Whether it’s a stock investment, a flush draw in poker, or an NFL player prop, price matters.
We already tend to pay a premium for the privilege of playing in the props market in the first place. While the juice on a typical points-spread or totals bet is -110 (1.90), the average price on an NFL player prop is usually around -115 (1.85).
Unlike the mainstream markets, though, we can often pay a massive amount of juice – upwards -150 (1.67) more – on some props.
Is this a good idea? Should we be paying more to bet on bets that seem to be a sure thing? What happens to our return on investment (ROI) as we start paying more juice?
I wanted to take a quick look at these trends and try to answer these questions as we continue to build our betting framework for the future.
And here’s a look at the rest of our recent historical NFL player prop analysis:
- How to Print Money on NFL Player Props Using One Simple Rule
- The Best QB Prop Bet You Can Make & Why QB Home-Road Splits Matter for NFL Player Props
- 2 NFL Player Props Hitting 62% & More Lessons From the Inefficient RB Betting Market
Juice: How Far Will You Go to Get It?
In the pieces listed above, we’ve been breaking down every NFL player prop offered by Bovada over the past two seasons. The overwhelming takeaway — bet the under, especially in certain situations like RBs on the road.
Editor’s Note: Our NFL player prop packages are here. Get weekly packages starting at just $4.95 per week.
While we’ve been using win-loss records as a guide, we haven’t looked much at the price on those bets and the resulting ROI. I wanted to know what happens to our return once we start paying more.
The result? Our first indication of when it might be time to reconsider betting an under.
In the last two years, there have been 183 receiving yards props with a price of -125 (1.80) or worse on the under. We broke them down by the yardage totals offered. Here’s how those under bets fared.
For example, if the receiving yardage prop line for Alshon Jeffrey is set at 45.5, he would fall into the 40-50 yard bucket. There have been 47 unders offered in that specific bucket over the past two years, and while they won (went under) more than they lost at 53.2%, they lost 2.68 total units for an average ROI of -5.71%.
On the flip side – and over a much smaller sample of 27 – betting the under on heavily-juiced WRs with lines in the 60-70 yard bucket showed a 19.21% profit.
In all, though, when betting the under on the receiving yardage total when the price is -125 or worse, we can expect to get an average return on our investment of -0.78%.
Here’s another way of looking at it:
Eight of the 10 yardage buckets provided a negative return on under bets. The only exceptions were the 10-20 and 90-100 buckets; however, but both of those had tiny sample sizes of just one and three bets, respectively.
Don’t let that fool you into thinking that betting the over on heavily juiced numbers is a good strategy, though. In fact, when we flip it and look at all the over bets that had a vig of at least -125, it’s apparent that we’re burning money even faster.
We’ll break down more NFL player props by pricing as we get into the season, but I wanted to demonstrate how price should be playing a factor in our strategy.
The bottom line here is that we really shouldn’t be paying any more than about -120 (1.83) on any player prop. The overs at this price are a disaster while the unders are also losing money in the long run.