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Wild Card Round NFL Best Player Props for Saturday: Pacheco to the Rescue for Chiefs

The NFL’s postseason gets under way this Saturday with a couple of AFC games in the Wild Card round. C.J. Stroud will attempt to become the latest rookie to shine in his playoff debut after already winning an elimination game last week in Indianapolis.

At night, the Chiefs and Dolphins could be playing the coldest game in either franchise’s history. Could the running backs take over as the stars in this one?

This postseason, be sure to bookmark the player props section on OddsTrader, and we included the top sportsbooks to make these player props for Saturday’s Wild Card action.

Picks Summary

  • C.J. Stroud (HOU) Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns (+120) at Bet365
  • Dalton Schultz (HOU) Over 38.5 Receiving Yards (-115) at Caesars Sportsbook
  • Isiah Pacheco (KC) Anytime Touchdown Scorer (-125) at Bet365
  • Tyreek Hill (MIA) Over 6.5 Receptions (-140) at Bet365
  • Patrick Mahomes (KC) Longest Rush Over 12.5 Yards (-120) at Bet365

Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans

Saturday, January 13, 2024 – 04:30 PM ET at NRG Stadium


C.J. Stroud (Houston Texans)

Rookie quarterbacks are known for struggling in the NFL playoffs, but some players are just built differently. C.J. Stroud might be one of those quarterbacks, and he already played very well with Houston’s season on the line last week in Indianapolis, passing for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns in a road win.

Stroud has been even better at home this year where he has thrown multiple touchdowns in 6-of-8 home starts. Stroud missed the Week 16 game against Cleveland where backup Davis Mills came off the bench and threw 2 touchdowns in the 4th quarter.

The Texans will be glad to have Stroud back for this matchup, and it could be a shootout if the Browns come out airing the ball out like they did in Week 16 when they dropped 36 points in that game.

It helps to be one of the all-time great rookie quarterbacks like Stroud. Brock Purdy threw 3 touchdowns in his playoff debut against Seattle last year. Dak Prescott had one of the best rookie quarterback seasons ever for Dallas in 2016, and while he didn’t get the win at home against the Packers, he still threw for over 300 yards and 3 touchdown passes in his first playoff game.

Stroud has the opportunity to join exclusive company, and he’s had the caliber of season that makes it realistic that it will happen for him.

The Pick

Yes, the Cleveland defense is stingy, but it is not impossible to score on. In fact, the Houston defense is the one that has allowed the fewest touchdown passes (17) in the NFL this year. Cleveland has allowed 23 touchdown passes, an average number in 2023.

The Browns turn the ball over more than anyone, and that has only continued with Joe Flacco at quarterback. That can set up short fields and easier opportunities for scoring.

We are going to trust Houston to scheme receivers open and lean on Stroud just as they have for the rest of this season that led to a division title. He’ll have a chance to establish himself as one of the top young quarterbacks in the league if he shreds this highly-ranked defense that has not played many top-tier quarterbacks.

NFL Pick: C.J. Stroud Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns (+120) at Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)


Dalton Schultz (Houston Texans)

The Browns have invested well in the secondary and have done a great job of covering receivers tightly this year. Add in a strong pass rush led by Myles Garrett, and moving the ball against Cleveland has been tough.

Cleveland is one of the hardest defenses to produce against for wide receivers this year, and that is the position where Houston has been hit hard by injury with Tank Dell lost for the season, and question marks if Noah Brown or Robert Woods can return for this game.

That leaves Nico Collins on an island, and while he had 195 yards last week in Indy, the Colts are not nearly as good or aggressive on defense as the Browns.

Having said that, Cleveland was the only defense to not allow 600 yards to the tight-end position this year. But it also did not face many good tight ends. For that matter, the 2023 season was not a great one for tight-end play as Travis Kelce looked slow and Mark Andrews was injured in Baltimore.

One move that worked out decently was Houston acquiring Dalton Schultz from the Cowboys as their lead tight end. He finished 2nd on the team with 59 catches and is a reliable target in the middle of the field for Stroud.

The Pick

Last week against the Colts, the Texans only had 2 receivers who broke 10 receiving yards: Collins (195) and Schultz (42). Collins should decline significantly this week, but Schultz can maintain his production or even improve on it if Houston tries to stay away from those corners outside the numbers.

We’ll trust Schultz to be a safety valve for Stroud in this matchup and hit his over in receiving yards for your NFL picks.

