I’m about to share a secret that can make you a lot of money betting NFL player props — a definite and defined market inefficiency which will allow you to turn off your brain and watch the profit pile up.
It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. These are not “system plays” or trends to chase — it’s one very basic rule that will keep you in the black.
Are you ready? You’re going to hate it because you, like everyone else, probably love to bet overs. But here’s the rule — bet the under.
That’s it. That’s the rule.
As I’m about to show you, betting overs on NFL player props is a disaster, almost without exception. I’ve always known that unders were the superior play, I just never realized to what extent until I started digging into the data.
This analysis should make it obvious that you need an extremely good reason to bet any over, and even then, you should probably still consider the under.
I couldn’t have done this research without the player prop database at playerprops.football, which gathers the closing line and result for every NFL player prop since 2017.
Hate Money? Bet Overs
This first table is what initially set off the alarms on the need for more research. It shows the results from every player prop we played at Bet the Prop in 2018. You can learn more about our proven results here.
Overall, we did well and made our readers some money, but it’s clear that we can improve our process.
Editor’s Note: NFL player prop packages are here. Get the early bird price and save — packages starting at just $49.95 for the full season.
|Bets||Wins||Losses||Average Price||Win %|
We hit a profitable 57% overall on NFL player props in 2018, but it’s clear what was powering the profits — unders hit at a 62.3% win rate while the overs struggled to stay above .500.
Here’s the crazy thing — despite losing money on our overs after the vig, we were actually excellent at picking them when compared to the overall market.
Let’s look at a positional breakdown.
How to Hit 56% Without Trying
First up are wide receivers. They actually hit overs more than any other skill position, and yet over two full years worth of data, that still just adds up to an atrocious 43.7% win rate on overs.
|All||3781||1654 (43.7%)||2127 (56.3%)|
|Receiving Yards||1965||854 (43.5%)||1111 (56.5%)|
|Receptions||1817||800 (44%)||1017 (56%)|
I broke it down by prop type as well, but as you can see, it doesn’t matter whether it’s receptions or receiving yards — WRs historically go under their betting line 56.3% of the time.
Here’s where it really gets interesting.
We can see that RBs go under their betting totals even more often than WRs.
|Total||2531||1060 (41.9%)||1471 (58.1%)|
If you had blindly bet unders on every RB player prop over the past two years, you’d win at a 58.1% clip. If you’d bet overs, you’d have gone broke in a hurry.
I’m going to break down the RB results by bet type (rushing yards, receiving yards, receptions, etc) in a future, stand-alone piece because the results are particularly interesting.
But this data alone gives us an actionable takeaway that makes intuitive sense — RBs get injured more than any other position and as a result, they’re a terrible target for overs.
Suddenly, our 52.5% overall win rate on overs last year isn’t looking so bad!
But when it comes to going under the betting line, TE is king. In a solid sample of 1,167 bets in the past two years, TE overs are hitting a pathetic 40.9%.
|Total||1167||477 (40.9%)||690 (59.1%)|
|Rec Yards||612||254 (41.5%)||358 (58.5%)|
|Receptions||555||223 (40.2%)||332 (59.8%)|
|Home||575||244 (42.4%)||331 (57.6%)|
|Away||593||233 (39.3%)||360 (60.7%)|
I broke down the betting lines for TEs even further:
- We see significant home-road splits at the position — visiting TEs hit their overs less than 40% of the time, making them one of the worst prop bets you can make, while TEs playing at home hit the over at a slightly better rate.
- If you are going to bet TE overs, it’s slightly better to do so on the receiving yards line, as opposed to total receptions.
Even a stud like Travis Kelce, who tends to defy expectations at the position, is still losing money on overs. In 59 prop bets over the last two years, Kelce went over just 31 times (52.5%).
It’s certainly curious that TEs go under even more often than RBs, despite the position’s lower injury rate, and I’m not sure why exactly that is.
I’m going to save the QB results for a separate piece since the results are intriguing on their own and there are more bet types at the position and a lot more data to parse as a result.
We’ll also have plenty more work to come on this data to bring you more actionable insights.
Why are unders so much more profitable overall? I don’t have any hard evidence, but I suspect:
- People hate betting unders.
- Overs are more fun since it’s more naturally more enjoyable to cheer for something to happen than for nothing to happen.
- The betting market is wildly inflated as a result.
Whatever the reason, it’s crystal clear that you should be going against the grain and betting the under on the majority of your NFL player props.
And yes, this applies to season-long props as well, which is why most of our 25 Season Long Player Props to Attack is littered with unders.