NFL Player Props: Thursday Night Preview

GAME PREVIEW

Week 5 kicks off with what should be a low-scoring matchup between two underperforming AFC teams as the Colts (1-2-1) travel to the Broncos (2-2) for Thursday Night Football. The Colts enter this contest as underdogs after losing their best offensive weapon, Jonathan Taylor, this past Sunday. On the other side, the Broncos lost their star running back, Javonte Williams, for the season, but the home-field advantage on a short week keeps them as favorites.

The point spread favors the Broncos by (-)3.5, with the over/under total set at 42. The Broncos are coming off an away loss, however, it was the first time they scored over 16 points in a game this year, scoring 23. The Colts, on the other hand, lost at home to the division-rival Titans after a big upset over the Chiefs the prior week. The Colts have not yet scored over 20 points in a game this year.

Both teams enter the matchup with below-average offensive averages. The Broncos racked up 335.8 yards per game, sitting at 21st in the NFL, while the Colts sit at 19th in the NFL with 339.8 yards per game. The Broncos have been balanced sitting at 18th in the NFL in both passing and rushing yards, 226.3 and 109.5 respectively. With Javonte Williams out, I believe the Broncos will continue to run their offense as they have, plugging in both Melvin Gordon and Mike Boone into the one and two spots in the backfield. The Colts are less balanced as they boast a top ten passing yard per game average and a bottom five rushing yard per game average, 339.8 and 87.8 yards respectively. With Jonathan Taylor out, you might expect that to continue, however, I think the backup running backs should be more efficient than Taylor due to the opposing defense being able to focus more on the receiving weapons.

Finally, these teams are both bottom three in the NFL in scoring, under 17 points per game each.

On the other side of the ball, we are going to see some defensive dominance as both teams sit in the top six for yards allowed. The Broncos only give up 170.8 yards per game through the air (5th) while allowing teams to run for 114 yards per game on the ground (18th). The defensive unit is top-5 in scoring, allowing a mere 17 points per game. The Colts carry a more balanced defense, allowing 297 scrimmage yards per game (6th), with 207.5 yards per game through the air (10th) and 89.5 yards per game on the ground (6th). They’ve only allowed an average of 21.3 points per game (13th).

This is going to be an ugly matchup between two teams with so many similarities: solid defenses, injured star running backs, underperforming newly signed quarterbacks, and with only one good receiving option. The 42-point O/U is already one of the lowest on the week, and I will still pick the under, banking on a final score of Broncos 20 to Colts 17.

Now that we have introduced the matchup let’s dive into some high-upside player props for this AFC showcase.

NYHEIM HINES UNDER 37.5 RUSHING YARDS

Betting Odds: +115

Nyheim Hines doesn’t rush the football much. At least he hasn’t while Jonathan Taylor was healthy, but now that Taylor is hurt, the script will have to change. Hines has been entrusted with double-digit carries only four times in his entire four-and-a-quarter-year career. He’s rushed for above 37.5 yards nine times out of 58 games and of those games with double-digit carries, three out of the four were over. This is an easy chase. It feels so obvious that Hines will get the carries against a defense weaker against the run than the pass and get over the yardage mark. However, I don’t even believe Hines gets to double-digit carries and Vegas believes that too with an 8.5 rushing attempt prop. With that in mind, chasing the over in yardage is just wishing for one big play. The smart play is to bet the under.

MO ALIE-COX/KYLEN GRANSON BOTH OVER 1.5 RECEPTIONS

Betting Odds: -195/-135

The odds here aren’t great, but 1.5 receptions are too low for me not to point out. The Broncos’ defense is tough, but if there is one area in the passing defense that is flawed, it’s their coverage against tight ends where they have allowed 21 catches to the position over the past four weeks, over five catches per game to the position (10th most in the NFL). Alie-Cox missed the two-catch mark twice this season, but saw three targets in both of those games, and saw a spike in playing time last week catching six passes. It might be a flash in the pan which we’ve seen in the past, but it could also be a product of the run game not working. I expect him to have the targets to hit this mark easily.

Granson, on the other hand, has seen under 50% snap percentage the past two weeks but has hit the two-catch mark in every game this season, including last week where he caught a career-high four passes. This may seem small, but with the running game not working, the Colts seemed to shift their attack to their inline receiving weapons. I expect Granson to continue his streak of two catches in each game while they attack the one small weak spot in the Broncos’ passing defense.

Phillipp Lindsay

PHILLIP LINDSAY/DEON JACKSON ANYTIME TOUCHDOWN SCORER

Betting Odds: +280/+400

These are some of the deeper shots on the board, but I believe the Colts will find the end zone twice tonight, and one of those will be Hines’ backup. Lindsay has the better odds due to his experience and it is a revenge game. However, the +400 odds for Deon Jackson were too much to ignore as the Colts could get close and look to exploit the Broncos’ run defense. Jackson is an unknown in the NFL, only playing on special teams, but that makes me feel good knowing he’s a player that has worked hard to contribute wherever he can. Coaches gravitate toward those players. Plus, Jackson spelled Taylor in 2021 in a week 13 blowout against the Texans, where he found the end zone for the first time in his career. Either player could be a strong DFS NFL option tonight as well.

SIGNOFF

Please remember to always bet responsibly. Know your limit and play within it.

I’m happy to sub in for Matt Ward this week, but don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @PsychWardFF and Instagram: @psychwardff. And if you don’t like my picks, go yell at him on those socials so that he will come back next week as he looks to continue his hot streak! You might also be thinking, “damn @DFF_JoeMem, how do you stay sharp in your leagues?” Easy! I start off my week by reading the wide range of content that the crew here at DFF is cooking up! I also check out our Dynasty Rankings so I stay one step ahead of the competition! But if you’re tired of cheesiness and plugs, head over to my Twitter and let me know what you think of this article!

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