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NFL Prop Bets & Picks For Rams vs. Buccaneers on Monday Night Football

NFL Prop Bets & Picks For Rams vs. Buccaneers on Monday Night Football article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Higbee

NFL Prop Bet: Rams vs. Buccaneers

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Tyler Higbee Under 31.5 Rec Yards (-110)

There is no question that Tyler Higbee has the talent to crush this over.

But when it comes to projecting a tight end like Higbee, it all comes down to game plan. If head coach Sean McVay has a game plan to feed Higbee the ball tonight, this prop will be toast by the end of the first half. But the sharp play here is, in fact, on the under.

Looking under the hood of my model, I have Higbee projected to run a route on 45% of dropbacks — right in line with his rate since Week 3, since he and Gerald Everett started to split time time. I’m also projecting Higbee to see a target on 20% of his routes run with a catch rate of 77%. Both are in-line with his current rates on the season as well as my projected usage for him heading into this season — or, translation: Higbee’s usage when he runs a route is pretty predictable.

All that results in 2.7 receptions at a rate of 11.6 yards per catch.

But wait, Sean, doesn’t that mean 2.7 x 11.6 = 31.4 yards? How are you showing that much value?

That’s actually where my simulation comes into play.

First, it’s important to point out that 2.7 receptions is based on a distribution that is heavily skewed toward the under. What I mean is that 2.7 translates into a coin flip at 2.5 receptions. The easiest way to visualize this is to realize that only 0, 1 and 2 outcomes would result in the under, while 3 to 12 (Higbee’s career-high in receptions) are the range of outcomes on the over.

The wider range of outcomes on the over “stretches” the projected receptions.

It’s also important to realize the anatomy of a single reception follows a similar distribution. Higbee’s yards per catch over the past two seasons has been 11.2. However, his median catch has been 8.5 yards. It’s the handful of longer receptions throughout a season that can inflate a player’s yards per catch. When we shrink the sample to a single game of 2-4 receptions, it’s much less likely to have an outlier play.

Long story short, that’s why I can “project” a player to be in-line with their prop yet show a ton of value on the under.

Here are the projected chances of him going over or under various lines based on my simulations:

Rec Yds

I try not to add in too much subjectively into my simulator, but there is an additional reason there’s even more value on the under here.

Andrew Whitworth’s season-ending injury is a devastating loss for the Rams offensive line. It’s going to be a tough task for the offense to function without him against the Bucs’ stout defensive line in particular. As a result, there’s a very real chance that McVay has Higbee stay in and block at a much higher rate tonight, which would be huge for this bet.

It’s worth noting that Whitworth sustained his injury at the very end of the first half last week. And here was Higbee’s production in the first vs. second:

  • First half (with Whitworth): 5 targets, 3 rec, 60 yards
  • Second half (without Whitworth): 1 target, 0 rec, 0 yards

My “theory” certainly held up when looking at those splits.

I would bet this prop down to 29.5 yards (and every yard counts), but I would not be surprised if he ends up in the low 20s tonight.

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