GRABS FROM THE BACKFIELD
Only the Indianapolis Colts have allowed more receptions to running backs than the Tennessee Titans this year. Mike Vrabel’s defense is averaging nearly six receptions and 49 yards to opposing backs per game. Through two playoff games, Tennessee has allowed 15 catches for 138 yards to New England and Baltimore’s running backs.
Last week Patrick Mahomes didn’t look Damien Williams’ way in the passing game often because he didn’t need to as Travis Kelce and the receivers were getting open at will against the Texans’ 26th-ranked pass defense. Williams played 62 of K.C.’s 64 snaps and fellow RB LeSean McCoy is banged up, so the volume is not the question. Will Mahomes look underneath for Williams versus the Titans’ No. 21 pass defense? We are willing to put some dollars down to say he will.
Grab Williams’ Over 28.5 receiving yards.
Last week, the Chiefs QB threw for 321 yards and five touchdowns. In the offensive onslaught, Mahomes had a long completion of 48 yards, something the reigning MVP has been doing since his return from injury. Since Mahomes came back in Week 11, the quarterback has had a completion of over 43 yards in five of his eight games and three of his four home games.
With Tyreek Hill and Marlon Hardman providing the ability to take it long on any touch as well as Travis Kelce’s skillset, Mahomes can turn a simple bubble screen into 45 yards or wait for a Hill double move and air it out. Either way, we like the QB’s chances of completing a pass longer than 43.5 yards.
Chiefs receiver Sammy Watkins only has 12 receptions in his last five games, but the veteran receiver has turned those grabs into 211 yards, good for 17.6 yards per reception. Watkins has had a reception of 17 yards or longer in four of his last five games and is 9-5 O/U on the year of long receptions of 16.5 yards.
We are getting on the Over 17.5 yards for Sammy Watkins’ longest reception.
Love the Chiefs to win but don’t feel great taking 7 points? Check out the Chiefs’ double result prop bet (-120). If K.C. wins the first half and then wins the game, you win. It makes cheering for the Chiefs’ first-half moneyline easier than 1H -4 and can give you action for the entirety of the game.
The same idea goes for the 49ers, but as they currently sit at 7.5-point favorites, their double result is a little juicier at -130.
If you’re looking for bigger odds in a similar market, take a look at result and total. If K.C. wins but the total goes Over 53.5, bettors can bank +140. And if you like San Francisco and the Under but don’t want to play the spread, take the 49ers and Under 46.5 for +150.
ADAMS VS. THE SHERMANATOR
If you’ve noticed, we haven’t put a lot of action on the Green Bay at San Francisco game. We like teasing the Under with the KC Over as well as San Fran -1.5 with KC -1, some Tevin Coleman props and that's about it. The San Fran defense is too scary a unit to bet against and the 49ers showed us last week that they can pound the ball if they want which kills the market in their passing prop game. The last lean we have on this game is the San Francisco secondary — mainly Richard Sherman — containing Packers’ Davante Adams.
Adams is coming off a big game last week (8-160-2) which could help us get a larger number on his receiving total this week. But the GB No. 1 has also gone over 100 yards receiving in each of his last four games and collected four TDs along the way. However, San Fran didn’t let Adams get loose in its Week 12 matchup as the receiver grabbed seven passes, but for just 43 yards. The Niners also allow the fewest yards to opposing WR1s this year (54.9 ypg) and held Stefan Diggs to two catches and 57 yards last week. We like the Davante Adams Under 83.5 yards a lot more than we like the Over.
Apparently, losing means hitting your rushing prop total if you’re a quarterback. Last week, three of the four losing QBs hit the Over on their rushing totals. This week, Ryan Tannehill and Aaron Rodgers are the underdogs heading into the conference championships. Here are our best QB rushing props for the weekend:
Tannehill has rushed for 11 and 13 yards with a touchdown through his two playoff games and those aren’t numbers we can get behind for a rushing total. However, if the Titans get up on the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes is more than capable of creating with his legs as his 53 yards on seven carries versus Houston showed. Lamar Jackson ran for 143 yards against the Titans last week and with Mahomes averaging just 15 yards rushing per game this year, we get a great number on his rushing total. Take the Over on Mahomes’ rushing total of 19.5.
