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. Jonathan Taylor OVER 68.5 rushing yards vs. Titans (-115, Caesars)
You’re ... rather excited. Let’s do it. Ride it, my pony. Whether you’re a 90s R&B audiophile or not, saddle up Indy’s show pony in Week 8. Ginuwine would most certainly agree. Candidly, this is a blasphemous line. Taylor is unquestionably one of the true elite producers currently in the NFL game. He ranks third, only behind Nick Chubb and James Robinson, in YAC per attempt with a 4.02 mark. His 20.0 missed tackle percentage also slots inside the top 10 among qualifying RBs. With Quentin Nelson back tossing dudes around and blessed with a highly exploitable matchup (Tennessee has surrendered 4.59 yards per carry to the RB position), Taylor should gallop past the 70-yard mark at a minimum on 15-plus carries. Keep in mind, he’s reached the 100-yard mark in three of his last four games.
2. Dalvin Cook OVER 76.5 rushing yards vs. Cowboys (-115, DraftKings)
Fresh off the bye week, the Bobby Flay of running backs is fully prepared to fillet the visiting ‘Boys. In an age dominated by frustrating timeshares, Minnesota’s workhorse is a rarity, a back who regularly tops 20 carries any given week. Ignoring his injury-hampered Week 4 contest against Cleveland in which he recorded an uncharacteristic nine carries, he’s tallied 100 ground yards in two of three games. He’s also registered a magnificent 20.9 missed tackle percentage, a top-10 mark among qualifying RBs. Dallas’ defense is ascending, but its surface identity is misguided. Really, Dan Quinn’s unit is best described as bend don’t break. It has yielded 4.45 yards per carry to running backs. Unbudging in his desire to pound the rock, Mike Zimmer can’t be counted on to feed Cook early and often. Achieve anywhere close to his per clip output (4.58 yards per carry) and he’ll leap over before the fourth quarter commences.
3. Chuba Hubbard OVER 19.5 receiving yards at Falcons (-115, DraftKings)
Fear striking. Spine tingling. Blood curdling. For those who toss a ticket at Hubbard, usual feelings on All Hallow’s Eve could be replaced by sweet bliss. Crossing the 20-receiving-yards threshold in three of his past five games, he’s averaged 4.0 targets per game, 15.0 routes run per contest and a healthy 1.53 yards per route run. Inside the trick or treat bag, the rookie is a fun-sized Snickers compared to his king-sized colleague, Christian McCaffrey, but, similar to Mike Davis before him, he’s at least serviceable. Atlanta, which is frightened by flat passes, has surrendered a rather generous 6.5 receptions and 46.8 receiving yards per game to RBs. Carolina desperately needs to inject renewed life into pulseless offense. Sam Darnold is sure to attack downfield with heavy D.J. Moore feedings. However, whether on designed screen or checkdowns, Hubbard should earn enough volume to become the eighth back in seven games to achieve the above feat against the Falcons.
4. Alvin Kamara UNDER 65.5 rushing yards vs. Buccaneers (-110, Caesars)
Possibly outside the repercussions of excessive slushie drink consumption, nothing triggers nightmares more on Bourbon Street than thoughts of Tampa Bay’s Vita Vea swallowing the franchise centerpiece whole. Attempting to run the football against the Bucs will keep any offensive coordinator up at night. This season, Vea and the Tampa defense have allowed a lowly 3.91 yards per carry and 49.7 rush yards per game to opposing running backs. Sony Michel and Khalil Herbert, on massive workloads, are the only two RBs to reach 66 ground yards against them. Kamara, who’s experienced a dip in his rushing efficiency stats (e.g. YAC/attempt and missed tackle percentage), has shouldered enormous workloads, toting the rock 19.0 times per game. Mark Ingram’s return, however, could signal a reduction, reverting to the 12-14 carry volumes from seasons past. Knowing, too, pass-catching RBs are a Tampa weakness (6.7 receptions/game to the position), he could prove more terrorizing as a receiver.
5. Tony Pollard OVER 40.5 rush yards at Vikings (-115, DraftKings)
Optimistic the creepy girl from “The Ring” doesn’t climb out of it, I’m going back to the Pollard rush yards well. For the most part, it’s been kind to this dreadful sports bettor. One of the game’s premier sidekicks, Pollard has complemented primary carrier Ezekiel Elliott wonderfully. He ranks RB7 in YAC per attempt (3.41) and RB14 in yards created per touch and tucks inside the top 10 in missed tackle rate (21.3 percent). The electrical current running through the young back’s legs registers high on the voltmeter. Good for 10-14 carries every week, he’s totaled at least 41 rush yards in five straight. The Vikings, far from plunderers in the trenches, have given up 4.64 yards per carry and 108.3 rush yards per game to RBs. In total, nine rushers in six games have exceeded the proposed threshold. Behind Dallas’ impervious offensive line, Pollard likely cashes once again.
6. Elijah Mitchell OVER 69.5 rush yards at Bears (-110, DraftKings)
Oh those deceptive Shanahans. Taking a page out of his dad’s playbook, Kyle, the Niners head coach, pulled a fast one on the fantasy community, rejecting perceptions that Trey Sermon, and not Mitchell, was the more desired rookie running back. Earning 72.0 percent of the opportunity share, the eighth-highest tally among all RBs, the sixth-round pick in April’s NFL Draft has a stranglehold on the gig. Crypto seekers would call him the Shiba Inu of the position. With a pair of 100-yard performances to his name in four games, Mitchell could add another. He ranks top 10 in YAC per attempt (3.41) and missed tackle percentage (20.6). His Week 8 opponent, Chicago, is without the services of key disrupter Khalil Mack. Even with the prized edge rusher in uniform, routine gashings have occurred. More of the gummy variety, the Bears yielded 4.64 yards per carry, 108.8 rush yards per game and five 70-plus yard efforts to RBs. Strike it rich.
27-17 +10.77 units