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NFL Week 3 player props: The game within the game

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We got into the black thanks to a 7-4 effort in Week 2 - with help from a bonus bet fading Joe Burrow and his gimpy calf. Playing off injuries is a great way to isolate value in the prop market.

Bijan Robinson: Over 3.5 receptions

We've got good news and bad news. The bad - our secret is already out, as oddsmakers are no longer offering Robinson's reception total at 2.5. The good news? We can bet it at 3.5 and still feel pretty good about it. The Lions gave up six receptions to Chiefs tailbacks in Week 1. The Seahawks, their Week 2 opponents, don't rely on throwing to Kenneth Walker the way Kansas City or the Falcons deploy their running backs in the passing game.

Stefon Diggs: Over 71.5 receiving yards

The Bills should see a fair amount of man-to-man coverage from the Commanders. Washington's defensive line should torment Josh Allen and could force enough turnovers to make this game close. But like Week 1 - when Diggs had 13 targets against the Jets - that won't affect his production, especially given how many looks he should get when singled up against either Kendall Fuller or the rookie Emmanuel Forbes.

Raheem Mostert: Under 61.5 rushing yards

Running backs' usage is often the most relevant assessment in looking for a bet. Which version of Mostert are we likely to see Sunday? Last week, Bill Belichick was terrified to get beat deep, so the Dolphins patiently handed the ball off to Mostert 18 times, tied for the most carries he's had for Miami. He averaged 11.3 last season and had 10 in Week 1. Even an optimistic projection of 11 carries, at 5 yards per tote, would put Mostert 7 yards shy of going over this number.

C.J. Stroud: Over 233.5 passing yards

It may be hard to tell since his team has gotten housed in its first two games, but Stroud has quietly played pretty well. Throwing for 242 yards in your debut on the road against the Ravens is pretty solid, but 384 last week - all without an interception - is legit. Part of the volume is because the team has been trailing, but for the purposes of this bet, who cares? With the Texans underdogs of over a touchdown, Stroud may be forced to sling it again Sunday.

Mark Andrews: Over 4.5 receptions

Andrews caught five-plus passes in five of the first six games last season. Despite battling injuries and Lamar Jackson's absence throughout the rest of the season, he still occasionally surpassed this total. Andrews missed Week 1 this year, but upon his return last week, he was targeted eight times, catching five. Odell Beckham Jr.'s absence means Andrews will draw even more of Jackson's attention.

Alexander Mattison: Under 51.5 rushing yards

Why run the ball when you can throw it against the Chargers? Despite its much-discussed defensive struggles, L.A.'s actually held up well against the run so far this season. Mattison has struggled to hold on to the ball or gain yards - two key elements to the job - which is why the Vikings grabbed Cam Akers on Wednesday.

Jerome Ford: Over 45.5 rushing yards

The replaceability of running backs is getting put to the test. Can Ford step right into the shoes of Nick Chubb? We certainly think so, but he doesn't even have to in order to go over this total. If Kevin Stefanski's assertion that Ford will get Chubb's carries is true, an alternative over 100-plus yards is worth a sprinkle at 14-1.

Hayden Hurst: Over 29.5 receiving yards

Andy Dalton takes over the Panthers' offense for the next couple of weeks, and you know what that means - checkdowns! This is the fourth straight season - with four different teams - in which Dalton has subbed in for a start. Here are his throwing numbers to the tight end in those first games:

2020 Cowboys 4 REC / 35 YARDS
2021 Bears 6 REC / 53 YARDS
2022 Saints 6 REC / 70 YARDS

The Seahawks have allowed the fourth-most yardage to tight ends so far this season, and Hurst has been Carolina's lone receiving threat at the position.

CeeDee Lamb: Over 71.5 receiving yards

The Cowboys' Week 1 game was weird; they gathered a big lead without having to do much offensively. Last week, against a supposedly tough Jets defense, Lamb caught 11 balls on 13 targets. That's the type of usage to expect, and Dallas should get whatever it wants against a defensive scheme it's familiar with due to Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon's time with the Eagles (188 yards in two games last season).

Kenny Pickett: Longest pass completion - Under 34.5 yards (-120)

The Raiders might try to be more aggressive this week, but everything we've seen from the first two weeks indicates they refuse to get beat deep. Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada is just trying to find the opponents' red zone. While Pickett connected with George Pickens for a long catch and run touchdown Monday, that seemed more like an outlier than a reliable result.

Matt Russell is the lead betting analyst for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on social media @mrussauthentic.

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