NFL Player Prop Betting Markets

NFL player prop wagers are exploding. Possibly due to fantasy football research.

Key Points

– The NFL player prop betting markets are becoming more popular each year.

– Betting NFL player props can be very profitable for bettors.

In 2019, one prominent sportsbook said that 80 percent of the NFL bets it took in were in three markets – the moneyline, point spread, and totals. The other 20 percent were placed in the NFL player prop market.

Those numbers are quickly changing. NFL player prop betting markets are inching closer to a 50-50 split with the more traditional bets. It’s the future of NFL betting. Bettors that have grown up with fantasy sports now have the ability to bet on players rather than teams.

It’s a trend that will continue. NFL player prop betting markets are growing in popularity and bettors should be prepared. Winning NFL player prop bets could be the thing that makes or breaks an entire season.

The NFL Player Prop Markets

Bettors should understand how the NFL player props market works. Typically, these bets aren’t made available until Tuesday morning of a given week. Sportsbooks will often add more props as the week goes on, so it is important to monitor them. 

Since the market is relatively newer, sportsbooks continue to protect themselves against these bets with lower maximum wagers.

The sportsbooks also charge more juice on player prop bets. The standard -110 odds on a point spread bet are more often -120 on a player prop bet.

The King of NFL Player Props Bets

The betting public loves player props with big-name stars.

They love to hit Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers passing yards and bet the Over. Sportsbooks love it because they are routinely on the right end of that bet. There is one player prop bet that gives sportsbooks headaches.

In Super Bowl LVI, more money was bet on Rams WR Cooper Kupp to score a touchdown than was wagered on the point spread at one well-known sportsbook. NFL sportsbooks will offer odds on “Anytime Touchdown Scorer” on up to or more than 20 players plus each team’s defense in a given game.

Sportsbooks will go deep into the roster sometimes and pick a third string WR or TE with odds of 100-1, for example. Bettors love it. 

So, how do you beat the book when betting NFL player props?

Analyze Matchups

When betting NFL player props in a given game, it pays to analyze player matchups. These matchups matter, but you are better off looking for extremes. Looking for a top-5 player against a bottom-5 player has more value than players more toward the median.There won’t be much of a projected edge if players are ranked more toward the middle in certain metrics.

Use the best statistics and metrics available. If you are looking at a wide receiver’s total yards prop for example, you will want to look at numbers like targets per game, catches per game, yards per catch, and usage rate.

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On the other side, you can look at a defender’s metrics like opponent receptions plus/minus, times targeted, as well as other simple statistics like interceptions per game. Looking for matchups that pit one extreme against an opponent at the other extreme are the best when betting NFL player props.

Understand Player Usage

How often a player is used – how many carries a running back will have, for example – is one of the more important pieces of the puzzle in predicting an NFL player’s range of outcomes. 

Let’s say you are looking at a receiver’s props. You will analyze some metrics like number of targets, target share, average depth of target, and air yards. Each of these can help a bettor predict a receiver’s total yards or total receptions in a game. 

It’s also important to understand some strategies. Not betting strategies, but football strategies. A team may utilize its running game more against a poor run defense or if the weather is cold and windy. More emphasis on the run game will affect the usage of a wide receiver. That’s something to keep in mind.

Use Lines and Totals – NFL Player Prop

The line or total in a given game can help a bettor make a smart betting decision when it comes to the different player props markets. Take the rushing yards market. 

You have a team that is a 10-point road underdog. Would it make sense to get behind the underdog running back and bet on the Over for his rushing yards? Maybe, but the running back’s team is a 10-point underdog for a reason.

It’s likely that his team will be trailing the entire game. Teams that are behind in NFL games don’t typically turn around and hand the ball off for the entire second half. Teams playing catch up will use the passing game more. 

It’s the same with a game featuring a low total. A game total set at 40 or 41 with a spread of 3 implies a tight, low-scoring game. Would it be wise to bet on the Over on say a quarterback’s passing touchdowns or a receiver’s receiving touchdowns? 

You get the idea. Use the pregame lines and game totals as a guide to help you make sound betting decisions on NFL player prop bets.


Shop For the Best Lines

All sports bettors should understand the value of shopping for the best available lines. When betting the point spread for example, finding a half-point is huge. In NFL player props bets, bettors will find even bigger differences. It is not uncommon to find discrepancies of 10 to 15 percent.

Getting a better line or better juice can make a huge difference in a bettor’s long-term profits. Some say juice doesn’t matter, but as a bettor would you rather lose $100 or $120? Multiply that loss by five and there’s another $100 ($120 – $100 = $20 x 5). For a $100 bettor, that’s one unit lost. 

NFL player props are becoming more popular. As they do, sportsbooks will become more efficient and minimize the number of value bets available. For now, NFL bettors would be wise to take advantage of the opportunities in all of the NFL player props markets.