Prop Betting 101: What are Prop Bets?
In a sports betting context, the term “prop” refers to a proposition bet. This is a wager on a certain outcome within a game, and there are also season-long prop bets. The odds are based on the estimated probability of the desired result.
Prop bet odds are typically posted in the American odds format, which is better known as the “moneyline”
We will go into more detail as we move along, but there are prop betting odds for player props that are specific to individual performers, and there are proposition bets on teams.
Where do you find the prop bets on the online sports betting sites? Each operator has a somewhat different design, but they are similar. FanDuel has links to all the different types of prop bets near the top of the ”more bets” page for each respective sport.
You will see each proposition under the corresponding heading, and the odds are clearly displayed on betting buttons. If you click on one, it will appear on the bet slip that sits on the right of the page, and you can fill in the amount that you want to bet.
Team Prop Betting
Team proposition bets are one of the prop options, and they come in different forms. There are no rules with regard to the nature of the prop betting options a given sportsbook may offer, and some of them are quite creative.
One common type of team prop is the season-long win total. The book will post an estimate of the number of games that each team will win during the season, and you can bet the over or the under.
There are prop betting options for the team that will have the best record in the league, division, and conference, and there is a proposition for the worst team.
If a team is undefeated or winless for a few games in a row to begin the season, there will be prop questions on whether they will end the season without any wins or losses.
These are a few examples, but this should give you a general idea of the types of team betting props that are offered.
Player Prop Betting
Player props are based on the performance of a given player, such as the number of touchdowns that will be scored by a quarterback or the total points that will be scored by an individual player in a basketball game. There are also comparison player props that would look something like this:
How Many Touchdowns Green Bay vs. Arizona
This is an individual game prop, and there are season-long player props as well. For instance, there will be odds posted for the quarterback that will lead the league in passing yards. There are also propositions for individual awards, like league MVP, Rookie of the Year, Super Bowl MVP, Comeback Player of the Year and others.
Exotic Prop Betting
There can be exotic props that are not tied to the performance of the players, and special Super Bowl props are highly anticipated each and every year. Since countless people that are not big football fans watch the big game, these props are created to make it interesting for them.
You will always see the over/under prop on the length of the performance of the National Anthem, and there there are coin toss exotic props. The sportsbooks even create exotic prop bets for the halftime performances, like proposition odds for each possible first song.
Commercials that debut during the big game are a cultural phenomenon, and this has created an opportunity for intrepid oddsmakers. There will always be Super Bowl prop betting offered on the company that will run the first commercial along with head-to-head sponsor matchups.
Why should I bet on Props?
There are some very good reasons why the prop betting markets should be on your radar, and value is at the top of the list. In stock options trading, there is a concept called ”extrinsic value” that is instructive to help you understand the value that lies in the prop markets.
A call option is a bet on a stock to go up in value over a certain established level; this target number is called the “strike price”. Even if the option is worth less than the strike price, there is extrinsic value if there is still a considerable period of time left before the option expires.
You can apply this to the season-long proposition bets that are offered by the online sportsbooks. If you make a bet before the season starts, you have a chance to win your bet until your team or player is eliminated, and you will probably be alive for months. There is tangible value there.
Another benefit is the multilayered action that can make the game interesting regardless of the score. Let’s say that you are looking forward to watching a certain game, and you made a bet on the team you like on the moneyline or the point spread.
Unfortunately, sometimes you are very wrong about the game lines, and you have little to no chance of winning long before the game is over. If you also have a prop side bet on the final outcome, or a wager on the team that will score last or a player that will score the last touchdown, you will still have action.
Which sports have prop bets available?
There are game and team props for all of the four major sports in the United States, but it doesn’t stop there. In addition to MLB, NHL, NBA, and NFL game and team props, there are college and pro basketball prop markets.
The sports gambling sites want to entice action on every type of sporting event if possible. There are big fans of other sports that are not as high profile as the big four, so there are a number of other prop betting markets.
NFL Prop Bets
NFL football is the most popular spectator sport in the United States by far, and it is also the top sport for betting volume. We have already explained some NFL props that you will typically see at most sportsbooks, and there are dozens of Super Bowl prop bets on the board.
Speaking of the ultimate football championship game, you can visit our Super Bowl betting page to obtain a great deal of valuable insight that can put money into your pocket on the second Sunday in February.
There is additional information about NFL props on our guide to NFL betting, and you should definitely check it out because you will come away with some actionable information.
NCAAF Prop Bets
You will see prop odds for every college football game, but the offerings are not as extensive as the NFL props. There are various reasons for this, and one of them is the simple fact that there are far fewer pro games each week, so the sportsbooks’ focus is narrowed.
Plus, interest in the prop odds for a game between the New England Patriots and the Las Vegas Raiders will be far greater than the attention that is paid to a game between Florida International and Marshall. This gives the book a motivation to spend more time on the NFL prop odds.
NCAA football betting game props are somewhat limited. However, there are season-long props on an appearance in the NCAA Football Playoffs, the eventual Heisman Trophy winner, and winners of other individual awards.
NBA Prop Bets
You will find plenty of NBA props at the legal US sports betting sites. These are some of the props that may be offered on a particular game:
- Player to score the first basket
- Record a double-double
- Alternate point spread
- Alternate total
- Margins of victory
- Player point propositions
Once again, there are season props including player propositions on the leaders of each respective statistical category and individual award NBA props.
