Prop betting explained. These fun bets are available for sports, entertainment or politics. Are props sucker bets? Learn what positive and negative moneyline numbers mean. Know when to combine a player prop with a single game straight bet. Only bet entertainment or politics with inside knowledge.
Definition of Prop Betting
Sportsbook offers odds on various events related to sports, entertainment or politics. Bettor decides whether an event will occur, in what quantity or both. Prop bets are considered side bets. They are not dependent on the game or contest final outcome.
- Visit sportsbook prop bet page. See also “Specials”.
- Select sport, entertainment or politics.
- Each event has moneyline odds.
- Make selection and bet desired amount.
Exotic bet. Major events like the Super Bowl, March Madness and league championships will have extensive prop betting opportunities. Sportsbooks will offer entertainment and political props as newsworthy events approach.
Sports props win or lose after applicable game, season or playoff period has concluded.
Entertainment and political props result after applicable show or vote period has concluded.
Some props cannot be added to parlays. See sportsbook rules.
Sports Prop Bets
Anything related to a player’s stats can be a prop. Common single game examples include the number and variety of points, defense, fouls, turnovers and scoring method.
Sportsbooks 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 color of Gatorade thrown on a winning coach, number and variety of touchdown celebrations or the first play a quarterback calls.
Entertainment, Society and Political Prop Bets
Sportsbooks occasionally offer lines on an award show, celebrity or political campaigns. These props are generally used for marketing purposes.
Most of these props are sucker bets. Others could be profitable with the right knowledge.
Examples include the US presidential election, Academy Awards and Grammys. Individual celebrities will get props if they are in the news cycle.
Prop Betting Example
Prop Bet odds are listed as moneylines. Read more about betting the moneyline here.
Super Bowl Coin Toss Prop Bet
Will the result be heads or tails?
- Heads -105
- Tails -105
Bettor chooses Heads laying $105 to win $100.
March Madness Prop Bet
See our March Madness Betting page.
How many #1 seeds will make the Final Four?
- 0 +450
- 1 +150
- 2 +180
- 3 +500
- 4 +2000
Bettor chooses 3 #1 Seeds in the Final Four laying $100 to win $500.
Presidential Election Prop Bet
How many times will a candidate say “American Dream” in victory speech?
- 3 +120
- 4 +180
- 5+ +500
Bettor chooses 4 laying $100 to win $180.
How Prop Betting Works
Prop bet wins if prediction is correct. Bet loses if prediction is incorrect.
Sportsbooks refund bets for canceled games or events. Bets will also be returned if determining a result is no longer possible.
Positive numbers indicate how much you win for risking $100.
Negative numbers indicate how much you risk to win $100.
Example Results from Above
Super Bowl Coin Toss – Heads Wins
- Coin toss produces a “Heads” result.
- Bettor wins $100 for $105 risked.
How Many #1 Seeds in Final Four – 2 Wins
- 2 #1 Seeds make the Final Four.
- Bettor loses $100. 3 #1 seeds did not make the Final Four.
Times “American Dream” said in victory speech – 4 Wins
- Candidate says “American Dream” 4 times.
- Bettor wins $180 for $100 risked.
Super Bowl Coin Toss – Bet Refunded
- Suppose the NFL replaces the coin toss with a lottery an hour before kickoff. The Coin Toss prop can neither win nor lose because the procedure changed.
- Sportsbook returns player’s $100 Heads bet.
Pros And Cons
- Easy to bet. Pick the most likely option.
- Sportsbooks list props with moneyline odds.
- Some sporting events have multiple prop betting opportunities. Think Super Bowl, March Madness, NBA Championship or Stanley Cup.
- Props add excitement to games, award shows and political events.
- Sportsbooks load props with juice. Props with 2 or more possible outcomes are big winners for the house.
- Tough to reliably predict winners without expert knowledge. Single game betting is preferable for consistent profits.
- Sportsbooks use entertainment and political 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.
- Shop odds. Multiple sportsbooks will have lines for the same props. Choose the sportsbook offering the greatest profit potential.
- Game result and prop outcome 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.
- 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.
- Place related straight and prop bets together. A Super Bowl quarterback’s passing performance may impact his team’s ability to win. Place 2 bets. Bet a prop on the quarterback’s number of completed passes. Then take his team to win against the spread. Note, sportsbooks only offer player props for major events.
Bets to Try
- Super Bowl Interceptions – How many interceptions will a Super Bowl quarterback throw?
- Super Bowl Safeties – Will there be 1 or more safeties in the game?
- March Madness Cinderella – Choose the lowest seed to make the Final Four.
- 3 Pt Pay Day – Will a NBA Championship team score more than 15 3 pointers?
- Academy Awards Picture of the Year – Choose the likely best picture from a list of nominees.
- 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.
Today offshore bookmakers like Bovada 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 2016 US Presidential Election.
- Proposition Bet
- Novelty Bet
- Side Bet
- Special Bet
- Futures Bet
- Fixed Odds Bet
- Moneyline Bet
Tables and Reference
Sample Super Bowl Prop Bets
Outcome of Super Bowl 52 coin toss
- Heads -105
- Tails -105
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 -120
- Under two minutes -120
Will any QB throw for 400 or more yards in the game?
- Yes +300
- No -500
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 a #4 Seed win the 2017 NCAA Men’s Championship?
- Yes +1000
- No -2500
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
Odds to win NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
- Jalen Brunson (Villanova) +600
- Marvin Bagley III (Duke) +700
- Miles Bridges (Michigan St.) +800
- Kyle Guy (Virginia) +1000
- Grayson Allen (Duke) +1200
- Mikal Bridges (Villanova) +1200
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
Sample Entertainment Prop Bets
2018 Academy Awards: Odds to win best picture
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri -115
- The Shape of Water +140
- Get Out +550
- Lady Bird +1400
- Dunkirk +3300
- Call Me By Your Name +6600
- The Post +10000
- Darkest Hour +10000
- Phantom Thread +10000
2018 Academy Awards: Odds to win best actor
- Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) -2500
- Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) +1000
- Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread) +1500
- Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) +1600
- Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq) +3300
2018 Academy Awards: Odds to win best actress
- Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) -2500
- Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) +750
- Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) +1400
- Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) +2500
- Meryl Streep (The Post) +5000
2018 Academy Awards: Odds to win best director
- Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) -1000
- Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk) +600
- Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) +800
- Jordan Peele (Get Out) +3300
- Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread) +6600
2018 Academy Awards: Odds to win best supporting actor
- Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) -800
- Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) +450
- Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water) +1600
- Christopher Plummer (All The Money In The World) +2000
- Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) +3300
2018 Academy Awards: Odds to win best supporting actress
- Allison Janney (I, Tonya) -600
- Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird) +400
- Mary J. Blige (Mudbound) +1600
- Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) +2200
- Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water) +2200