NFL playoff stat leader odds: Fournette, Kupp among best bets to pace fields
On Thursday, we broke down the best bets to lead Wild Card Weekend in passing, rushing, and receiving yards. This time, we're finding values to lead the entire postseason, which introduces a key element into the hunt for value.
While per-game totals are still crucial, betting on a player whose team makes a deep run is as important, if not more so, than targeting high-impact stars. If, say, Aaron Rodgers throws for 350 yards per contest but the Packers lose in the NFC Championship Game, he's a worse bet than a wild-card passer with a modest 250-yard average whose team goes all the way.
With that in mind, here are the best value bets to lead the NFL postseason in each of the main statistical categories. (All odds listed are 50-1 or shorter.)
Most passing yards
It should come as no surprise to see Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady - the two passing leaders from last year's postseason - with the shortest odds this year. At these prices, I'd much rather bet their respective teams to win the conference than to hope for a stellar run in fewer games from either quarterback.
The Rams are among my best bets to win the Super Bowl, so naturally, I'm high on Matthew Stafford's chances to lead this market, as well. He's plenty qualified to do so - he finished the regular season ranked third in passing yards (4,886) and yards per completion (12.1), and he's already shown success against the Cardinals (283.5 YPG), Packers (302), and Buccaneers (343) this year.
I'm also a believer in Mac Jones at this price, which is mostly tied to the Patriots' upside as a Super Bowl long shot. It's not as if we haven't seen Jones succeed through the air, either. If he can average 250 yards - a mark he bested in seven games this season - amid a deep playoff run, that should be enough. Why not have a go at a distant long-shot price?
Best values: Matthew Stafford (+800), Mac Jones (+5000)
Most rushing yards
Historically, this market has been a lot more about opportunity than efficiency. Since 2012, every postseason leading rusher has played at least three games, and all but one had at least 60 carries. That heavily suggests backing a player with the potential for 20-plus carries per contest and a trip to the Super Bowl, or the conference title game for a wild-card team.
Derrick Henry will get some love from casual bettors, but if you like the Titans' chances to play three games, you're better off betting their futures than backing a rusher coming off foot surgery. Leonard Fournette has paced this market in two of the last four seasons and isn't a bad bet at this price, especially with serious potential for a four-game run.
The best value on the board, though, is Damien Harris. The Patriots' leading rusher logged 100-plus yards in each of his previous matchups with the Bills, whom he'll face this week, and he'd likely see the Titans' subpar rush defense in the following week. The path is there for massive yardage totals for Harris if you can stomach the risk on New England's title path.
Best values: Leonard Fournette (+700), Damien Harris (+2000)
Most receiving yards
This is easily the most volatile market of the three, and it's also the least tied to a deep run: Two of the last eight postseason receiving leaders played in just two games, which opens up the field quite a bit when looking for long-shot values.
Much of this does come down to opportunity, though. If you like the Cowboys to go on a run (as I do), there's value on CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper at long odds. A long-shot run by the Raiders or Steelers likely means big games from Diontae Johnson and Hunter Renfrow, respectively, which could be enough to carry their yardage total even without a full title run.
Still, my money is on Cooper Kupp, who is miraculously tied with three other players as frontrunners despite leading the NFL in receiving yards per contest (114.5) by a country mile. He torched the Cardinals for 123 yards in Week 14 and will be a fulcrum of the Rams' attack for as long as they stay alive in the postseason. If that's for three or four games, his stat line will be tough to beat.
Best values: Cooper Kupp (+800), CeeDee Lamb (+2000)