Welcome to the 2023 NFL Week 1 Thursday Night Football Player Prop Bets!
Full disclaimer - I do not model for NFL player props nor have any long-term history in betting NFL player props. The picks shared here are not what I personally derived but simply came about by assuming market efficiency and finding off-market value. I will also not direct you to the specific books that have these as I feel like that will lead to a conflict of interest as many places that direct you to places to bet are not doing so as player advocates but rather to claim affiliate fees.
I have nothing personally against affiliate fees, I've put them in my articles in the past, but I don't think it's okay for me to put them in a link to make a wager and I know if I were posting where to bet what then I'd be highly incentivized to do that.
Not saying where also helps ensure people don't bet it blindly but rather line shop - which is essential if you ever want to have any chance of being a profitable sports bettor.
What I can promise is that at the time of writing this article, the lines that I highlighted do indeed exist in the real world and they are going to be profitable to bet over the long term. However, we're usually talking about single-digit expected ROI - which is basically like flipping a coin 100 times and expecting to win 52-56 of the flips.
This means we're going to lose quite often and profits will be a trickle over the course of a season and it's very possible we hit the wrong side of variance and have a losing year on these.
You should be line-shopping for these plays, and most importantly, if the value is gone then don't bet it. For example, if I write that I like o80.5 -115 and you can only find -125 then don't bet it. Likewise, if you find -115 everywhere then clearly the market has shifted since I wrote the article and that wager no longer represents value but rather consensus, so again do not bet.
I can't emphasize enough, with the razor-thin edges we're working with, not betting is a far stronger option than betting on something that is not ideal. There are thousands of offerings to bet upon each day. No need for FOMO, we'll find more value in the future.
About me, I've made the majority of my income from DFS and sports betting since 2016. I will be tracking these plays for full transparency. My own outs are limited as I'm restricted to Pay Per Head (PPH) and offshores, so a lot of these I won't bet on myself simply because I don't have access to the places where the lines are good. Which again I think needs to be emphasized. I'm not chomping at the bit to be contacting people with access to these to bet on my behalf, if I'm happy passing up on them then so should you.
While I am profitable enough to make a living wage off of this, I am by no means a crusher. More importantly, nobody sharing picks anywhere is. If they were then there's zero chance they'd be sharing anything but instead would continue quietly crushing instead of blogging about some stuff for fun each week. I do however 100% expect low single-digit ROIs for this project and will be betting on them when the lines are easily accessible to me.
Now that we got that out of the way, onto 2023 NFL Week 1 Thursday Night Football Player Prop Bets!
2023 NFL Week 1 Thursday Night Football Player Prop Bets
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This is going to be a high variance day, but that's also where a lot of opportunity will be. Uncertainty is good for us - if everything was certain, it'd be like craps or roulette and impossible to beat the house edge. Here are the plays I like along with unit sizing to represent to which degree I like them (and for tracking purposes).
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) September 7, 2023
Marquez Valdes-Scantling u45.5 rec yards -120 2u
This is a slam dunk if you can find it. Market consensus has MVS at 35.5 so for a little bit of juice you're getting an extra 10-yard cushion. Just don't hate me when the first play of the game is a 46-yard MVS reception!
Patrick Mahomes o13.5 rush yards -110 1u
I have this being fair up to -126 so getting at a couple of books that are laying -110 is nice value. Would not hit this above -120.
Patrick Mahomes u305.5 pass yards -114 .5u
Market consensus has him at 296.5 pass yards so you get a little extra cushion here. Not a slam dunk by any means because nine yards is not a significant gap so feel free to pass on this one if you like Mahomes this week.
Patrick Mahomes o2.5 pass tds +120 .5u
The market clearly favors 2 or fewer passing touchdowns for Mahomes this week, but a few books took it a little far by offering +120 on the other side. I have +114 as fair so we have a little bit of value here. I would not hit anything below +120 as this is already super thin value.
Yes, I understand the contradictory nature of these wagers. It's actually preferable to have +EV wagers that are at odds with each other because it helps you gain the lesser-understood EG which is Expected Growth.
9/7 Update: Longest TD u44.5 yards -115 1u
This is an off line as the regular one is 46.5 but the juice heavily favors the under. No real science involved here and I haven't spent the time quantifying it, but I calculate u46.5 fair at -139. So getting -115 when it should be -139 is a tremendously good 10% EV. Obviously 44.5<46.5 so it's not that simple an equation.
I'm not going to blow smoke up your ass, I do not know the exact value of 2 yards on a longest td prop. However, I'll happily roll the dice that there won't be all that many 45 and 46-yard touchdown plays in the mix and take a small shave on yardage for a big trim on juice. Even if we dramatically reduce the value by 2/3 it's still a value bet. Let's just hope it's not an MVS 46 yard TD reception 🙂
Update #2: 1st Quarter u1.5 TD -170 1u
More stuff in the realm of approximation. 1 quarter alt line of u10.5 is fair at -150, we're paying a little bit more than that but also don't need to worry about field goals. This is definitely something that I can probably study up on and quantify in the future but tonight we're going with a hunch. I would have this at 2u in I had more experience in these things as there is a real chance I'm doing something stupid and don't know enough about 1st quarter scoring props to know what I don't know. Thankfully, limits are low on this as I was only able to max bet it risking $425 to win $250.
Stay tuned for Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football Player Prop Bets all season long! In the meantime, check out more Fantasy Football content!