Single game betting on moneylines, spreads and totals can be fun and interesting, but these types of bets are limited in their versatility. Wagers like parlay bets and teaser bets can spice up these wagers and offer bigger payouts, but they still all just focus on the final scores of games.
Prop betting introduces bettors to a whole new world of betting possibilities. Short for “proposition” bets, prop bets cover a wide array of events happening in the game (and sometimes out of the game) that can be independent of who wins. From betting on how many touchdown passes a receiver will catch to whether the opening coin toss will land on heads or tails, prop betting has something for everyone.
Individual player and team prop bets
Player performance props are quite popular, especially among NFL bettors who also enjoy fantasy sports. These types of wagers set specific totals on individual player statistics or offer “Yes” or “No” options on whether a player will achieve a certain task during the game.
Let’s say that you think Derek Carr is going to have an excellent day under center for the Oakland Raiders this Sunday at home against a weak New Orleans Saints secondary. You considered betting on the Raiders, but their weak defense has you worried that they might lose in a shootout to the Saints even if Carr performs well. The OVER 55 points also doesn’t thrill; you fear Oakland may march down the field without issue but then stall in the red zone.
Instead, you check the prop betting page for this game and find the total for Derek Carr’s passing yards in this game set at 255.5 (Over -120, Under -110). You bet $120 to win $100 on the OVER 255.5 passing yards. If Carr passes for 256 yards or more in this game, your bet will be graded as a winner.
In this scenario, wagers on Oakland to win or the total to go OVER weren’t optimal choices as they each came with legitimate concerns. A prop bet on Derek Carr specifically however will not be hampered by these concerns. Regardless of who wins the game or how many points are scored, all you have to worry about is your prop bet.
In a Yes/No prop bet, a bettor will be asked a yes or no question on an upcoming player’s performance, with odds given on both sides of the prop. For example, during Russell Westbrook’s 2016-17 MVP season in which he averaged a triple-double for the entire season, whether or not Westbrook would record a triple-double on any given night was a popular prop bet.
“Will Russell Westbrook record a triple-double against the Chicago Bulls?” Yes (-120) or No (-110). In basketball, a triple-double occurs when a player records a double-digit number in three different statistical categories, most commonly in points, rebounds and assists. A “Yes” bet on this prop is simply betting on Russell Westbrook to score a triple-double in this game against the Chicago Bulls. If Westbrook end the night with 28 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists, your “Yes” bet will cash regardless of what the final score of the game ends up being.
Similar to individual player props, many games also include team-specific props. A common team prop is the “team total”.
For example, let’s say that the Boston Celtics are hosting the Philadelphia 76ers and the total for the game is set at 212.5 points. You are confident that the Celtics are going to be able to score at home, but you aren’t sure whether the 76ers are also going to score a lot to turn this game into a shootout or if they are going to struggle to score on the road.
Instead of taking a guess, you can turn to team totals betting. In a game like this, the team totals might be set at Boston OVER or UNDER 109 points and Philadelphia OVER or UNDER 103.5 points. Now, you can just bet on the Boston Celtics to go OVER 109 points in the game, and you won’t have to worry about what Philadelphia does on offense.
Other team-related props include which team will score first, which team will score last, which team will be the first to 10 points in basketball and many more.
Game and exact outcome props
Instead of betting on an individual team or player, you can also find prop bets that cover specific events in a game. Popular situational football game prop bets include “Will the first score of the game be a field goal, touchdown, or safety?”, “will the last possession of the first half end in a score?” and “will this game go into overtime?”
Prop bets like this are helpful for games in which you can’t determine who will win the game, but you have a feel for how the game might go. If you expect the game to be a high-scoring one but feel that the total is set too high to confidently bet on the OVER, you might instead choose to wager on the first score of the game being a touchdown. This type of bet is also graded much more quickly than a game-long bet, giving you your winnings to get back into action on another play.
“Will a run be scored in the first inning?” is a popular prop bet among baseball bettors. “No” is often listed as the favorite on these wagers over “Yes”, but the lines can vary greatly depending on the offenses and the starting pitchers of the teams involved. As mentioned above, the instant gratification of these wagers is another perk, as you only have to sweat six innings instead of all 27 before you know whether you are a winner or not.
Bettors that have capped a game inside and out that aren’t satisfied with the standard odds can look to prop betting for alternative betting lines and exact outcome props. For example, if the Miami Dolphins are a 3-point underdog on the road against the Buffalo Bills this Sunday but you think Miami is going to win this game comfortably, a simple bet on the moneyline at +130 might not be your most enticing option. Instead, an alternate spread that lists the Dolphins as a 3-point favorite might pay +300 since you are giving up so many points compared to the posted line; but this might be exactly what you are looking for.
Exact outcome wagers take this a step further, allowing you to bet on which team will win and by how many points they will win. These types of plays are obviously risky and difficult to hit, but they also pay out very nicely when you do hit them. If all of your game simulations keep coming back to a similar final score, you may want to seek this type of prop bet out.
This is also a great prop bet for combat sports like boxing or MMA. Instead of simply betting on which fighter will win the fight, you can bet on that fighter to win by knockout or decision at a more favorable price.
While many props explore the intricacies of the game with in-depth lines and totals, others are put in place simply for the enjoyment of the player who likes to bet on random and fun things. These are called entertainment props.
These are the types of props that are most commonly talked about on sports radio and television shows around the Super Bowl. Will the opening coin toss land on heads or tails? How long will the national anthem take to sing? What color of Gatorade will the winning coach get doused in at the end of the game? Which of the following will the Super Bowl MVP thank first in his speech: his teammates, his parents, his coach, or God? The list goes on and on.
There isn’t much handicapping that goes into these types of props. Instead, they are designed to be fun, and are a nice reprieve from the more serious types of bets that bettors are usually caught rooting in. Entertainment props can also branch outside of the world of sports, allowing bettors to venture into political bets like who will be the next United States president or award bets like which movie will win this year’s academy award?
The prop bets discussed in this article are just scratching the surface. On a game-to-game and event-to-event level there are so many different types of prop bets that the only way to really get acclimated to them is to dive right in.
One of the advantages to playing at Bodog is having the luxury of being able to choose from hundreds of props of all different kinds of varieties. Whether you are a serious bettor that wants to take advantage of your in-depth handicapping with specific prop bets or a casual bettor that is just looking to have fun and make the game more interesting to watch with prop bets, Bodog’s wide selection of props across all sports will give you the chance to find what you are looking for.