Last Updated: February 4th at 9:20am ET
Note: I will add to this article as more markets become available on other sites such as DraftKings and Fanduel.
Betting into an extremely liquid market such as NFL sides and totals is a very difficult endeavor. Lines move to efficiency very quickly and can’t be beat at -110 by the overwhelming majority of bettors.
However, player props are extremely beatable. As hardcore fantasy players, we are actually putting more time and thought into player outlooks than the oddsmakers. And since the limits on these player props are typically low, a lot of books don’t mind leaving up some soft lines. It’s essentially advertising to get people into their book. Don’t use player props as a guide for your DFS or season-long selections. Instead, we should be seeking out soft player props to bet.
The goal of this article isn’t to “tout” picks, it’s to help you develop your own process by showing you mine. You may not be able to get these lines at your book. The general idea is simple: Take a projection you’re confident in and compare it to the available line. After that, the key is to add in our knowledge of player usage to gain a bigger edge.
I made these bets on Friday, January 29th and later.
2019 NFL Record (all individual game player props): 50-36, +$963
2020 NFL Record: 53-32, +$1777
2020-21 NBA Record through January 28: 34-16, +1595
* Won/lost dollar amount is based on betting to win $100 on each favored prop and risking $100 on each underdog prop.
1. Byron Pringle receptions
Line: 1.5 catches (William Hill/Caesars)
Projection: 0.3 catches
Bet: Under (+130)
When Bet: Jan. 29th 8pm ET
Notes: This line suggests Sammy Watkins (calf) will sit. However, ESPN has reported that Watkins is expected to play. If that’s the case, the roles of Mecole Hardman and DeMarcus Robinson will stay intact while Pringle is likely to settle into a 5-10 snap role. Even if Watkins does end up missing, I’m fine taking my chances at +130 here. If Watkins ends up playing, I suspect this will end up as one of the best bets of the game.
2. Tom Brady to win MVP
Line: +210 (DraftKings)
When Bet: Jan 29th 10:30am ET
Notes: The Bucs are +145 to win the game, but Tom Brady is +210 to win MVP (+200 on FanDuel). In other words, the market is saying Tampa is 40.8% to win but Brady is only 32.2% to win MVP. If we think about the way Tampa would win, it’s almost certainly through Brady for a few reasons. First, the Bucs will need 30+ point to beat Patrick Mahomes. Second, with Antonio Brown healthy and joining the plethora of pass-catching options, it’s unlikely one pass-catcher gets concentrated enough to win MVP. And finally, a shared backfield between Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones makes it unlikely a running back wins MVP.
3. Total sacks in the game
Line: 4.0 sacks (William Hill/Caesars)
Projection: 4.2 sacks
Bet: Over (+100)
When Bet: Jan. 29th 3:30pm ET
Notes: The Bucs have the NFL’s best rush defense, forcing teams to drop back at one of the highest rates in the league. Of course, you don’t have to ask Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes to call a lot of pass plays. That’s a problem with the Chiefs down to a crisis situation along the offensive line and facing the highly athletic front seven of Tampa. On the other side, Tom Brady has only taken 26 sacks in 19 games but the Chiefs have a top-7 pass rush.
4. Mecole Hardman receiving yards
Line: 28.5 yards (FanDuel)
Projection: 35.3 yards
Bet: Over (-110)
When Bet: Feb. 3rd 10:51pm ET
Notes: There are a lot of ways Mecole can beat this prop. First, just on normal usage his big-play ability means it only takes one catch. Second, there could be more screens/quick-hitters available as the Chiefs try to compensate for their injury-decimated offensive line. Third, Demarcus Robinson (COVID close contact) could be out or limited, as could Sammy Watkins (calf).
5. Mike Evans to have most receiving yards in game
Line: +750 (FanDuel)
Projection: 69.6 yards
When Bet: Feb. 4th 8:51am ET
Notes: Our projections have Evans fourth in the game for receiving yards, behind Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Chris Godwin. However, FanDuel has not priced the odds here correctly for unlikely (but still possible) events. Evans has a very wide range of outcomes, so he is the exact kind of player we want to get 7.5:1 on.