This is the second in a series of how to use the sportsbooks to your advantage. How can game lines and player props be used to give your fantasy football team an edge?
With the popularity of sports betting, there is no shortage of places to find information. It’s incredible how accurate sportsbooks are with their projections. I mean, if you think about it, they have to be, or they’re out of business. They don’t just have a loss to Bob in accounting on the line; they have real skin in the game.
Let’s take an early look at what the sportsbook has for us this week, and see what we may be able to surmise.
I always start with checking the highest game total of the week. There are two this week tied at 50.5.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10.5) @ Atlanta Falcons (+10.5) GAME TOTAL: 50.5
Well, first of all, 50.5 being the highest game total of the week isn’t exactly inspiring. SI Sportsbook thinks Tampa Bay wins this one handily, and you should start your Bucs. I think that was pretty obvious already, but lately fantasy managers may have been disappointed with TB12’s contributions. According to SI Sportsbook, Brady is in for a pretty good day. Brady’s passing yards prop is set at 304.5 and they are expecting two touchdowns.
Over 2.5 TDs +110
Under 2.5 TDs -164
Chris Godwin has the highest receiving prop at 69.5, while Evans is at 59.5.
Mike Evans is -125 for an anytime TD, and Godwin is +130.
Translation: Godwin is a must-start in PPR, and Evans is a must-start in standard leagues.
Worried about Kyle Pitts after two weeks in a row of under 30 receiving yards? Well, according to SI Sportsbook, you shouldn’t worry too much. He should be able to put together a decent floor with a receiving yards prop set at 56.5, and his longest reception at 21.5, only two fewer yards than Mike Evans (23.5).
Over 56.5 receiving yards -118
Under 56.5 receiving yards -120
This one is especially interesting to me. With public perception of Pitts being so low right now, the prop seems pretty high. That minus -120 seems like a really safe bet, right? I bet they get a lot of takers on the under. My guess is this yardage ends up pretty accurate, since there’s no need to set it artificially high. I’m starting Pitts.
Los Angeles Chargers (+3) @ Cincinnati Bengals (-3) GAME TOTAL: 50.5
One number jumps off the page as soon as you open the player props:
Joe Mixon rushing yards over 91.5 (-125)
Start Joe Mixon ... but you probably already knew that.
Here’s an interesting one. If you’re wondering whether to start Joe Burrow or Justin Herbert….
Over 1.5 passing TDs -150
Under 1.5 passing touchdowns +100
Over 250.5 passing yards -120
Under 250.5 passing yards -120
Over 1.5 passing TDs - 188
Under 1.5 passing TDs +120
Over 283.5 passing yards -120
Under 283.5 passing yards -120
SI Sportsbook says both QBs will likely throw for two touchdowns with Herbert throwing for more yards.
Translation: SI sportsbook says start Herbert over Burrow because Cincinnati will use Mixon more to get that 3-point edge, but both QBs should provide you a solid floor this week with a good ceiling.
Keenan Allen is the receiver with the highest receiving yards prop in this game at 80.5, and if you’re concerned about Ja’Marr Chase after four consecutive weeks with less than 50 yards, SI sportsbook is not. Chase has the highest receiving yards prop for Cincinnati receivers at 64.5, with slightly more juice on the over (-125).
Over 80.5 receiving yards -120
Under 80.5 receiving yards -125
Over 64.5 receiving yards -125
Under 64.5 receiving yards -120
Remember, the bigger the minus, the more likely the sportsbook thinks it will happen. The bigger the plus, the less likely. Remember, sportsbooks have to stay profitable. They will put a bigger commission “fee” on the bets they think they may have to pay out. You need to place a $125 bet to make a $100 profit if Chase exceeds his receiving yards prop. Conversely, if you think Herbert only throws one TD in this game, a $100 bet will earn you $120 profit.
Next up, I like to check the lowest game total of the week...
New York Giants (+6) @ Miami Dolphins (-6) GAME TOTAL: 39.5
OOF. This one does not look like a game to find a streaming QB! Sit players from this game if you have the luxury.
Speaking of streaming QBs…
SI Sportsbook says Jared Goff is not an option.
Over 0.5 interceptions -125
Over 226.5 passing yards -125
Under 226.5 passing yards -120
Over 1.5 passing TDs +125
Under 1.5 passing TDs -125
So…. SI Sportsbook thinks Jared Goff is more likely to throw for fewer than 2 TDs and an interception, with only 226 yards. No thank you.
Jimmy Garoppolo and Taylor Heinicke look like better options this week.
Check back Sunday
The closer we get to game time, the more accurate these props become. Sunday morning is a great time to go check what the sportsbook is predicting. Maybe a last-minute injury came up, maybe the weather will affect some games, or maybe the sportsbook heard that Amari Cooper wasn’t participating in warm-ups and his props suddenly reflect that he’s likely a decoy.
For this week, I’m interested in props for backfields. Buffalo, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Denver all have question marks at the position, and we are still waiting to see what the sportsbooks expect to see. Keep your eyes peeled for what they release over the weekend. It should give you good insight into the best start/sits for Sunday.
Of course, Vegas can be wrong. When we are betting, we are looking for flaws in the lines, and we will always point those out as opportunities to grow your bankroll. But, there’s a reason sports betting is a multi-billion dollar industry. Most of the time, the sportsbooks are pretty accurate with their predictions. Remember, they HAVE to be, and you can use that to your advantage!