raheem Mostert is next, Under 16.5 carries for the Niners at Detroit, where they are heavy favorites. Is this going to be a two-man committee or a three-man committee with San Francisco?

Brad: In the last 24 games when he became a regular player on the team, okay, how many times he’s gone Over 16.5 rushing attempts twice. He’s an amazing player, one of the fastest running backs in the NFL. But not only do the Niners usually have a committee, Trey Lance is probably going to get a package of primary running plays. That’s about one less carry, maybe two for Mostert. You may say, “Brad, big deal.” But we fight for that one or two carry difference when we shop. That’s often the difference between winning and losing. Also, if the game ends up in a 49ers blowout, San Francisco will run more but Mostert may only play 2.5 to three quarters.

Ja’Marr Chase Under 48.5 receiving yards against the Vikings….

Brad: Chase was phenomenal. I mean, he was a super stud. And I really thought he was going to be a great — not a good, a great — NFL receiver. I thought that the Bengals made the right pick when they took him. Like you know what I know. There’s a lot of talk that the pick should have been offensive tackle Penie Sewell, who also had a bad training camp.

Like Chase, he didn’t play last year either. Maybe this year off is a bad thing.

Brad: It’s very fair. Look what happened to Le’Veon Bell. With Chase, look, I thought the Bengals made the right pick because I thought with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, you just surround Burrow with talent and a receiver in Chase that he had a comfort level with at LSU. But Chase keeps dropping every pass in games and reportedly in practice. What’s interesting is that if you divide his over/under season prop of 1,050 by 17 that comes out to 62 yards. So they did tax Chase about 20%, 25% for how bad he looked; but it’s still not enough in my opinion.

Jared Cook… you like Under 3.5 catches in his first game with the Chargers against the WFT, but in the system he played in at New Orleans. 

Brad: He’s been more of a big play yardage guy as opposed to the receptions. So I don’t think these correlate that well. I only like the catches. I’m not saying bet Under his yardage total because he can have one catch go for 26 yards down the seam. When I saw this number, I thought, “This has to be an 80% winner.” And he was 14 for 17 Under last year, including the playoffs. Let’s go back the last three years, and he’s 29-11 Under. So about 75%.

Here’s someone we have no data on. Kyle Pitts Over 40.5 yards. How he’s going to be deployed is a big secret this summer. I have a sense the Falcons are going to ambush the Eagles like the Washington Football Team did the Saints in 2012 with RGIII in the pistol formation. New Orleans was steamrolled. 

Brad: Listen, I am absolutely with you again. Just 40.5…. We talked about Jared Cook like he’s just a big play guy. Pitts to me is a combination of both — I think it can be volume and big plays. Who’s gonna cover this guy? Yeah, that he goes there. The Eagle linebackers are horrible. I would have made this over/under mid-50s quite honestly. I just think this is a bad number.

Nick Chubb over 13.5 rush attempts vs. the Chiefs.

Brad: I like the 13.5 rushing attempts. This is silliness. I’ll be honest, out of all the ones this may be my favorite one. Quite honestly, just I mean, this is just got I can’t even talk about it so ridiculous. Let’s look at this. Michael. You’re like, the average person may say You know what? In the 28 games with Kareem Hunt, how many times do you think Nick Chubb is Over 13.5 rushing attempts?

I would say at least 80% of his games. 

Brad: This is why I love you. 24 of 28 I mean, how is this number so low? How?

Last one, Eric Ebron Under 31.5 receiving yards against the Bills.

Brad: Can Pat Freiermuth the rookie was drafted to really fortify the run blocking and is going to get a lot of snaps, I suspect. I don’t see a role for Ebron on this team. Why would he play over any of their wide receivers on third down? Ebron averaged about 37 yards a game last year but on over 80% of the snaps. Say that’s 50% now. Well then that yardage prop shouldn’t be 37 it should be 5/8ths of 37 or 23.5 yards.