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NFL Betting 2020: First look at player props for the NFL's Week 1 Sunday slate

Player props are one of the easiest transitions for fantasy enthusiasts to get involved in sports betting. Props are priced for a player’s median stat projection in a simple over-or-under, two-sided market. Props get a bad rap because sportsbooks typically limit the amount you can wager and the vig applied is higher than standard wagers. This isn’t a reason to avoid these markets, as they are one of the easiest ways for newer sports bettors to boost their bankrolls. 

Fluctuations in line number and juice come quickly in the prop market, which is why our player props tool allows users to adjust both to ensure they are getting the best value at their respective sportsbook. 

The opening NFL game — the Houston Texans at the Kansas City Chiefs — saw 54 points scored and the over on the closing line hit on the pregame total of 52.5, but 66.7% of the props that our player tool tracked went under. The line set for player props is constantly shaded toward the over because of the asymmetrical distribution of the stats in question. Basically, it is impossible to go below zero, and the max that has ever occurred and the theoretical max are different. Therefore, football stats, in general, have a right skewness to varying degrees based on the stat category. 

To drive home the point, I took a closer look at historical props from PFF’s dataset and grouped by category along with some basic information about each category.

If it isn’t apparent, unders are the correct initial approach to bet for almost all categories. For this reason, most of the recommended player props for both the tool and this written article will be unders. Let’s dive into my favorite bets for Week 1 as we look to take advantage of murky usage situations that appear to be overpriced in this initial week. 

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