Nothing combines the thrills of betting on NFL games and playing fantasy football like player prop bets.
Wagering on how an individual player will do in an upcoming game takes skill and requires you to do your homework. Here are some tips on betting player props, as well as some of the markets that have paid off so far this year.
Workhorses Get Theirs
Players at the top of their game are going to produce. Opponents are simply not going to be able to shut down an MVP-caliber player for an entire game. Think Cooper Kupp last year, whose over on his receiving yards total was one of the most profitable props markets in the league.
This year, the Titans’ Derrick Henry leads the league in rushing and has been the most dependable ground weapon on the league. He’s topped 100 yards each of the last five games and went over his prop total in the game before that as well.
Cleveland’s Nick Chubb is another grinder who can be expected to get the ball and produce every week. He’s second in the league in rushing and has five hundred yard games this year, as well as games of 87 and 91 rushing yards.
Contrast that with a Saquon Barkley, who is also near the top of the rushing leaders list but has seen his carries fluctuate wildly from week to week. He has 420 of his 779 yards on the year in just three games.
Explosive plays and long touchdown runs are exciting, but for prop betting, you want to find the guys that are going to get a steady diet of carries and solid gains.
MVP Quarterbacks Get Theirs
Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Bucs have both struggled this season, but their uneven performance doesn’t translate to the legendary quarterback’s stat line. Brady has just one game this season with fewer than 200 yards passing, and that was Week 2, when he had 190.
Since then, he’s had 271, 385, 351, 243, 290, 325 and 280. He may not get touchdowns. The Bucs may not score points, but he’s going to get his yards, either in leading a win or trying to mount a late comeback.
Similarly, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have had some disappointing outings in the first half of the season, but they don’t extend to Mahomes’ yardage numbers. His worst passing game this year has been 235 yards, and he’s topped 300 four times and 400 each of the last two weeks.
Whether things are going good or bad, the quarterbacks with the best history of delivering are going to be counted on to provide the offense.
Elite Tight Ends Get Theirs
With the notable exception of Kupp last year, wide receivers aren’t the best choice for prop bet consistency. Most teams have a number of receiving options in the stable, and, if a defense tries to take one away, rather than wearing them down –as offenses do with their workhorse running backs– most coordinators will just go in another direction, to try to force the defense to counter.
As a result, even big-time wide receivers can have weeks when they’re left out in the cold. Davante Adams has games of one catch, 3 yards, two for 12 yards and five for 36 yards so far this season.
Tyreek Hill leads the league in receiving but has had 33 and 47-yard days. He points out another risk of going with receivers. A bad day or injury by a quarterback directly impacts an elite receiver’s production.
Go With The Safety Valve
The best bet in the receiving game is to go with the safety valve. When things get tough, every quarterback looks to find his tight end, and the best tight ends have the consistency that receivers don’t always provide. And an injury to QB1 is only going to help the situation, because the backup is going to come in with a conservative game plan, and that means short, safe dump offs to the tight end.
Travis Kelce has just one game with fewer than 50 yards this season, and that was a game where he caught four touchdown passes. He hasn’t been targeted fewer than seven times in a game yet this year.
Arizona’s Zack Ertz isn’t putting up the same numbers as Kelce, but he’s been able to hit his lower prop bet cutoffs on a regular basis. He’s gotten at least four targets every week and can be counted on to give about 40 yards a week, regardless of how the rest of the Cardinals’ offense is going.
The bottom line is, regardless of position, you’re looking for consistency, not flashiness. That means focusing on yards, not scores, and going with the workhorses.