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Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints Player Prop Picks
The New Orleans Saints (5-7) play host to their NFC South division rivals the Carolina Panthers (1-11) on Sunday (12/10/23) at 1 p.m. EST. The Saints defeated the Panthers 20-17 back in Week 2 as Tony Jones Jr. rushed for two touchdowns, but now Alvin Kamara is back from suspension and carrying the load for the Saints’ backfield.
Alvin Kamara over 60.5 rushing yards (-110 at BetMGM)
The Saints have several good reasons to lean on Alvin Kamara this week. Derek Carr is expected to play in this game despite dealing with a concussion and injuries to his ribs and throwing shoulder. The Saints will want to keep him healthy and limit his exposure to further injury, so giving Kamara a heavy dose of rushing attempts makes sense.
The Panthers are also terrible at defending the run, but surprisingly have been very good at defending pass-catching running backs. They are allowing the 4th-most rushing yards per game to opposing RBs (110.1 per game) and the 4th-fewest receiving yards per game (24.4). They are also dead last in both DVOA and EPA against the run and 31st in success rate.
While Kamara has been more effective as a receiver than as a runner this season, it’s not like he’s been bad as a runner, and this week sets up as a big rushing week for him. The Panthers have allowed at least 60 rushing yards to an opposing RB in four straight games and in 9 of their 12 games this season (10 if you include Taysom Hill’s 75 rushing yards in week 2, though he’s not technically a RB).
Kamara has only gained 60 rushing yards once in his last five games and only four times overall this season (in nine games). Still, given the matchup we like his chances to have a big game on the ground this week.
Chuba Hubbard over 56.5 rushing yards (-114 at FanDuel)
We are expecting a nice game from the other starting RB in this game as well. Chuba Hubbard has taken over the Panthers’ backfield as Miles Sanders has struggled this season. He had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season last week against a solid Buccaneers run defense, and now he gets a much better matchup against a Saints defense that is allowing 93.0 RB rushing yards per game (11th most) and is 25th in DVOA against the run.
Hubbard has gone over his rushing yards prop line in six of his last nine games and has at least 57 rushing yards in four of his last seven games. The Saints have allowed at least 60 rushing yards to a running back in four of their last five games.
The Panthers also could have a schematic advantage in this game. They are a heavy zone-running scheme (as opposed to a gap scheme) and Hubbard has run behind zone blocking on 58% of his carries this season. Over their last five games, the Saints are allowing the highest yards per carry against zone runs.
The biggest risk with this pick is game script. If the Saints get out to a big lead, then the Panthers might be forced to abandon the run to try to catch up. However, with Carr and several of his pass catchers banged up, we don’t expect the Saints’ offense to be very explosive in this game, even with a great matchup. The game should be close enough for the Panthers to commit to running the ball throughout the game, and that should provide Hubbard with more than enough volume to gain at least 57 rushing yards this week.
Bryce Young over 11.5 rushing yards (-110 at BetMGM)
It seems we’re going all-in on the rushing props in this game. Bryce Young certainly isn’t known for his running ability, but he has functional mobility and the ability to escape pressure to extend plays or take what the defense gives him with his legs. That has been enough for him to have 7 games with double-digit rushing yards this season, including 34 yards on the ground against the Saints back in Week 2.
The Saints have yielded quite a few rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks this season. They have allowed 26.3 rushing yards per game to opposing signal callers, which is the third most in the league. And it’s not like they have faced a murderer’s row of mobile QBs. Of all the quarterbacks they have faced, the one with the most total rushing yards this season is Desmond Ridder, who is 14th among QBs in rushing yards with 180. On a per-game basis, the best running QB they have faced was Bears backup Tyson Bagent, whose 21.8 rushing yards per game ranks 13th at the position.
The Saints have yielded 30 rushing yards to Ridder, 44 yards to Joshua Dobbs, 70 yards to Bagent, 31 yards to Baker Mayfield, and 39 yards to Jordan Love. Young is certainly as mobile if not more so than almost all of those guys, and as noted above, he already had a game with 34 rushing yards against the Saints. He stands a very good chance to pick up some yards with his legs again this time, and 12 rushing yards is a very attainable number for him.