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 12:31pm ET on Saturday, December 21.
Week 15 Record: 0-3, -336
YTD Record: 46-29, +$1368
* Won/lost dollar amount is based on betting to win $100 on each favored prop and risking $100 on each underdog prop.
1. James Conner rushing yards
Line: 37.5 yards
Projection: 54.8 yards
Bet: Over (-118)
Notes: Conner finally returned from injury last week, but only handled eight carries for a 61% share. This week, Conner was not on the injury report at all and the Steelers won’t be running it just 13 times as a team again. So this line is dreadfully low and a case of the books not fully understanding the injury report and projectable carries.
2. Patrick Laird rushing yards
Line: 47.5 yards
Projection: 38.3 yards
Bet: Under (-112)
Notes: There are a couple paths to us winning this bet. First the Dolphins are arguably the worst rushing team in the NFL – and Laird is essentially a fifth-string RB who played WR in college. He’s averaged 3.0 YPC on his 43 NFL carries. We can also win by Myles Gaskin continuing to rotate in plenty – Gaskin stole 43% of the RB carries last week.
3. Gardner Minshew rushing yards
Line: 22.5 yards
Projection: 17.9 yards
Bet: Under (-118)
Notes: These QB rushing props are often available and often show value on the unders. It’s typically a mean/median situation – in other words when Minshew breaks off a 15- or 20-yard run, we’re obviously dead. But there are a lot of games where Minshew doesn’t find any rushing room and goes way under. I also want to be low on the Jags in general here.
4. Terry McLaurin receiving yards
Line: 57.5 yards
Projection: 68.8 yards
Bet: Over (-112)
Notes: I typically try to shy away from overs – especially on big-play wideouts. But this spot for Terry McLaurin is so ideal against the Giants inept corners with Trey Quinn and Paul Richardson out. So it’s a spot I like coupled with the projection showing a 19.7% edge.