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When people think about betting on sports, they probably think about betting against a spread, betting over or under a total, or placing a moneyline bet on a team or player to win. Those are the most common types of sports bets, but sometimes, the best value lies in prop bets, including player props.

What are Player Props?

The goal of a player prop is to project an athlete’s performance. Player props come in two basic forms. It’s either projecting an athlete to reach (or fall short of) a certain threshold, or projecting an athlete to accomplish a certain feat.

The first form of player props is sort of like a point total, but in regards to an individual rather than a game. For instance, the total amount of receiving yards for a receiver could be set at 47.5 yards. So, just like with a game total, a bettor either bets on the receiver to accumulate more than 47.5 receiving yards or less than 47.5 receiving yards.

The second form of player props involves betting on a player to accomplish some sort of feat. For example, a bettor can wager on a baseball player to hit a home run or a basketball player to record a double-double in a given game.

What to Consider When Betting Player Props

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Much of the same data and research can be used with player props as with any other kind of sports bet, such as historical trends, strength of opponent and injuries.

If Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis has recorded a double-double in 14 of the 16 games he’s played in this season, he’s pretty likely to hit double figures in two categories during the 17th game. If Patrick Mahomes is facing the worst pass defense in the league, he’s probably going to have a productive day throwing the ball. If Mahomes’ No. 1 receiver is out, the other receivers will probably get more opportunities than usual.

But there is also data and research that can be applied specifically to player props. Game flow is a big factor. If the Chiefs blow out the other team, Mahomes isn’t going to need to throw the ball as much. In that case, it might be smarter to bet on the running back to go over his rushing yards prop, since he’ll probably get a lot of opportunities late in the game if it’s out of reach.

Underlying statistics can also help predict future success and present value when it comes to player props. If a receiver hasn’t racked up a lot of yards but has played a majority of the snaps and been targeted a lot, it might be smart to bet the over on his receiving yards prop, which will probably be lower due to his lack of actual production.

An Alternative to Daily Fantasy

I like to think of betting on player props as a little bit like playing daily fantasy sports. But instead of picking a lineup of players and hoping they score as many fantasy points as possible, you’re betting on them to be productive in a specific area. For someone who loves fantasy sports, it’s another way to root for certain players, rather than teams.

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