Givin Props: NFL Week 5

A.J. Brown #11 of the Tennessee Titans runs the ball during a game against the New Orleans Saints at Nissan Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Saints 23-21.
Image Credit: Wesley Hitt/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.

Let’s start with one of these Brad Bets, as I like to call them. Something a little out of the ordinary. We have Tom Brady, Under 3.5 rushing yards. 

Brad: I love this bet. I did the numbers on BetPrep to see if my instincts were right. Does that make sense? It seemed to me like his Over should be closer to 1.5 or even 0.5. At the BetPrep site, I put in Tom Brady’s last 15 games — 10-5 to the Under. Last three years and change, 37-13 to the Under. This is a bet that I feel very comfortable saying you went three of four times. Can the one of the four be this week? Absolutely. But here’s another thing about this week.

Oh, I know what you’re gonna say. I like this. 

Brad: All right. What am I going to say?

He’s going to get an expected 1.5 kneel downs for minus yards. 

Brad: Exactly right. They are big favorites against Miami and you potentially can get anywhere from one to three kneel downs, which will knock potentially three, four yards off if he gets a random six-yard scramble. So that’s some extra free insurance.

Sticking with the Bucs, Antonio Brown Under 5.5 catches, minus-145

Brad: This the Tampa Bay version of Antonio Brown, who is still a really good player. I bet numbers, not players. If Brown’s over/under was 3.5, I’d be making a large bet on his over. If the number was 4.5, I would be passing. This is no longer the Steelers Antonio Brown. Last 11, he’s 9-2 to the Under. I’m not going to overthink it. When the number is this small and it’s one off, that’s a big deal. Catch totals are like getting a free goal in a soccer back. The difference between the 4.5 it should be and the 5.5 it is, is just massive.

Next the seemingly chronically injured A.J. Brown, Over 50.5 receiving yards against the Jaguars. 

Brad: Brown is on zero of my fantasy teams. He was one of my big fades this year. Yeah, I did. I did 35 teams and he’s on zero of them. You’ve mentioned the knee surgeries and injuries.  All the red flags and they’ve shown their ugly heads. I may get beat here. But even with this, I thought Brown’s number would be 62.5.  In the last 16 games, he’s averaging 71 per week. Julio Jones is out. I wouldn’t go over five catches here. But Brown gets big plays so the yards is the way to go because he can hit that on three catches. Maybe we’re just going to see like a shell of Brown and then I’m drawing dead. But if I’m the coach I want to establish this passing game. So I’m going to say they want to get Brown back on track. Either way, the number is just too low.

Hunter Renfrow Over 43.5 for the Raiders against the Bears.

Brad: I’m about the math, but I’m not a slave to the math. I go somewhat by my feel, too. Having watched the Raiders play, my feeling is that Renfrow has actually stepped up as the second guy after the obviously great Darren Waller. That’s just my feeling. Renfrow has been consistent with the targets every week, averaging 62 yards a game this year. I feel like the Raiders are more of a passing team this year than they’ve been in the past.

A team that has not been a passing team is the Bears. You are going Darnell Mooney, Under 50.5 receiving yards with new starting QB Justin Fields.

Brad: Mooney is pretty good. This is a bet against the entire Chicago Bears system. It’s a bet against Matt Nagy. Fields is just beyond bubble boy. He’s been wrapped up. I have so little confidence in the way the Bears play offense right now. Is it possible that Mooney has a really good game? Of course. But these totals are saying that the Bears receivers are 1 and 1A, that Allen Robinson isn’t the true No. 1. I don’t see it that way yet. So until I know this is true, I’m going to go under on Mooney. Even if Robinson was 50.5, I’d go under. I still assume that Robinson is going to get the most targets every week.

Staying with Chicago, Damien Williams Under 3.5 catches, minus-150.

Brad: Four catches is a lot. I’m going to make Damien Williams prove to me he’s a 70-catch back. The Bears backs have not gotten Over two catches a game one time this year. I think it’s too big an ask. Remember, Williams hasn’t really played since 2019. Even laying the 150 price, I’m going to dare Williams to get four catches because I’m not even confident the Bears are going to get four completions as a team.

James Robinson of the Jaguars Over 59.5 rushing yards. 

Brad: People who I respect are going the other way here and that causes me to look more closely to see if I’m missing something. I did. I’m not. I still feel very confident my work is correct here. I was nervous that Urban Meyer was going to give Carlos Hyde real run; but in the last couple of weeks they’re pretty much exclusively Robinson. And Robinson is good. He’s been over this number nine of his last 12 games. I made his number 70 or 71.5 and this came in significantly lower and, again, that’s my edge. If it lands 60-to-71, I’m taking a bow. I’m not expecting 150 yards. These bets are always going to be somewhat close. But I don’t fear the Titans on defense so I will take my chances.

James Conner Over  9.5 rushing attempts with Chase Edmonds fighting a shoulder injury, against the 49ers. 

Brad: From a personal standpoint, I root for Conner, who recovered from cancer. Any success he gets is well deserved. But I think he may be the worst running back I’ve seen in the NFL. I watch him every week. I think he’s so painfully bad that I’m amazed that he has a job. But that’s okay. I don’t have to get why they’re using him. They are giving him a real run. He’s gotten 16, 8, 11 and 18 carries averaging about 14 per game — and he’s their closer. They’re the favorite in this game by five points. I have to think that in this spot, in this game, Conner is a mid-60% winning bet. I do believe this is a two-out-of-three winner.

Finally let’s wrap the week up with Aaron Rodgers Over 1.5 passing TDs, minus-180.

Brad: Again, I used the BetPrep site, which is so valuable. It’s changed my life, I mean that. In his last 25 games, Rodgers is 22-3 Over, 88% Over 1.5 passing TDs. That translates to about minus-900 or minus-850. Do I think I should be laying that? No way. But it’s a 75% bet, which means I should be laying 3-to-1 or minus-300.  I think if they played 16 games, I would go 12-4 on this bet. Could this be the one in four that he doesn’t? Of course. But I don’t see the Bengals as some crazy-great defense. I’m not expecting the Packers to be completely impotent on offense.

Rodgers hasn’t had a vintage, MVP-like 2020 game yet. He’s had a high touchdown game. But he hasn’t put it all together: his yards per attempt, his efficiency…. Everything about Rogers is less than it was last year. I think he’s due.

Brad: I agree with you. This is one of those bets your 90-year old grandmother would know to make. “Oh, Aaron Rodgers? Yeah, he’ll get two touchdowns!” Laying a big price can be the most value of any bet. The average person says, “I’m not laying minus-180. That’s a sucker bet.” All right, let me bet minus-180 that Steph Curry makes a free throw. We’ll see how much of a sucker bet that is. And let me bet over Aaron Rodgers 1.5 passing touchdowns every single week at this price.