Saquon Barkley Divisional Round Spotlight: Player Props for the Divisional Round

The Giants' star RB hasn't had a massive workload down the stretch of the season but now faces an Eagles team that is weak in terms of defending the run. Our free NFL picks expect Philly to see a healthy dose of Saquon on Saturday.

Last Updated: Jan 21, 2023 5:04 PM ET Read Time: 4 min

The G-Men upset Minnesota last week on the back (and arm, and legs) of Daniel Jones, but Philly presents a big challenge to New York's QB... and those wanting to bet on him.

Ever the optimist, I'm going to instead focus on someone that should find success on Saturday and take a more positive approach with Saquon Barkley props.

The Giants' star RB hasn't had a massive workload down the stretch of the season, but going against a vaunted Eagles offense — which both the writers for our Giants-Eagles betting preview and Giants/Eagles prop picks think will shine — Barkley is going to need to be as involved as possible.

Here is my best free NFL pick for Saquon on Saturday... along with a Barkley-based same-game parlay.

Saquon Barkley prop pick and same-game parlay

Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Saquon Barkley best bet

After torching the Vikings in the Wild Card Round, the talk of the town is New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.

Unfortunately for him, the Philadelphia Eagles defense is an entirely different beast than Minnesota... and not in a good way, which means we should see a lot more of stud running back Saquon Barkley on Saturday night.

Whereas the Vikings were a defensive sieve, Philly is No. 1 in the NFL in opponent dropback EPA per play and passing yards allowed per game due to the deadly combo of a strong secondary and the league's second-highest pressure rate — but a blitz rate in the bottom half of the NFL.

So with Danny Dimes unlikely to pick apart the Eagles, head coach Brian Daboll is going to need to get the ball into the hands of his best playmaker more often.

Enter Saquon.

Barkley posted 109 scrimmage yards (53 rushing, 56 receiving) with two rushing TDs last week against Minnesota, which is impressive considering he had just 14 total touches in the game (in fact, he became the first RB in the Super Bowl era to post 100+ scrimmage yards with fewer than 14 touches in a playoff game).

Of those 14 touches, five were receptions — a total Barkley has eclipsed just three other times since Week 2 — and considering the Eagles have allowed an opposing lead back to record even four catches just three times all season, the NFL odds for the Over on Saquon's catches (4.5) doesn't appeal to me.

But on the ground? That's another story. His nine carries last week ties a season low, only matched by Week 14, when he also had nine carries against these same Eagles. That said, Barkley was less than 100% in that contest, dealing with a back injury that made him a game-time decision (and got him pulled in the third quarter as the game turned lopsided), and he's healthy entering this Divisional Round showdown.

His nine carries last week were also due in part to Jones having a season-high 11 designed rushes (he's had six or fewer in 13 of 18 games this year), which is unlikely to be repeated.

Barkley is also fresh: After averaging 22 carries per game through the first half of the season (and getting out to a 7-2 record), Daboll eased off on his workload down the stretch, averaging about 14 rushes per matchup — but this is the week to unleash him.

Opting to challenge Philly's defensive strength is not the way to do that, so I'm betting on Barkley to be much more involved in this game and go Over a carries total that is tied for the lowest he's faced all season (he also faced 15.5 in the injury-laden Week 14).

Prop: Saquon Barkley Over 15.5 carries (-115)

Barkley 55+ rushing yards

Barkley 3+ receptions

Barkley anytime TD

If I think Saquon's going to put in some work in this game... then let's bet on Saquon puttin' in that work.

His rushing total is as high as 70.5 yards for this game, which should be doable considering the Eagles are 23rd in rush defense EPA per play. Still, Barkley has only topped that number twice in his last eight games — if we bring it down to 55+ via his alternate rushing yards prop, it's a number that he's bested in four of his last six (with last weekend falling two yards short... but that was also an anomaly).

I mentioned above that the Eagles let opposing lead backs hit the four-catch mark just three times this season, but dropping it to require three catches to cash not only makes it a more palpable total (compared to needing five receptions) but it's also a number that 10 different opposing RBs have achieved against Philly this season.

Finally, we're taking Saquon to find paydirt... again. After scoring twice last week, Barkley has found the end zone in six of his last nine games and should continue to be the primary red-zone threat (and is always a potential home-run hitter).

We're taking on a bit of juice in the lower rushing and receiving props, but combining those with his anytime touchdown gives us a very achievable stat line for Saquon — at better than 2/1 odds.

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