patriots colts player props
PHOTO CREDIT: CRAIG DUDEK

Saturday evening’s Week 15 game will have a lot to say about where the New England Patriots (9-4) and Indianapolis Colts (7-6) end up in the AFC standings at the end of the regular season. The Patriots currently occupy the conference’s top spot, but could drop as low as third with a loss here. The Colts are sixth in the AFC, but their chase pack includes seven other squads that could pull level on record or better with a loss.

Let’s take a look at the best Patriots vs. Colts player props picks for this key NFL Week 15 special Saturday Night Football matchup.

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Patriots vs. Colts Player Props

Jonathan Taylor Under 90.5 Rushing Yards

It’s always going to be uncomfortable playing against the league’s runaway leading rusher, but if you are ever going to do it, this should prove one of the stronger spots to try. Jonathan Taylor has topped this prop’s requirement in just seven of his team’s 13 games, somewhat surprising for a guy averaging 103.7 yards per game on the ground. Interestingly, four of the six games in which he failed to reach 91 yards came here at home, games in which he averaged 65 yards on 16 carries.

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Worth noting, all five Colts’ opponents that currently own better than a .600 win percentage held Taylor to fewer than 90 yards on the ground. Incidentally, those games included five of the six fewest rushing attempts the Wisconsin product saw all season, as well.

That plays right into New England’s hands, as we know that Bill Belichick’s defensive impetus is to take away the most dangerous weapon(s) an opponent offers and that is undoubtedly Jonathan Taylor for Indy. Only four backs have topped this prop’s number in 2021 against the Patriots, despite them boasting just the league’s 19th best rushing yardage defense. Leonard Fournette, who rushed for 92 yards against New England on 20 carries, the second most against them this season, is the only ball carrier currently in the league’s top 50 in rushing yards to beat this prop versus the Pats in 2021.

This speaks once again to Belichick’s approach. He would rather force D’Ernest Johnson, Dontrell Hilliard, and D’Onta Foreman to try to beat his team. Those are the other three backs to accrue over 90.5 rush yards against the Patriots this season and also happen to be three of the four lowest ranked rushers to have faced them. This is hardly a coincidence and he is not going to allow Taylor to have free rein like that here.

New England and Indianapolis are both effective at limiting their opponents’ time with the football and we could see a quick game here. Indy allows opponents the third least time of possession, while New England is 9th best in limiting its opposition’s time on the ball. The Patriots also run the fifth fewest plays per game, shrinking the clock to help minimize risk for their rookie quarterback. Strikingly, they allow the 11th fewest plays per game against (61.5), as well, a number that dips to 58.0 on the road, the league’s fourth smallest number. This correlates with New England’s rush defense allowing just 99.8 yards per game away from home, which is one of the NFL’s ten best averages.

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No team’s leader in carries has crested this prop’s number against New England this season without rushing it at least 19 times against them. Unfortunately, that’s a number Taylor has only achieved four times in 2021, none of which were against .600 or above foes. Taylor has relied upon big runs to help achieve his lofty numbers this year. He had a rush of at least 33 yards in five of the six games in which he eclipsed this prop’s number. Unfortunately for him, the Patriots have only allowed one team’s leading carrier against them to break off a run of more than 28 yards. With extra bodies in the box in a shortened game, Taylor is going to have a tough time methodically reaching 91 yards on the ground here.

Hunter Henry Anytime Touchdown Scorer

While Hunter Henry has gone three straight games without a touchdown reception after scoring seven times in the previous seven outings, there is reason to believe he will end that drought here.

We knew it would take time for this offense with so many new faces to find its identity. As such, Henry failed to score in the team’s first three games. Then the offense began to mesh and Henry scored in six of the next seven outings. The only time he did not was against his former team, the Chargers, who allow the NFL’s fourth fewest passing yards per game. The recent three game shutout is easily explained, as well. For starters, the Patriots completed just two passes all game in the windy conditions in Buffalo last time out. The two games prior were blowout victories in which New England was able to salt away the victories via the run game.

Hunter Henry has scored four touchdowns in the team’s six games against teams which currently own winning records. He also scored in six different games and has been responsible for all but one of New England’s tight end scores in 2021. He still leads the team in touchdown receptions and has the 10th most in the NFL, second most among tight ends.

Indianapolis allows the league’s second most passing touchdowns per game with six of those going to tight ends across five different games. All six of those came from 13 yards away or less, lining up nicely with Henry’s scores, six of which were also 13 yards or fewer. Expect to see Hunter Henry prove an important part of New England’s game plan once again here, crossing the goal line to pay us out better than 2:1.

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Rhamondre Stevenson Anytime Touchdown Scorer

Anyone who has followed the Patriots under Bill Belichick, especially of late, knows that he rarely leans exclusively on one lead back week in and week out. It is routine for a rusher to have a big game only to take a back seat to a different guy the following week. We think that could follow suit here with Damien Harris, the team’s leading rusher and scorer, conceding some carries to rookie Rhamondre Stevenson, especially around the goal line.

Harris was instrumental in smashing the Bills in the wind last week, but he pulled up late with a hamstring injury and has been limited in practice this week, still listed as questionable to play. Stevenson is the natural replacement, earning Belichick’s trust more each time out after a critical Week 1 fumble against the Dolphins. Stevenson has protected the ball since then, rushing it 99 times and catching 11 balls, all without a fumble.

Stevenson rushed it a season high 24 times against Buffalo, using his 6’0”, 227 pound frame to punish Buffalo’s defenders. His build should prove useful in the red zone in this one, as five of the seven rushing touchdowns Indy has conceded to opposing backs have come from inside the five yard line. New England has scored 11 of its 15 rushing touchdowns, all by running backs, from five yards out or fewer, as well.

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Stevenson should fill that role here with Harris dinged up, especially given that Mac Jones has not scored a rushing touchdown all season, nor have the Colts allowed an opposing quarterback to run one in against them. The first-year rusher had the bye week to recover from his season high carries and should be ready for a heavy workload once again here.

After allowing just one score by an opposing back in the team’s first six games, Indianapolis has conceded eight such scores in its last seven outings. Playing for a Patriots team that has scored the 10th highest percentage of its touchdowns via the run, Stevenson should be well primed to punch in the fourth score of his rookie season here.

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