Week 14’s Best NFL Player Prop Bets
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott
It hasn’t exactly been a season for the books for the Dallas Cowboys or their one-time, undoubted superstar running back Ezekiel Elliott. In a campaign where Dak Prescott, amid a career year, suffers an early season-ending injury and throws the offense into chaos, Elliott has felt the effects. Dallas has had four players in the quarterback role at one point or another in a season worthy of the wacky 2020 theme. Add to that a litany of injuries on the offensive line, and it’s not hard to see why it’s been a challenging year for Elliott.
The 2016 first-round pick is averaging just 65.3 yards per game on the ground. Elliott’s previous low in a season was almost 85 yards per game, to put that number in perspective. The Cowboys back is in the middle of a bog of players running for 60ish yards per game and currently sits 12th in the league. It’s a far cry from his career-best season mark of almost 109 yards per game in his rookie year.
Part of the reason for his struggles is that the Cowboys have just not been a very good team this year. Dallas has routinely found themselves in early holes even when Prescott was still under center. Playing from behind generally means an abandonment of the run and a pass-heavy game. The numbers support it, with Elliot averaging a career-low 16 attempts. Matching up with a banged-up bad Bengals team should change the playing from behind trend.
Cincinnati may have actually had it worst than Dallas this season. The AFC North team lost their future star starting quarterback Joe Burrow and two-time 1,000-yard rusher Joe Mixon to injury. Don’t get it twisted; the Bengals were bad before the crucial injuries but are now just downright awful.
They are particularly horrible at stopping the run. Cincy is allowing nearly 135 rushing yards per game, fourth-most in the NFL. The Bengals are also giving up the fifth-highest per carry average at 4.7. Good news for Elliott and his career-low 3.9-yard average this year.
This game should remain relatively close, with Dallas a three-point road favorite. If the script stays that way, there’s no reason we shouldn’t see a healthy dose of Elliott. The Cowboys back put up his first 100 yard game of the season in Week 11 and should take a run at his second of the year against a weak Bengals run defense on Sunday.
The Pick: Over 75.5 rushing yards (-110)
Chargers WR Keenan Allen
The Los Angeles Chargers have seen the bottom entirely fall out on them the last few weeks. Five losses in six games culminate in an embarrassing 45-0 beating on their home field at the Patriots’ hands. A team that’s been in most games this season regardless of the result may now be thinking about just packing it in with a disappointing 3-9 record. The thing is, team-leader Keenan Allen is not the type of player to pack things in.
The Chargers wideout won the 2017 Comeback player of the year after completely tearing his ACL in 2016. All he did to win the award was finish third with 1,393 yards and fourth in the NFL with 102 catches. If an injury of that magnitude couldn’t hold Allen down, don’t expect a rough streak or poor record to do so, either.
Despite the Chargers’ struggles, their top receiving option hasn’t taken any plays off. He’s on pace for his fourth career Pro Bowl selection, again putting up elite numbers. Allen shares the league lead with 90 receptions and is a top-ten receiver in yards with 923 and seven touchdowns. The North Carolina native is by far the league leader in targets. His 133 looks on the year are 13 more than any other player in the league.
There’s no doubt the Chargers will want to erase last week and come out to avenge the worst blowout loss in franchise history. Atlanta could be the perfect team to do it against. The Falcons have been getting burned by the air attack all year. Their 285 pass yards allowed per game is third-worst in the NFL, and they are in the bottom five in touchdowns allowed. The Falcons allow almost 26 catches per game for a No. 27 league ranking. Great news for a high-volume pass-catcher like Evans, who averages 7.5 receptions per game.
The Chargers are one-point favorites in this one, so there’s no reason to stray from their usual offensive gameplan. Typical for the Bolts is sticking to their No. 6 ranked pass attack, which should equal a productive day for Keenan Allen.
The Pick: Keenan Allen over 6.5 receptions (-148)