Steelers vs. Vikings: The best player prop bets for TNF
Week 14’s Thursday Night Football showdown will feature an AFC North-NFC North battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings, set for kickoff inside U.S. Bank Stadium at 8:20 p.m. ET.
Fri, December 10 2021, 1:20 AM
Both of these teams sit just outside the top seven in their respective conferences, and desperately need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
In Week 13, the Vikings fell to the previously winless Detroit Lions on a last-second touchdown, while the Steelers needed a fourth-quarter rally to best AFC North leader Baltimore.
Injuries piled up for both teams in last week's games, particularly on defense.
On offense, Minnesota will likely be without star running back Dalvin Cook and receiver Adam Thielen, and will turn to second-year wideout Justin Jefferson and backup running back Alexander Mattison to carry the load.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be at less than 100 percent, as well, as he missed Monday's practice with a shoulder issue.
Let’s do a further deep dive into Thursday night’s contest as we look at the three best player props to bet.
Kirk Cousins: Over/Under 1.5 touchdown passes
While Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins will be down a receiving weapon in Thielen — who is tied for second in the NFL in touchdown catches (10) — he will still have Jefferson, wideout K.J. Osborne, and tight end Tyler Conklin at his disposal.
Cousins has recorded two or more touchdown passes in all but one game since Minnesota's bye week (Week 7), and found Jefferson and Osborne for a pair of scores last Sunday, while Thielen was sidelined for the majority of the contest.
Minnesota's franchise QB will confront a Pittsburgh defense tied for sixth in the league in opponent passing touchdowns per game (1.4), but Cousins threw for multiple scores against the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Chargers, and Carolina Panthers, who also rank in the top six in opponent passing touchdowns per contest.
Expect another multiple-touchdown outing from Cousins, who has thrown for fewer than two touchdowns in just three of 12 games this season.
Justin Jefferson: Over/Under 89.5 receiving yards
One player Cousins relied on in Thielen's absence last week was Jefferson, who hauled in 11 receptions for 182 yards against Detroit.
Jefferson's matchup with Pittsburgh should play out a bit differently, as he'll go up against a top-15 stop unit that just held Baltimore's top receiver, Marquise Brown, to 55 yards in Week 13.
The Steelers' greatest weakness on defense is defending the run, so Mattison — or Cook, if healthy — will likely do the brunt of the work in Minnesota's offense.
Jefferson will be a goal-line target, but he'll fail to top 90 receiving yards against Pittsburgh's stingy pass defense.
Najee Harris: anytime touchdown scorer
The Vikings are even worse at defending the run, and rank 29th in the league in opponent rushing yards per game (131.5), and are second to last in opponent yards per rush attempt (4.7).
Vikings came in giving up 4.8 yards per carry.— Leo Luna (@LeoLuna93) November 29, 2021
Elijah Mitchell carried the ball 27 times, 133 yards, 1 TD. Average right on point at 4.9 YPC.
The stop unit also gives up an average of nearly one rushing touchdown per game and just surrendered three rushing scores to the 49ers in Minnesota's Week 12 matchup.
Running back Najee Harris has been a bright spot for the Steelers offense and has reached paydirt six times in his last nine games.
With Minnesota's issues stopping the run, Pittsburgh will turn to the rookie often and give him plenty of opportunity to reach the end zone on Thursday.