Eagles vs. Texans PrizePicks Plays: Picks for Davis Mills & DeVonta Smith on Thursday Night Football
Pictured: DeVonta Smith. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
As the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros battle for the World Series, the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans battle for Thursday Night Football supremacy in Week 9.
Sadly, this football game won’t be as thrilling as the World Series has been.
The Eagles are 7-0 and a Super Bowl contender. The Texans are 1-5-1 and a contender for the No. 1 overall pick.
The Eagles are a whopping two-touchdown road favorite, making it hard to find value on a side. However, there are always other ways to get some action on the game, including the player prop market.
My favorite way to pick NFL player props is using PrizePicks, an app that allows you to parlay together different NFL props and wager real money on them in 30 states, including states where online betting access remains unavailable.
That said, here’s my PrizePicks card for Thursday Night Football.
Over/Under 212.5 Passing Yards
It’s tough to pass on this Philadelphia defense. Darius Slay and James Bradberry rank among the top 10 cornerbacks in PFF’s coverage grades and act as the pillars of Philadelphia’s second-ranked pass defense (in terms of DVOA).
As a result, the Eagles defense allows just 206 passing yards per game and has held six-of-seven opposing quarterbacks under their passing yards total.
The odds are stacked against Davis Mills on Thursday Night and that’s just half the story.
Wide receiver Nico Collins is out due to a groin injury and Brandin Cooks is also dealing with an injury. That makes things even more challenging for Mills.
Mills has a certain amount of upside, but isn’t a finished product. He’s cashed over 212 passing yards in 10 of his 20 career starts and has posted a mediocre 6.4 YPA. He’s also been struggling lately, having posted just 140 passing yards in Week 5 against Jacksonville and 152 yards in Week 7 against Tennessee.
Mills isn’t good from an advanced analytics standpoint, either.
Image credit: RBSDM.com
Only Zach Wilson and Baker Mayfield have a worse EPA + CPOE composite in the NFL this season.
The number is low, but the odds are stacked heavily against Mills on Thursday Night. Our own Chris Raybon projects Mills for 200 yards passing and RotoBaller’s Jon Anderson projects the Houston quarterback for 209 yards.
Pick: Under 212.5 Passing Yards
Over/Under 4 Receptions
It’s hard to find a more talented young receiver than DeVonta Smith. The Heisman Trophy winner out of Alabama has lived up to expectations in his young career.
A.J. Brown’s arrival in Philadelphia has overshadowed Smith, but Smith’s production hasn’t taken a hit. Instead, Brown’s arrival has shifted Smith into a different department.
Smith still primarily lines up out wide, but his percentage of snaps in the slot has jumped eight points year-over-year to 20%. Moreover, Smith’s aDOT has dropped from 14.9 to 8.7. Additionally, his catch rate has jumped 13 percentage points from his rookie year and he’s on pace for over 90 receptions after pulling in just 64 in 2021.
In short, Brown’s arrival has made Smith more of a possession receiver. As a result, he’s running more short routes, out routes and screen routes than in the past.
For example, check out his route chart from Week 5:
Image credit: NFL Next Gen Stats
While this doesn’t help Smith’s yardage totals (he’s cashed over 52 receiving yards in three-of-six games this season), it’s significantly upped his reception totals (he’s cashed over 4.5 receptions in five-of-six games this season, including three straight).
Smith should be a good target for reception totals moving forward and I’m happy to target him against an average Houston pass defense.
Projections like Smith on Thursday Night as three different models expect Smith to eclipse four receptions, including:
Pick: Over 4.0 Receptions