Vikings vs Bengals Prop Bets: Mixon Gets Number Called Early and Often

An NFL Saturday tripleheader begins with a matchup between the Vikings and Bengals in Cincinnati. Both teams are trying to get by with backup quarterbacks, so our NFL betting picks are looking at these three skill players to step up around them.

Dec 16, 2023 • 11:23 ET • 4 min read
Joe Mixon Cincinnati Bengals NFL
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The Minnesota Vikings have lost two of their last three, with their lone win coming in last week's disgusting 3-0 victory. Josh Dobbs, who originally lit up the scoreboard for the Vikings following their trade for him after Kirk Cousin's season-ending injury, has been benched and backup Nick Mullens will get the start as an underdog in the NFL odds.

They will take on the Cincinnati Bengals, who have won two straight with backup Jake Browning under center. He's averaged 315 passing yards during that time.

Which backup quarterback will rise to the occasion and help make their team make an improbable playoff push?

Continue reading for free NFL prop picks and predictions for the Vikings and Bengals Week 15 matchup on Saturday, December 16. And don't forget to check out our Vikings vs. Bengals preview and Ja'Marr Chase spotlight picks!

Vikings vs Bengals props

Picks made on December 15 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Read full analysis of each pick.

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Vikings vs Bengals props

Prop bet #1: Mixon It Up

Outside of his fantasy owners, not many people are likely aware of how great Joe Mixon has been as of late. The sixth-year running back has helped shoulder the offensive responsibility as of late, especially since Joe Burrow went down with a season-ending injury.

Mixon has scored seven touchdowns in his last seven games, and has scored three times in the last two weeks. Outside of a negative game script in which the Bengals unexpectedly trailed the Steelers, Mixon has averaged 16.2 carries per game during that time and (again excluding that Steelers game) he has averaged 18.7 carries in just the last three.

Add in the fact that Jake Browning briefly exited last week's game with a forearm injury. If Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor feels the need to lean on the run game a little more to keep Browning's injury more manageable, that would mean more work for Mixon vs. the Vikings.

Joe Mixon prop: Over 14.5 rushing attempts (-110 at Caesars)

Prop bet #2: Mullen's best option

When it comes to this prop, there are the immediately obvious factors. All-Pro wideout Justin Jefferson returned from his IR stint last week and then took a hit that not only knocked him out of the game but also sent him to the hospital. It's looking like he will play, but it's not far-fetched to suggest he may not be 100% on a short week.

Secondly, wideout Jalen Nailor and running back Alexander Mattison have also been ruled out for Saturday's game. Neither are massive contributors by any means, but the fact remains that their targets will have to go elsewhere.

Next, we have the actual matchup itself. The Bengals have allowed an average of 6.8 receptions and 71.9 yards to opposing tight ends this season — both marks are league-highs.

And lastly, with Nick Mullens taking over as the starter, Hockenson should especially smash in this spot. In the two seasons Mullens had the most action as a starter (2018 and 2020 with the 49ers), George Kittle led the team in both receptions and receiving yards.

No matter how you chop it up, Saturday is a potentially massive spot for TJ Hockenson odds, and alternate lines for his receptions and receiving yards are worth a look as well.

TJ Hockenson prop: Over 5.5 receptions (+110 at bet365)

Prop bet #3: Afternoon Tee

Tee Higgins has had a somewhat tumultuous season filled with varying injuries. He has missed four games this season and has exited an additional three, and has played in limited capacity in several others during his returns as the team tried to ramp him up to more regular workloads.

The lack of fluid and consistent playing time has obviously taken a massive hit on his production, as he's managed just 32 receptions for 436 yards. The fourth-year wideout has averaged 70+ receptions and 1,000+ yards across his first three seasons, for comparison.

And sure, he doesn't have Joe Burrow slinging him the ball anymore, but again, Browning has been incredibly impressive the last two games. Plus, Higgins is a deep threat that can hit this Over in just one catch.

On top of that, despite all of the injury-related hurdles, he has hit this Over in three of his last four games. It's a great time to buy low; Tee it up.

Tee Higgins prop: Over 38.5 receiving yards (-110 at bet365)

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