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 8:29pm ET on Saturday, December 28.
Week 16 Record: 2-2, -$36
YTD Record: 48-31, +$1332
* Won/lost dollar amount is based on betting to win $100 on each favored prop and risking $100 on each underdog prop.
1. Aaron Jones receptions
Line: 2.5 catches
Projection: 3.6 catches
Bet: Over (-125)
Notes: Someone got to this already as we have to lay -125. But this line does not take into account Jamaal Williams’ (shoulder) absence and the usage Jones has seen in these sitautions before. The Packers are also one of the most motivated teams on the slate as they can clinch a first-round bye with a win.
2. Courtland Sutton receptions
Line: 4.5 catches
Projection: 4.9 catches
Bet: Over (-106)
Notes: This is not worth a bet based on projection alone. But we know there’s more to Courtland Sutton than meets the eye – he’s drawn nine penalties already this season and is averaging 8.0 targets per game in Drew Lock’s four starts. It helps that we only have to lay -106 instead of the usual -112.
3. John Ross receptions
Line: 2.5 catches
Projection: 3.7 catches
Bet: Over (-139)
Notes: I hate to lay -139 on any prop, particularly an over on a splash-play WR like John Ross. But the options are thin this week. And the way Ross is being used now, as the clear No. 2 behind Tyler Boyd, sets up well. Ross has only played four full games this season and his catches in them are 7, 4, 2, 6. The 2.5 line stems from Ross’ seasonal average, which is irrelevant here.