Last week, the Green Bay QB took off five times for 14 yards. With his team jumping out to an early lead, Rodgers didn’t have to get creative. Sunday could be a different story with the Packers as 7.5-point underdogs. Rodgers has played 17 playoff games in his career and has won 10 of those. In those wins, he has averaged 9.1 yards rushing per game but has averaged a robust 28 yards per game on the ground in his seven playoff losses. Rodgers could also be under constant pressure from the San Francisco defensive front. Look to take the Over on Rodgers’ rush total of 12.5 yards.
The Titans knocked of the Ravens, but Baltimore still managed to put up 530 yards of offense and made 29 first downs compared to Tennessee's 15.
It’s safe to say that Lamar and the offense left some points on the board as they scored just 12 points. We doubt Mahomes and an offense that can score three TDs in less than four minutes will do the same. We’re going to tease this total down six points to 46.5 and hit the Over.
For the nightcap, we are going to move the posts the other way as San Francisco’s defense looked dominant last week and held Rodgers to just 104 yards passing in Week 9. The Niners look to be at full strength defensively and are keeping rushers fresh with constant substitutions. If Rogers is facing third-and-long often, the Packers will struggle to move the ball. We’re teasing this total up to 51 and taking the Under.
RBS BY THE BAY
With the 49ers relying less on Jimmy Garoppolo and the passing game and more on the running game last week, we’re quite content on taking the team’s best running back who led the backfield in snaps and out-touched his closest competition 22 to 12.
We liked San Francisco’s commitment to giving a running back a full series as opposed to constantly swapping for fresh legs. Kyle Shananhan seemed to prefer Tevin Coleman running the ball than Raheem Mostert, as the former took most of the snaps in the first and third San Francisco possessions.
Coleman ran for 105 yards and two TDs versus Minnesota’s Top-10 rush defense and will get to run loose versus Green Bay’s No. 23 DVOA rush defense that allowed two rushing TDs to Marshawn Lynch last week.
We are jumping on the anytime Coleman TD (+110) that we will pair with his Over 43.5 rushing yards. If you’re looking for a bigger pay out, snap up Coleman to score the first touchdown of the NFC Championship at +800 odds.
Through the eight playoff games, six of them have had a one-yard touchdown including all four games in the Divisional round last week. In total, eight one-yard TDs have been scored in the playoffs with Tennessee having scored one in each round.
Amazingly, a one-yard TD has been scored in each of the Titans’ last 10 games (including playoffs) with a total of 15 one-yard plunges occurring over that stretch with the Titans scoring seven of them.
Where are we going with this you may ask yourselves. Well, have you heard of the shortest TD scored prop? Its total is always 1.5 yards, making a team that has a knack for scoring one-yard TDs profitable. Currently, the Under sits at -125 which tells us we are sniffing in the right direction.
With a total of 53 points, we are expecting a high-scoring game in Kansas City which will hopefully give us a handful of chances to score a one-yard TD.
Take the Under 1.5 yards for the shortest touchdown.
TEASING THE POINT-SPREAD
This is as square as a six-point teaser gets, but we love the favorites and are more than happy to take them at -1 or -1.5.
Tennessee will have a chance to make history by knocking off three divisional winners but can it really go +185, +375 and +270 three weeks in a row on the road? We love taking the Chiefs and their quick-striking offense by less than a field goal. We are teasing the Chiefs’ spread down to -1 from -7.
As we mentioned yesterday, we think points will be hard to come by for the as their team total sits at 17.5 — about as low as it gets in the playoffs. San Francisco doesn’t even need to score TDs in the red zone to cover by 1.5 points. The 49ers rushing attack could be big trouble for the Packers rush defense that gave up nearly 120 yards a game. (10th most in the league). We are teasing the points down to SF -1.5 from 7.5.
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THE STREAK ENDS IN ARROWHEAD
Everyone knows about the Chiefs’ offense and how it erased a 24-point deficit in the amount of time it took us to get a snack and a beverage. But the Chiefs’ defense isn’t getting talked about enough. They gave up nearly 450 yards of offense which looks bad on paper, but the majority of it was with Houston trying to catch up.
Outside of the opening drive's 54-yard TD, the Chiefs’ defense went: punt, TD, FG, turnover on downs, fumble, punt and missed field goal to end the first half. That was in a half where the Chiefs allowed 24 points. Houston would go on to score just one more TD and finish the day 5-for-15 on third downs, 1-for-5 on fourth downs and ran for under 100 yards.
