Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jimmy Garoppolo
- See why you should be targeting unders when betting on season-long NFL player prop bets.
It’s that time of year again … time to decide which NFL futures you’re betting. These bad boys won’t be cashing until early next year, which makes it tougher to plop down your hard-earned cash even if you love the bet as much as you do your betta fish.
With Super Bowl and MVP bets, you can convince yourself to commit to the bet because you’re likely getting a big plus-money payout … a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
With win totals and player props, that’s not the case. You’re probably stuck with standard juice or potentially worse, meaning you better believe you have a big edge if you’re going to tie up that bankroll for several months. Otherwise there’d be no point.
When it comes to NFL season-long player props, you’re going to want to target unders to get that edge. Here’s now unders have done in the past two seasons:
- 2017: 250-101-10 (71.2%)
- 2018: 94-60 (61.0%)
Umm … yeah, pretty solid. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find as big of a sample for last year as I did for the 2017 season, but we’re still talking about a 500+ sample size that has hit north of two-thirds of the time.
Why does this happen???
Football is a sport in which players get hurt all the time and often in season-ending fashion. The lines that the books set for players, however, are essentially based off previous 16-game season stats a player has posted.
If a player is forced to miss just a couple of games, he is at serious risk of going under the lofty totals set by oddsmakers. If a player does suffer a season-ending injury toward the beginning of the season, the under is practically a lock.
Public Bettors Love Overs
Perhaps one reason why injury potential is not factored into most of these lines is because most folks will still take the over regardless. Many folks live by Big Cat’s “Life’s too short to bet the under” motto, which can be applied to single-game or season-long player props as opposed to just a normal over/under.
Considering most of these props don’t have high limits, books don’t need to worry about sharp bettors max-bombing unders like they would if we were talking about a normal spread or total.
Given the public’s betting habits and the win percentages we’ve seen over the past couple years, you can guarantee books have come out ahead on these. There’s no reason for them to change their habits and lower these lines to try and get the winning percentages closer to 50/50.
With that said, I do expect unders to hit at a profitable rate once again. If you really love an over, then go for it. But generally speaking you’re probably putting yourself at a disadvantage by doing so.
Last year’s winning rate for unders was about 10% worse than 2017, but it was also a season that featured the second-highest points per game (23.3) and yards per game (352.2), respectively, in history.
Considering both numbers were up substantially from somewhat of a down year in 2017 and unders still cashed at 61%, there would need to be obscene numbers this year for overs to end up profitable.