NFL Prop Shop: Championship Sunday
The postseason continues in the NFL with Championship Sunday. Why not spice things up with some player prop bets? Covers Expert Sean Murphy opens the doors of the NFL Prop Shop and gives you his favorite player prop picks for this weekend's action:
Most passing yards
Tom Brady (New England Patriots) vs. Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos)
I'm going to take the contrarian route - and the value that goes along with it - and support Tom Brady in this matchup of legendary quarterbacks.
The Patriots ran the ball early and often against the Colts last week. That was a wise gameplan considering how worn down the Colts defense was following their shootout win over the Chiefs a week earlier.
I don't expect the Pats to follow a similar path this Sunday, however. In fact, I won't be surprised if it's the Broncos that take a page out of New England's book. That's not to say Peyton Manning won't put up some big numbers, I simply feel the underdog value is too good to pass up with Brady against what I feel is a vulnerable Broncos secondary.
Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers) vs. Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)
While both of these young quarterbacks have taken on the role of game manager at times this season, I believe it's Colin Kaepernick that needs to step up and deliver a stronger performance through the air in order to win this game on Sunday.
You can be sure the Seahawks gameplan will involve feeding the beast at every opportunity. By the beast, I'm of course referring to Marshawn Lynch. If Russell Wilson stars in this game, I expect it to be more as a result of his mobility and decision-making with the football.
The Seahawks secondary is imposing to be sure, but I don't envision the 49ers scaling back their passing offense. They know that's an area they need to improve immensely in order to snap their losing streak in the Pacific Northwest.
Most rushing yards
Stevan Ridley (New England Patriots) vs. Knowshon Moreno (Denver Broncos)
Everyone knows about the success the Patriots enjoyed on the ground against the Colts last Saturday, but I don't think there's any question, they'll find the going a little tougher in that department this week.
If anyone is going to break through against the Denver run defense, it's likely going to be LaGarrette Blount, not Stevan Ridley. The versatile back hasn't exactly drawn the trust of head coach Bill Bellichick this season.
Knowshon Moreno might not be a huge factor in this game, but as the odds suggest, he should be enough of one to outrush Ridley.
Most pass receptions
Michael Crabtree (San Francisco 49ers) vs. Doug Baldwin (Seattle Seahawks)
Doug Baldwin made the biggest catch of the game in the Seahawks win over New Orleans last Saturday, but wasn't much of a factor otherwise, hauling in only two catches for 30 yards. Given Seattle's rather thin receiving corps, there's really nowhere for Baldwin to hide against an outstanding 49ers defense.
Michael Crabtree played second fiddle to Anquan Boldin last Sunday in Carolina, catching only three passes. He did have seven pass targets, however, and I expect him to see a similar workload this week - if not heavier. Crabtree has evolved into a big-game receiver, and I believe he's the x-factor for the 49ers this Sunday.