Best Chargers-Patriots Playoff Prop Bets: Go Low on Rob Gronkowski and Melvin Gordon?
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (87), Chargers RB Melvin Gordon (28).
- There are three player props offering betting value in the early game on Sunday's NFL playoffs slate.
- This piece will focus on Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski, Chargers RB Melvin Gordon and Chargers WR Mike Williams.
For the second week in a row, the Chargers head East as an underdog, this time looking to upend the defending AFC Champion Patriots, and we’re shorting pretty much everybody as we break down the best Chargers Patriots prop bets.
This tilt features the lowest point total of the week at 47.5. Over their past three games, the Chargers ran the 10th-fewest plays in the league, while the Patriots have allowed the ninth-fewest plays over their last three.
In short, I’m not expecting a ton of pace in this one, and the picks reflect that.
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski
Under 4 Receptions
While this line is set at 3.5 at most books, I prefer playing this number at four given Gronkowski’s precipitous plunge into mediocrity:
- Gronk had three or fewer catches in seven of his past eight games, including a combined four catches over the past three.
- On the season, he had five or more catches in three of his 13 games
- The Chargers have allowed five of 31 tight ends faced to hit the five-catch mark
It’s not just the lack of efficiency; the targets have fallen off too — after averaging 6.2 targets through his first 10, Gronkowski has commanded just 3.3 per game in his last three.
That’s a small split sample, and there may have been other factors at play in the recent games, but even considering the entire body of work this year, seeing Gronkowski hit five catches in this one would be something of a curiosity.
Betting the under on a line of 3.5 is still solid value according to the Props Tool, but I much prefer paying up and forcing him to hit 5.
Chargers RB Melvin Gordon
Under 66.5 Rushing Yards
While Gordon practiced in full this week, there’s no question that having two banged up knees is going to affect his efficiency.
It’s been the same old saga with Gordon for awhile now. He hasn’t surpassed 70 rushing yards in more than two calendar months, and he’s gone under this 66.5 number in four straight games, averaging 46 yards per game in that stretch.
Gordon will likely require volume to hit the over, but I’m not sure the game script will allow for it:
- The Patriots average point differential at home is +16.3, compared to -2.4 on the road
- They score 32.9 per game at Gillette, a number that drops to 21.6 in away games
The Patriots have certainly been susceptible to a few fat rushing lines, but we’ve seen nothing from Gordon of late to suggest he has the juice to take advantage.
With a projection of 61.1 yards, I’d play this number down to 64.5, and at the current line, would pay upwards of -122.
Chargers WR Mike Williams
Under 45.5 Receiving Yards
Mike is the Williams most likely to draw coverage from Patriots corner back Stephon Gilmore, who has been a wet blanket against receivers of late.
Over his past three games, Gilmore has clamped down on playmakers Robby Anderson, Robert Foster, and Antonio Brown, limiting them to an average of 3.7 catches for 41.7 yards.
That’s almost exactly what Williams has averaged on the year (41.5), so between the tough matchup, the historical production, and the game’s low point total, we have good reason to believe this line is shaded just a bit too high.
With a projection of 43.5, Sean Koerner concurs. This bet gets a 7 rating in the props tool. I wouldn’t play the number any lower but would pay the juice up to -122.