Get player prop picks & odds for the Colts vs Bengals (12/10/23) matchup.
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Colts Vs. Bengals Player Prop Picks
It’s a backup quarterback matchup on Sunday as well as an echo of the dying Pac-12 as former Washington Husky Jake Browning squares off against Washington State legend Gardner Minshew. The Colts are just inside the playoff picture at 7-5 while the 6-6 Bengals are barely outside looking in, and this game could be a real inflection point in either direction.
Both of these backups have some serious weapons to work with, like Ja’Marr Chase and Michael Pittman Jr., so let’s dig into the corners of this storyline-laden matchup and check out some Colts vs. Bengals player prop picks & odds for their (12/10/23) matchup.
Neither of these teams can really defend the run, but both offenses often prefer to pass, so let’s see how this clash of styles plays out for some key individual players.
Ja’Marr Chase Anytime Touchdown Scorer (+125)
Chase’s touchdown scorer prop in plus-money is always going to catch my eye, as I consider him to be one of the very few most talented receivers in this era of football. If you think that the presence of a backup quarterback is going to diminish his role, think again; Joe Burrow doesn’t prop up Chase, it’s the other way around, as he had a phenomenal game with Jake Browning on Monday Night Football.
Chase lit up a really strong Jaguars defense to the tune of 11 catches, 149 yards and a touchdown in the big win. Given a general tendency for backups thrust into the starting job to heavily lean on their top target “safety blanket” and simplify the offense, we can expect this trend to continue as long as Browning is at the helm.
Chase has scored in three of his past four games, and with Browning continuing to heavily involve him, that pace shouldn’t slow down. Cincy’s red zone offense has converted drives into touchdowns at the eighth-highest rate in the league, and will be going up against a Colts defense that is essentially average by the same metric. In a game where the Bengals are narrow favorites, they’ll be throwing the ball all day long, so expect their best player to find the end zone at least once.
Joe Mixon Over 62.5 Rushing Yards (-115)
Last week, Mixon got enough volume that he cracked this number even while averaging 3.6 yards per carry. This all took place on the road in prime time, against a really strong rush defense- the Jaguars’ defense is still third in the NFL in both rushing DVOA and success rate. On top of the challenging matchup and air-based game script, Chase Brown also had his breakout game for the Bengals, but Mixon still carried the ball enough to accumulate 68 yards.
It was his second time in three weeks cracking this number, a good sign after a mini-slump, but he’s had enough yardage to clear this total in half of his games this year. With Brown dealing with a hamstring injury, we probably don’t have to worry about him stealing touches from Mixon, at least this week; even if he is cleared and does appear in this game, he’ll probably be utilized cautiously as he nurses one of the most dicey injuries in the game.
Yes, the Bengals will need to throw in this one, but they did last week too- Browning had 39 dropbacks- and Mixon was still fine. One huge difference is that while the Jaguars run defense is one of the league’s best Indy’s isn’t, so Mixon could potentially clear this total with far fewer carries. The Colts’ rushing defense is 26th in DVOA and 31st in success rate, so any touches for Mixon could very well be highly successful, giving him a great chance to crack this number.
Michael Pittman Jr. Under 74.5 Receiving Yards (-115)
With the high levels of sensitivity associated with player prop markets, it’s important to seek out opportunities to either buy low or sell high on players. Right now, we’re doing the latter. Michael Pittman has racked up 105, 107 and 84 yards in his last three games, all against pass defenses that have been struggling of late, so this number is probably set higher than it should be; let’s bet on him to come back to earth against Cincy.
Before those three games, he was averaging just below 66 yards per game on the season. Even accounting for the past three games, Pittman’s per-game yardage average is right around this number, so it’s on the dot at best; more likely, it’s overly optimistic.
As always, we have to look not just at the matchup for the player in question, but the game script. The Bengals have a terrible run defense, ranking 29th in the NFL in DVOA. That’s a stark contrast to the Cincy pass defense, which ranks a much more respectable, even if still uninspiring, 19th-best in the league.
If the Colts don’t fall far behind in this one, which should be a relatively close ballgame based on the spread and most pundits’ evaluation, they might simply opt for a more ground-heavy game than usual. Throwing the ball is going to be a challenge, so with a viable rushing offense, the league’s sixth-best by DVOA, why throw? Obviously, an overall decrease in Indy’s pass volume is bad for Pittman’s own total, so let’s hit the under on this one.