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NFL Betting 2020: Super Wild Card Weekend player props for Saturday's games

Nov 26, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (24) in action during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Football Team at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The regular season has wrapped up, and so have most of the ways that fans engage with the NFL. There are still some opportunities to have an interest in particular games, as most will immediately gravitate toward the betting markets or DFS. Game markets are usually the starting point for new bettors, but better opportunities exist for people with background knowledge of fantasy football.

Player props are a great way for people to get more accustomed to sports betting, with the added benefit that they are a more inefficient market than the ones typically discussed. 

Player prop unders hit at a 55% rate between the 2017 and 2019 regular seasons. The 2020 campaign has seen a much closer distribution to 50% than in previous years. This has also been more apparent during the latter half of the season, as books have been pricing props much better. Week 17 was the closest we had to an even split between props finishing over or under their closing numbers. 

Week Percentage of Under Wins Percentage of Over Wins
1 52.45% 47.55%
2 51.49% 48.51%
3 51.42% 48.58%
4 53.50% 46.50%
5 55.15% 44.85%
6 59.49% 40.51%
7 46.41% 53.59%
8 57.06% 42.94%
9 52.48% 47.52%
10 58.19% 41.81%
11 52.35% 47.65%
12 54.21% 45.79%
13 44.20% 55.80%
14 57.93% 42.07%
15 51.52% 48.48%
16 50.32% 49.68%
17 50.17% 49.83%

The percentage of props going under now sits at 52.85% for the season. The majority of prop categories lean toward the under, but we aren’t seeing as extreme of a preference as we did during the middle of the season. At a macro level, it appears that passing attempts are down based on expectation, but a higher percentage of those attempts are completed. Passing touchdowns and interceptions are close to the correct break-even percentage, but pricing always plays a critical evaluation role.

All yardage-related props continue to go under at a higher rate than most categories, which makes them great to target this late in the season, especially rushing yardage props when usage looks to be split in a timeshare.

It also appears that books have more of an issue correctly pricing the discrete number props; things such as touchdowns, interceptions and receptions are more difficult to assign the correct number and price to. Yardage props offer more wiggle room, as the tail outcomes make pricing of the discrete prop categories a wholly different challenge for books than the yardage total props. This is another spot to consistently target, especially as the prop market becomes more efficient toward the end of the season.  

Prop Category Percentage of Under Wins Percentage of Over Wins
Passing Attempts 56.52% 43.48%
Passing Completions 51.46% 48.54%
Passing Interceptions 50.35% 49.65%
Passing TDs 50.45% 49.55%
Passing Yards 54.11% 45.89%
Receptions 51.94% 48.06%
Receiving Yards 52.98% 47.02%
Rushing Yards 54.78% 45.22%
All Props 52.85% 47.15%

One way to consistently find defined edges is by utilizing PFF's player props tool. The ability to adjust both number and price means you are always certain of the expected value for each prop bet. 

Week 17 was another positive week for my writeups, as the plays went 2-0-1 on the Sunday slate. This brings my year-to-date written prop record to 84-53-2 for +27.45 units.

At this point, almost all usage is understood by the market. We are now looking for mispriced lines and situations that have moved too much to one side based on recency bias. There are also situations where players are returning from injuries where usage at the team level isn’t fully understood, making these valuable opportunities to target. Let’s dive into some of the best player props, according to our tool.

Michael Pittman Jr. under 42.5 receiving yards

The Colts’ pass-catching matchup against the Bills’ secondary is one of the most intriguing plots to wild-card weekend. Their ability to keep pace with one of the best offenses in football will determine the first game. The spread and total have both moved in a direction that anticipates the Colts staying close in a lower-scoring matchup. The total is the second-highest of the weekend, but everything is pointing to the under.

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