College Football PrizePicks Props: Our Top Plays for UTEP’s Gavin Hardison, Illinois’ Chase Brown (Aug. 27)

College Football PrizePicks Props: Our Top Plays for UTEP’s Gavin Hardison, Illinois’ Chase Brown (Aug. 27) article feature image

llinois Fighting Illini quarterback Brandon Peters (18) hands the ball off to Illinois Fighting Illini running back Chase Brown (2) against Charlotte.(Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

  • Week 0 is here, and there are plenty of player props with value on the board at PrizePicks.
  • We see value on picks for Illinois running back Chase Brown and UTEP quarterback Gavin Hardison.
  • Check out both picks and breakdowns for Saturday's college football games below.

It's officially Week 0 of the 2022 college football season, and player props are up and available at PrizePicks for Saturday's slate.

It'd genuinely be a shame if we got a little frisky and hit submit on a couple, wouldn't it?

Illinois RB Chase Brown (vs. Wyoming) and UTEP QB Gavin Hardison (vs. North Texas) highlight the top value picks across the board to slip into your Power Plays.

And just like that, we tuck the little tykes into bed and prepare to loot.

Illinois RB Chase Brown Player Props

Over/Under 101.5 Rushing Yards

Illinois couldn't throw the ball last year, and teams knew it.

The offense saw a whopping nine box defenders or more on first down — the sixth-highest rate among Power 5 programs.

Brown, however, still posed a serious problem for opposing defenses as Bret Bielema's workhorse.

The star back ranked third in the Big Ten in rushing yards per game (100.5), despite an inconsistent start out the gates and awful matchups versus both Iowa and Wisconsin.

Brown was a human pinball against stacked boxes. He averaged 5.97 yards per tote on 71 total carries when facing eight-plus box defenders, and close to five of those yards after contact.

Brown — who is spooky stacked and not to be messed with — bully-balled the last mid-major unit he drew, ripping off 257 rushing yards.

Oh look, it's a knife slicing through hot butter!

Chase Brown 80-yd Touchdown

— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) October 2, 2021

Although it's not a primary handicap to an individual player prop, there's another tidbit I'd be remiss not to share.

Illinois is laying 13.5 points against Wyoming, with an extremely-low total (43.5).

Once upon a time, I would have rushed to profit off the Cowboys as a double-digit pup under head coach Craig Bohl, in some capacity.

Today, I no longer have as much interest to back this program that, frankly, has been fraudulent outside its confines.

Since 2014, Wyoming owns a +12.7% Win Percentage Over Expected mark at home, but a -18% clip on the road. The 30.7% difference is the third-largest discrepancy in the entire country — beginning the same year Bohl arrived.

In no way, shape or form would I sell out on a mid-major defense away from its comfort zone, much less in a game script that screams serious slog and favors a battering ram like Brown.

Pick: Over 101.5 

UTEP QB Gavin Hardison Player Props

Over/Under 254.5 Passing Yards

Are we sure it’s the same UTEP offense from last season?

Wide receiver Jacob Cowing, who transferred to Arizona this summer, just left behind one of the sickest campaigns we'll probably never talk about.

Top 10 Seasons for a WR by EPA (2015-21)

2020DeVonta SmithAlabama+145.1
2021Nathaniel DellHouston+120
2016Zay JonesEast Carolina+119.3
2021Jaxon Smith-NjigbaOhio State+117
2019Justin JeffersonLSU+113
2016DeDe WestbrookOklahoma+109
2019Ja'Marr ChaseLSU+108.9
2021Skyy MooreWestern Michigan+107.8
2021Jacob CowingUTEP+105.6
2019Devin DuvernayTexas+105.1

Cowing finished WR9 in PFF's overall rankings, thanks to 1,367 yards.

For those who like advanced metrics, Cowing logged a gaudy 3.7 reception yards per team pass attempt.

He also posted a weighted dominator rating north of 40 percent, which accounts for a team's share in yards (80%) and touchdowns (20%).

In short: Cowing was the UTEP offense, and I place the vast majority of the production on the receiver's talent, not the arm feeding it.

Hardison went under this total in eight of 13 games last season. The receiving corps just lost 19.6 yards per catch in Cowing, who also led the team in catches.

The Miners averaged 258.3 passing yards per game in 2021, a spike up from their clip of 211.2 the year prior.

I just don't see it here with Hardison, and would tab the fair number against North Texas somewhere in the 220's.

Pick: Under 254.5

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