Raiders vs. Bengals: The best player prop bets for Wild Card Weekend
Wild Card Weekend is here, and it kicks off with the Raiders traveling to Cincinnati to face the Bengals. Cincinnati topped the AFC North and had the luxury of resting plenty of their star players in last week’s defeat to the Browns, while Las Vegas played out one of the most thrilling final season games in NFL history as they beat the Chargers 35-32 in overtime to secure the No. 5 seed in the AFC.
These sides met previously this season in Week 11 in Vegas, and the Bengals scored 16 points in the final five minutes to run out 32-13 winners. The betting favors Cincinnati by 5.5 points this time around.
Sat, January 15 2022, 9:30 PM
Here are the three best player prop bets as we get Wild Card Weekend underway.
Darren Waller Over/Under 59.5 Receiving Yards
Waller’s season was derailed after he suffered an injury against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving in Week 12, but he managed to get onto the field against the Chargers last week and shake off some rust. Despite only catching two passes for 22 yards against LA, that game was important to get some game conditioning in, so I’m expecting him to be firing on all cylinders against the Bengals.
Before the game he went down, Waller led the Raiders in targets (79), receptions (51), and receiving yards (610). He was averaging 8.8 targets a game and was catching 5.7 passes a game for 67.8 yards. That's right in line with his 2019 and 2020 season averages.
Before his injury, Waller was also averaging 24% of Derek Carr’s targets and 26.6% of the team’s air yards. While Hunter Renfrow’s emergence gives the Raiders another weapon on offense, there’s no doubting Waller is still the key man.
In Week 11 Waller torched the Bengals, catching seven of eight targets for a season-high 116 yards, and there’s a great chance he stars on Saturday. The Bengals have allowed 5.5 catches to the tight end position per game this season, and in his NFL career Waller has had 21 games in which he’s caught six passes or more, and in 86% of them he’s gone for more than 60 yards.
Take the Over and expect Waller to light up Wild Card Weekend.
Joe Burrow Over/Under 261.5 Passing Yards
The Bengals have done a lot right on offense this season, but one thing they can’t seem to do is adequately protect Joe Burrow. It’s a credit to the QB that he still averaged 23 completions and 288 yards per game this season when the offensive line let him down consistently. Of all the NFL QBs who started at least five games this year, only Zach Wilson of the Jets was sacked more times per game than Burrow (3.2).
That hasn’t stopped Burrow from putting up some huge numbers – he threw for 971 yards in his last two games – but there’s a chance he’s not going to get a bit of time against this Raiders defense. Las Vegas racked up 35 sacks and 114 QB during the regular season.
Burrow’s numbers on the season show he is averaging 288 yards per game, but those numbers are hugely inflated by the two big performances in the last couple of weeks against the Ravens and Chiefs. Both those sides rank inside the top six for most passing yards allowed this season, while the Raiders are considerably stronger.
Las Vegas allows just 5.9 passing yards per attempt (sixth strongest in NFL), and in five of their last six games they gave up fewer than 240 yards through the air. Burrow put in his lowest passing yards of the year in Week 11 vs. Las Vegas (148), and the Raiders will be confident they can slam the brakes on the Bengals QB.
The Raiders' rush defense is where they have struggled this season, and Joe Mixon ran 30 times for 123 yards against them in Week 11. It could be another huge day on the ground, and less so through the air.
Josh Jacobs Longest Rush Over/Under 14.5 Yards
Josh Jacobs really upped his game down the stretch to help Vegas reach the playoffs. He ran for 376 yards on 84 carries as the Raiders won their last four straight games. It was a significant workload, and one that you’d expect him to see again on Saturday.
The most interesting prop, however, lies within Jacob’s longest rush. While the Bengals have one of the tougher run defenses in the NFL this year – they give up just 102.5 yards per game, the fifth stingiest in the league – they have been stung by big plays. Nick Chubb putting the after-burners on for 70 yards against them in Week 9 being the prime example.
Chubb is a beast and that might be an anomaly, but since the Week 10 bye the Bengals have given up a rush of at least 15 yards to a running back in six of their eight games. In the other two it was close as well as Kalen Ballage went for 13 yards and Javonte Williams went for 14.
Running Backs' Longest Rush vs. Bengals
|Week||Opponent||Longest Rush||Running Back|
Jacobs himself has torn off a run of 15 yards or more in five of his last eight games, including a 28-yard gain against the Chargers last week. While he may struggle to put up his third 100+ yard rushing day of the season on Saturday, the better bet is to bank on Jacobs gaining a decent chunk on one run at -114.