Photo: Oliver McKenna/Icon Sportswire
For the last couple of weeks of the NFL season, I’m trying something different with our analytic data by testing how useful it is on parlays. We’ll use Total Points, our player projections, and other information at our disposal to make picks.
Each of my parlays will have an underdog (+120 to +245) or superdog (+250), with the remaining 2 legs consisting of a combination of even money (-115 to +115), favorite (-120 to -245), and heavy favorite (-250) lines. I’ll also incorporate teasers to achieve a degree of balance where possible.
In Week 16, I hit with a Breece Hall, Cleveland Browns, Jake Browning combo. Last week was a rough one for the parlay, but you can’t win them all. We hit with Dak Prescott’s passing yardage total but missed on Kyren Williams and Jahmyr Gibbs rushing yardage totals. Williams finished 8 yards shy. Gibbs would have eclipsed his total if not for a penalty that negated a 35-yard run.
Regardless, we’re 1-for-2 so far, so we’re off to a good start. Here are the 3 options that our models like this week as we hope our 3rd try is a charm.
Underdog – Josh Allen Alternate Passing Yards, 275+ @ +185
Our model projects Allen to throw for 271.2 yards on 37.4 attempts in Miami on Sunday night, both of which are the 2nd highest estimates this week. On the year, Allen’s 122.8 Passing Points Earned ranks 2nd in the NFL.
Allen completed 84% of his passes while throwing for 320 yards against the Dolphins in Week 4. Miami will be without one of its top pass rushers this time around, as Bradley Chubb was lost last week to a season-ending knee injury. Chubb has the 20th-most Points Saved on pass rushes (23.5) of any defender league wide.
Finding an underdog that gives me confidence this week was like finding a needle in a haystack. I would have preferred a different George Pickens yardage prop here (more on him below) with an even-money Josh Allen total below, but no other Pickens lines are currently available on DraftKings.
Even – George Pickens Receiving Yards, Over 50.5 @ -115
Pickens has compiled 326 yards in the last 2 games as the favorite target with Mason Rudolph at the helm, reeling in 4-of-5 deep balls (passes thrown at least 20 yards downfield) aimed his way.
Our projection model has Pickens estimated to accrue 83 yards against the Ravens, good enough for the 2nd highest estimated total in the league, only 1.4 behind CeeDee Lamb. The 32.5 yard gap between his line and projection is also the largest such gap available on DraftKings for Week 18 (we specifically looked for an over here).
And a heads-up that DraftKings published yardage props for Pickens after our article came out. An 80-yard prop is at +340 as of noon ET on Friday.
Speaking of Rudolph, over the last 2 weeks he’s totaled the 3rd-most EPA. His projection of 286.2 yards is also our model’s highest estimated total for the week.
With the Steelers only recently finding offensive success and fighting for their playoff lives, I expect them to rely heavily on the tools that have worked for them as of late.
Heavy Favorite – Falcons @ Saints Alternate Total, Under 49.5 @ -302
These teams combined for 39 points in a 25-14 Falcons victory in New Orleans. Our model indicates the price at Under 49.5 points should be -595, a gap that I expect to close significantly between now and kickoff on Sunday.
My main reasoning for this pick is that these are the teams with the 2 best pass coverage units in the NFL in terms of Total Points Per Play (as noted in our weekly look at matchups and mismatches). A high-scoring shootout is not likely.
The current O/U for this matchup on DraftKings is set at 42, and I’ve teased this up to 49.5 to be my confidence pick this week.
Total Parlay Odds: 6.09-to-1
All odds available through DraftKings and current as of 11:42 AM 1/4/2024
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