Thursday, February 22, 2024

Christian McCaffrey big game preview and best prop bets

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Christian McCaffrey preview

Christian McCaffrey was hands down the best playmaker in the league this season. The ultimate dual-threat running back led all players in yards from scrimmage with 2,023 and tied for the lead in total touchdowns with 21. He had the best rushing season of his career as the league’s leading rusher with a career-high 1,459 yards (91.2 per game), which he gained on a career-high 5.4 yards per carry.

McCaffrey was remarkably consistent this season. He averaged over 4.0 yards per carry in 14 of his 18 games, including his last eight in a row. He also tied an NFL record by scoring a TD in 17 consecutive games (dating back to last season), and he scored in all but three games this season.

Are the Chiefs ready?

Slowing down McCaffrey has to be the top priority for the Chiefs’ defense, which has struggled against the run this season. They were 27th in DVOA and 28th in EPA against the run, and the Bills gashed them for 182 yards on 4.7 yards per carry in the divisional round. The Ravens inexplicably abandoned the run after falling behind early in the AFC Championship, or that game might have gone differently. (There is a bit of a theme here of opponents not running enough against these two Super Bowl teams – and losing.)

The 49ers have relied heavily on McCaffrey in each of their playoff games (24 touches both times), and he has rewarded them with 260 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns. Expect that to continue in the Super Bowl, as feeding McCaffrey is the 49ers’ best path to victory against the Chiefs.

Christian McCaffrey best prop bets

Longest Rush over 18.5 yards (-105 at FanDuel)

Another good way to get some action on McCaffrey with a player prop bet is with the over on his longest rush at 18.5 yards. McCaffrey is not only the best all-around running back in the league, but also one of the most explosive. As noted above, he leads the league in PFF’s “Breakaway Runs” (15+ yards) with 22 this season.

He is fourth in explosive run rate, fifth in yards after contact per attempt, and 6th in missed tackles forced per attempt. He consistently makes explosive plays every week and had at least one run of 15+ yards in 13 of his 18 games. The Chiefs allowed the 10th-highest explosive run rate over the last nine weeks of the season.

Over 88.5 rushing yards (-115 at DraftKings)

If the Niners feed McCaffrey on the ground, as they should and likely will, then he should be a safe bet to go over 88.5 rushing yards. He has had at least 90 rushing yards in eight of his last 10 games and averaged 91.2 rushing yards per game overall this season. He has also been over his weekly rushing yards prop line in nine of his last 10 games and in 13 of his 18 games overall. As noted above, the Chiefs struggle against the run, and McCaffrey should be able to exploit that if he gets enough opportunities.

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