After 12 weeks of trying to beat the SI Sportsbook with my player prop predictions, I am 28-30 while being -7.60 units on a $100 baseline of each investment.
Forecasting player outcomes has been challenging over the past few weeks in the NFL. Sometimes you make a correct evaluation, but the dots don’t connect in the game. Last week, I had a dismal 1-4 week, pushing my bankroll in the hole.
If I wager on the favorite, I lay the juice to win $100 (-115 betting line = $115 to win $100). On the underdog side, I wager $100 to win the extra profit ($100 to win $150 with +150 betting line).
When reviewing all the props lines, I’m looking for flaws in pricing. I would expect most of my investments to come on the overside unless I see an overcorrection in a stat line.
Bet: More than 266.5 passing yards for Derek Carr (-115)
Over the past two weeks, Carr had a much lower projection at the sportsbooks than my projections. This week, the Raiders will be without their star tight end, Darren Waller, creating a natural lower ceiling in passing yards for Las Vegas. Carr averages 310 passing yards, with seven of his starts resulting in 295 yards or more.
Washington continues to have the worst defense in the league against quarterbacks due to 28 touchdowns allowed. Over the past four games, quarterbacks averaged 29.5 passes, leading to improved results in passing yards allowed (213, 220, 189 and 247). Washington gave up more than 275 passing yards in six of its first seven games (337, 249, 359, 283, 279, 397, 274). At some point, the loss of DE Chase Young invites regression in Washington’s pass rush and defense. I have Carr projected for 325 passing yards, giving him plenty of wiggle room to win on his prop bet in Week 13.
Bet: More than 105.5 rushing yards for Jonathan Taylor (-115)
Last week, the Bucs held Taylor to fewer than 100 combined yards (97), his lowest output since Week 3 (72 yards). From Weeks 4-11, he averaged almost 119 rushing yards while hitting the century mark in six of eight matchups. He continues to gain 5.8 yards per rush with 10 explosive runs over 20 yards. In his first matchup against the Texans, the Colts barely got him the ball in the first half (two carries), but Taylor busted an 83-yard run in the third quarter to save his day.
Houston has allowed over 100 yards in nine matchups, with rushers gaining 4.5 yards per carry. Despite their failure, Taylor is the only back to gain over 100 yards.
SI Sportsbook has the Colts favored by 10 points, giving Taylor plenty of chances to run the ball. He is the best runner in the game, and Indy needs to ride him up the AFC South standings.
Bet: More than 69.5 receiving yards for Chris Godwin (-115)
Over the last two weeks, the Bucs looked toward Rob Gronkowski and Leonard Fournette, leading to the Bucs’ wideout receiving a smaller piece to the passing pie. Godwin came up short over his past three games (7/57, 6/65/1, 4/24). When at his best, he delivered three impact games (9/105/1, 8/111/1, 8/140/1). In Week 2, Godwin caught four of his five targets for 62 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons.
Atlanta sits 27th defending wide receivers (141/1,670/15). Their secondary has allowed two or more touchdowns to six different offenses. The Falcons faced seven opponents (PHI, WAS, NYJ, MIA, NO, NE, JAC) with questionable depth and talent at wide receiver.
I expect Tom Brady to regain his passing stride in this matchup, pointing to the Bucs’ top two wide receivers being active in Week 13. Godwin is my second-ranked wide receiver in Week 13 (7/101/1).
Bet: More than 63.5 receiving yards for Ja’Marr Chase (-115)
Chase’s game has slowed down since a big Week 7 (8/201/1). Over his last four matchups, he’s caught only 15 of his 31 targets for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Game score crushed his opportunity in Week 12 (3/39 on three targets). Over his downturn, Joe Burrow struggled to get him the ball downfield (10.1 yards per catch – 21.5 yards per catch over his first seven games).
The Chargers have the second-best wide receiver defense (123/1,441/5) while showing some regression in the secondary in Week 11 (MIN – 14/208) and Week 12 (16/218/1). Los Angeles struggles vs. the run (341/1,572/15), leading to fewer passing chances (31.2 per game). Over the previous four games, three wideouts (DeVonta Smith – 5/116/1, Justin Jefferson – 9/143, Diontae Johnson – 7/101/1) gained over 100 yards receiving. Los Angeles knows it must slow down Chase in the deep passing game, but it also needs its safeties to support the run defense with Joe Mixon trending upward. Burrow needs an improved passing window to find his star wide receiver downfield. Chase looks due to regain his early momentum in receiver yards. I have him projected for five catches for 88 yards with a 75 percent chance of scoring.
Bet: More than 39.5 receiving yards for Logan Thomas (-120)
After missing six games with a hamstring injury, Thomas returned to action against Seattle. Washington had him on the field for 79 percent of its plays in Week 13, leading to three catches for 31 yards on six targets. Over his first three starts, he caught 12 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns on 14 targets. Washington’s tight ends have 47 catches for 452 yards and four touchdowns on 63 targets over 11 games.
The Raiders have the 30th-ranked defense against tight ends (67/723/7). Most of their failure came in five matchups (10/86, 9/121/2, 12/120/1, 7/58/1, and 9/120/1).
Taylor Heinicke tends to be a dink-and-dunk quarterback who has a good feel for extending drives with his legs and short passes. Thomas should be an excellent upgrade to his receiving arsenal while having a favorable matchup against Las Vegas. I have him projected for five catches for 50 yards and 0.5 touchdowns.
More betting & fantasy: