Last week was the best set of games of the season so far for the Educated Bets crew! Brett Ford (@FadeThatMan) hit six out of eight posted bets, including a +900 bonus prop as Keenan Allen topped 200 receiving yards, and Tyler Gentile (@808Paperboi) earned five wins, including a Justin Jefferson touchdown at plus-money odds! The dynamic duo return in Week 4 to try and match the effort and continue to turn a profit on the season. Using expert analysis and diligent research, Brett and Tyler have compiled a list of the best places to leverage player performance for profit this week.
Please note: Listed lines and odds are subject to change from sportsbook to sportsbook, and may have moved since the article was written and posted.
Ja’Marr Chase over 6.5 receptions (-110)
- Two weeks ago, I was downvoted into oblivion on Reddit for using “Ja’Marr Chase” and “Cooked” in the same sentence. My point was that Chase was being handled more physically at the line of scrimmage by opposing defenses, which was limiting his separation, and that he needed to make an adjustment in order to reach the level of production that would justify his draft position. Well, in Week 3 he did.
- Against the Rams on primetime television, Chase balled out for 12 receptions and 141 yards, more than he had amassed in weeks 1 and 2 combined, showing that he was not cooked or washed or overrated or any of the other potential descriptors that fantasy personalities may or may not have labeled him after back-to-back poor performances to open the season.
- Now Chase lines up against the swiss-cheesy Titans pass defense in Week 4. The Titans have allowed 275.3 passing yards per game through three weeks, good for 28th in the league. Tennessee ranks 28th in the NFL in pass defense DVOA, which spells production for Chase.
- Over the first three weeks of the season, Joe Burrow has recorded an average depth of target (aDOT) of just 6.1 yards, which ranks 30th in the NFL. It’s a significant step back from his previous two campaigns where his aDOT was above 8.0 yards. Most of Chase’s targets were within five yards of the line of scrimmage on Monday night against the Rams, which is how I anticipate the Bengals target the pass-funnel Titans defense as well.
- Star wide receivers have been feasting on this secondary so far this season. In the season opener, Chris Olave burned the Titans’ secondary for over 100 yards while Rashid Shaheed gained more than 80 yards through the air. Against the Chargers in Week 2, Tennessee allowed both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to clear 80 yards receiving, and against the Browns last week Tennessee gave up 116 receiving yards to Amari Cooper.
Joe Mixon under 52.5 rushing yards (-125)
- The Titans’ pass-funnel defense has been excellent at encouraging teams to pass on its porous secondary while limiting production on the ground so far this season, ranking first in the NFL with the least yards per carry allowed (2.6 yards per carry) while ranking third in the league in rush defense DVOA.
- So far this season, the Bengals rank second in the NFL in pass play percentage, throwing the ball at a 68.7% rate. Cincinnati has increased its rate of pass play calls by more than 10% from a season ago in which Mixon averaged 58.1 rushing yards per game.
- Mixon is the bellcow back for the Bengals, even more so this year than last year. However, the Bengals have shown a tendency to abandon the run when it isn’t working. Against the Browns in Week 1, the Bengals handed the ball off to Mixon just four times across five drives (25 plays) in the second half, before surrendering to run out the clock with under five minutes remaining.
- The Cincinnati running back has hit the over on this prop for all three games so far this season, averaging 4.0 yards per carry, and busted at least one long carry of 14 yards or more in each game. The Titans have allowed only one run of 14 yards or more all season, lowering the likelihood of Mixon breaking one.
Josh Jacobs over rushing yards
- We’re headed back to the well on this one, after missing Josh Jacobs‘ running total by under 10 yards last week. For the second straight week, Jacobs has an excellent matchup against an underperforming run defense. This time it’s the Los Angeles Chargers.
- The Chargers allowed 5.2 yards per carry to running backs last week against the Minnesota Vikings, 3.9 yards per carry against the Tennessee Titans (and their walking-wounded offensive line), and 4.3 yards per carry to the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. The Raiders and their dedication to the running game (except for the blowout in Buffalo), allowed Jacobs to carry the ball 17 and 19 times in Week 1 and Week 3, respectively.
- Derwin James, one of the leaders of the Charger defense, is considered doubtful as of Friday evening and is unlikely to play.
- In 2022 against this same Chargers defense, Jacobs ripped off 26 carries for 144 yards in Week 12. He added a 10-rush, 57-yard effort in Week 1 of last season as well. He’s gone for over 100 yards against his division rival in two of their last three meetings.
- As of Friday night, we’re still waiting for the line to come out. As far as I’m concerned, I’m willing to take over 75 yards and fewer for Jacobs, which should be more than enough to jump aboard the Jacobs train.
Tutu Atwell over 51.5 receiving yards (-115)
- The Rams have thrown the ball all over the yard so far this season, with Matthew Stafford firing off 126 pass attempts, second-most among quarterbacks entering Week 4, trailing only Kirk Cousins.
- Atwell ranks second on the Rams with 26 targets, trailing only the legend himself, Puka Nacua. He’s topped the 51.5-yard mark in each of his first two games this season and recorded 50 yards receiving in Week 3.
- Atwell has been a major cog in the Rams’ offense so far, running mostly intermediate to deep routes with an average depth of target of 13.0. His 31.5% air yards share ranks 27th across the whole league, while his 338 air yards rank 11th in the NFL.
- The Indianapolis Colts have struggled in their secondary with five different receivers going for more than 70 yards against them so far. Calvin Ridley, Zay Jones, Nico Collins, Robert Woods, and Tank Dell have each recorded at least 70 yards receiving against the Colts’ defense.
Brock Purdy under 225.5 passing yards (-115)
- Brock Purdy threw for a season-best 310 yards in the San Francisco 49ers primetime victory over the New York Giants in Week 3, tying a career-high with 37 passing attempts. Against the Cardinals in Week 4, I have a feeling that the Niners might be a little bit more ground-centric in their attack. The Arizona defense has allowed the seventh-most rushing yards so far this season, and are 14-point underdogs as they travel to the Bay Area for this divisional matchup.
- Purdy will be without at least one pass catcher as Juaun Jennings has already been ruled out for Sunday. Meanwhile, Deebo Samuel has been listed as questionable and could miss the game on Sunday as well. The loss of Samuel specifically could limit the ceiling of Purdy’s passing yardage considering how efficient Deebo can be running after the catch. Without his YAC, Purdy’s passing totals would be far more depressed this season.
- With the game script likely leaning heavily towards the 49ers, Purdy is projected to attempt less than 30 passes, with the Vegas line set to 27.5 pass attempts. In seven career games with 27 pass attempts or fewer, Purdy has topped 225 passing yards only once.
- In Purdy’s only other start against the Cardinals, in Week 18 of last season with the 49ers as heavy favorites again, he threw for just 178 yards on 20 pass attempts. San Francisco ran the ball 37 times for 169 yards in that game. This kind of game plan is what I anticipate seeing again on Sunday.
Russell Wilson over 1.5 passing touchdowns (+114)
Russell Wilson over 232.5 passing yards (-105)
- Where do we even begin with the Chicago Bears defense? A week ago, their defensive coordinator left. Now, the squad will be without at least four members of their secondary, with starting safety Eddie Jackson, and cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon, and Josh Blackwell all scheduled to miss Sunday’s contest against Denver. Bronco Nation, let’s ride.
- Russell Wilson has been moderately effective this season, even in a blowout in Miami. Wilson has thrown for 300 or more yards in each of his past two outings, and has six passing touchdowns in three games so far this year. After getting crushed by the Dolphins a week ago, Sean Payton is sure to want his franchise quarterback to show out against a beleaguered opponent.
- The Bears’ defense ranks 30th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game while the rush defense has been relatively average, ranking 19th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game. The Broncos’ best bet to move the football will be to take to the air.
- For bettors concerned about a game script that would lean toward the Broncos running the ball 40 times, fear not. The Broncos rushing defense has been so bad that it ranks dead last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game, meaning that Justin Fields and the Bears’ running backs should be able to at least remain competitive throughout.
Christian Kirk 2+ Touchdowns +1300
- For my long-shot bet of the week, we’re going across the pond to the London game. The Jaguars will “host” the Falcons in what should be a fun game to watch. This bet seems like a really nice value for a player who had an extremely heavy red zone usage rate a season ago.
- Atlanta has allowed a lot of production to slot receivers so far this season. Amon-Ra St. Brown went for more than 100 yards in Week 3 for the Detroit Lions while Green Bay Packers slot receiver Jayden Reed posted four catches for 37 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2.
- In 2022, Kirk posted 22 red zone targets, a 28.9% target share inside of the opponents’ 20-yard line. With the addition of Calvin Ridley, Kirk has been overshadowed quite a bit in the first three weeks of the season but the positive regression could come in Week 4.
- Kirk is still one of Trevor Lawrence‘s favorite targets, earning 23 targets so far this season, just three fewer than Ridley. With a plus matchup and the hope of increased red zone usage, Kirk is my favorite player in the early game to go for multiple scores.
Jaylen Waddle over 59.5 receiving yards -125
- It’s a shame we can’t flex this game to Sunday Night Football. This AFC East showdown has the highest over/under set at 53.5 this week. With perfect weather in Buffalo, a shootout is in the scoring forecast.
- There’s a case to be made for just about any player in this game, but look to Jaylen Waddle at this low line. He’s been priced as if he has been dealing with a hamstring injury. Concussions are obviously no joke, but this line for Waddle definitely is.
- Since last season when both Waddle and Tua Tagovialoa have both played the entire game, Jaylen has gone over this mark in 12 of 14 games averaging 88 yards per game. Two of those games came against Buffalo in which he had 102 and 114 receiving yards.
- The Bills have been great defensively, but the opponents they have faced (NYJ, LV, WSH) aren’t in the same stratosphere as this Miami offense. Buffalo has also ruled out their starting safety Jordan Poyer, which is a huge blow to their secondary.
Puka Nacua over 72.5 receiving yards -115
- Let’s go back to the well on Puka Nacua who narrowly got over his receiving prop last week on a garbage time reception. We’re due for a “bounce-back” performance out of Puka in this matchup.
- Indianapolis has played the second-highest rate of zone defense so far this season. That bodes well for Puka who has feasted against this type of coverage.
- He has the 7th-best receiving grade in zone coverage by PFF’s metrics. 26 of his 30 catches and 299 of his 338 yards have come against zone defense.
- DeForest Buckner, the Colt’s best defensive lineman, has yet to practice this week, putting his playing status in serious doubt. His absence from the game would be a huge benefit to Matthew Stafford having more time to throw.
- This game could have some sneaky shootout potential being played in the friendly domed confines of Lucas Oil Stadium. The Rams’ defense isn’t anything to write home about either and is 21st in EPA per play.
Christian Kirk over 50.5 receiving yards -115
- Jacksonville will be without Zay Jones which will likely condense the targets to Ridley, Engram, and Kirk. Jones has 13 targets in his two games played so far this season.
- All three pass-catching options look like solid plays here with ATL 20th in dropback EPA/play, but I’ll roll with Kirk here at a slightly discounted line to Ridley.
- The Falcons were just torched by Amon-Ra St. Brown in the slot last week where Kirk resides for the most part. Brown finished with a 9/102 line.
- Kirk has eclipsed this line in back-to-back games and was over this in 12/19 games (including playoffs) last season averaging 65 yards per game.
Jerry Jeudy over 52.5 receiving yards -115
- This game has serious shootout potential with two of the worst defenses by EPA’s metrics going head to head.
- Chicago has allowed the 3rd most passing yards per game so far and has been hit hard on the injury report.
