How To Have Success Betting Player Props
One of the best aspects of legalized sports betting is the fact that so many sportsbooks have entered the market. Competition in the space has caused sportsbooks to come up with a variety of new and innovative betting options.
When online betting first started buzzing 20 years ago, bettors were happy to bet on spreads, moneylines, and totals at the click of a mouse. Today, every sportsbook is competing to acquire and retain bettors by offering more combinations, of more lines, across more leagues.
It could be argued that, in the last few years, no one bet type has been proliferated quite as quickly and aggressively as player props. Betting player props is seemingly everywhere. And, because there are so many markets offered for every single player (sometimes 5+ per player, including second and third string players), bettors have an incredible opportunity do incorporate player prop research into your strategy to find edge and make money in ways that wouldn’t have been possible in past years.
In what follows, we’ll detail some simple ways to find, analyze, and hopefully, win, player props.
Why Do Player Prop Research At All?
Let’s start with why you should bet player props in the first place. Two good reasons: (1) There’s more opportunity to find an edge and (2) there’s much more flexibility to bet on niche outcomes with fewer relevant variables to assess.
More Opportunity To Find An Edge (vs Mainstream Lines)
At some point in time, player props and gamelines (spread, moneyline, totals) will be equally competitive. But, that’s not the case today. We are firmly in the golden age of player props. Oddsmakers pay huge attention to what’s happening with the gamelines like the point spread and totals, but don’t spend nearly as much time monitoring what’s happening with player props. This is true for two reasons: (1) there are simply too many player props for the sportsbooks to become expert on and (2) there is less action, and therefore less exposure for the sportsbooks to mitigate as compared to the heavy action gamelines.
Still, because there is less action on player props markets, the markets are by definition “less efficient.” Meanwhile, there is so much action on gamelines, the perfect price will have been pretty well discovered before you are able to place your bet.
Long story short, there is more edge to be found in player prop markets.
More Flexibility with Fewer Variables
With player prop research, the world is your oyster. If you can dream up a particular bet type, it likely exists on one or more of the major sportsbooks. This flexibility allows you to really study up on an individual player and become an expert with respect to predicting performances in certain aspects of their game like passing completions, or rushing attempts, or steals, or three pointers made.
Moreover, betting on player props is significantly less complicated than betting on a gameline. The reality is, while betting on a team to cover the spread might seem simple, it is actually an incredibly complex wager. Accurately predicting a team to cover the spread requires accurately predicting full-team offensive versus defensive performances, game scripts, key player usage rates, and myriad other variables. At their core, gamelines are predictions about every player on one team matching up against every other player on a second team.
With individual player props, like a wager on offensive rebounds, the universe of variables is significantly less complex. You might want to better understand a player’s historic performance on the offensive glass and the strength of the opponent’s defensive rebounding, but even if you only considered these two variables, you’d be significantly more informed about the particular prop than you might ever be about a gameline. This relative simplicity should help you find an edge.
How To Find The Best Value Betting Player Props
Being a smart prop bettor takes time, attention to detail, and true understanding of the markets. We’ve laid out seven ways to start gaining an edge below.
1. Check out Outlier for Player Prop Research
There’s a lot of work that goes into finding mispriced player props but that’s exactly what Outlier can help you with. Our Prop Finder tool automatically aggregates the entire universe of player prop bets at the largest sportsbooks and pairs those props with relevant data including historic hit rates, team-level matchup data, implied probabilities, injury news, and more. Log in now to check it out.
2. Go Deep on Fantasy Sports
For years, people in the fantasy sports space have been trying to figure out how to better capitalize on their deep player-based knowledge. Betting player props makes that possible.ps.
If you’re someone who plays fantasy sports, then you can start using your research to capitalize on player props. If you have a player prop research routine– tools you check, outlets you consult, beat writers you follow–then double down on that routine and search for player props relevant to that attained knowledge.
3. Track Player Split Stats
Some of the major sports data websites and Outlier (of course) offer easy-to-comprehend player split data, which can help you unearth strategic betting opportunities. Not only can you easily find how players are performing on the season and for their careers, but you can see recent trends, how those players perform at home versus on the road, on certain types of rest, without certain players, and so much more.
