Player props are growing in popularity and with the advent of mobile betting, it’s only going to get bigger. So what is player props betting?
It’s sort of like fantasy football, in a way. However, rather than betting on overall performance, you’re looking at betting on a specific performance.
For example, you can bet a line for total rushing yards by a specific player, rather than their overall offensive performance. Or in the case of quarterbacks, passing yards, or passing touchdowns.
Player props differs from traditional sports prop bets, and come specific strategies to utilize to project the best possible outcome for your bet. This article outlines five strategies.
1 – Consider a Player’s Averages
Before you place a single player prop bet, consider a player’s averages for a specific prop. For example, if you’re thinking about betting on Lamar Jackson’s rush total, check out his line then look at his average rushing yards per game.
If his line looks favorable to his average, then he’s definitely a solid bet for that one prop.
However, there are other strategies to be aware of as well when it comes to betting on player props. For this article, we’ll use Jackson’s rushing props as an example.
One reason I decided to go with Jackson in this scenario is that he’s always a hot prop bet regardless of who he’s playing or the situation he and his Baltimore Ravens find themselves in.
Throughout this article, we’ll discover whether he was a good bet for the week with his hypothetical projected line at 45.5 rushing yards. At the end of the article, I’ll tell you my decision but ultimately, you must make your own decision whether Jackson was worth the bet.
So, what do we know about Jackson’s rushing average for this week’s dummy line at 45.5? Up to week three, he averaged 49 rushing yards. Even if his average doesn’t sit much higher than his prop line at this point in the season.
But, did that favorable bet continue?
Let’s find out.
2 – Opposing Defense’s Strengths
Alright, so in week three, Jackson faced the Chiefs’ defense, which ranks 27th in rushing defense.
Obviously in this scenario, the Chiefs’ defense didn’t match up well with Jackson and his rushing average. Nor do they match well with his hypothetical line. Bear in mind this is just an example and NOT Jackson’s true line for the game. We’re just outlining a hypothetical situation.
Despite Kansas City’s weakness against the run, Baltimore’s true strength is with the run and they have four different players who can contribute to the running game. Jackson is just part of the puzzle.
Despite this, Jackson still looked like a solid bet, and you’ll see why in later subheadings.
3 – Past Performances Against the Opposing Defense
Alright, so our next outlook is how our targeted player performed previously against opposing defenses. And Jackson has faced the Chiefs as the starting quarterback previously. Just once as the starting quarterback.
Now, sometimes you won’t find your targeted player has played the opposing defense at all. Other times, you’ll find this variable to be even more relevant if this is an intra-divisional game, as you’ll have a greater sample size from which to work.
This variable becomes a more important one to consider the more relevant it is. In other words the greater the sample size. Just because a defense is weak against a targeted player’s strong attribute doesn’t mean our targeted player plays well against that specific defense.
So let’s see if Jackson played well in 2019 against the Chiefs.
What were Jackson’s numbers?
46 rushing yards on eight attempts. Significantly below his average of 80 rushing yards per game in 2019, but still higher than his projected line, albeit barely. And three yards lower at this point in the season.
So, while Jackson’s numbers looked good in Subheading one and Subheading two, they’re rather iffy in Subheading three. However, they’re not so low that you should consider running away from the bet.
Instead, let’s utilize two more strategies before making a final decision on Jackson’s rushing prop.
4 – Know the Offensive System
Sometimes, players are excellent products of the system. And if you’ve been handicapping NFL games since week one of 2019, you can see that the Ravens run the ball more than any other team in football.
Jackson is also one of those quarterbacks who runs the ball often, tucking and running an average of 11.5 times in 2020. At the point in this article, anyway. In week two, the week before this article, he tucked and ran the ball 16 times. Quite a total.
They’ll throw, rather than run. However, in a game against another AFC powerhouse, you can expect the Ravens to play to their strengths.
Knowing this, we can definitely chalk up a win in Subheading four.
5 – Consider Recent Performances
And we’ll look at recent performances from Jackson, who rushed for 45 and 54 yards, respectively. Given our dummy prop of 45.5, Jackson cleared it once and failed to clear it once.
However, he missed out by just a half a yard when he failed to clear the total in week one. And part of the reason here is because he and his Ravens jumped ahead of the Cleveland Browns early and tore up their weak passing defense.
That said, Jackson ran the ball a meager seven times during the contest. Instead, handing the ball to younger teammates like J.K. Dobbins as the Ravens cruised to a victory.
They also cruised in week two against the Houston Texans, but the latter gave them a much better game than Cleveland. Which explains Jackson’s inflated number of rushing attempts.
Now, in this scenario, since it’s so early in the season, you can also consider last season’s performances to garner a greater sample size. However, once you get to the end of the first month of the season, it’s best to use the current season for a sample size here.
From this information, we know that with a tougher overall defense and team the Chiefs possess, coupled with their weaker run defense, you can expect Jackson to run the ball more.
Which takes us to one final subheading: The Verdict.
In this scenario, I would find it safe enough to place a bet on Jackson. However, you must make the ultimate call as to whether you’re willing to place the ultimate bet.
While I like using strategies based on history, some of you may find it better to use strategies based on future matchups, which is a popular fantasy football strategy. And it can also pertain to player props.
As you can see, these five strategies, as with any sports betting strategy, a few minutes of homework is definitely involved here.
But if you’re a serious bettor on player props, you want to use every strategy offered in the book. Even if you’re a high-stakes bettor and like to bet on a dozen player props per week, it’s always best to do some homework and make a verdict rather than just bet blindly.
It won’t always pay off, but it’ll heighten your chances.
What are your strategies for player props?
Let us know in the comments.