- They are already without their top slot corner, Kyler Gordon, who is on IR, and have added Josh Blackwell to IR as well this week. Additionally, they will be without two other starting secondary pieces Jaylon Johnson and Eddie Jackson. If you thought it couldn’t get worse for their pass defense, think again.
- Sean Payton has yet to find a win for Denver just yet, but it looks like he has Russell Wilson back on track compared to last year’s monstrosity. Russ is 7th out of 34 quarterbacks in EPA’s QB efficiency ranks.
- Dating back to last season, whenever Jeudy has been on the field, he looks like Wilson’s favorite target. When Jeudy has posted a snap count percentage of 60% or greater, he has gone over this mark in 11 of 13 averaging 76 yards per game. Last week finished with a 5/81 line.
- Courtland Sutton also had a great game and should go over his receiving prop as well, but I’m rolling with the more explosive wide-out in Jeudy. I’m also adding .25 units on him to finish with 100+ yards at 5/1, .1 units for 125+ at 12/1, and .1u on him to have the most receiving yards on Sunday at 50/1.
- Lastly, it sounds like there’s a decent chance Marvin Mims gets more involved in the offense. His longest reception is definitely in play whenever that is released.
Jordan Addison over 40.5 receiving yards -115
- The Vikings rookie continues to see an increase in usage week by week and was third on the team in targets last week with eight.
- He has eclipsed this mark in all three games with 61, 72, and 52 yards.
- Minnesota is 2nd in pass rate over expectation behind only the Kansas City Chiefs.
- This line closed 10 yards higher than this last week, and somehow it’s lower this week? The Vikings’ defense can’t stop anyone, even if it is the Panthers they are going up against.
Darren Waller over 47.5 receiving yards -115
- Getting the No. 1 passing option in an offense at this low of a line is a gift. There was so much talk of the rapport between Daniel Jones and Darren Waller throughout the pre-season, and so far there hasn’t been much to show for it.
- Much of that has come down to playing the Cowboys and 49ers in two of their three first games. However, when the Giants faced the Cardinals, Waller flourished and finished with six grabs and 76 yards on eight targets. He leads the team with 20 targets across their first three games.
- This week, New York gets a favorable matchup taking on the Seattle defense that is 27th in EPA per play and has allowed the 2nd-most passing yards per game. Additionally, they are hardly ever generating pressure, tied for the 3rd-lowest rate. That bodes well for this Giants’ offensive line. Jones should be able to find his go-to guy enough to sail over this line.
Tyler Boyd over 3.5 receptions -115
- Facing the Titans is as brutal as it gets for running the ball. It has been that way for the past couple of seasons. Last season they had the best defensive rush EPA per play and allowed the fewest yards per carry (3.4). Through three weeks this year, they are 4th in rush EPA per play and have allowed the fewest yards per carry (2.6).
- For as good as they are at stopping the run, Tennessee is miserable at defending the pass. They are 27th in opponent completion percentage, 26th in dropback EPA per play, and 28th in opponent passing yards per game.
- Joe Burrow has clearly been hobbled by his calf injury and not playing at full strength. His aDOT is 3rd lowest among 34 quarterbacks to attempt a pass this year.
- If they can’t run the ball in this matchup, and won’t be able to throw it deep, the best way to attack the Titans will be through a short-passing gameplan.
- Enter slot man Tyler Boyd. He has gone over this mark in back-to-back games with five and six receptions.
- The past three slot receivers to face the Titans have all sailed over this mark. Rashid Shaheed had a 5/89 line, Keenan Allen went 8 for 111, and Elijah Moore had 9 grabs for 49 yards last week.
As bettors, we must remember to maintain discipline throughout the course of the season. There are 18 weeks of football in the regular season alone, not to mention the playoffs. There’s no need to wager the entire bankroll in one week. However, as you accumulate winnings, don’t be afraid to incrementally increase unit size. Create a plan and stick to it. There’s no reason to go crazy on just one football Sunday.
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(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire)