Introducing Market-Based Prop Projections

Introducing Market-Based Prop Projections

Jason Scavone
The Process
February 29, 2024


After price, good projections are everything. Whether you’re making your own or using projections from any of the myriad providers out there, sooner or later every prop bettor has to answer that one burning question: Is an off-market number a great bet, or is something off with the model?

Now you have a powerful new tool to help answer that by using market-based projections to regress your numbers to the market. 

To understand what market-based projections are, first we need to know how sportsbooks make prop lines.


Where Do Prop Lines Come From?

Prop lines are set somewhere around a player’s median performance. In a five-game stretch at the end of the regular season, San Francisco’s Deebo Samuel caught passes for 21, 37, 47, 48 and 149 yards. If oddsmakers were using that data to create a line, you might expect to see a number around 47.5 receiving yards. 

Prop projections, on the other hand, factor in the mean – the average. The average for those five games was 60.4 yards. That 149 yard Week 14 explosion against Seattle skews the average upward well past the median. 

You can’t just blindly take a play’s median performance and use that as the basis of your projections. You’ll almost always land on Unders. But you also can’t use means to bet into lines set according to medians, because you’ll usually land on Overs. You need to use means to get a distribution of outcomes and then create a median from that mean. This is what our Prop Simulators do.


What Are Market-Based Prop Projections?

Our market-based prop projections take that approach, and run it in reverse. We blend the median prop lines at various sportsbooks and work the distribution backwards in order to convert these median numbers to the mean projection implied by the lines.

And by doing that, now you have a tool at your disposal that will help sharpen whichever projections you use, be it your own or from third-party providers. These projections will help you sharpen up your own projections by adding in a source derived from what the markets are telling you.



How Do You Use Market-Based Prop Projections?

“It’s for regressing to the market and using the market as one of your blended sources of truth,” Captain Jack Andrews said. “One person who popularized this approach is Bill Benter. He used this for his horse racing models. He would use the market as one of his variables and say there is wisdom in the crowds.”

These projections allow you to use this crowdsourced wisdom as an input that can help temper outputs from projection models that might be overzealous in one direction or another. 

For example, if a FantasyPros projection has the Knicks’ Josh Hart at 12 points, we’d see a nearly 29 percent edge on Under 14.5 (-120). It could be worth a bet if our threshold for firing prop edges is 25 percent or more.



But if we blend in his market-based projection of 14.47 at 20 percent, we get a new projection of 12.51 points. The edge is down to 21.81 percent. Still positive, but now more reflective of our true edge.


How Not to Use These Numbers

We want to caution bettors in how they use market-based projections. These aren’t intended to be used strictly as a “source of truth.” For the most part, these projections function differently than something like the Unabated Line. That line weights information from sportsbooks known to be sharp in the very liquid markets you’re betting on by using it.

Prop markets tend to not be as liquid. The jury is still out as to which, if any, books are truly sharp for props.



That’s not to say you won’t see opportunities using these numbers. Some books can be slow to adjust when the rest of the market does. Market-based projections account for recency in line moves, and there are times where you will see edges against books that are softer or slower to update their lines.

If you were to run these projections through our Prop Odds Screen simulator, you’ll likely see edges that are much smaller compared to what you’d get using various prop projection sets. Market-based projections are most likely to identify value against numbers that are outliers to the market if you’re using them as your sole projection.


What Are the Benefits of Market-Based Projections?

We believe there’s valuable signal in these numbers, and we think the best way to apply them is to blend them with your projections. 

By blending  this market source into your existing projections, we think you’ll start seeing edges that while smaller, are also more accurate.

“The people that use this properly, this will save them money,” Andrews said. “This will tamper down (large) edges. This is such an inefficient market that you really can’t say a 20 percent edge is a 20 percent edge. You know it’s directionally correct and it’s more correct than if it said a 5 percent edge, but don’t bet 20 percent of your bankroll.”

Also, our market-based projections update as the market does. We weigh books with more recent moves somewhat heavier than books that haven’t moved their lines. We believe this reflects some efficiency by prioritizing books actively trading a prop market versus ones that may not be reacting to information. 

These market-based numbers are especially useful when playing in DraftKings Pick6. Those lines don’t move once they’re set. You’ll frequently see lines that are stale compared to how the market has moved during the day, allowing you to find significant value.


How Should You Blend Your Projections?

Ultimately, the exact blend depends entirely on the other projection set or sets you bring to the table. You’ll need to experiment to find which blend best interacts with the market. We recommend starting with a 10- to 20-percent blend of market-based projection with an additional single projection source. If you’re using multiple projection sources, decrease the weight of market-based projections accordingly. 

What Sports Are These Available For?

Currently, we only offer market-based projections for NBA props. 

We will be adding support for other sports in the future.

If you’re ready to start incorporating market-based projections into your prop betting, load up the NBA Prop Odds Screen and get to work. If you want to see how the product works first, schedule a demo with us and get a free five-day trial of Unabated Premium.

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