Prop Betting Explained

Prop betting explained. Learn how to bet on props, what prop betting numbers mean, and when to place a prop bet. These fun sides bets are available for most NFL, NBA, and European soccer games. Sportsbooks will offer additional prop betting opportunities for major events like the Super Bowl, College Football Championship, the Final Four, or Word Series. Finally, we’ll explain when to combine a player prop with a single game straight bet to increase you winnings.

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What is a Prop Bet?

A prop or proposition bet is side bet placed on an event that isn’t dependent on the game’s final outcome.

Common prop bets are for whether a particular event will occur or not. One side of the bet will be “Yes”, the other side “No”. The sportsbook will offer odds for each outcome. For example, will a Quarterback throw an interception in the first half – choose “Yes” or “No”.

Other prop bets will have multiple outcomes. Each result will have its own odds. For example, the color of Gatorade thrown over the head of the winning football team’s coach – choose “Yellow”, “Green”, “Red” or “Blue”.

Common Prop Bets

Anything related to a player’s stats can be a prop. Common single-game examples include the number and variety of points scored, defensive stats, types of fouls, total turnovers, and scoring methods.

Sportsbooks will also offer team props. Single-game examples include point scoring method, defensive performance, or coaching decisions.

Season win total betting is popular among savvy bettors. Choose whether a team’s total wins will be over or under the sportsbook’s line. Season win total props are sometimes called season win total futures.

Novelty props include the first play a quarterback calls, the number and variety of touchdown celebration, or the first team to get a corner kick in a soccer match.

How do Prop Bets Win or Lose?

Your prop bet wins if you select the correct outcome. The bet loses if you choose the wrong outcome.

Note that your selection must be completely correct. Suppose you bet on a prop that a basketball player would score 20 or more points in each half of the game. If they scored 24 points in each half, you win. However, if they scored 24 in the first half and 18 in the second, you lose.

When do Prop Bets Tie or Push?

Your prop bet will tie or push if the result equals the sportsbook’s line. For example, you bet that a hockey player would score more than 2 goals. If the player ended up scoring exactly 2 goals, your prop bet would push. The sportsbook will refund your wager.

In general, sportsbooks take care not to offer props that might push. Like a point spread with a half-point line, your prop will either win or lose.

How to Place a Prop Bet

  1. Select the game or event from your sportsbook’s list of upcoming matchups.
  2. Each prop bet outcome will have moneyline odds at American sportsbooks.
  3. Make selection and bet desired amount.
  4. Your bet wins if you picked the correct outcome.

What do Prop Bet Odds Numbers Mean?

Each possible outcome will have moneyline odds at American sportsbooks.

The most likely, or favorite outcome, will have a minus value. The minus value indicates how much you risk to win $100. -110 means you risk $110 to win $100.

Some outcomes will have 2 or more plus values. This is common if there are more than 2 possible results. The plus value indicates how much you win if you risk $100. +150 means you win $150 for risking $100. Similarly, +400 means you win $400 for risking $100.

Some prop bets may have two -110 values. This means either side is equally likely. You’ll see this happen with coin toss prop bets offered for the Super Bowl or College Football championship.

More About Betting Odds

SportsBetting3.com’s video and text tutorial “How to Read Sports Betting Odds” discusses how to read betting odds in detail.

Prop Bet Examples

Super Bowl Coin Toss Prop Bet

Will the result be heads or tails?

  • Heads -105
  • Tails -105

Risk $105 to win $100 on either Heads or Tails. The sportsbook considers both sides equally likely. That’s why the odds for each outcome are the same.

Premier League Match Yellow Cards
See our soccer betting to learn how to bet on soccer.

How many Yellow Cards for Manchester United?

  • 0 +600
  • 1 +500
  • 2 -150
  • 3 +200
  • 4 +400

Notice what the odds say about the most likely number of Manchester United yellow cards. Remember, minus values indicate the favorite or most likely outcome. In this case, the sportsbook believes Man U is good for 2 yellow cards. The next likely result is 3.

However, 1 or 4 are less likely outcomes. And the longshot for this prop is 0 yellow cards at +600, paying $600 for risking $100.

How do Sportsbooks Grade Prop Bets?

The sportsbook will grade your bet after the game or event is over.

If you bet on a particular team or player stat, carefully review their performance to see if your bet won. The sportsbook will use commonly accepted sports reference sites to grade your bet.

If you bet on a novelty prop like the color of a player’s socks, or a halftime performer’s outfit, review the game video footage to see if you won. The sportsbook will be watching the same nationally televised events as you.

