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 8:09pm ET on Friday, December 13.
Week 14 Record: 1-4, -348
YTD Record: 46-26, +$1704
* Won/lost dollar amount is based on betting to win $100 on each favored prop and risking $100 on each underdog prop.
Note: DraftKings had not released their full menu of props as of Friday night. I will check back Saturday night and add if I make more bets.
1. Chris Carson receiving yards
Line: 14.5 yards
Projection: 20.2 yards
Bet: Over (-112)
Notes: This is an odd line as Carson is averaging 18.6 receiving yards per game on the season. And his projection gets a boost here because of Rashaad Penny’s (knee) absence. That raises Carson’s playing-time floor which in turn raises his pass-game projection.
2. John Ross receiving yards
Line: 30.5 yards
Projection: 39.7 yards
Bet: Over (-112)
Notes: I hate to bet into the Patriots’ elite secondary, but Ross’ role is on the rise. Not only did Ross have a sizable role in his first game back from injury last week, but now Auden Tate (knee) is done. Ross’ elite speed matches up reasonably against Stephon Gilmore and this is the kind of prop we can beat with one good play.
3. Julio Jones receiving yards
Line: 79.5 yards
Projection: 73.1 yards
Bet: Under (-112)
Notes: The 49ers’ defensive performance last week can be taken with a grain of salt. They were coming off a draining game at Baltimore and were on the road again in the offensive factory of the Superdome. Now back home, they can get back to suffocating deep passing like they’ve been doing all season. Note that Julio has only topped 10 targets twice since Week 3 – he’s going to need that volume to rack up big yardage on the Niners.