Last updated: January 30th at 1:41pm ET
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 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 at 10:18am ET on Wednesday, January 29.
Week 17 Record: 0-3, -370
YTD Record: 48-34, +$962
* Won/lost dollar amount is based on betting to win $100 on each favored prop and risking $100 on each underdog prop.
1. Sammy Watkins receiving yards
Line: 50.5 yards
Projection: 43.4 yards
Bet: Under (-112)
Notes: I was high on Sammy Watkins in both the Divisional Round and the AFC Championship game. Now I believe the market has overreacted to his 7-114-1 eruption against the Titans. Note that Watkins has been under 50.5 yards in 9-of-16 games this season (56%) and the 49ers ranked 7th in completion percentage allowed, 1st in yards per completion allowed and 6th in sacks.
2. Emmanuel Sanders receptions
Line: 3.5 catches
Projection: 4.2 catches
Bet: Over (+130)
Notes: Manny Sanders only has two catches in the 49ers’ two playoff games. Of course, that’s because Jimmy Garoppolo has attempted just 27 passes in two games. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs force opponents into high pass volume scripts because of their explosive ability – games are typically either shootouts or comeback-modes. Chiefs opponents averaged 36.3 pass attempts per game during the regular season, 10th-most in the league.
3. Damien Williams receptions
Line: 3.5 catches
Projection: 4.5 catches
Bet: Over (-106)
Notes: I’ve tried to be higher than market on Damien Williams all postseason in both DFS and the prop market. It’s just rare in today’s NFL we find a back with a reasonable shot at 100% of the snaps and RB touches. Williams over 50.5 rush yards is also a solid bet (projection is 66.9), but Williams’ pass-game role is more game-script independent.
4. Patrick Mahomes rushing yards
Line: 30.5 yards
Projection: 19.8 yards
Bet: Under (+113)
Notes: This is a classic case of a market overreacting to recent performance. Mahomes has recorded 53 rushing yards in each playoff game – one of which in spectacular touchdown-scoring fashion. But in the regular season, Mahomes was under 30.5 rush yards in 12-of-14 games. In 2018, he was under 30.5 rush yards in 15-of-18 games. This is certainly one of the stronger bets on the board, particularly at +113.