This article will highlight eight prop bets on quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends for NFL Week 12 that appear favorable based on the output of the Professor’s predictive model. The numbers and prices available are from DraftKings.
Tom Brady, QB, TB: 315.5 Passing Yards, 0.5 Interceptions
Michael Pittman Jr, WR, IND: 65.5 Receiving Yards
Tom Brady has thrown five interceptions in his past three games, a bizarre run for a quarterback who now has 199 interceptions in 311 career regular-season games. It hasn’t all been on Brady; miscues from his receivers have contributed to the turnovers. Either way, this streak seems likely to end sooner than later, which makes the price of +110 for Brady not to throw an interception appealing. Bucs fans will like to hear that, but may not like the take that Brady will go under 315.5 passing yards. That’s a lofty total; if the Bucs defense can contain Colts running back Jonathan Taylor to some degree and keep this game at a moderate pace, the game flow wouldn’t set up for Brady to get into a shootout.
As to Taylor, the NFL’s leading rusher faces an interesting challenge in a Tampa Bay defense that is allowing 3.8 yards per carry but will be without star linebacker Devin White for this contest. 3.8 yards per carry is a quality number, but Buffalo’s defense is at 3.9 for the season even after the whooping Taylor put on them last week, so that metric is no guarantee the Bucs can slow Taylor. Either way, Indianapolis is likely to need more out of Carson Wentz and the passing game than they did against Buffalo last week, and Michael Pittman Jr. had topped 65.5 yards in three of four games before Taylor’s performance last week made the passing game an afterthought. He’s set up for a rebound this week.
The model has Brady at a mean projection of 277.7 passing yards; I’ll take the under 315.5 at -115.
The model has Brady at a mean projection of 0.5 interceptions; I’ll take the under 0.5 at +110.
The model has Pittman Jr. at a mean projection of 68.8 receiving yards; I’ll take the over 65.5 at -115.
Kirk Cousins, QB, MIN: 1.5 Passing TDs
Kirk Cousins and the Vikings travel to San Francisco in a matchup of teams on two-game winning streaks. Cousins and the Minnesota offense have played at a fairly high level throughout the season; the obvious issue had been the left tackle position, but the introduction of first-round pick Christian Darrisaw at left tackle midway through the season has stabilized that situation, and the Vikings are hitting on all cylinders heading into a matchup with a talented 49ers defense. With receiver Justin Jefferson on a tear and some potential holes to exploit in the 49ers’ secondary, expect Cousins to continue on his best season to date; it’s a bit of a shock that despite Minnesota’s average record, Cousins has thrown 21 touchdowns to two interceptions this season. Cousins has thrown at least two touchdowns in seven of ten games this season; that measure would indicate the over 1.5 at -165 (62.26% break-even) is a solid value.
The model has Cousins at a mean projection of 1.8 passing TDs; I’ll take the over 1.5 at -165.
Jalen Hurts, QB, PHI: 49.5 Rushing Yards
The Eagles have taken off since they began to emphasize quarterback Jalen Hurts as the centerpiece in the run game and there’s no reason to think they would change the formula now. Hurts showed as a rookie that he was a powerful runner with excellent contact balance, but he’s thrown in more jukes in recent weeks, which makes him a more difficult tackle on top of the schematic advantage he creates. Hurts is averaging 5.1 yards per carry this season and has had at least ten carries in five of the last six games; the exception was Detroit and Hurts ran for 71 yards on seven carries in that game. He is likely to top the 50-yard mark again this week.
The model has Hurts at a mean projection of 67.5 rushing yards; I’ll take the over 49.5 at -115.
Chase Claypool, WR, PIT: 55.5 Receiving Yards
The Steelers have a talent advantage against Cincinnati in the wide receiver vs. cornerback matchup; Chase Claypool posted nine receptions for 96 yards on 15 targets the last time these teams faced off. Both Claypool and Diontae Johnson should have the opportunity for significant production in this game, particularly as Pittsburgh’s defense has forced the offense into shootouts in recent weeks. It would help Claypool’s prospects if Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow can get his team’s passing game back on track and force the action on Pittsburgh’s side but Claypool will get his opportunities regardless.
The model has Claypool at a mean projection of 58.9 receiving yards; I’ll take the over at -115.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, CAR: TD Scorer
Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has only scored two combined touchdowns in his injury-riddled 2021 NFL season, which has brought his TD scorer price down to -110. Despite last week’s loss to Washington, McCaffrey’s prospects appear brighter based on the role he played as a runner and receiver next to quarterback Cam Newton in that game, as McCaffrey averaged nearly six yards per carry and caught seven passes for sixty yards and a touchdown. The Panthers’ offense should be able to move the ball against the Miami defense; McCaffrey scored 38 touchdowns in 35 games from 2018-2020 and with Newton at quarterback, McCaffrey is in a better position to reestablish that pace.
The model has McCaffrey at a mean projection of 0.7 combined touchdowns; I’ll take McCaffrey as a TD scorer at -110.
Kyle Pitts, TE, ATL: TD Scorer
Kyle Pitts and the Atlanta offense have gone through a brutal four-game stretch since the two-game sequence where Pitts broke out with 382 yards and a touchdown in games against the Dolphins and Jets. In the games since, Pitts has been the focal point of four of the NFL’s better defenses: Carolina, New Orleans, Dallas, and New England.
Jacksonville’s defense presents a less daunting challenge and offensive weapon Cordarrelle Patterson is on track to get back in action for the Falcons, which will help the offense as a whole. Pitts has continued to produce a few “wow” moments in each game during the offense’s down stretch; look for the Falcons to use him heavily in a game that is a must-win for Atlanta if they are going to factor into the playoff race.
The model has Pitts at a mean projection of 0.5 combined touchdowns; I’ll take Pitts as a TD scorer at +115.
This article examined several prop bets for the upcoming week of NFL Action. To get access to more of The Professor’s content, check out BeerLife Sports.