Freedman’s Favorite Prop Bet (Jan. 6): Chargers-Ravens Field Goals
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Justin Tucker
- Matthew Freedman is kicking off 2019 with a new series featuring his favorite prop bet of each day.
- On Sunday, he looks at the Ravens-Chargers game and its field-goal prop of 3.5.
I had a great 2018 betting on props, thanks primarily to our FantasyLabs Tools, so for 2019 I will have a quick-n’-dirty daily piece in which I highlight one of my favorite props for the day.
Why Betting on Props Is Fun
In 2018, I bet on thousands of props across a variety of sports: NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, golf (PGA and European Tour) and eSports (League of Legends). I even placed bets on pop culture events, such as the Academy Awards, the Grammy Awards and Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Was I successful with all of them? No. And that’s why I almost never bet on any kind of prop related to darts anymore. Almost never.
But overall I had success last year, and I also had a lot of fun. There are many practical reasons why people should play props. But I honestly play them because they’re fun.
Before 2018, I knew very little about almost every sport outside of the NFL. Now, I still know almost nothing, but I know more than I did, and on a daily basis I enjoyed sweating the individual performances of many players across all sorts of sports.
I’m looking to keep the good times rolling in 2019.
What Tools I Use to Bet Props
Here are the research tools and articles I use to inform my prop-betting decisions.
The FantasyLabs Props Tools: These tools compare our industry-leading projections to the props available in the market and highlight which props offer the most value.
The FantasyLabs Models: Some sportsbooks offer fantasy point props, which I’ve bet successfully using the projections in our daily fantasy models.
The RotoViz Tools: I got my early start in the industry at RotoViz (as did FantasyLabs co-founder Jonathan Bales), and RotoViz has a great collection of NFL and NASCAR apps. Here are some of my favorites.
The Action Network Articles: Each day, you can find at least one props piece on The Action Network, most likely written by one of the following contributors.
- Matt LaMarca: NBA & MLB
- Justin Bailey: NFL & MLB
- Cort Smith (of Bet the Prop): NFL
- Nick Giffen (of RotoViz): NASCAR
Approximately 99% of the success I’ve had with prop bets is due to these resources. I suggest you consult them for yourself.
2019 Year-to-Date Record
1-2-1, -0.75 Units
- Golf: 1-0-0, +1.25 Units
- NFL: 0-1-0, -1.0 Units
- NBA: 0-1-0, -1.0 Units
- NHL: 0-0-1, +0.0 Units
Freedman’s Favorite Prop Bet for Sunday, Jan. 6: Ravens-Chargers Field Goals Over/Under 3.5
The Pick: Over (+115)
UPDATE (9:15 am ET): After I wrote this piece, I found Ravens field goals over/under 1.5 with just -125 odds on the over. Since most of the value in the field goal prop for the game lies with the Ravens, it makes sense to bet the team prop in addition to (or instead of) the game prop. Just once with Jackson as the starter have the Ravens failed to surpass 1.5 field goals.
I’m making this an official, bonus pick today. It’s available at MyBookie. It’s also available at Bovada at -140. I’d bet it all the way to -160.
The Ravens and Chargers kick off the second day of NFL wild card weekend at 1:05 pm ET, and the game is expected to be tight and low scoring. Both teams have top-eight defenses in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
As a result, it’s possible we could see a lot of field goals.
On offense, the Ravens have proven for years that they are more than fine with settling for field goals, which makes sense: Justin Tucker is the most accurate kicker in NFL history with his 90.1% conversion rate.
The Ravens rank second on the season with 2.19 field goals per game, and since the team switched to quarterback Lamar Jackson in Week 11 and started employing a run-heavy, ball-control scheme, they’ve averaged 2.71 per game.
For the season, Tucker and his weekly oppositional counterparts have collectively averaged 3.69 field goals per game. In Jackson’s starts, that number has shifted up to 3.86.
As for Chargers kicker Michael Badgley, the rookie didn’t become the permanent starter till Week 10, but he’s top-five on the year with his 93.8% conversion rate. He’s missed just one attempt.
When the Ravens and Chargers played in Week 16, Tucker and Badgley combined for four field goals.
I like this prop a lot at plus odds.
This line is available at MyBookie and Bovada. At 3.5, I’d bet this to +100. It almost certainly won’t move to 4.0, but if it did, I’d bet it at +160.