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NFL Play of the Day: July 04

By Lior Lampert

There is an old saying in the sports world: “the best ability is availability.” While it can be tough to predict injuries and we never root for players to get injured, sometimes it is tough to ignore a player’s injury history when factoring into your betting decisions. It can make season-long prop bets to gauge or seem like good value depending on the extent of a player’s injuries they have endured over the years.

In today’s NFL, it is less common to see a true “three-down back,” as teams are doing everything they can to preserve the longevity of their starting running backs. In 2005, there were 10 starting running backs who received over 300 rushing attempts. In 2021, only two runners accomplished that feat. As time goes on, we continue to see teams take the running back by committee approach.

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has unfortunately become an example as to why teams are scaling back the workload of their talented RBs. He has suited up for only 10 of the Panthers last 33 regular season games due to injury. In 2019, he had been given over 400 touches out of the backfield, and 325 in 2018. Those are hefty workloads that are tough to handle year-in and year-out. Unfortunately for McCaffrey and the Panthers, they have learned that the hard way.

Not to mention, Carolina has had one of the notoriously weaker offensive lines in the NFL in recent years paired with incompetent coaching and inconsistent quarterback play. All of this makes it difficult for McCaffrey to thrive even when he’s on the field. McCaffrey currently holds the second-highest total listed for combined rushing/receiving yards on DraftKings Sportsbook, with a total of 1595.5.

I believe that for McCaffrey to reach that number he’s going to have to play in at least 14-15 of the 17 possible regular season games. And even then, he would have to be receiving 20-25+ touches weekly to reach that number (if he can’t suit up for all 17 games), which is why I love the under for this total. While the offense revolves around McCaffrey, I think that the coaching staff and front office know that McCaffrey is too valuable to what the Panthers do on offense to continue putting him in harm's way.

McCaffrey’s injury history combined with the Panthers assumed interest in scaling back his workload, their dysfunctional offensive line and scheme/coaching, in addition to the quarterback carousel that seems to never end for the Panthers, it makes for an easy scenario to envision McCaffrey not reaching that total of 1596 yards.

My Pick: Christian McCaffrey Under 1595.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards (-115 odds via DraftKings Sportsbook)

One of betstamp’s largest brand values is transparency. Whether you are looking to tail or fade my picks, or potentially like reading the breakdowns, you can find my full documented betting record here. Best of luck with your plays.

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