NFL Pick: Dalton Schultz Over 38.5 Receiving Yards (-115) at Caesars Sportsbook (check our Caesars Sportsbook Review)


Miami Dolphins vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Saturday, January 13, 2024 – 08:00 PM ET at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium


Isiah Pacheco (Kansas City Chiefs)

It could dip into temperatures below 0 in this game, which would make it the coldest NFL game in nearly a decade. When you have those conditions and you have receivers who lead the league in dropped passes like the Chiefs, do you really want to risk throwing the ball much or trying fancy trick plays, especially around the goal line?

The Chiefs need to embrace the weather and play a physical brand of football against a Miami defense that is both injured and considered soft. Isiah Pacheco is a very physical runner who does not have big fumbling issues, so he should get the ball in key spots in this game.

Are you going to trust Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Kadarius Toney with the ball over Pacheco? Hopefully, the Chiefs realize that and go with the best player. Travis Kelce hasn’t caught a touchdown in what feels like eons, and he hasn’t looked the greatest on the field either in recent weeks.

Stick with Pacheco and reward him with a touchdown. He has been one of the Chiefs’ best players down the stretch. He has scored a touchdown in 4 straight games, and he had 165 yards from scrimmage against the Bengals in Week 17.

He is also rested after getting Week 18 off.

The Pick

If you don’t trust the touchdown as much as the yardage (over 64.5 rushing yards), you can play that instead for Pacheco. But this needs to be a big game for him as the Chiefs can worry about the passing game in better conditions. Pound the rock and give it to the running back who treats every carry like its his last.

NFL Pick: Isiah Pacheco Anytime Touchdown Scorer (-125) at Bet365


Tyreek Hill (Miami Dolphins)

Remember when Tyreek Hill was on pace for 2,000 yards and getting possible MVP considerations? He was going to light up the Chiefs in Week 9 in Germany in a huge game against his former team, the 1st meeting since that shocking trade in 2022.

The game came, and Hill sure did score against the Chiefs. He coughed the ball up before halftime and the Chiefs returned it for a long touchdown to take a 21-0 lead. Hill finished with 8 catches for 62 yards, one of his most disappointing games of the season.

Hill injured his ankle against the Titans in December and has not had a 100-yard game since then. He fell off the pace of 2,000 yards and barely beat out CeeDee Lamb for the league lead with 1,799 receiving yards.

We have seen the Dolphins stumble in these big matchups against the other Super Bowl contenders this year. Hill did not reach 100 yards against the Cowboys (99), Eagles (88), Bills twice (82 and 58), Ravens (76), or Chiefs (62) this year.

He has a lofty number for his receiving yards in this game at 84.5, but with the conditions, it is hard to see him hitting the big plays. The Chiefs also have a very good corner in L’Jarius Sneed, who has not allowed more than 47 receiving yards in coverage in any home game this year. The Dolphins had 43 yards on 8 targets with Sneed in coverage in Week 9.

The Pick

The yards may not be there for Hill, but the receptions are a different story. They can get him the ball in a variety of ways, including screens for easy completions that get the ball in his hands with space.

In a game like this with the weather, it’s not one for the Dolphins to hit deep balls to Hill. Look for the screens, slants, drags, and other short routes to make sure their best player is touching the ball frequently, especially on a night where Jaylen Waddle and Raheem Mostert may not be 100% if they return to action.

Hill has gone over 6.5 receptions in 10-of-16 games this year, and he had 8 catches against the Chiefs in Germany despite the fumble and overall lack of production. Getting injured or the game being a blowout are the most common ways for Hill to finish under 6.5 catches, and we are not counting on either in this matchup.

Miami will get him the ball. What he does with it this time is up to him and his blockers.

NFL Pick: Tyreek Hill Over 6.5 Receptions (-140) at Bet365


Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)

It is playoff time, which means the time of year where some of Patrick Mahomes’ best plays are runs where he leaves it all on the field for his team. He didn’t do it as much last year since he suffered a high-ankle sprain in the divisional round against Jacksonville.

But in the AFC Championship Game against the Bengals and the Super Bowl against the Eagles, the defining play on both of Kansas City’s game-winning drives were scrambles by Mahomes, including a 26-yard gallop in the Super Bowl.

While Mahomes did not rush for a touchdown this season, his only season as a starter without one, he did have a career-high 389 rushing yards.

Mahomes had a run of at least 13 yards in 9-of-16 games played this year, including a 16-yard run against the Dolphins in Germany.

The Pick

Mahomes will do whatever it takes to get his team the win this week. We saw Josh Allen run for 15 yards on a 3rd-and-13 against the Dolphins last week. Mahomes doesn’t run as physically as that, but he has the speed to get over 12.5 yards with a scramble.

On a night when his receivers may end up letting him down in the cold, look for Mahomes to take matters into his own hands and run for a big gain that could prove critical in the outcome.

NFL Pick: Patrick Mahomes Longest Rush Over 12.5 Yards (-120) at Bet365

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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