NFL wild-card weekend betting guide: Props, odds, lines, more

ByMike Clay ESPN logo
Friday, January 12, 2024

The NFL playoffs are right around the corner, and the betting market is loaded with player props. That's why we're bringing you the NFL betting playbook, highlighting some of the top options for each game of wild-card weekend.

My weekly betting playbook features several data points for each of this weekend's scheduled games, along with my analysis of a few notable lines I'm interested in betting, although this article is designed in a way that allows you to pick your own favorites.

Exclusively for ESPN+ members: If you'd like to see a list of over 200 props and my recommended plays for each, please click on this link here.

Note: Odds by ESPN BET and correct as of time of publication.

NRG Stadium, Houston

Saturday 4:30 p.m. ET

Money Line: Cleveland Browns (-135); Houston Texans (+115)

Total: 44.5; Opened: 43.5

FPI favorite: Browns by 0.2 (50.5% to win outright)

Clay's Projected Score: Texans 21.2, Browns 21.1

  • Jalen Pitre under 4.5 solos (-135): Pitre has played on at least 90% of Houston's defensive snaps in 13 games this season. He has fallen short of 5.0 solo tackles in eight of those games, including three straight. Pitre averaged 4.1 solos in those 13 games and also left two games early, falling short of 5.0 in both. One of those departures came against the Browns in Week 16. Cleveland is around mid-pack in tackles allowed to opposing safeties. Pitre is rarely in the box (he's aligned at free safety 72% of the time) and, even in a projected every-down role, the odds suggest he'll fall short of 5.0 solos.
  • Sione Takitaki under 7.5 total tackles (-105): Takitaki has reached eight tackles in just one of 15 games this season. The exception was a 16-tackle effort against the Jets in Week 17, which is part of why this line is so high. Takitaki played on 61% of snaps during the regular season, though he cleared 90% in two of his final three games onceAnthony Walker Jr. went on IR. Still, Takitaki fell short of eight tackles in three of the four games in which he played on at least 80% of snaps. Takitaki and top Cleveland off-ball LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah both fell short of 7.5 tackles when these teams met in Week 16.

GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Saturday 8 p.m. ET

Money Line: Miami Dolphins (+190);Kansas City Chiefs (-225)

Total: 43.5; Opened: 51.5

FPI favorite: Chiefs by 1 (52.6% to win outright)

Clay's Projected Score: Dolphins 23, Chiefs 22

  • Travis Kelce over 5.5 receptions (+100): It's been a down season for Kelce, and yet the veteran tight end is averaging 6.2 receptions per game and has reached six catches in nine out of 15 games. His production dipped during the second half of the regular season, but he maintained a good target share most weeks and has a history of high-end production in the playoffs. Kelce has six-plus catches in five consecutive playoff games and 13 out of 18 in his career, averaging 7.4 per game during the span. Miami allowed the seventh-most TE receptions during the regular season and is dealing with major injury issues defensively, with the likes of Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb, Andrew Van Ginkel, Xavien Howard and Jerome Baker out (and several others questionable). This one is enticing at plus money.
  • Trent McDuffie over 2.5 solos (-167):McDuffie has produced at least three solo tackles in 11 out of 16 games. That includes four solos when these teams met in Week 11. McDuffie is an every-down player (a 97% snap share when active this season) and covers the slot in nickel. That allows him additional snaps near the line of scrimmage and has helped him to 80 total tackles this season. That total trails only safety Justin Reid for the most on the team. The Eagles allow 13.6 tackles per game to corners, which is ninth most.

Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

Sunday 1 p.m. ET

Money Line: Pittsburgh Steelers (+380); Buffalo Bills (-500)

Total:35.5; Opened: 42.5

FPI favorite: Bills by 10.4 (76.6% to win outright)

Clay's Projected Score: Bills 25, Steelers 20

  • Mason Rudolph over 26.5 passing attempts (-110): Rudolph has played three full games this season and has posted passing attempt totals of 27, 24 and 20 (23.7 average). That may point you to the under, but keep in mind that the Steelers won those games by margins of 23, 7 and 7, respectively. Pittsburgh was ahead or tied on 95% of its offensive snaps during those three games -- easily the league's highest rate during the span. The Steelers entered Rudolph's first start having been ahead on 18% of offensive snaps (third lowest) and, while the case could be made that Rudolph has improved the offense, the most important data point here is that the Steelers are massive 10-point road underdogs against the Bills this weekend. Also, Rudolph's career suggests he's not much of a difference-maker, and he entered this season averaging 37.1 passing attempts over the eight career games in which he played most of the snaps (27-plus in all eight). The opposing team registered at least 27 passing attempts in 14 out of 17 games against the Bills this season.

AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Sunday 4:30 p.m. ET

Money Line: Green Bay Packers (+270); Dallas Cowboys (-340)

Total:50.5; Opened: 48.5

FPI favorite: Cowboys by 9.1 (73.6% to win outright)

Clay's Projected Score: Cowboys 29, Packers 24

  • Aaron Jones under 69.5 rushing yards (-115): Jones has registered 20-plus carries and 110-plus rushing yards in three consecutive games, but that production was very game-script dependent. The Packers led on 73% of their offensive snaps during the stretch, which easily paced the league. Prior to that three-game run, Green Bay had led on only 28% of its offensive snaps (23rd) and Jones had reached 55 rushing yards only once in his other eight games (73 yards in a 20-3 win over the Rams in Week 9). That's notable this week, as the Packers are hefty road underdogs against the Cowboys. Dallas has allowed only two backs to reach 70 rushing yards in a game this season.

Ford Field, Detroit

Sunday 8:15 p.m. ET

Money Line: Los Angeles Rams (+140); Detroit Lions (-165)

Total:51.5; Opened: 51.5

FPI favorite: Lions by 1.4 (53.9% to win outright)

Clay's Projected Score: Lions 28, Rams 25

  • Cooper Kupp under 6.5 receptions (-155): Kupp averaged 4.9 receptions during 12 regular-season games. He reached seven catches only four times, and two of those came in his first two games of the season. Kupp had a receptions prop of either 6.5 or 7.5 five times during the regular season and fell short on all five occasions. Detroit has allowed the sixth-most WR receptions this season, but only seven receivers reached seven catches in a game against them.

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

Monday 8:15 p.m. ET

Money Line: Philadelphia Eagles (-160); Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+135)

Total: 43.5; Opened: 44.5

FPI favorite: Eagles by 2.6 (57.3% to win outright)

Clay's Projected Score: Buccaneers 25, Eagles 23

  • Devin White over 1.5 assists (-149) and over 4.5 total tackles (-150): White has registered at least 2.0 assists in 11 out of 14 games and at least 4.5 total tackles in nine out of 14 games this season. Most of the exceptions have come in his past six games, but his usage has remained consistent, suggesting that the recent dip is likely noise. White has aligned at off-ball linebacker on 75% of his snaps and is an every-down player (a 97% snap share when active this season). The Eagles are near mid-pack in tackles allowed to off-ball linebackers, and White registered 2.0 assists and 7.0 total tackles when these teams played back in Week 3.
  • Rachaad White under 4.5 receptions (-170): There have been 33 instances of a running back with a reception prop of 4.5 this season. Only 12 of the 33 went over. White (who has had a reception prop this high just once this season) is averaging 4.2 targets and 3.8 receptions per game. He has reached five catches in only five out of 17 games, including only one of his past seven outings. The second-year back caught three passes on three targets while playing on a season-high 91% of the Buccaneers' offensive snaps when these teams met in Week 3. Only five backs have reached five receptions in a game against the Eagles this season.

Exclusively for ESPN+ members: If you'd like to see a list of over 200 props and my recommended plays for each, please click on thislink here.

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