With the Titans only throwing for 154 yards in BOTH playoff games, we don’t see them passing their team total of 22.5 points especially if the Chiefs can force Tannehill into third and long and use the strength of their pass rush to bring the kicking unit on the field.
Last week, the Texans scored two touchdowns in the first five minutes of the game at Arrowhead. This puts the Chiefs’ record to 5-1 with a touchdown being scored in the first eight minutes of a game at home.
Tennessee averaged seven points per first quarter in Weeks 15-17 and has also had success in hitting the early TDs. The Titans scored a TD on their second possession last week, their first possession in the Wild Card game and scored or conceded a touchdown in the first eight minutes of a game in each of their last five games leading up to the playoffs.
We are looking for an early score in the early game on Sunday and taking a touchdown scored before 8:00 elapsed (-120).
The Super Bowl may be more than two weeks away but there's no reason why we can’t put down some bets on future Super Bowl MVPs.
The best long shot we see is a running back who took the majority of his team’s snaps last week - a team that's favored by more than a touchdown at home this week. Tevin Coleman out-touched Raheem Mostert 22 to 12 and ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns versus a Top-10 defense in the Divisional Round. This week, he gets Green Bay’s No. 23 DVOA rush defense and could be facing the Kansas City Chiefs’ No. 29 DVOA rush defense on Super Sunday.
A running back hasn’t won the Super Bowl MVP since Terrell Davis did it in 1998 and since that time 13 quarterbacks, four wide receivers, three linebackers and a safety have won the award. But with Coleman sporting +8,000 odds to win the MVP, we're taking a stab as the other three top running backs still in the playoffs are +1,200, +2,500 and +3,300, giving Coleman great value.
KING OF THE HILL
Tennessee and Kansas City battled in Week 10 this year with the Titans getting the victory, 35-32. It was the first game that Patrick Mahomes played after his knee injury and the Kansas City QB set season highs in attempts (50), completions (36) and yards (446). Tyreek Hill also set season highs in receptions (11) and yards (157) and will square off again against the Titans’ secondary that allowed 88.4 yards to teams’ No. 1 receivers this year, which was the second-highest amount in the league.
With Travis Kelce going off for 10-134-3 last week, we expect the tight end to receive a lot of attention. If Hill sees single coverage, he could top his yardage totals in as little as two plays. Hill has not topped 75 yards since Week 10 versus the Titans, which is why we're getting a reasonable total of 75.5 receiving yards. He wasn’t that far off, though, hitting 60-plus yards in four of his last games — those extra dozen yards are just one missed tackle for the 4.25 speedster.
We aren’t expecting a repeat of Week 10, but with Kelce stuffing the stat sheet last week we like the chances of Hill getting loose on Sunday. Take the Over 75.5 receiving yards on Hill’s total.
CAMPING WITH COLEMAN
Remember when we tooted the horn of Tevin Coleman? Good, because there's more Coleman value to be had this weekend. Coleman saw 46 percent of the backfield snaps last week with Raheem Mostert getting 34 percent and No. 3 Matt Breida getting a handful of late touches and absorbing 17 percent.
The 49ers ran 68 offensive plays versus the Vikings and ran the ball 47 times and there's no reason for them to deviate from a successful game plan if they get an early lead again.
Coleman averaged 4.1 yards per carry this year, but that number jumped north of five over the last four weeks of the season — in limited usage. The Packers allowed 4.7 yards per carry (24th) on the year and 5.2 yards per carry in Weeks 15-17 (28th). Last week, the Packers didn’t face much of a running threat in Seattle, but they did allow the 49ers to run for 112 yards on 5.1 ypc back in Week 9. We're grabbing the Over on Coleman’s rushing total of 42.5 yards.
Even without their best pass-rusher in Chris Jones, the Kansas City Chiefs still managed five sacks on a mobile QB last week. Jones is still questionable against a Tennessee offensive line that has had its QB sacked just once in its last three games. However, if K.C. can get up early — easier said than done — and force Ryan Tannehill to pass, it will greatly increase its chances of creating pressure.
In games that Tannehill has passed more than 23 times (six games), the QB has thrown five interceptions. Although Deshaun Watson never threw an interception in his 52 passes last week, there were plenty of opportunities for the Chiefs - spots that they can capitalize on this Sunday.
We are taking the Over on Tannehill’s Over 0.5 interceptions as Kansas City has averaged 0.9 interceptions at home this year.