I glossed over this last time, so I am going to spell it out. Why goofy prop bets (sometimes these are listed as futures bets) are beatable by anyone with the time and inclination, unless they are a big dummy:
1) The bookies (and major bettors) spend all year making lines and prices for stuff like NFL games. They have all kinds of computers and smart guys with exaggerated East coast accents working on those things as a full time job. It is very, very hard to beat them for most people, most of the time. They only throw up stuff like baseball prop bets once in a while. It is easier for them to make a mistake.
2) On top of that, the bookmakers do not really care about these bets. Sometimes they even expect to lose on props and see it as a loss leader and/or a reward for customers. Also, they mix in some outrageous sucker bets that probably help even things out. The big time pro bettors don’t care about props either. The limits on prop bets are usually pretty low, at least in the eyes of people who normally bet in units of BMWs. The juice is sometimes a bit higher. The Billy Walters types are just not going to bother with it. So if you invest in MLB player props, basically, you are like a boy who has been held back 2 years. You would rather be more advanced, but while you are here, you might as well beat up on the little kids. Especially if the teachers cut you some slack out of pity.
3) They can be right 90% of the time and you only have to find the 10% where they are wrong. Betting on sports is a lot like being a wise ass movie reviewer. Someone invests time, energy and intelligence building a huge menu of lines from scratch. You couldn’t do that. But what you can do is roll in, nitpick their work and pat yourself on the back for it as though you were the smart one in the scenario.
Baseball player props.
I guess the first thing is to know what a player prop is. Its us ually some kind of over/under bet. Miguel Cabrera will hit over/under 31.5 home runs. Pablo Sandoval will gain over/under 37.5 pounds after signing a big contract. Sometimes you are betting on which player will do better between two. Sometimes you are betting on which player will lead the league in something. So, how do you know which ones to bet on? Honestly, I’m not going to give you all of my herbs and spices. But I’ll give you a couple and point you in the right direction.
1) Know the relevant information beforehand. If you play fantasy baseball and are a huge nerd about it, start preparing in late January or Early February. You will do better in fantasy, but you will also be ready for the props. You will know who is injured or who has improved contextual factors (better/worse home park, better/worse lineup) and have a better notion of what the numbers should look like.
For example, MGM put up these props. Who will win more games, Justin Verlander or Max Scherzer? They made Verlander a favorite at -1 1/2 which is pretty nuts. It had flipped by the time I got to it. I was able to hit some home run props, with Jose Bautista a mere -1/2 favorite over Anthony Rizzo and Nelson Cruz a -1/2 favorite over Bryce Harper. I had been looking at player projections on Fangraphs enough to know that these were good bets immediately. Joey Bats is projected to hit 36 homers to Rizzo’s 33.
The Cruz/Harper bet is actually in line with projections, but Harper is projected for 25, a career high by 3, and Cruz is projected for 26 following seasons of 29, 24, 27 and 40, each of which beat Harpers career best of 22. Plus Harper is (deservedly) ultra-hyped and Cruz is boring. Always bet on boring. Or unfun or uncomfortable.
2) Know the information now. Injury news can be especially helpful. If you were betting on Monday Night Football, you would be very hard pressed to beat the market with something like injury news. But with the real pros and the books disinterested, it can happen with props. Dont believe me? 5dimes currently has Kenley Jansen the favorite to lead the league in saves. It has been that way for days. Jansen is currently on crutches, expected to miss a month of regular season play. That creates some value in the other candidates. I like Cody Allen, an excellent performer last year with very little competition in the Cleveland bullpen at 30-1. Trevor Rosenthal is 4-1 at another bookie, but 20-1 here, largely because of the space Jansen is occupying. You do not need to be a baseball expert or math wiz to figure out what to do there.
3) Line shop. Always, always. I cannot write one of these articles without stressing this. There are many cases where a bet has double or, as above, quintuple the payout from one book to the next. In virtually any form of sports betting, most of your profit comes from line shopping.
4) Evaluate projections. This might seem obvious but my overall point here is that this stuff is not all that hard. See if you can figure out roughly how the projections are made. Look at various projections from multiple sources. Find cases where the projections are bad. Bet accordingly.
You want an example? OK. Say a guy had a freak injury in the last year or two. Someone shot him in the butt when they were on a hunting trip together. His wife hit him with a frying pan. How is that injury risk factored into his projections? Now, what are the real chances of it happening again? DO YOU SEE?
Anyway, if you want to give this stuff a shot, sign up through one of our affiliate links. 5 Dimes is really good. They are the offshore book I use for most of my offshore bets. We’ve become affiliates with them because that’s who I honestly recommend. If they didn’t have a good affiliate program, I’d probably have to lie about that to send you some place that did. But fortunately for everybody they are pretty great all around.