The Bengals offense isn't lacking for superstar talent, but my NFL player props spotlight can only focus on one player — and I'm looking at the member of Who Dey nation who may shine the brightest of all.
Ja'Marr Chase props are my focus for this AFC Championship rematch with Kansas City, as the second-year wideout has quickly emerged as the most dangerous skill-position player on Cincinnati's offense... and one of the league's premier WRs overall.
In addition to my free NFL picks (and SGP) for Chase, check out Jason Logan's Bengals vs. Chiefs betting preview and the best AFC Championship prop picks from Rohit Ponnaiya!
Ja'Marr Chase prop pick and same-game parlay
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Ja'Marr Chase best bet
This is a big-time player, in a big-time game, so why expect anything less from the Cincinnati Bengals star than delivering on Sunday — specifically him finding the end zone?
Chase finished tied for fourth among all wide receivers with nine receiving touchdowns this season, which is even more impressive considering he played in just 12 games in 2022. After his touchdown last week, he's also found paydirt in three straight games and five of his last six overall.
Now, the Kansas City Chiefs defense has given up just one passing TD in each of its last four games, but Chase is quarterback Joe Burrow's favorite target by far — his 11.2 targets per game are well ahead of No. 2 WR Tee Higgins (6.81) — and he gets the majority of red zone looks, finishing fourth in the NFL with 24 in targets inside the 20 and 16th in targets inside the 10... while missing five games.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor also added a new wrinkle last week, which makes Chase (and the offense overall) more difficult to guard: Moving him around pre-snap at a much higher frequency.
As explained by Jay Morrison of The Athletic, Chase spent time in the backfield a season-high nine times before the snap — averaging 11.9 yards per play on those nine snaps, including Chase's 28-yard touchdown reception.
Those pre-snap movement plays also led to some big mismatches, as Chase found himself open for screens, matched up against linebackers, and had an easier time working into soft spots within zone defenses to give the Buffalo Bills fits. Of Chases's eight overall targets for the game, two were against linebackers and three vs. safeties.
Buffalo also had two linebackers — Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano — that are among the best coverage LBs in the league. Kansas City has run zone almost 60% of the time over the last four games, and with not quite as talented coverage LBs, Chase could have an easier time if Taylor moves him all around the field to exploit mismatches and attack anyone not named L'Jarius Snead.
That should mean a good day for Chase's stat line... but also a good shot at one of the league's biggest touchdown threats to again find paydirt on Sunday.
Prop: Ja'Marr Chase anytime touchdown (-105)
Ja'Marr Chase SGP
Building on Taylor finding creative ways to get Chase mismatches (or just plain open), I'm tacking his receptions total and longest reception onto him scoring a TD.
Chase had five catches last week (his second-lowest total all season) on just eight targets, which was his second-fewest looks of the season. However, last Sunday was Chase's first-ever snow game and the Bengals ran 34 times for 172 yards — both the second-highest number for the team all season.
The weather for Sunday looks cold, but with no precipitation, and while Cincy may still opt to run a lot, it's more likely the passing game will again need to be a bigger part of the offense.
Chase logged 7+ catches in nine straight games prior to the Divisional Round, so I'm banking on him to again see plenty of looks and break off at least one big play if he gets the right mismatch.
Same-game parlay odds: +222