Finally, your bet might be canceled and refunded for various reasons. If the player you bet on doesn’t start the game, or if the game itself is postponed, the sportsbook will refund your bet. The only exception would be if the sportsbook treats schedule disruptions or player injuries as a loss. Carefully review your sportsbook’s rules before placing a prop bet.

Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Props bets are easy to understand. Pick the most likely option.
  • Some sporting events have multiple prop betting opportunities. Think the Super Bowl, March Madness, NBA Championship or Stanley Cup.
  • Props add excitement to games, award shows, and other events.
  • Successful prop bets increase your winnings for a particular game if you also made a successful straight bet. Find props loosely related to the game outcome.

Cons

  • Sportsbooks charge high amounts of juice on prop bets. Props with 2 or more possible outcomes are big winners for the house.
  • It’s tough to reliably predict winners without expert knowledge. Single game betting is preferable for consistent profits.
  • Sportsbooks use entertainment props as marketing tools. They are mostly sucker bets unless you have inside information.
  • Prop bets tie up bankroll. Bet small amounts. Use bankroll for straight bets, teasers, or parlays instead.
  • Some props can not be added to parlays. Carefully review your sportsbook’s prop betting rules.

Tips

Shop odds

Multiple sportsbooks will have lines for the same props. Choose the sportsbook offering the greatest profit potential for the lowest risk.

Know When a Player Can Affect Game Outcome

The game result and some prop outcomes can be related. Consider a star player’s impact on his team’s final point tally. Note that game result does not affect whether a prop bet wins or loses.

Bet Props Last Minute

Wait until the last minute before placing a prop bet. Acquire the most information possible. Surprise changes, injuries and news may impact your bet’s profitability.

Combine Related Straight and Prop Bets Together

A Super Bowl quarterback’s passing performance may impact his team’s ability to win. Consider placing 2 bets. The first will be a prop on the quarterback’s number of completed passes. The second will be taking his team to win against the spread.

Bets to Try

  1. Super Bowl Interceptions – How many interceptions will a Super Bowl quarterback throw?
  2. Super Bowl Safeties – Will there be 1 or more safeties in the game?
  3. March Madness Cinderella – Choose the lowest seed to make the Final Four.
  4. 3 Pt Pay Day – Will a NBA Championship team score more than 15 3 pointers?
  5. Stanley Cup Rumble – Will a known enforcer get more than 3 major penalties in the final game?

Prop Betting History

Bookies likely offered the first prop bets in the late 1800s when baseball leagues formed in the USA. Early props were considered side bets. They were popular with casual gamblers. Serious bettors stuck with straight bets on the eventual winner. Prop bets later migrated to Las Vegas when the state legalized sports betting.

Bookmaker William Hill popularized prop or “novelty” betting in the United Kingdom during the 1960s. Hill famously offered odds on the Moon landing and JR Ewing from the Dallas TV show. Both bets produced instant publicity and notoriety.

Some bookmakers offer a bevy of exciting prop bets related to major sporting events and entertainment. Across the pond, European outfits like Paddy Power have made a name for themselves offering odds on the US Presidential Election.

Other Names

  • Proposition Bet
  • Novelty Bet
  • Side Bet
  • Special Bet

Similar Bets

Tables and Reference

Sample Super Bowl Prop Bets

Odds to win Super Bowl 52 MVP

  • Tom Brady -110
  • Nick Foles +325
  • Rob Gronkowski +900
  • Dion Lewis +1800
  • Danny Amendola +1800

Time to sing Super Bowl 52 national anthem

  • Over two minutes +150
  • Under two minutes -200

Will any TD be overturned by replay?

  • Yes +150
  • No -200

Will there be a flea flicker attempt?

  • Yes +135
  • No -175

Sample March Madness Prop Bets

Will Gonzaga make the Sweet 16?

  • Yes -600
  • No +350

Will a #15 seed win a game in the 2017 NCAA Tournament Round of 64?

  • Yes +400
  • No -700

Lowest single-game point total for any team during 2018 NCAA Tournament

  • Over 39.5 -115
  • Under 39.5 -115

2018 NCAA Championship Winning Conference

  • ACC +150
  • Big Ten +200
  • Big East +300

Total buzzer-beating shots in Round of 64 during 2018 NCAA Tournament (shot must win game as time expires)

  • 0 -110
  • 1 +115
  • 2 +450
  • 3 +1300
  • 4 +1600
  • 5 +2000
  • 6 or more +3000

Required Reading

References


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proposition_bet
usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2018/02/03/super-bowl-2018-spread-prop-bets-line-patriots-eagles/304517002/
cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/ncaa-tournament-2018-best-march-madness-prop-bets-via-vegas-oddsmakers/