Givin Props: NFL Week 12

Dalvin Cook #33 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on November 7, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Image Credit: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

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.

Brad, another big week in Week 11-7-1. Your record now is 69-32, good for a 68% win rate. This is also par for the course in the life of this podcast dating back to last season. So let’s try to keep things going this week with seven picks. We’ll start with Tom Brady Under 2.5 rushing yards. 

Brad: I actually lost this bet earlier in the year. But I don’t care when the math still works. Then it was Under 4.5 yards. Now it’s well under it but I still like it. I put it in the BetPrep Grinder. Should I not like this bet? Has he gotten faster? Is he a better runner? Of course not. In his last 100 games. He’s 67-33 to the Under. You don’t need a calculator to know that’s 67%. How about his last 50 games? He’s 37-13 Under, or 74%. His last 25 games. He’s 19-6, 76%. But here’s where it gets interesting. In 11 games this year, he’s 5-6. But why? Again, he’s not a better athlete now, right? It’s not like a running back with a trend like this where maybe he’s getting more snaps and touches. Everything is the same. So I would still put his probability of winning this bet at 67%. I’m viewing the numbers this year as a fluke.

Also, this game is going to be contested and you want the Bucs to have a likelihood of kneeling down if they’re winning and you want the QB doing the kneeling to be Brady and not a backup. Just in case, as insurance. 

Brad: Absolutely 100%. The Bucs are favored and it’s more likely that Brady will get those negative rushes/kneels if the Bucs end up with the ball in the final minute.

Let’s stick with this game. On the Colts side, you like TY Hilton Over 37.5 receiving yards vs. the Bucs.

Brad: I thought about going with Michael Pittman here. But actually, I’d rather take the lesser number with Hilton. I did my research on BetPrep and the last 15 games, Hilton’s 8-7 to the Over and averaging 49 yards a game. So, you know, it’s about a 50/50 bet. But that’s against a normal team. The Bucs are not normal. They’re very tough to run against and easier to pass against so this is probably more like 60/40. And that makes this a very profitable winning bet. As for their run defense, one thing I’ve learned growing up as a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan — when they had Reggie White, Clyde Simmons, Jerome Brown — you were not running against them. I understand defense is not predictable, generally, we talk about that all the time. But we’re not talking about overall defense, just run defense. The Eagles then went about six years without allowing a 100-yard rusher, not six games. So it’s hard to run on Tampa Bay. And if it’s hard to run on them, that means it opens up more passing attempts. And this number for Hilton is just too low and I’m going to bite. I think the right number, based on my math, is right around 48 receiving yards for Hilton.

Jonathan Taylor facing that defense, Under 79.5 rushing yards. And this is a player on fire right now in fantasy with the 100-yard rushing games and touchdowns; so you must really like that Bucs defense.

Brad: Yes, Vita Vae is back. That’s huge. aYeah, I get it: Jonathan Taylor is the hottest player in the league. I took him as a pizza bet to win the MVP in our Givin Futures podcast this week. He’s playing amazing. But again, the quality of the running back didn’t matter against that great Eagles run defense in my youth. It just didn’t make a difference if it was Barry Sanders or Emmitt Smith. But maybe the Bucs defense, elite now for two years running, is not quite at that level. So let’s look at Taylor in BetPrep. This year, out of 11 games, he’s just 6-5 Over this number. So this is almost a 50/50 bet against an average opponent and the Bucs we know for sure are not average. We forget the season-long trends because he just had 180 yards. But these trends are still relevant to the prop. And the Bucs, I assume, will try to get Taylor away from Vae by swinging the ball out to him as a receiver in space. That’s what I would do. I’m not saying that Taylor is going to be a non-factor. I just think it may be more as a receiver than we’ve seen generally.

Dalvin Cook Over 77.5 rushing yards versus the 49ers.

Brad: This is just too low. His last 20 games, he’s 15-5 to the over, averaging 109 yards a game. This year, 6-2 including five in a row, averaging 92 yards a game. The 49ers are ranked dead average in run defense.  There’s nothing good about their run defense. So this is to me an average matchup. This is a bet that, if I lose, I’ll sleep very well. But just because the number is too low doesn’t mean you’ll win. Maybe it doesn’t win against this opponent 75% of the time. But it’s two-of-three times a winning bet, I’m confident. You know he’s going to get his carries. And he’s great. He very rarely has a bad game. Also, the Vikings are in every game. We know blowouts are the enemy of rushing props but the Vikings are the only team in the league that’s been up a touchdown in every game. They just don’t get beaten soundly.

For more of Brad’s picks, listen to the full Givin Props podcast. And subscribe so that you get the podcast the moment it’s published. Reviews are also much appreciated.