Week 10 Prop Bets: Colts ride RB2 in Germany

League: NFL

Posted on: 10 Nov, 2023 at 04:49 PM

Credit: Hali Tauxe/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

With the NFL regular season halfway in the books, it makes sense to take stock of how things have unfolded regarding player props. In Week 9, I highlighted the difficulty of finding an edge in this betting market as sportsbooks further sharpen their lines.

To understand how challenging this market can be, two of my quarterback prop selections failed to cash by three completions combined. Such is the risk when you play props to go over their projections.

I'm always a bit cautious when I find myself playing too many overs. You almost need a perfect game script to have things go your way.

The reality is that there are simply too many variables that go unaccounted for in prop projections-thus creating inherent value on the under.

For Week 10, I'll try to put that theory to work by targeting the props with a decent chance to stay under their projections.

--Colts RB Jonathan Taylor under 17.5 rushing attempts (-120 at PointsBet)
After showing a willingness to part ways with Taylor, the Indianapolis Colts reversed course and signed the fourth-year pro to a three-year deal worth $42 million. Taylor began the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list while the Colts explored possible trade options.

However, the Colts felt the trade offers didn't represent fair market value and ultimately kept the former All-Pro running back. Whether they were correct to extend Taylor isn't a closed case.

A closer look at his year-over-year stats might point to regression.

After averaging five yards per carry in his rookie season and 5.5 yards in Year 2, Taylor averaged 4.5 yards in his third season.

This season, his rushing average is down to 4.1 yards per carry.

Zack Moss filled in admirably for Taylor when he missed the first four games of the campaign. Through eight games, Moss is averaging 4.7 yards per carry. That's roughly the same mark (4.8 yards per carry) since the Bills traded him to the Colts last season.

Taylor averaged 2.6 rushing yards on 18 carries in the Colts' Week 9 victory over the Panthers. And given how well Moss continues to run the ball, I expect him to eat into Taylor's workload and take some carries away from him in Week 10.

--Saints TE Juwan Johnson under 25.5 receiving yards (-125 at PointsBet)
This is more of a math exercise.

Numbers point to this prop staying under: Johnson averages five receiving yards per target (19), as he's likelier to see between three and four targets per game.

Foster Moreau, another Saints tight end, averages 9.58 receiving yards per target (12).

Johnson doesn't just have to contend with only Moreau. Saints' utility man, Taysom Hill, is also taking snaps at the tight end position.

Hill averages 5.68 receiving yards per target and catches 80 percent of the passes thrown his way compared to 68% for Johnson.

The Saints also have capable wide receivers in Chris Olave, Rashid Shaheed and Michael Thomas. Thomas failed to record a reception in his lone target against the Bears in Week 9.

Look for Thomas to play a more significant role in the offense this week, adding further credence to playing Johnson under his receiving prop.

--Browns RB Kareem Hunt over 23.5 rushing yards (-110 at BetMGM)
As much as I wanted to target the props with the best chance to stay under this week, this is one where the numbers point the other direction.

Hunt was out of the league until the Browns swooped in and signed him following Nick Chubb's season-ending knee injury in Week 2.

The Browns slowly worked Hunt into the mix, giving him five carries the following week in their 27-3 victory over the Titans. He got another five carries in their 28-3 loss to the Ravens in Week 4.

Since the Week 5 bye, Hunt has 10-plus carries in four consecutive games.

Given that the Browns sit third in the league with a run-play rate of 48.52%, he should get plenty of opportunities to carry the rock. Cleveland also utilizes Pierre Strong Jr. in the backfield, but he's questionable with a hamstring injury and was limited in practice this week.

In the first meeting with the Ravens, the Browns suited up third-string quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, and his three interceptions were a big reason why the game was so lopsided. In a closer rematch, Hunt gets extra work.

--By Michael Nwaneri, Field Level Media