We have explained the value of season-long bets in the props market, and there is a similar opportunity that you should definitely consider. You can make NBA futures bets on which team will win the NBA Championship and the division and conference titles.
NCAAB Prop Bets
If you love college basketball, you can make it all the more interesting if you bet props on NCAA hoops. Like all the rest of the sports, there are single-game props that include player performances, and there are season-long college basketball proposition odds posted.
There is a lot of interest in college basketball betting during the regular season, but it is on another level when the tournament brackets are released and big games begin. You can gain some valuable insight about tournament wagering if you cruise over to our free March Madness betting guide.
NHL Prop Bets
The online sportsbooks offer a wide array of prop markets for NHL hockey games, and this is a list of the single-game prop options you might see on the board:
- First goalscorer
- Player performance doubles
- Correct score through 60 minutes
- Scoring by both teams
- Alternate spreads
Since legal sports betting in the United States is brand new in some states, many fans that want to bet on the NHL have questions. You can get all the answers if you check out our NHL betting page, and we have another guide that provides detailed information about Stanley Cup betting.
MLB Prop Bets
Baseball is an American tradition, and when you are watching your favorite team play, the gradual twists and turns are intriguing to watch. At the same time, if you do not have that type of fan interest, it is far less interesting given the methodical pace of a baseball game.
However, MLB betting can change everything. Anyone that bets props will tell you that it is a lot of fun to root for a certain player to hit a home run or record an RBI. There are season-long proposition betting options as well, and World Series betting opportunities are expanded.
Soccer Prop Bets
Prop bets focus on sports that are most popular in the United States, but people that follow European soccer are not left out. These are some of the single-game props that are offered on a typical English Premier League matchup:
- Correct score
- Over/under certain goal totals
- First goalscorer
- Anytime goalscorer
- Both teams scoring
- Odds to score a hat trick
- Alternate spreads and totals
- Which team scores last
Season-long soccer bets are largely confined to the futures. Aside from odds to win the championship, there are futures for top 10 finishes, top 6 finishes, finishes outside the top spots, and others depending on the sportsbook.
Golf Prop Bets
A lot of people would say that a golf tournament is not the most exciting sporting event in the world, but for enthusiasts, nothing could be further from the truth. Whichever side you are on, golf proposition betting can certainly ratchet up the interest level.
The propositions that will be offered at a given sportsbook vary, but there are tournament props like the question of whether there will be an eagle on a particular hole. There are also props that apply to the season, like the over/under on the number of tournaments that will be won by each player on the tour.
They wouldn’t list every single player, but they would post prop odds on the most notable golfers, and they would have a blanket betting interest called the “field.”
You would see the field bet for this type of golf proposition, and it is offered for other sports when appropriate. When you wager on the field, you win if a player that is not listed individually achieves the prop goal.
UFC Prop Bets
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events are wildly popular among MMA fans, and this is another prop market that is offered at the betting sites. These are some of the MMA bet props for entire fights that may be posted:
- Type of decision
- First-minute finish
- Time of finish
- Point deduction
There are also round bets, and this can be a great side bet when you have action on a fighter to win the bout. Round of finish and winning round props are a couple of examples.
Since there are some big personalities in the MMA world, the sportsbooks will sometimes offer prop options that are not related to the action in the cage. There have been props about people getting punched during interviews and pay-per-view audience sizes, and they are tailored to match each event.
Boxing Prop Bets
As you would imagine, boxing props are very similar to MMA prop markets. There will be the question of the winning method, whether or not a fighter will be knocked down and round by round props.
If you are interested in this market, you should check out our boxing betting guide. It goes into a lot of detail, and you can obtain valuable sportsbook promo codes on the page.
Entertainment Prop Bets
Entertainment prop betting involves wagering on the winners of Academy Awards, or contestants on shows like American Idol. The laws in each of the states apply to sports betting, and a singing contest is not a sporting event. As a result, legal online sportsbooks do not offer entertainment props.
You may hear about props related to entertainment because offshore operators that are not licensed in the United States take these wagers.
However, there is an exception when it comes to the Super Bowl. As we have stated, there are propositions that are tied to aspects of the Super Bowl halftime performance and the National Anthem.
Political Prop Bets
You may have seen odds posted on the outcome of elections, and offshore sportsbooks that are not licensed in the United States take these bets. They can also be placed at licensed books in the UK and Ireland if you find yourself across the drink.
However, the legal US sports betting sites are not allowed to take bets on political outcomes.
Horse Racing Props
People have been betting on the Sport of Kings for centuries, and fractional odds are used when you place parimutuel wagers on the outcomes of individual races. Moneyline or American odds are utilized for the bets prop players can make on big races.
You do not see prop betting at the legal race books in the United States, but once again, some of the offshore sites post propositions for notable races like the Kentucky Derby.
A lot of people that are getting into sports betting have never played the ponies, and if you are one of them, you are missing out. These equine athletes are pure poetry in motion, and it takes an amazing level of skill and courage to pilot a 1000 pound animal when you are going over 40 miles an hour.
There is a lot of money to be won on the exotic wagers, and you can read our horse racing betting guide to get a competitive edge.
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