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. Brandon Aiyuk OVER 50.5 receiving yards at Cowboys (-115, DraftKings)
Arizona State’s former “YAC King” is about to chew up chunks of real estate. For all of the accolades Dallas cornerback Trevon Diggs has earned, and rightfully so, he’s surrendered numerous explosive pass plays. No qualifying defensive back during the regular season yielded more yards (1,016) and yards per catch (18.5) than Diggs. His magnet hands and league-leading 11 interceptions aside, he’s a defender Jimmy Garoppolo will surely pick on. Aiyuk stands to benefit. After a sluggish start, the sophomore wideout crossed the 50-yard mark in six of his final eight regular-season matchups. Averaging 11.43 yards per target and the third-best YAC per reception mark (7.74) since Week 11, he’s quietly exhibited the player who flourished over a similar stretch in 2020. In a game this knucklehead believes will set the pace in total points in the wild-card games, Aiyuk could clear the proposed line by a solid 20-30 yards.
2. Mac Jones UNDER 217.5 passing yards at Bills (-115, Caesars)
During Tom Brady’s New England days in games suitable for a polar bear, the passer famously wore a thick and somewhat immobilizing diving suit underneath his uniform. Jones, who’s probably never experienced single-digit temps and wind chills well below freezing, may need to pull a page out of the Brady playbook. The teeth-chattering conditions expected in Orchard Park on Saturday, combined with Buffalo’s mediocrity defending the run (4.19 yards per carry allowed to RBs in the regular season), could lead Bill Belichick to again install a Navy-like approach. No, it won’t be to the extreme of three pass attempts in the teams’ wind-driven affair in Week 13, but a heavy dose of Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris appears likely. Toss in the Bills’ inelastic secondary (5.81 YPA, 174.1 YPG allowed) that held Jones to 145 passing yards in Week 16, and pounding the UNDER is an advisable wager.
3. Devin Singletary 13.5 receiving yards vs. Patriots (-114, FanDuel)
This Singletary prop is unquestionably sledgehammer worthy. Once thought to be a running back that Josh Allen ignored in the pass game, he’s become an integral check down and even designed pass option. Three times in his last five games, Singletary raced well past the proposed line, including a five-catch, 39-yard effort in Week 16 against the Patriots. He’s also logged at least 16 routes run in a game over five straight contests. This season, New England has almost outright refused to cover the short field, choosing instead to fall back in coverage. The allowance of the short stuff amplifies how underpriced this line is. Over the regular season, the Patriots surrendered 5.5 receptions and 48.6 receiving yards per game to RBs. In what will be a brutally cold contest, Singletary should deliver sizzling results as a pass catcher.
4. Rob Gronkowski OVER 55.5 receiving yards vs. Eagles (-115, BetMGM)
He’s lovable. He’s dominant. He’s willing to commit insurance fraud. And he’s about to smash. When it comes to wrangling opposing tight ends, the Eagles are the mother of all matchups. During the regular season, they allowed an obscene 107 receptions for 1,035 yards and a league-high 14 TDs to the position. Mike Evans and Gronk are Tom Brady’s most relied-upon weapons. Converting 20 targets into 14 receptions for 252 yards in Weeks 17 and 18, the USAA pitchman is no doubt “special.” Given the opponent, his uptick in target share and typical tackle-busting ways, the future HOFer is one of the smartest wagers this Super Wild Card Weekend.
5. Patrick Mahomes OVER 16.5 rushing yards vs. Steelers (-115, Caesars)
Every time Mahomes takes off from the pocket, his running motion gives off a vibe of the aftereffect from last night’s Taco Bell run. More deceptive and opportunistic than explosive, the franchise cornerstone is a sneaky impactful rusher. He’s bolted his way past the proposed number in four of his last five games, though he didn’t register a single rushing yard in Week 16 against Pittsburgh. Blame the positive game script from start to finish. The Steelers, the NFL’s sack kings of the regular season, crank the pressure, and that should flush Mahomes from the pocket. On top of that, he’s called his own number more in the postseason. In six career playoff games, he’s averaged 31.7 rushing yards per game. Tally it up, and 20-25 ground yards are entirely attainable.
6. Ezekiel Elliott UNDER 51.5 rushing yards vs. 49ers (+105, DraftKings)
Similar to a tightly compacted Greek phalanx, the Niners’ run defense has been largely impenetrable. Over the regular season’s final six weeks, they conceded a lowly 2.94 yards per carry and 49.0 rushing yards per game to opposing running backs. Elliott, coming off one of his most efficient seasons in an otherwise illustrious career (2.73 YAC/attempt), is reportedly revitalized after knee issues bogged him down. Still, due to the unsavory matchup and the return of Tony Pollard, it’s buyable that he tucks under the above threshold for the 10th time in his last 12 contests.
55-51 +2.37 units