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There was a time when prop bets were considered a “sucker bet”. But with the boom in fantasy sports and the rise in advanced analytics, sports bettors are more able to predict individual performance than ever before.
And thanks to the popularity of sports betting and the demand for more and more odds for online gambling, oddsmakers started opening the flood gates on team and player props. What was once a market reserved for big events like the Super Bowl, is now an everyday event throughout all sports.
Much like handicapping the spread or the total, there are certain ways to handicap prop bets – be it team or player props. Here are some tips to help you shop for props, no matter the sport.
Follow fantasy
Player props and fantasy sports go hand-in-hand, with many of the same tools, matchups and stats used to set the prop odds and predict player production from game-to-game. There are a number of fantasy data sources out there on the web, but you’ll definitely want to size up fantasy points allowed, and which positions do the most damage to certain teams.
If you’re looking at whether or not the star receiver will have more or less than nine catches this week, look into their opponent and see how other No. 1 wideouts have done against them this season – using fantasy points allowed as a jumping-off point. Follow the bread crumbs through past games and you should be able to come up an educated guess.
Injury watch
Injuries play a big role in setting and betting the spread and total, so why not props? You can find great value in Over/Under player props when you have a strong player going up against an injured or thin defense. Often times, the prop odds are more of a reflection of past games and don’t take into account the current state of the roster.
For example, a running back is taking on a defense missing its starting middle linebacker and top tackler. You may get extra bang for your buck by backing the Over in rushing yards or rushing touchdowns. In the same vein, perhaps that running back has one of his main blockers on the offensive line out due to injury. That may lend value to the Under with the defense able to exploit that missing o-lineman and stuff the run.
Got a strong wind blowing out to center field or a snow storm in the forecast. These types of weather can impact the outcome of a team or player prop. If you have a flyball pitcher on the mound with a wind blowing out, you may get value in total team runs or home runs hit props on the other side. If snow makes for a slippery field, you may want to take the Under in QB pass completions with receivers unable to run sharp routes on the slick surface. Also, be on the lookout for indoor teams playing outdoors – especially when the weather is less than perfect. That change in climate can hold back team and player production.
Spread and total
Perhaps the best indicator of how a team or player will do in the prop market is the expected outcome of the game, which you can arrive at with the spread and total. If the spread is big for the favorite, they’re going to need some major production from their top players to cover that line. The same can be said for a high or low total. A short number means less room for offense, and therefore smaller production from star players.
The schedule comes into play more with props for everyday sports like baseball, basketball, and hockey. During those seasons, you often have tough road trips, cross-country hikes, and situations in which teams are playing three games in four nights. Prop bettors should analyze those spots and see how it has impacted the team and its players in the past. If a top player, who logs a lot of minutes, is facing his third game in four nights, perhaps there is value in going Under with his prop offerings, knowing they could be fatigued.

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