Island games are the highlight of any NFL week for betting enthusiasts. And as the industry continues to grow, some of the most discussed moments belong to these single-game opportunities.
Leverage PFF's predictive betting models and player props tools to identify the best betting opportunities in the Week 14 Monday Night Football contest between the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams.
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One of the easiest transitions into sports betting is through player props, as fantasy applications help evaluate betting opportunities.
One way to consistently find defined edges is by utilizing PFF's player props tool, as the ability to adjust both number and price means you are always certain of the expected value for each prop bet. Let’s dive into the best player props to bet for Monday Night Football.
WR DEANDRE HOPKINS: Under 58.5 receiving yards (-115)
Hopkins has had a disappointing season by his standards — he's battled through injuries and is on pace to record what would be his worst PFF grade since 2016.
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has enjoyed a career year by spreading the ball around to his litany of weapons, resulting in a career-low 5.67 targets per game volume for Hopkins. For comparison, he averaged 10 targets per game with Murray last season.
DeAndre Hopkins vs. Jalen Ramsey since 2016
|Explosive plays of 15 or more yards||9|
|Passer rating generated||76.9|
While Rams All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey has previously stated that Hopkins is his toughest matchup in the league, the stats disagree: Ramsey has had Hopkins’ number his entire career, dating back to their time in the AFC South. Across 10 matchups, Ramsey has allowed just 38 receptions for 462 yards on 77 targets against Hopkins, and three of Hopkins' four worst single-game receiving grades against Ramsey have come in the last two years as a member of the Cardinals.
Not only has Hopkins failed to cover his receiving yards prop in seven of nine games this season, but PFF’s player props tool also gives Nuk just a 45.2% chance of covering this week.
WR COOPER KUPP: Over 91.5 receiving yards (-115)
Kupp has covered his receiving yards prop in nine of his 12 games this season. He’s also recorded at least 94 receiving yards in 10 of those 12 contests, including each of his last seven games.
According to PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart, Kupp has an excellent 92.1 matchup advantage over the Cardinals cornerbacks, including slot cornerback Byron Murphy Jr.
The Cardinals' third-year corner has earned a 68.3 PFF grade this season, 35th among 125 qualifying corners, and is expected to line up across from Kupp on 61% of snaps Monday.
Kupp, who averages 8.33 receptions on 11.33 targets per game this season, has a 53.8% chance of covering this prop in what should be a pass-happy, high-scoring game.
Attention sports bettors: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
TE ZACH ERTZ: Under 40.5 receiving yards (-115)
Ertz is amid a renaissance of sorts. The veteran tight end has played 72.6% of offensive snaps for the Cardinals, running a route on 74.7% of dropbacks while seeing a 16.8% team target share. However, the usage is eye-popping but may not tell the entire story.
Kyler Murray has only been in the lineup for three games Ertz has played for Arizona, and those three matchups generated the lowest target share Ertz has as a member of the Cardinals. In those three games, his team target share drops to 12.5%.
This also doesn’t fully account for the injury situation the Cardinals experienced at the wide receiver position in those games. With a full set of pass-catchers now back for Arizona, this is really the game where we should judge Ertz’s usage. Since he is now at his highest receiving yardage prop of the season, Ertz to go under with a cut to his target volume seems appropriate.
Matchup considerations and the fact that PFF’s betting model also likes the under are two more reasons why Ertz should fall short of this number on Monday.
The Cardinals walked into SoFi Stadium and blew out the Rams 37-20 back in Week 4, so this matchup is not only a revenge game for Los Angeles but also arguably a must-win for Sean McVay & Co. if they want any chance of winning the NFC West and hosting a playoff game.
There has been some considerable line movement at sportsbooks this week. After opening with the Cardinals as three-point favorites, the spread moved a full point in the Rams’ favor before finally settling back in at Cardinals -2.5, where PFF Greenline does not see any value on either team.
Rather, the best bet for this game is the under 51 total, which also has moved down from its opening value of 52. While these two teams seem destined for a points explosion à la Rams-Chiefs 2018, our model prefers the under because of Matthew Stafford‘s recent struggles and the strength of both defenses.
Once the betting favorite for the 2021 NFL MVP Award, Stafford has experienced his fair share of struggles over recent weeks. The Rams signal-caller currently ranks 14th among quarterbacks in PFF overall grade this season, and that number drops to 19th since Week 9. Stafford just hasn’t been making the same number of elite throws as we used to see from him in a Lions uniform, as his 5.0% big-time throw percentage ranks 18th league-wide — right between Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson this season.
It’s not going to get any easier against a Cardinals defense that has far surpassed even the most optimistic preseason expectations this season. Through 13 weeks, they sit seventh in team coverage grade and second in expected points added (EPA) allowed per play.
Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris has led his squad to an even more impressive defensive season, albeit with more top-end talent. The Rams rank first among all teams in defensive grade by a wide margin (83.9, second place is the Saints at 76.6) behind the strength of their front seven. Aaron Donald (93.7 defensive grade), Von Miller (87.2) and crew rank first among all teams in both run-defense grade and pass-rush grade.
PFF Greenline gives the under a 51.2% chance to hit.
Pick: Under 51.5
DERIVATIVE BETS & SAME-GAME PARLAY
PFF’s betting model has only one lean in the game markets in this matchup, and that is the under 51.5. Thankfully, that gives a solid base to build a parlay with a high payout.
The expectation is that few explosive plays happen in this matchup, with the Rams by far the best defense in PFF’s opponent-adjusted grades. Limiting the Cardinals' downfield passing will be the key for the Rams' defense. DeAndre Hopkins has struggled in previous matchups against Jalen Ramsey and should fall short of his receiving yardage prop and his longest reception prop.
Meanwhile, Zach Ertz's usage has been solid, but there is little chance of him seeing the same number of opportunities now that the Cardinals' receiving corps is this close to full strength. Fading the veteran tight end at his high is a quality spot to consider for Monday night.
Arizona’s defense has been better than expected this season and sits as an above-average unit in PFF’s opponent-adjusted grades. They rank seventh in PFF coverage grade but drop to 15th when focused solely on plays where the target position is wide receiver. They simply have no cornerback who can slow what has been the hottest wide receiver in the NFL this season.
Kupp has the fourth-best overall matchup advantage on the weekend and should feast against slot cornerback Byron Murphy. Kupp has only had 23 receiving snaps against Byron Murphy in primary coverage over the previous five games and saw 14 targets for nine receptions and 131 receiving yards. It’s a spot he has taken advantage of in a limited sample size previously and should be the focus of Matthew Stafford on Monday night. The success of the Rams offense should come through Cooper Kupp once again.
- Under: 51.5
- DeAndre Hopkins: Under 22.5 yards longest reception
- Zach Ertz: Under 40.5 receiving yards
- Cooper Kupp: Over 91.5 receiving yards