Koerner: My Projected Odds & Picks for NFL Playoff Yardage Leader Props
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: Michael Thomas
I’m going all in on NFL playoff prop betting — you can read my guide to Saturday’s Wild Card games here — and some of the best values can be found in the yardage leader markets.
I simulated each round 10,000 times to calculate the true odds for both the Wild Card Weekend and the full NFL playoff markets. And after comparing my projections to various sportsbooks, I’ve made four picks: On the rushing leader for Wild Card Weekend as well as the passing, rushing and receiving leaders for the full playoff run.
Now let’s dig into both sets of my projections and picks.
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Wild Card Passing, Rushing & Receiving Leader Props
Below you’ll find my projected chances of each player finishing Wild Card Weekend as the leader of their respective categories, as well as a comparison of my true odds to the odds available at various books as of Friday.
Most Rushing Yards, Wild Card Weekend: Carlos Hyde (7-1)
The Bills are a run funnel defense that tends to focus on shutting down opponents’ passing game on the boundaries, but can be attacked on the ground. With the Texans as 3-point home favorites, I can see them leaning on Hyde in the first round of the playoffs.
They were able to let Hyde rest a bit in Week 17 by giving him only four carries in what was a meaningless game for them. I’m projecting him to have 17.5 carries on Saturday, which gives him a 70.5-yard median projection. However, he does have 20-carry upside here as the matchup and game script could lead to a heavy workload.
The Texans don’t involve Hyde much in the passing game, which is perfect for this market. It’s also why Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara may be overvalued in this market. Either back could break off a 50-yard reception that negatively impacts them here. Hyde doesn’t have that issue, and we’ve seen him post rushing lines of 104, 116 and 160 this season that shows he has the ceiling needed to take down this market.
Hyde reminds me a lot of Sony Michel, who I targeted heavily in these markets last postseason for some pretty solid payouts.
NFL Playoffs Passing, Rushing & Receiving Leader Props
Below you’ll find my projected chances of each player finishing the NFL Playoffs as the leader of their respective categories, as well as a comparison of my true odds to the odds available at various books as of Friday.
Most Passing Yards, NFL Playoffs: Aaron Rodgers (20-1)
Rodgers is offering the most value in this market at 20-1 as I would set his fair odds closer to 13-1. The Packers are the No. 2 seed in the NFC and are +340 to make it to the Super Bowl. You would have to figure if that does happen that Rodgers would have a good chance to take down this market. It would also imply that Drew Brees played three or fewer games.
A big reason Brees is the favorite in this market is not only his lofty passing yards per game expectation, but also that he’s the most likely quarterback who could play four games in the playoffs. If the Saints beat the Vikings in the Wild Card Round, they’ll face the Packers in the Divisional Round. The Packers winning that game would essentially remove Brees, and the favorite, from this market. Rodgers has some sneaky positive correlation attached to that outcome, which is why he’s offering value.
It’s also worth pointing out that Rodgers attempted 17 passes of 20 or more yards in Week 17 and only connected on three of them. The Packers have been more aggressive in the passing game with Davante Adams closer to 100% now.
Rodgers is the ideal QB for this type of market.
Most Rushing Yards, NFL Playoffs: Raheem Mostert (16-1)
Mostert is offering solid value here as I have his fair odds being closer to +830. He took over as the 49ers workhorse back in Week 13 and has only cemented his role since then.
Mostert typically isn’t used much in the passing game, so most of his touches will be rushes, which is the only stat we’re concerned about here. I can see the 49ers leaning on him more in the playoffs, making his expected rushing yards per game high enough to take down this market if the 49ers make the Super Bowl. Given the 49ers are the No. 1 seed and are currently +135 to make the Super Bowl, it only further boosts his value in this market.
The two favorites in this market — Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram — happen to be on the same team. The Ravens are -110 to make it to the Super Bowl, which means 50% of the time they’ll be playing two or fewer games in the playoffs, which would lower the odds of one of them taking down this market. An early exit for the Ravens would wipe out both favorites and significantly boost Mostert’s odds.
Of course, these are hypotheticals, but my simulations factor that in.
By betting on Rodgers and Mostert in their respective markets, it’s unlikely both cash considering they both can’t make the Super Bowl. However, going 1-1 in bets that average out to 18-1 odds would still result in a pretty solid ROI%. The negative correlation between the two bets also makes the other prop more likely to hit if either player fails to make the Super Bowl.
Most Receiving Yards, NFL Playoffs: Michael Thomas (3-1)
I have the fair odds for Thomas at +150, so there’s some serious value at this price. It’s not surprising that he’s the favorite in this market as he just broke the single-season record for receptions. The Saints are also the most-likely team to play four games in the playoffs.
I like the idea of locking in an NFC player for all three of these playoff markets given the correlations making it likely we hit at least one.
The ideal scenario would be the Saints losing to the 49ers in the NFC Championship so that two of these three props have a good chance of hitting. In three games, Thomas would likely take down this market, which would also imply that Mostert’s odds of winning the rushing market are quite high.
Koerner is 179-133-3 (57.4%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.