Betting NFL Props Using Math: Week 2
FTN's Alex Blickle uses math to pick out some of his favorite prop bets and parlays for Week 2 of the NFL season.
Sep 17, 2021, 4:38 PM EDT
The goal of this article is, of course, to provide winning NFL picks. However, it’s also to provide a blueprint on how to cleverly bet props with math.
After a lackluster performance in Week 1, I’ve decided to switch things up a bit in Week 2. After all, if the goal is to tail some winning props, why wouldn’t you just look to FTN’s dynamic duo?
This raises the question — how can I add maximum value with this article on a weekly basis? The answer — by leaning into my understanding of correlation, just like I do with DFS. Consequently, let’s look for some simple same game parlay options that under-estimate the correlation that actually exists.
Mike Williams 5+ receptions & anytime TD
(+380, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Mike Williams is a TD scorer — while TD rate is unstable for WRs as a whole, Williams’ size, big play ability, and contested catch ability make him a great bet to continue to score at a high rate. Since the start of last season, he has a 16.4% TD rate, incredibly high for a receiver. My hypothesis is that when Williams sees a spike in volume, he’s incredibly likely to find the end zone, as well.
Sure enough, he’s scored a TD in four of the five games in which he caught 5-plus passes since the start of last year. Which brings us to this week:
Not only are the Chargers implied for 29 points against a fast-paced Dallas squad, but Williams is sure to have a huge role in this offense moving forward:
Eleven first-read targets in Week 1 vs. 42 all of last season? I love his chances to blow past five receptions, so +380 surely seems to be underestimating Williams’ TD chances if he continues to see an increase in volume.
For what it’s worth, I also like 7-plus receptions and a TD for +950.
Los Angeles Rams -6.5 and Nyheim Hines over 24.5 yards
(+301, FanDuel Sportsbook)
I’m a huge believer in this Rams team with Matthew Stafford, and I’m equally unenthused by Carson Wentz. -6.5 is +130, but I personally think it has a better than 50% chance of hitting. The key to this bet, however, is understanding Hines’ role in the offense. In the five games in which Indianapolis has lost by a TD or more since the start of last season, check out Nyheim Hines’ splits, from our FTN Daily splits tool:
Over 24.5 at -130 might be a far line on its own, but under the condition of a 7-point Rams win, it’s a near guarantee.
Philadelphia Eagles moneyline, Miles Sanders over 61.5 yards, Miles Sanders anytime TD
(+397, FanDuel Sportsbook)
Let’s start with the Eagles’ chances of winning. The hypothesis for why they’ll win begins with their offensive line - a line that dominated from start to finish in Week 1. Obviously, offensive line performance is huge for RB production. Well, gamescript goes a long way, as well.
In Eagles’ victories since the start of last season, Miles Sanders averaged over 15 more rushing yards and .27 more TDs per game.
The Eagles being underdogs is factored into all of these odds, making this bet incredibly well correlated.
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Kenyan Drake anytime TD, total over 50.5, Pittsburgh Steelers -6.5
(+800, DraftKings Sportsbook)
For the last bet, let’s get a little crazier. The desired gamescript is clear here — a high-scoring affair where Pittsburgh leads from start to finish will put Kenyan Drake on the field.
Using the FTN splits tool, we see that Josh Jacobs averages over 7.5 fewer touches in losses of 7-plus points, and now the Raiders actually have a backup RB they invested significant money in. Drake had 11 touches in week 1 and was highly effective as a receiver, with 5 receptions for 59 yards.