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.
I made these bets at 5:02pm ET on Friday September 20.
YTD Record: 5-6
1. Daniel Jones passing yards
Line: 234.5 yards
Projection: 245.6 yards
Bet: Over (-112)
Notes: This is a #TeamPreseason special. While the projection itself isn’t enough to warrant a bet vs. the line, anyone who watched Danny Dimes in preseason knows the ceiling here. Jones was extremely aggressive, going 29-of-34 for 416 yards on just 60 snaps. I want to be early on Jones while I’m more bullish on him than the market as a player. Many times we’ll catch props on “unknown” players where the lines are too low due to lack of data. See Mecole Hardman from Week 2.
2. Emmanuel Sanders receiving yards
Bet: Under (-115)
Notes: This is a very high line for a Joe Flacco wideout on the road against a slow-paced offense and improved defense. That doesn’t even factor in Sanders’ 32-year-old body and last year’s Achilles’ tear. While he’s looked extremely spry and healthy so far, I still want to be bearish on Manny.
3. Marquise Brown receptions
Line: 5.5 receptions
Bet: Under (-132)
Notes: Someone got to this line before me as I had to lay -132. But I am lower than market on the Ravens as a whole in this spot as their lines reflect the two best possible matchups in football (ARZ and DET). Now they have to go to Arrowhead.
4. Lamar Jackson rushing yards
Line: 60.5 yards
Bet: Under (-113)
Notes: We don’t have a good sample this year because of the ridiculous Week 1 blowout at Miami. But there’s good evidence that Jackson’s designed run rate will decrease sharply this season. We can already see improvement in his throwing in a big way and that’s the preferred way Greg Roman wants to win. This line is inflated off of last week’s absurd 16-120-0 rushing line against the stat-inflating Cardinals.
5. John Ross receiving yards
Line: 44.5 yards
Bet: Over (-115)
Notes: The usage on Ross this season is elite. He’s playing 83% of the snaps, has been in slot for 34 of them, has a 21.5% target share and has seen 40% of the Bengals’ Air Yards. Of course he’s going to regress off the first two weeks, but this line has taken that regression too far. I particularly like taking yardage overs (rather than reception props) on players like Ross because of his big-play style. It only takes one.