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The Tools We Use to Research NFL Player Prop Bets

One of the questions we get most when it comes to prop bets is — what tools do you use to research the bets?

Transparency is important to us. Not only do we make all our picks free to the public, but we back the majority of them up with a clear and honest process based in numbers, not narratives. If you’re tailing our on picks, you’re not doing so blindly — you know the stats behind the pick.

We’re not doing anything fancy; we just do the work so that you don’t have to, but we can’t cover every bet.

So if you’re looking to get better at handicapping these player props yourself, here’s a list of tools – both free and paid – that we use.

If you have any that you use which aren’t listed here, please comment below the post!

Free Tools

You can do 80 percent of prop betting research with free tools. Here’s some at the top of our bookmarks.

Pro Football Reference

Player Game Finder

Pro Football Reference (PFR) is a gold mine of free football data, but this tool and the next one on the list are the most useful for our purposes.

Want to know how many receptions Julio Jones has in home games against the Buccaneers over the last three years? The Player Game Finder can tell you in just a few clicks.

Want to know how many passing TDs the Seahawks have given up on the road to opposing QBs this year? Easy.

The tool may look a little intimidating at first, but it’s simple and straightforward once you try your first few queries, and its depth is unmatched.

Fantasy Points Against

It may be called the Fantasy Points Against tool, but this is where you can find how every defense performs against every position over a variety of prop betting stats such as yards, attempts, targets, etc.

When looking for good spots to attack for the week, this PFR tool is one of my first stops.

Air Yards

This site shouldn’t be free, but somehow it still is.

If you’re in the football space and you haven’t heard of Josh Hermseyer and his Air Yards site, it’s time to fix that. I would contend that no one has done more for mainstream football analytics in the past few years than Hermseyer.

Opportunity and volume is everything when it comes to predicting football, and Air Yards (and its cousin Weighted Opportunity Rating) are quite possibly the most predictive stats we have for WRs.

Is a WR getting plenty of Air Yards but not putting up the stats? He’s a prime buy-low candidate. Is a player putting up monster numbers on few Air Yards? He may be fade material.

Complete with charts and customization tables, Air Yards would be a tremendous value even if it was behind a paywall. 

Prop Bet Database

These guys have been good enough to put every prop bet from the last year into a sortable database.

Want to know how many times RBs facing the Saints have gone over their rushing total this year? Plug in a few variables and away you go. You can even see by how much a player has gone over or under his betting line each week.

Ir’s a useful way to find soft spots to attack. The only real drawback with the site, and the reason I don’t use it more, is that it can be quite slow to input each variable.

Team Rankings

Stats you can quickly find on

  • How many plays per game does an offense run?
  • What is their run/pass ratio?
  • What is their time of possession?
  • How often to their opponents run/pass?

Paid Tools

Fantasy Labs Props Tool

Although we’re planning to bring prop betting tools of our own to this site in the near future, this is the best such tool currently on the market.

It gathers bets from a number of different sports books and compares them to an in-house projection to identify the best values on the board.

While I caution against using it as your blind betting bible, the tool is extremely useful for spotting quality spots to research further.

RotoViz Apps

Full disclosure: I’m a writer and editor for RotoViz, and I objectively believe it’s the sharpest collective group of guys in the fantasy football industry.

The site that brought you the Zero RB strategy (to this day one of the most important fantasy articles ever written) has fostered the early writing careers of industry stalwarts such as Rich Hribar (Rotoworld), Josh Hermseyer (Air Yards), and Jonathan Bales (Fantasy Labs).

Simply put, they do analysis the right way. Their incredible suite of tools makes it possible, and they also happen to be extremely useful for analyzing player prop bets.

The Screener

The grand daddy of them all. The Cadillac of football research tools.

The RotoViz Screener allows you to extract and incredible array of statistics, from basic counting stats like targets and yards, to more advanced metrics like target and carry market shares, and Fantasy Points over Expectation.

You can then break all those stats down by any scenario you choose, from a player’s age and weight, to down and distance, to field position, to time remaining in the game.

The permutations are infinite. Between research for fantasy football and prop betting, I use this tool more than any other.

The Splits App

Want to know how many yards Chris Godwin puts up with and without DeSean Jackson? 

There’s an app for that.

The Stat Explorer

For quickly accessing every stat imaginable on a player, from targets, to average depth of target, to air yards, Dave Caban’s stat explorer is my go-to tool.

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