Prop Bets [2019 Definition and Types]

What is a Prop Bet?

In the simplest of terms, a prop bet is any bet that does not affect the main score of the game. This can also be called a side bet. This is a very exciting type of bet because the player here has the option to wager on anything.

Prop bets offered are different at every sportsbook, as some will offer more than others. When we say they can be on anything we mean it. A couple of sportsbooks for last year’s Super Bowl offered a market on which color the gatorade that was poured onto the winning coach would be.

The Super Bowl is the event that draws in the most prop bets, however they can be made on any game the player chooses. Prop bets range from complete gambles to bets that can be won on a consistent basis depending on the market. In this article we will discuss the different types of prop bets and strategies for making wagers on these bets. 

Fun vs. Strategy

Everyone at some point in their life has made a prop bet. “I bet you can’t do that” has become such a general statement that people are making prop bets all of the time. When it comes to sports, these prop bets range from those that take a certain amount of knowledge and strategy to those that are basically a complete gamble.

There is no correct choice in choosing either. Sometimes players just need to take a load off and bet on something silly. With the silly bets also comes the possibility of high odds. If the odds on the color of the gatorade being blue were at -140 and the odds for green were +210, then why not take the green?

Unless you know of some team tradition; with silly propositional bets that require no strategy the player can take the option with higher odds all the time and still have about an even chance. 

Super Bowl Prop Bets 

For example, say you are going to bet on the coin flip in a football game, how are you going to accurately predict whether it will be heads or tails?  There is no way and the chances of each happening are at 50%. Remember though, that the sportsbook simply sets the odds, but the public will determine where they go from there.

The sportsbooks to not need to have equal odds on both sides, they simply need to have equal money on both sides. So if for some reason you see the public start to lean in favor of tails by betting on them more, you will immediately begin to see the odds start to increase on heads.

This is where the smart bettor will place his money. If each outcome truly does have a 50/50 chance to happen, then of course the player will take the side with the higher odds. You may still lose the bet, but there was no way to correctly predict it in the first place.

Therefore, taking the option with the highest odds is the best you could do. Examples of prop bets that are simply for fun could go on forever, but some of the best ones include over/under bets on the singing of the National Anthem and whether broadcasters of a game will say a certain word or not. 

Prop bets that do require necessary knowledge or preparation can however be profitable over the long term. These are bets that good players can win on a regular basis, especially if they focus on a specific market that they know well. A few examples of these types of props are bets like betting on a certain player to score, will the game have an overtime and if the game will be decided by a certain number of points or not. 

Prop Bet Examples 

When undertaking these types of bets, the player has the opportunity to do lots of research to increase the chances of winning. Let us look at whether a certain player will score or not. Naturally, this will be easier to win in high-scoring sports like football, and hardest to achieve in lower-scoring sports like soccer. The first thing you should do is look at the players position.

In every sport, there are designated positions where the players are much more likely to score. Think of wide receivers and running backs in football, strikers in soccer, the first four batters in a lineup, etc.

You can look at form, opposing defenses, whether they need to win or not and many others. Form is one of the best things to look for in just about every sport for this bet. A player's form is a completely individual statistic, and can give a lot of insight onto their predicted performances. 

So if a player has scored a goal in their last three games, you would want to start looking at the other factors listed for their next game like opposition, scheduling, etc. 

The best thing about choosing a certain player to score is that the odds are normally very high for this market. Prop bets that require educated guesses will be easier for players to win and profit from, since they involve actual skill and not simply making random guesses. 

Types of Prop Bets

Individual Player Bets

This includes a variety of different prop bets all focused on a single athlete in the game. You can make over/under bets on how many points they will score, rebounds they will get, etc. You can also bet on whether they will score or not like mentioned above. Another option is whether they will be the first or last player to score. If you have a hunch about a certain player you can make good profits on these bets. They are not all that hard to predict especially if you have two or three favorite players that you follow. 

Wagers on Timing

These mostly take into account scoring, however they can be placed on most events in a game. Some of the markets here include how long it will take for the first team to score, in what minute will the first goal be scored and the bet mentioned above, how long will it take for the performer to sing the National Anthem.

Future bets

These are bets made over a long period of time usually for a team or player to achieve a certain goal. They can include teams chances to win their respective league or championship or on player’s individual achievements.

For example, at the start of the season you could make bets on the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA Finals and for Lebron James to finish the season with a certain number of points or rebounds. These can also be made on individual awards like the MVP of a league.

You can make multiple futures bets on the same market, however the money you wager will remain with the sportsbook until the bet is settled. So you could be without that money for months. 

Point Totals

Types of bets that fall into this category can be placed multiple times per game. That is because these bets are usually made for only a specific time period in the game, like a quarter of a football game.

So you can actually make four of the same type of bet in one game. Different versions of this bet can include any statistic. For example, you could bet on the total number of points, shots, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks etc. for a quarter or even a half.

Another bet that falls into this category are bets on the margin of victory for one of the teams. These are offered in ranges most of the time. For example, you can choose the Boston Bruins to win by one goal, 1-2 goals, 2-3 goals, etc. 

Will it Happen

One of the most fun prop bets to make. The player will be given a situation and simply needs to decide whether it will happen or not. These come in a variety of different forms.

A couple examples would be if the Raptors will score over 100 points or if Chris Sale will have more than 12 strikeouts in a game. Simply pick yes or no! These bets can be a lot of fun because it narrows your focus to a very small area of the game. When you have that level of focus, you may start to notice all sorts of subtle things about the game that you had not before. 

Other Prop Bet Events

Prop bets are absolutely not limited to just betting on sports games. In fact, most significant events will have prop bets available. For example, the Academy Awards will have bets available on who will win the award for just about every category present at the event.

You can also make these bets on table games like Blackjack and Texas Hold’em. Popular bets here include which card will drawn next or if it will be red or black. There are also games within the games at a poker table. Some of these include games like Deuce-Seven or Straddle Orbits. If you do not know these games go ahead and read up on them. 

They are a lot of fun and you may even be asked to play one your next time at the poker table. There are plenty of them available and almost all of them involve betting more money. So do not be afraid to opt out of these side games if you just want to focus on poker.

Of course, you can make prop bets in your everyday life as well. Its always fun to bet your friends to do outrageous things. Even if they end up taking your money, the entertainment is as grand as your imagination lets it be. Or on what your friend is willing to do. Everything has a right price!