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NFL Divisional Round Picks: Expert Bets for Cowboys vs 49ers, More

NFL Divisional Round Picks: Expert Bets for Cowboys vs 49ers, More article feature image
Credit:

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images. Pictured: Dak Prescott.

Follow Chris Raybon in the Action App to get all his NFL picks throughout the playoffs.


Cowboys vs. 49ers Player Props

Click on a pick to skip ahead
 Devin Singletary Rushing Yards
3 p.m. ET
 Dak Prescott Rushing Yards
6:30 p.m. ET

Pick
 Devin Singletary Under 37.5 Rushing Yards (Play to 36.5)
Best Book
Time
3 p.m. ET

Singletary appears to be losing his grip on the early down lead back role to James Cook, who saw 12 carries to Singletary’s 10 last week (and nine carries to Singletary’s seven the week before).

Singletary is still getting his snaps, but they’re coming in the passing game, where he is trusted over the rookie.

It’s not as if there is a whole lot of rushing volume to go around with Buffalo, either. Excluding kneel-downs, Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey has dialed up a designed run 34.4% of the time this season, seventh-fewest.

Over the past two weeks, with higher stakes and Josh Allen seemingly over a nagging midseason elbow injury, that rate has dropped to 33.3%. Allen also hogs nearly 20% of those designed carries.

There are also efficiency concerns for the Bills’ ground game in this spot.

The Bengals’ run defense has been elite with defensive tackle D.J. Reader on the field, allowing 3.7 yards per carry to running backs in the 11 games he’s played compared to 4.2 in the seven he’s missed. Of the 18 running backs listed with a yardage prop against the Bengals with Reader active, only six have gone over.

Pick: Singletary Under 37.5 Rushing Yards

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Pick
 Dak Prescott Over 15.5 Rushing Yards (-110; play to 20.5)
Best Book
Time
6:30 p.m. ET

There’s been a lot of talk from Jerry Jones and others about Dak running more — that’s not why I like this prop.

I’m into it because he started running more about a month and a half ago, but much like the Cowboys’ owner, the market hasn’t caught on.

Prescott is averaging 4.0 carries for 15.8 yards per game on the season, but he has drastic splits between his first seven games and his last six:

  • First seven games: 2.7 carries, 10.1 rushing yards
  • Last six games: 5.5 carries, 22.5 rushing yards

If we dive deeper and take a look at his underlying usage splits, it’s easy to see why he has been more productive on the ground of late:.

  • First seven games: 2.2% scramble rate, 1.3 designed runs (excluding kneel-downs)
  • Last six games: 5.8% scramble rate, 2.3 designed runs (excluding kneel-downs)

Prescott is now more than two years removed from the gruesome ankle injury he suffered in October of 2020, and regardless of whichever narrative the late-to-the-party team owner would have you believe, it’s clear both Prescott and the coaching staff have been getting more comfortable with him using his legs.

It should also be noted that quarterback rushing stats are very sticky as long as kneel-downs are factored out, so six games is a fairly large sample size in this case.

This bodes well ahead of a matchup with a 49ers defense that allowed 28 rushing yards to Geno Smith in the Wild Card Round and 34 to Jarrett Stidham in Week 17.

Prescott has posted at least 16 rushing yards in five of the past six games and at least 20 yards in four of the past six, with a median of 21.5 over that span. I’m projecting Prescott for 23 rushing yards on Sunday night.


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