Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers NFL First Touchdown: Expert Picks & Predictions (1/28/24)

Get Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers First Touchdown picks & odds for their (01/28/24)e.

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Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers First Touchdown Picks

The goal of the First Touchdown prop is to identify which player will score the first touchdown of the game. Who will score the first touchdown in the Lions vs. 49ers matchup?

Christian McCaffrey First Touchdown (+325 BetMGM)

It’s never ideal to take the heaviest favorite on the board in this market, but Christian McCaffrey’s usage cannot be ignored. He is a dual threat super star running back who has run wild all season long for the 49ers offense. Moreover — if Deebo Samuel is ruled out — then McCaffrey will see an uptick in rushing attempts, which gives him an even higher chance of cashing this prop.

It will still be an uphill battle for the running back as the Lions front seven has been one of the most dominant run stopping units this year. The Lions come into the contest ranked first in Def Rush DVOA, fourth in Def Rush EPA, eighth in Def Rush Success Rate, and sixth in Def Adjusted Line Yards. They have the size to plug the middle while their linebackers excel at screening down the lanes and limiting rush production in the trenches.

Luckily for McCaffrey, the 49ers offensive line has excelled at pushing back in the trenches in order to open up higher quality rushing lanes for him to exploit. The 49ers offensive line ranks second in Adjusted Line Yards, playing a big factor in their impressive rush metrics of second in Rush DVOA, first in Rush EPA, and first in Rush Success Rate.

McCaffrey should also benefit from the fact that the second level of the Lions defense will already have their hands full against the 49ers pass attack. Brock Purdy and company come into the contest with massive advantages through the air, potentially forcing the Lions linebackers to sell out to stop the pass and sacrifice their ability to run block by anchoring down in coverage.

Brandon Aiyuk First Touchdown (+800 BetMGM)

Speaking of the 49ers advantages through the air, San Francisco’s pass catchers are all live targets in this market. The value on Aiyuk is clear, especially if Deebo Samuel is unable to give it a go, elevating Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle as the top two primary targets. Christian McCaffrey plays just as big a role as them in the pass attack, giving him a higher chance of cashing on his previously mentioned prop as well.

It’s about as big of an advantage as you can find in the Conference Championships as the 49ers have been a dominant pass attack all season long. They come into the contest ranked first overall in Pass DVOA, EPA, and Success Rate. This is in large part of Brock Purdy playing as the most efficient quarterback in the league.

This puts the Lions defense in an unfortunate situation as they thrive with creating pressure with their linebackers, yet now have to most likely anchor in coverage to help out their horrendous secondary. It’s not just bad when talking about the Lions secondary in coverage, it’s near league worst as they rank 25th in Def Pass EPA and Success Rate. Top receivers like Mike Evans have had no issue with burning this secondary, now expecting Brandon Aiyuk to follow suit as well.

Jahmyr Gibbs First Touchdown (+1050 Pointsbet)

Unlike Christian McCaffrey and the 49ers ground game, the Lions actually come into this contest with a sizable advantage. Stopping the run has been a struggle all season long for the 49ers front seven as they come into the contest ranked 15th in Def Rush DVOA, 24th in Def Rush Success Rate, and 26th in Def Rush EPA.

An oddity for a defense that is chalk full of talent, yet their struggles are in large part of their scheme. The 49ers tend to anchor their linebackers more in coverage, giving opposing running backs the advantage should they get through the trenches. Getting through the trenches is not exactly an easy feat as the 49ers front four ranks 10th in Def Adjusted Line Yards.

Still, Jahmyr Gibbs boasts elite size and speed and is more than capable of burning past the 49ers front four, especially behind an offensive line that ranks first in Adjusted Line Yards, playing a major factor in their rush metrics of fourth in Rush DVOA, sixth in Rush EPA, and seventh in Rush Success Rate. Factor an uptick in rush attempts as well as wanting to limit potential turnover worthy plays through the air and Jahmyr Gibbs is a prime target to cash this.

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Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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