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 5:02pm ET on Friday, September 27.
YTD Record: 9-7, +$97
* Won/lost dollar amount is based on betting to win $100 on each prop.
1. David Johnson receptions
Line: 3.5 receptions
Bet: Over (-129)
Notes: Someone got to this before me, but a 35% difference between the line and my projection is still enough to lay the -129. I’m worried about DJ’s efficiency as a whole and in this matchup, but the oddsmakers probably don’t even realize he missed most of Week 2 with a wrist scare. In the two full games Johnson has played, he’s caught six balls. Given how many plays they project to run, how pass-heavy ARZ is and their quick-hitting style, Johnson’s pass-catching floor is big.
2. Austin Ekeler receptions
Line: 4.5 receptions
Bet: Over (-112)
Notes: I was able to bet this one as soon as the Justin Jackson (calf, out) news broke. It’s a reminder of one reason the player prop market is so soft – there are hundreds of lines up just waiting to be picked off. I have Twitter push notifications set up on my phone for important reporters like Adam Schefter, so I can often bet before these props move. DraftKings left their Ekeler props up for a couple hours before taking them off the board.
3. Phillip Dorsett receiving yards
Bet: Under (-109)
Notes: Last week was the one to be on Phillip Dorsett. Now the oddsmakers are overcorrecting as James White returns from paternity leave and Julian Edelman (chest) appears on track to play. And instead of facing arguably the league’s worst secondary in the Jets, Dorsett is now facing one of the league’s best on the road at Buffalo. Although this line is getting some market resistance (over is -115, under is -109), it’s not enough to scare me.
4. Wayne Gallman rushing yards
Bet: Over (-112)
Notes: It’s difficult for oddsmakers to come up with prop lines when they don’t have priors to go off of. Note that Eli Penny is a fullback type and the Giants showed very little interest in playing a lot of Jon Hilliman in the preseason. Given the opponent and the presence of Danny Dimes and a much-improved offensive line, the Giants can easily control this game. In those flows, Wayne Gallman is going to easily push over 15 carries – in which case he’d need to average just 3.0 yards per carry to beat this prop.
5. Derek Carr passing yards
Bet: Under (-112)
Notes: Without TY Hilton, the Colts are going to try to play even slower than they already are. Ideally they’ll control the game with their offensive line, run game and defense. It’s a small sample, but so far opponents are running just 56.3 plays per game against the Colts – only opponents of the Broncos and Patriots are running fewer. I expect a lot of completions for Derek Carr, but very low yards per attempt given his weapons and the Colts’ highly effective zone.