Bally Sports’ resident truffle pig, Brad Evans, constantly scours legal sports in a search of market inefficiencies he’s willing to slap some action on. Each week, crack open a cold one with him as he sorts through his favorite six-pack of player props. Fade or follow? That, of course, is up to you. (Note: All bets are worth 1 unit plus the juice. Example: -115 = 1.15 units wagered.)
1. Samaje Perine OVER 14.5 receiving yards at Chiefs (-115, BetMGM)
Last week, the props market unforgivingly took souls. For those who follow this ‘book donor's work, about the only wager to cash was Travis Etienne’s over 17.5 receiving yards. And it was entirely predictable. Picking on Kansas City props tied to short-field coverage has been highly profitable this season. Opposition dinks and dunks are often surrendered. No defense allowed more receptions to the running back position (107) during the regular season. In total, 21 running backs have hauled in at least 15 receiving yards.
Given Joe Burrow’s propensity for checking down and Perine’s sizable usage as a receiver (13.4 routes per game), the Bengals running back very easily could match what he contributed in the box score (five catches for 31 yards) against Buffalo last Sunday. For the eighth time this season, the impactful sidekick snatches a sweat-free cover.
2. SGP: George Kittle 40+ receiving yards, 4+ receptions at Eagles (+100, DraftKings)
After last Sunday’s juggling, between-the-hashmarks catch in a critical moment against Dallas, Kittle has a clear future with Ringling Brothers. Slap some makeup and oversized shoes on the man, and he’ll entertain the masses. Hopefully, the 49ers tight end will also boost the bankroll this Sunday.
Philadelphia was impenetrable last weekend against the rival Giants, but tight ends occasionally gashed them in the regular season. In total, the Eagles surrendered 81 receptions for 800 yards against plus-sized weapons, allowing six TEs to eclipse the above numbers in the same game. Kittle has achieved the necessary feats only once in his last four games, but Brock Purdy’s reliance on him could increase due to the blanket coverage of DBs James Bradberry and Darius Slay. Expect safe throws from QB to TE to occur often.
NFC championship betting preview: Parlay 49ers and the under
3. SGP: Joe Burrow 255+ passing yards, 2+ passing TDs at Chiefs (+120, DraftKings)
Smooth. Debonair. Just plain cool. The unflappable Burrow is seemingly always in command, delivering the ball accurately to standout weapons Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Hayden Hurst. In the regular season and the playoffs combined, Burrow ranks QB8 in adjusted completion percentage and QB9 in red-zone completion percentage. Teetering on the precipice of another Super Bowl appearance, the Bengals’ franchise fixture should machete through a highly cuttable Chiefs secondary.
Yes, statistically, Kansas City has performed at an adequate level, giving up 6.84 passing yards per attempt and 241.9 passing yards per game. Overall, seven signal-callers have reached both of the proposed thresholds in the same game. Bottom line: Due to the promising shootout probability, the above SGP is a sound wager at plus odds. The modern-day Joe Cool achieves both thresholds for the ninth time this season.
4. DeVonta Smith UNDER 66.5 receiving yards vs. 49ers (-114, FanDuel)
Any given Sunday, the Slim Reaper can place DBs in a sleeper hold, squeeze and inflict damage. One of the league’s best after the catch (No. 7 in YAC during the regular season), the Eagles wideout is a chunk-gainer extraordinaire. It’s no wonder why he’s recorded 110-plus yards in four of his past seven games. Despite the recency bias, as convincing as it may be, Smith could disappear against one of the NFL’s stingiest secondaries.
Over its last six games, the San Francisco defense has surrendered 6.87 passing yards per attempt. Smith’s primary projected adversary, CB Charvarius Ward, has yielded a modest 12.1 yards per catch and 60.2 catch percentage to his assignments. Similar to No. 2 WRs Tyler Lockett and Michael Gallup (both tucked way under the above number in the playoffs against the Niners), Smith finishes well south of 67 yards. Alpha A.J. Brown is most likely to boom the box score.
AFC championship betting preview: Parlay Chiefs and the over
5. Isiah Pacheco OVER 6.5 receiving yards vs. Bengals (-115, BetMGM)
Did Civil War era doctors pin Patrick Mahomes down on a table, hand him a bottle of whiskey and saw off his leg? It was rather stunning to see the Chiefs as home dogs for the AFC championship game before moving to a one-point favorite. Yes, the decorated QB — who suffered a high-ankle sprain against Jacksonville last Saturday but has participated in practice this week — may be more pocket-tied, but he’s still a remarkable spread-the-love passer.
Fingers are crossed that Mahomes chucks one pass in Pacheco’s direction. For the over to hit, that is all that is needed. Pacheco has run just 7.5 routes per game this season, but he’s cashed the over in six of his last eight games. Also, he grabbed two receptions for 16 yards in the first battle with Cincinnati in Week 13. It’s a bit of a stab in the dark, but a single-play payday is a distinct possibility.
Season record: 63-54, +5.76 units