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NFL Draft Betting

Week 3 CFB Player Props Primer

by Eric Froton
Updated On: September 21, 2020, 10:36 am ET

Week 3 CFB Player Props Report

With NFL sports betting every game and prop line is scrutinized up and down before it’s released by the sports books. As such, it’s very difficult for the average weekend gambler to get an edge. 

However in an effort to expand further into the sports gambling realm and increase their user base, Draft Kings and FanDuel are offering college football player props in addition to their DFS products. Unlike the NFL props, these sports books are learning on the fly when it comes to properly pricing the volatile CFB player prop market. Accordingly, it’s one of the few areas of gambling where the savvy and astute player can get a definitive edge on the bookie. 

Most Friday afternoons either Draft Kings, FanDuel or both release CFB player props ahead of the Saturday slate. The other online gambling outlets follow suit on Saturday mornings an hour or two before kickoff as sharps rush to handicap the flood of CFB player props to identify the best values available. 

Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to research, write and post a column on Saturday morning in time for readers to take advantage of the early prop lines, however we can at least run through the early Friday slate released by Draft Kings. There is plenty of value on these prop lines but you have to act FAST. Here are some of the best plays from the Friday slate that are sure to be modified by tomorrow morning after the sharps attack these initial weak prop lines. 

Trevor Lawrence - O/U 269.5 

Last week Lawrence completed 22-of-28 passes for 351 yards and one TD in a 37-13 victory over ACC opponent Wake Forest. The game felt like a case of HC Dabo Swinney announcing that Clemson is back and means business against the lower-rung Demon Deacons. Now that the Tigers have their “welcome back” game out of the way, they now host The Citadel this Saturday. 

Last season Clemson played two non power-five opponents, Charlotte and Wofford. In their 52-10 evisceration of Charlotte, Lawrence went 7-for-9 for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Against Wofford he completed 12-of-16 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns. Clemson and Lawrence himself have nothing to prove against FCS opponent The Citadel. I expect a low passing volume from Lawrence Saturday and am backing the Under 269.5 play here.

Travis Etienne - O/U 122.5 

This is a piggyback play off Trevor Lawrence, as Etienne is likely to get 10-12 carries against The Citadel and then ride off into the sunset. 122.5 yards seems pretty steep for that kind of a workload as he only posted 102 yards last week against Wake Forest in a game where he received 17 carries. The good thing for the purpose of this play is he caught 3 passes for 47 yards and a TD against Wake as well, which I wholeheartedly encourage.

In addition he caught at least three passes in eight games last year, showing off a versatile skill set that only helps the case for this Under play. Also there’s evidence that early in the season Dabo likes to preserve Etienne, as he only crossed the 100 rushing yards threshold once in Clemson’s first five games of 2019. I’m a full go on Etienne at Under 122.5.

Grant Wells - O/U - 265.5

Marshall rolled with Isaiah Green as their starting quarterback last season, and the results were less than impressive. Green completed 56 percent of his passes for 2,438 yards and a 15/11 ratio. In accordance with Green’s limitations, the Herd’s game script usually leaned on their rushing attack to slow the pace of the game, control the clock and rely on their stout defense to wear teams down.

In 13 games last season Marshall only threw for over 265.5 yards three times:

Week 1 - Marshall accrued 340 passing yards in a 56-17 shellacking of FCS opponent VMI

Week 5 - Marshall fell behind against Middle Tennessee State in a game they lost 24-13. Accordingly they uncorked a season-high 43 passes for 376 yards.

Week 10 - The Thundering Herd executed their most efficient passing performance, completing 17-of-22 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns in a 20-7 victory over a woeful, 3-9 Rice team. 

In similar fashion, last week Marshall’s quarterback Grant Wells completed 16-of-23 passes for 307 yards and four touchdowns in a 59-0 evisceration of a helpless Eastern Kentucky team. Call me skeptical, but i’m betting that a redshirt freshman quarterback starting the second game of his career against a rock-solid Appalachian State team is going to face a little more adversity than he did against Eastern Kentucky. Though I like Wells for season long College Fantasy purposes, i’m taking Under 265.5 on his passing yardage against group of five powerhouse Appy State. 

Chase Brice - O/U 279.5 Passing Yards

Duke HC David Cutcliffe is not known for leading many gunslinging offenses that produce 40 point games with regularity. Last season the Blue Demon offense averaged only 330 YPG while completing 56% of their passes and averaging only 179 yards passing per game. Duke eclipsed 200 yards passing in a game three times last season. Outside of a 45-13 thrashing of FCS opponent North Carolina A&T where they exploded for 364 passing yards, the next highest passing yardage total was 237 yards in a 41-18 rout of Middle Tennessee State. Even in 2018, with a top-10 NFL Draft pick under center, Duke only averaged 246 yards passing per game. In 2017 Duke only averaged 213 PYPG with the very same Daniel Jones running the offense.

Last week, Chase Brice completed 20-of-37 passes for 259 yards and a 0/0 ratio in a 27-13 loss to Notre Dame where Duke only gained 103 total yards in the second half. Duke is favored and should they get a lead it’s likely that Duke will slow the pace and grind down the BC defense with their run game. It seems like Draft Kings is juicing these passing yardage plays higher than expected, and the prospect of 280 passing yards from a Duke QB is simply too good to pass up. Brice Under 279.5 is a no-brainer.

Micale Cunningham - O/U 264.5

In 2019 Louisville threw a total 302 passes, the seventh least of any non-option team in the FBS and fourth least of any power-five institution. This is not an isolated trend for second year HC Scott Satterfield, as the Appalachian State team he helmed threw only 319 passes in 2018, which was the 19th fewest passes of any FBS school that season. It’s not in Satterfield’s nature to throw the ball 34 times like Cunningham did last week against WKU when he torched the over-matched WKU defense for 343 passing yards in the 35-21 victory. 

Cunningham failed to clear 265 passing yards in seven-of-his-last-eight games last season, with the only Over coming in their bowl game against a lame duck Mississippi State team that was in the midst of changing over from the Moorehouse era to the Mike Leach air raid offense. I’m betting that Miami won’t let Smith and Fitzpatrick run bare-naked down the field for multiple long passing gains this week and Cunningham won’t be able to pass with impunity like he did against WKU. My call is Under 264.5 passing yards for Cunningham.