A very simple example might be Minnesota Timberwolves young star Anthony Edwards’ performance during the 2021-22 NBA season. Take a look at his home-away splits from that season:
What we can glean from this data is that when Edwards was on the road, he not only scored more baskets, but was more efficient with his shooting, free throws, and three-pointers. If you’re checking his player props and see that the sportsbooks are not adjusting for this, this might just be the edge you were looking for.
4. Consider Other People’s Takes
Twitter and Discord are two of the top spots for public discussion and speculation surrounding player prop research. Nothing is an adequate substitute for doing your own research, but tuning into and participating in conversations about player props with other seasoned sports bettors should help you get oriented and trigger some thoughts about what props to research further.
On Twitter, follow influential accounts to curate your feed. This is an easy way to stay apprised of the latest news like personnel moves, injuries, trades, mispriced lines, sharp opinions, and more.
On Discord consider joining a server where you can follow along or participate in conversations about interesting props. Try sharing your slate of props to get feedback from other smart bettors.
Today’s key #NBA injuries
Myles Turner – IND (-2.5)
Joel Embiid – PHI (-2.5)
Christian Wood – DAL (+6)
Aaron Gordon – DEN (-6)
CJ McCollum – NOP (+3.5)
LeBron James – LAL (-3.5)
Season Record 127-115-8#NBATwitter
Watch as I discuss below 👇🏽 https://t.co/N1Vmu492Ag
— Paul Rami ™️ (@ThePaulRami) February 15, 2023
5. Bet On The Collateral Impacts
The biggest news always gets the headline, but thinking about the ripple effect is where you’ll find the most betting value. For example, if LeBron James was originally questionable but is now going to miss tonight’s game, the first place most bettors will look is at the moneyline, point spread, or total. However, the collateral impact of LeBron’s absence is that other players on the team will have a greater opportunity to score, collect more rebounds, and generate more stats.
Another simple example is a pitching change. If a team’s ace was slated to pitch but is now getting an extra day of rest while a lesser hurler takes to the mound, the opposing team’s batting lineup has a better opportunity to exceed expectations. You might want to check out the opposing team’s hits, RBIs, and bases props.
Look beyond the obvious. There’s value to be had if you can accurately game out the collateral impacts of breaking news.
6. Know The Player Prop Rules
There is not one uniform set of rules for player props, so make sure you’re familiar with the rules of the sportsbook you’re betting on before you place your bets. For example, if you bet on a player to score a goal in a soccer match, one sportsbook might require that the player start the game for the bet to be booked, while another might only require that the player see the pitch at some point during the match.
You’ll want to double-check the rules and know the nuances from sportsbook to sportsbook so that you can adapt your strategy for each. If the book you’re betting on stipulates that a player must start, you’ll want to wait to place your bet closer to tipoff. However, if your betting an under and the player only has to be active, then it benefits you to place your bet early.
7. Shop for the Best Prop Price
While it can be tiresome to shop odds for individual bets, it’s critically important to your profitability over time. Let’s use this LeBron points prop as an example:
It can be tiresome but it’s important to do as getting the best price directly impacts your bottom line. Take a look at this small difference:
At first glance, the payout between the two lines appears negligible– just 50 cents. But, that’s actually close to 4%. In the long run, 4% makes a big difference. Consider that to be a profitable sports bettor, you need to be beating the sportsbooks roughly 54% percent of the time. If you consistently fail to line shop, you might be inadvertently increasing the barrier to profitability by another 4%. So take the time and go find the best price for your props.
Like any other sports betting product, derivative or strategy, player prop betting comes with it’s own set of learning curves. The best part about betting player props is that you have so many more opportunities to learn in any given day or event.
Now that you have a better understanding about why and how to bet player props, get out there and win some bets.
- More opportunities to bet
- Outcome of the game does not factor
- Tons of player prop research available
- Injuries play a much larger factor than betting on gamelines
- Data and information overload
- Sportsbooks have a wider variance on rules