Wild-card stat leaders odds, best bets: Allen, Taylor worth betting to pace field

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Few weekends are more exciting in the NFL than the wild-card round, which will feature two additional games this year to set up an absolute betting bonanza. It's also an ideal opportunity to cash in on player futures, which offer unique value within a smaller field.

Here are the odds to lead the weekend in passing, rushing, and receiving yards and our favorite picks for each.

Who will lead in passing yards?

PLAYER ODDS
Josh Allen +225
Tom Brady +350
Ben Roethlisberger +400
Drew Brees +1000
Philip Rivers +1000
Russell Wilson +1000
Mitchell Trubisky +1400
Ryan Tannehill +1800
Baker Mayfield +2000
Alex Smith +2000
Lamar Jackson +3000

It's easy to pick Josh Allen and move on, but he really is the right choice. The Bills quarterback ranks sixth in passing yards per game (284) and has topped 300 yards in three of his last five games. He also faces a decent matchup - the Colts have allowed 300 passing yards or more in five of their last seven games and could be without their best pass-rusher and No. 2 cornerback.

The only other quarterback worth a look here is Ben Roethlisberger, based solely on the matchup. The Browns have allowed 247.6 passing yards per game - third-most of any playoff team - and watched Mason Rudolph torch their secondary for 315 yards a week ago. Still, Roethlisberger managed just 162 yards against Cleveland in Week 6 and is priced too short here to recommend.

Pick: Josh Allen (+225)

Who will lead in rushing yards?

PLAYER ODDS
Derrick Henry -150
Nick Chubb +500
Jonathan Taylor +700
J.K. Dobbins +900
Lamar Jackson +1300
Cam Akers +1400
Chris Carson +1400
Ronald Jones +1400
David Montgomery +1400
James Conner +2000
Antonio Gibson +2000
Zack Moss +2500

I get why Derrick Henry is priced as the prohibitive favorite - he paced the NFL with 126.7 rushing yards per game this year and averaged almost 150 yards in three playoff games a year ago. Still, he isn't worth the price against the Ravens, who haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher since facing Henry in Week 11 and will surely game plan around the star back after last year's fiasco.

My eyes are on Jonathan Taylor, who's averaged 123.5 rushing yards in his last six games and torched the Jaguars for 253 yards in Week 17. He's also got a plus matchup this week against a Bills defense that gave up 200-plus yards to the Chiefs and Cardinals and allowed at least 5 yards per carry in five of its last 11 games.

Want a longer shot than Taylor? Try Lamar Jackson, who finished the season ninth in rushing yards (1,005) and has rushed for at least 50 yards in 12 of his 15 starts this year. He's averaging 86 yards over his past four games and rushed for 143 yards against the Titans in last year's postseason.

Pick: Jonathan Taylor (+700)

Who will lead in receiving yards?

PLAYER ODDS
Stefon Diggs +300
Allen Robinson +600
Michael Thomas +600
Chris Godwin +1000
A.J. Brown +1200
Chase Claypool +1400
Terry McLaurin +1400
DK Metcalf +1400
Diontae Johnson +1800
Tyler Lockett +1800
Corey Davis +2000
Jarvis Landry +2000
JuJu Smith-Schuster +2000
Robert Woods +2000
Mark Andrews +2500
Cooper Kupp +2500
T.Y. Hilton +2800
Marquise Brown +3000

Stefon Diggs has been on an absolute tear this year, leading the NFL in receiving yards (1,535) and receptions (127). He's recorded at least 130 receiving yards in three of his last four games and faces a Colts secondary that will be without Rock Ya-Sin on Saturday.

Still, I'm not a fan of laying such a short price on something so volatile. That's why I've set my sights on Diontae Johnson, who has at least eight catches in five of Roethlisberger's last six starts and gets to face a Browns secondary allowing 175.3 yards per game to opposing wideouts, eighth-most in the NFL.

What about a shot on Marquise Brown? The Ravens speedster was held off the board in a Week 11 meeting with the Titans, but he's always two catches away from pacing the field and faces an opportune matchup against Tennessee, which has allowed the fourth-most yards to opposing receivers (193.8). He's not our favorite choice, but this price makes him hard to ignore.

Pick: Diontae Johnson (+1800)

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

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Wild-card stat leaders odds, best bets: Allen, Taylor worth betting to pace field
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