Rams vs. Buccaneers: The best player prop bets for the Divisional Round
The Los Angeles Rams took care of business on Monday Night Football, as they easily saw off the Cardinals in a 34-11 win. That victory earned them Sunday's game with the defending Super Bowl champ, Tampa Bay, in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Sun, January 23 2022, 8:00 PM
The Bucs had an equally convincing win, as they ran out 31-15 winners over the Eagles, with Philadelphia failing to get on the scoreboard until the final quarter.
The Rams are 2-0 straight up against Tom Brady’s Buccaneers, beating them in 2020 and then again earlier this season, but will TB12 be able to snap that streak and lead the Bucs to another NFC Championship Game?
Let's examine this game further by looking at three player props to bet for the matchup.
Tyler Johnson: Over/Under 30.5 Receiving Yards
The Buccaneers’ receiving corps is still looking a little thin on the ground, with Chris Godwin out and Antonio Brown cut. Mike Evans did a phenomenal job on the Eagles last week, as he hauled in nine of his 10 targets for 117 yards, but this week he’s going to be getting all the attention of elite corner Jalen Ramsey.
That means there’s every chance Brady is going to have to look elsewhere, and while there’s no doubt that means plenty of action for Rob Gronkowski, there’s a fair chance we see some TB12 dust sprinkle down to Tyler Johnson, despite his drop last week.
The second-year receiver had one of the best games of his young career when Tampa Bay faced the Rams in Week 3 this season, and Johnson caught three passes for 63 yards — just three yards short of a career-high tally in the NFL.
It’s unfair to judge him on the limited action he usually has when the Bucs are at full strength, but taking the seven games he has had with Brady in which he has seen at least four targets, along with his average yards per game (45.6), and he’s cleared 30.5 in 71% of them.
Brady led the league in pass attempts during the regular season, with 42 per game, and he chucked it 37 times last week against the Eagles. In Week 3 with the Rams, Brady threw a season-high 55 times and completed 41 of them.
Johnson has had 10 targets in the last two games where Tampa Bay has been without Godwin and Antonio Brown, and that equates to a 14% target share. If Evans is struggling with Ramsey, Johnson might see even more work, but even at the current level he’s worth a play on the Over.
Van Jefferson: Longest Reception Over/Under 18.5 Yards
Matthew Stafford attempted a season-low 17 passes last week against the Cardinals — less than half his regular-season average of 35.4 attempts per game — so it’s no surprise that Van Jefferson only saw one target. He still hauled it in, for 41 yards, and that deep-threat play, combined with an almost certain uptick in volume, makes this look like one of the strongest player props of the slate.
In his last 12 games, Jefferson has caught a reception of at least 19 yards in 10 of them. His average depth of target during the regular season was 13.5 yards, and that rose to 14.3 yards in the seven regular season games since Robert Woods went down with injury.
Jefferson is a consistent deep threat and one that Stafford has an electric connection with. He may only get one chance for a big gain on Sunday, but one chance is often all he needs — just ask the Cardinals' Marco Wilson.
Matthew Stafford: Over/Under 283.5 Passing Yards
Stafford has excelled on Sean McVay’s team this year and has had an instant connection with his receiving corps. There’s been plenty said about Cooper Kupp’s record-breaking year, and his ability to get free has helped elevate Stafford, who has been slinging it all year.
Only Brady and Justin Herbert managed to rack up more passing yards in the regular season than Stafford, who averaged 287.4 per game. His second-biggest game of the season came in the Week 3 match with Tampa Bay, in which he threw the ball 38 times and completed 27 passes for 343 yards and four touchdowns.
Part of that is Stafford’s quality, but it’s also worth noting just how good the Bucs are on the ground. During the regular season, they gave up fewer than 93 yards rushing per game, and although the Rams were able to welcome back Cam Akers last week to complement Sony Michel in the backfield, attempting to run against Tampa Bay can be like trying to run through a brick wall.
In Week 3, the Rams ran the ball 24 times for a total of just 76 yards, a bleak 3.2 yards per attempt, with most of it coming from Michel. L.A. threw the ball 61% of the time in that game, and it would be no surprise if that number was higher again on Sunday night.
The total for the game is 48, and there are two gunslingers at QB, so expect plenty of air yards from both. Stafford featured in 10 games this year that had 48 points or more, and in those games, he averaged 280 yards per game. Take the Over in what could be a thriller.