Last Updated: November 20th at 11:32pm 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 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, November 13th. I only look at DraftKings and Fanduel lines, if you shop more there will be softer options.
2019 Record (all individual game player props): 50-36, +$963
2020 Record: 28-18, +$825
* Won/lost dollar amount is based on betting to win $100 on each favored prop and risking $100 on each underdog prop.
1. Jalen Guyton receptions
Line: 2.5 catches (FanDuel)
Projection: 2.0 catches
Bet: Under (-106)
Notes: Deep down, Anthony Lynn is one of the more conservative and risk-averse coaches in the NFL. So even though he’s let Justin Herbert cook a bit, there are game flows here where the Chargers bleed the clock and play defense to get a win against the Jets. Guyton’s chances of getting to three catches is thin as it is — he can’t handle a 25-attempt Herbert game.
2. Alvin Kamara receiving yards
Line: 48.5 yards (DraftKings)
Projection: 39.1 yards
Bet: Under (-109)
Notes: This bet would have been a pass if Drew Brees was under center. But with run-centric Taysom Hill starting, Kamara’s role as the short-area outlet for weak-armed Brees is no longer stable. I suspect we’ll see far more read-options in the run game than option routes in the pass game.
3. Alvin Kamara receptions
Line: 5.5 catches (FanDuel)
Projection: 4.5 catches
Bet: Under (+100)
Note: Of course, I’m really likely to either win both of Kamara’s receiving bets or lose both. But I’m fine with that — it’s a way to get a little more money down on something I like, aka avoid the limits that cripple prop action.
4. Nyheim Hines rushing yards
Line: 30.5 yards (DraftKings)
Projection: 20.8 yards
Bet: Under (-107)
Note: This is a good example of median vs. mean. While Hines is coming off a 70-yard rush game which has inflated his average, that’s the only time all season he’s gone over the 30.5 yard number.
5. Russell Gage receiving yards
Line: 28.5 yards (DraftKings)
Projection: 40.2 yards
Bet: Over (-109)
Note: Note that Gage has fared reasonably when both Julio and Calvin Ridley are healthy — the “football guy” narrative would suggest that defenses simply forget about him. Either way, this is a pure projection bet. I can’t pass on a 48% difference.