Falcons vs Panthers PrizePicks Plays for Shi Smith & Drake London on Thursday Night Football
Pictured: Drake London. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Thursday Night Football is never that entertaining. It’s usually one of the worst games of the week, thrown on Thursday night so that casual football fans will be forced to watch.
However, I think this game has sneaky shootout potential.
Carolina and Atlanta have two of the worst passing defenses in the NFL and these teams put up 71 total points in their Week 8 matchup. The Falcons have consistently played in fun games this season behind Marcus Mariota’s reemergence and a flailing pass defense.
The hurricane-like weather is an issue, but I still believe both teams will sling it on Thursday night. Our Action Network projections show value on two receivers in the player props market.
My favorite way to pick NFL player props is using PrizePicks, an app that allows you to parlay together different 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 5.5 Receiving Yards
You might be wondering, “who in the world is Shi Smith?”
Let me enlighten you.
Smith is a second-year receiver out of South Carolina who has totaled 229 yards over his first 15 games. He’s disappointed Carolina fans, though the expectations shouldn’t have been high because he was a sixth-round pick.
Smith has been solid as a punt returner and is averaging over eight yards per return this season.
However, I think the market has finally reached rock bottom on Smith and it’s time to buy low on the young wide receiver.
After losing his WR3 moniker in the middle of the year, Smith’s routes run and snap share numbers are going back up. He was on the field for a season-high 81.3% of possible snaps against Cincinnati and ran his most routes since Week 5 (27).
Terrace Marshall Jr. has stolen the show in Carolina, but there are plenty of targets to go around, especially against an Atlanta defense that is dead last in pass yards per game allowed, pass attempts per game allowed and completion percentage allowed.
Smith will have plenty of opportunities on Thursday night, and he likely only needs one target to reach this low number.
However, one reception may be underselling Smith’s upside on Thursday night. Three different projection models have him smashing this number, including:
Smith will get enough volume, so I’m not ruling out a huge game from him, relatively speaking.
Pick: Over 5.5 Receiving Yards
Over/Under 3.5 Receptions
I’m buying low on Drake London this week. Actually, I’m buying every available stock on the rookie wide receiver.
After starting the season with three consecutive dominant performances, London has underperformed. He’s been held under 40 receiving yards in six straight games and fell to rock bottom in Week 7 against Cincinnati with just nine yards on one reception.
However, London is still the No. 1 wideout in the Falcons offense and he’s catching back up to top pass catcher Kyle Pitts in Atlanta’s skill-position room.
Image credit: @JonPGH
London has snagged 12 targets in the past two weeks and is playing over 80% of possible snaps. He converted only three of his seven targets into receptions last week, but managed four receptions on five targets the week before, against Carolina.
I don’t think the week-to-week difference in catch rate is a coincidence. The Panthers’ defense allows the seventh-highest completion rate overall and the sixth-most pass attempts per game to No. 1 receivers (8.9).
London will get opportunities against Carolina and will likely convert on those opportunities. Plus, his usage is trending up.
I love London in this spot. The projections also love this spot.
Both the Action Labs Player Props Tool and Stokastic’s Player Props Tool project London for 4.0 receptions on Thursday Night Football.
Pick: Over 3.5 Receptions