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Proposition betting explained header

Proposition bets are a great way to bet on leagues and sports, beyond placing bets on the games themselves. If you’re looking to expand the horizons of what you can stake a wager on, you’re going to want to learn what possibilities prop (proposition) bets offer.

Prop (Proposition) Bets

Prop betting, or propositional betting, allows you to bet on events within the game itself. Instead of wagering on the game or match outcome, you can wager on specific players and events within them.

The options for what you can bet with prop bets vary from sportsbook to sportsbook. However, prop bets, such as which team will score the first goal of the game or if a player will score a goal/point, etc., are nearly unanimous across sportsbooks.

If you’ve got a feeling Crosby is undoubtedly going to pot one (or two), or if Brady is going to throw a touchdown, a prop bet allows you to win some cash if you end up being right!

Prop Bets in Action

In hockey, you may see a proposition bet on how many points Sidney Crosby will score in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. The bookmaker will either set a total or leave it as a yes/no outcome. Here is what that might look like:

Prop bets example

As you did with totals bets, you can decide whether Sidney Crosby will score more or fewer than 1.5 points in the game. The prop could also be as simple as, “Will Sidney Crosby score a goal in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals?” In this circumstance, you would choose between,

“Yes” and “No.”

Super Bowl Prop Bets

Prop bets are found in all major sports, but they are most commonly found in NFL betting, with the most popular event being the Super Bowl. These props give you the ability to wager on how many passing/rushing/receiving yards a particular player will accumulate, how many touchdowns will be scored by a particular player, how many sacks there will be in the game, and just about any other meaningful stat kept in a football game.

Among some of the more interesting prop bets include:

  • First play of the game (pass, play, or sack)
  • Brandin Cooks receiving yards: 67.5
  • Will both teams make a field goal from 37 yards or longer?
  • Player to score first Eagles touchdown
  • Nelson Agholar total receptions: 3.5
  • Will there be a successful 2-point conversion?
  • Total sacks in Super Bowl 52: 4.5
  • Player to score first Patriots touchdown
  • Length of national anthem: 2 minutes
  • Will Donovan McNabb’s vomiting incident from Super Bowl 29 be mentioned during the broadcast?

Why Prop Bets Are a Smart Bet

Some “sharps” think that proposition bets are meant to take “square” money from uninformed, casual bettors. Without questions, the “juice” on proposition bets is going to be slightly higher than moneyline, spread, or totals bets. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t value to be found in proposition bets.

Bookmakers don’t spend a lot of time or resources to generate the most accurate and sophisticated lines for proposition bets. The majority of their time is spent generating odds on higher volume lines. Subsequently, the odds attached to “over” or “under” are usually generated from a very basic reading of a player’s stat line.

Take the example of “Will Sidney Crosby score a goal in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals?” If you knew that Crosby was going to move to a line with Malkin and Kessel in Game 5, the probability of him scoring +1.5 points would likely be higher than normal.

Conversely, if Crosby suffered a serious injury in Game 4 and decided to play through it in Game 5, there’s a good chance it would adversely affect his performance. The probability of him scoring under +1.5 points would likely be higher.

It is highly doubtful that the odds assigned to a proposition bet would take such specific information like in the examples above into consideration. As such, there can be tremendous value in proposition bets for bettors who are able to research the specifics of player performance within games.

If you’re the kind of person who researches their players before a big game, prop betting may be an ideal choice for you!