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NFL Playoff Betting: Championship Weekend Player Props
by Alan Matthews - 1/20/2010

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice.

Courtesy of Brobury Sports, we’ll take a look at three prop bet option bets available on the skill players involved in the NFL’s championship weekend. That’s the beauty of playoff football – unique betting options.

Let’s start with the quarterbacks and Brobury’s odds for which QB will have the most passing yards this weekend:

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Drew Brees (Saints): +150
Peyton Manning (Colts): +180
Brett Favre (Vikings): +250
Mark Sanchez (Jets): +500

Now, the value bettor in you might want to take a long shot bet on Sanchez, but don’t waste your money there. Rex Ryan is simply asking Sanchez not to lose the game, much like the Ravens did with rookie Joe Flacco in last year’s playoffs. Do you realize Sanchez has thrown for more than 182 yards just once since Week 11? Shoot, he has passed for more than 200 four times all season – Brees, Favre and Manning have had that by halftime in a game this year. The Jets have run the ball 70 times total in the two playoff games, and you can bet that will continue.

I happen to think that Favre is the best value here. Adrian Peterson isn’t running all that well and the Saints have by far the worst passing defense (if you go by regular-season ranking) of the four remaining playoff teams. The Saints were allowing 300-yard games to guys like Jason Campbell and Chris Redman near the end of the regular season, and Tony Romo tore them up in Week 15 in New Orleans. That unit looked better last week against the Cardinals, but that was mainly due to pressure on Kurt Warner -- New Orleans sent at least five pass rushers on 12 of Warner's 27 pass plays last week. The goal of the Saint defense is to bend but not break, meaning Favre could rack up a ton of yards moving up and down the field.

I certainly believe Brees will be the main challenger to Favre, but that Minnesota pass rush looks awful good right now and Dallas made Brees look average with pressure. Manning, meanwhile, is facing the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL in the Jets, although he probably will throw a ton because the Colts can’t run it. But for value, take Favre.

Most rushing yards

Adrian Peterson (Vikings): +200
Shonn Greene (Jets): +250
Thomas Jones (Jets): +350
Joseph Addai (Colts): +500
Pierre Thomas (Saints): +500
Reggie Bush (Saints): +1000
Mike Bell (Saints): +1000

Hard to believe that Peterson is the favorite considering he had just 63 yards rushing on 26 carries in Sunday's playoff win over Dallas and has now gone eight games in a row without reaching the century mark. Let’s face it, Minnesota has evolved into a passing team. The Jets’ Greene has all of a sudden overtaken Jones as the No. 1 back in New York with 263 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs so far. Greene is only the third rookie since 2000 to rush for 100 yards in a playoff game – and he has done it twice. However, he was held fairly well in check last week by the Chargers other than that franchise playoff record 53-yard TD run that gave New York a 17-7 fourth-quarter lead. Don’t know about you, but I’m not betting my money on a rookie to run for 100 yards in three straight playoff games – it no doubt will take at least 100 for a runner to win this prop.

It’s hard to recommend taking Addai here because the Jets are so good against the run. The Vikings also are stellar against the run. So who does that leave? You might be tempted to take Bush at +1000, as he looked as good as he ever has last week. However, Bush still only got five carries – he won’t get enough carries because he’s too valuable as a returner and pass catcher (he hasn’t had more than six carries since Week 3). Thus I believe the best value is either the Saints’ Thomas at +500 – he ran 13 times for 52 yards last week against Arizona – or the Jets’ Jones because I believe the Colts will be very aware of Greene this week. Jones also had 109 yards against Indy in that Week 16 victory.

Most receiving yards

Sidney Rice (Vikings): +200
Marques Colston (Saints): +300
Reggie Wayne (Colts): +400
Devery Henderson (Saints): +400
Dallas Clark (Colts): +550
Braylon Edwards (Jets): +1000
Jerricho Cotchery (Jets): +1000
Percy Harvin (Vikings): +1000

Rice was an afterthought when this season began and was probably not even drafted in your fantasy football league, but he has become arguably a top-five receiver in the league now. Brobury got it right in making him the favorite – but I go back to that bend-don’t-break attitude of the Saints’ defense. I don’t believe they allow the big throw to Rice that Dallas did twice.

The Saints share the wealth so much that I wouldn’t go near a New Orleans receiver. And the Jets just don’t throw enough to bother with one of their guys. So in my opinion the best value here is actually the only tight end on the list: Dallas Clark of the Colts. Reggie Wayne is a stud, no question, but he will draw Darrelle Revis, the NFL’s best cover corner. Clark had 100 catches this season and has 27 TDs over the past three – he will find those inside seams in the Jets defense, and Manning will be throwing a ton with no running game to speak of. Clark did have two 100-yard games this season (and one 99-yarder) and had 57 yards on four catches in Week 16 against the Jets when he only played really a half. So if you double that, you have 114 yards which should be enough to win this prop.

After reading this NFL piece head over to our NFL Wagering page. If you plan on betting NFL you'll also want to read our understand reading football odds page. When it comes to betting NFL our NFL draft prospects feature is a must for any NFL fan. Keep abreast of all the NFL topics as well as free picks and predictions on Doc's home page - check it out after reading this article.

Good luck and check back with Doc’s next week for the beginning of many Super Bowl prop stories.
                       


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