Here are three cross-sport props I’m looking at this weekend. All involve Sunday’s Super Bowl and Saturday’s Cavaliers-76ers game:
Evan Mobley points+ rebounds vs. Matthew Stafford completions (-2.5)
As I see it, Matthew Stafford is going to have a decent day against the Cincinnati secondary. The Bengals ranked 32nd in passing yards allowed and 25th in yards after catch. Stafford fits the mold of a quarterback who can exploit those weaknesses, and Los Angeles has an underrated passing attack. Stafford averaged 23.8 completions during the regular season, and his prop for completions in the Super Bowl is 24.5. On the other hand, Evan Mobley is averaging 23.0 combined points and rebounds. The Cavaliers will be facing the 76ers and Joel Embiid, who will likely limit Mobley in both areas. Mobley scores most of his points from 4-to-14 feet, and with Embiid on the floor, opponents shoot just 37.1% from that area. Mobley might average 8.1 rebounds, but he’s not an efficient rebounder (16.0% defensive rebounding rate), while Embiid is. All of that together adds up to an edge for Stafford.
Play: Stafford completions (-2.5)
Darius Garland points+ assists (-1.5) vs. Joe Burrow completions
This is an interesting prop because the Cavaliers’ Darius Garland has been out of commission since Jan. 30 with a back injury. He is questionable to play Wednesday, so Cavs-76ers could be his third game back in action. What if he doesn’t return Wednesday? What if his first game back from injury is a road game against the 76ers, a team the Cavs are battling with for seeding in the Eastern Conference? Will there be a minutes restriction for Garland if that’s the case? Those questions will be answered in the coming days, so let’s analyze the prop from a numbers standpoint. Garland’s combined average for points and assists is 28.0, but his role has evolved since Ricky Rubio’s injury. In the first 31 games of the season, Garland averaged only 7.3 assists for a combined 26.8 points and assists. After Rubio’s injury, his assists have spiked to 10.2 per game and his points are up to 20.4, which brings him to 30.6 in the last 13 games. The injury throws a wrench into things, and the 76ers’ elite defensive play could bring those averages down. I played Burrow completions (+ 1.5) because the Bengals QB is facing a Rams secondary that is 29th in passing yards and 31st in yards after catch. Cincinnati is also a pass-first offense and will likely have trouble running against the Rams.
Play: Burrow completions (+ 1.5)
Joel Embiid free throws made (-2.5) vs. Evan McPherson points
Embiid is an incredible player, and a big part of his offensive game has been getting to the free-throw line. He’s averaging 11.1 free-throw attempts and hits 9.0 of those per game. He ranks in the 99th percentile of centers in floor fouls drawn rate (4.4%) and the 96th percentile in shooting fouls (22.6%). Not only is it a challenge to defend him on a play-to-play basis, but it’s even harder to do it without putting him on the line. Enter Cleveland. The Cavaliers rank second in defensive free-throw rate, as opponents make just 15.5 free throws per 100 field-goal attempts. By comparison, the 76ers are third on offense at 20.7 free throws made per 100 field-goal attempts, and Embiid is a massive part of that. If nine is the high point for Embiid in terms of made free throws, then McPherson might be in a good spot here. He averaged 8.1 points during the regular season, and Zac Taylor has shown great trust in his young kicker, sending him out for 12 field goals in three postseason games. It would take an extremely busy day at the line against an elite defensive team for Embiid to win this one, and I do not believe that will happen.
Play: McPherson points (+ 2.5)