What Is a Prop Bet? Sports Betting Definitions
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images. Pictured: George Kittle
Prop bets are all the rage these days. Betting solely on a team isn’t enough anymore.
Many modern gamblers need action on every little facet of the game, or have turned to props as a way to make money since spreads and totals have become so efficient.
Below we dive into prop bet definitions and examples for each sport.
What Is a Prop Bet?
A prop bet in sports betting is a wager that is not directly tied to the final score or final outcome. It’s short for “proposition bet.”
Almost anything but the point spread, total and moneyline can be considered a prop bet — total passing yards by a player, who will score the first touchdown, coin toss result (yes, even the coin toss) and so much more.
Props are a great way to add additional action to a game, and are often easier to beat than efficient markets like point spreads.
Where Can I Bet Props?
If you’re in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Iowa, Oregon or Nevada, you also have online options.
Betting is not available online in any other states.
What Are Some Prop Bet Examples?
Prop bets are typically broken up into three broad categories.
Anything pertaining to player statistics or outcomes can be considered a player prop.
Betting LeBron James over or under 8.5 assists, Patrick Mahomes over or under 255 passing yards, or Max Scherzer over or under 8 strikeouts are all player props. Props like these are offered for just about every game.
In bigger games, like the Super Bowl, there will be more player prop markets offered. Things like will Tyreek Hill score two touchdowns (offered at 6-1 odds), who will catch the first pass of the game, will Travis Kelce’s longest catch be 22 or more yards, and so much more.
There are hundreds of game props on the Super Bowl covering almost every event and play during said game.
The following are game props you’ll see for just about every regular season NFL contest.
- Longest touchdown over/under 47.5 yards
- Which team will score first?
- Which team will get to 10 points first?
Novelty props only pop up during big events like the Super Bowl. Their common characteristic is that they don’t take place within the actual game — only on the periphery. Here some examples:
- Which team will win the coin toss?
- What color will the Gatorade bath on the winning coach be?
- How long will the National Anthem be?
- What color shirt will Chiefs coach Andy Reid wear?
Here’s an example of a popular prop for each major American sport.
Patrick Mahomes Over or Under 2.5 Touchdowns: Oddsmakers have determined that the Chiefs quarterback is expected to throw between 2-3 touchdowns based on his statistical history, opponent strength and more.
For low-event props like touchdowns, the juice will often be higher on one side. If you want to bet Mahomes over 1.5 touchdowns, for example, you need to risk $230 to win $100 on the over. If you take the under, a $100 bet pays $180.
LeBron James over/under 8.5 assists. Like with Mahomes, oddsmakers use historical data and current form to determine that LeBron is likely to have between 8-9 assists per game. You can wager on him going over or under that number.
Will there be a score in the first 10 minutes? There is a goal scored in the first 10 minutes of an NHL game about 57% of the time, and it’s priced accordingly depending on the teams playing and their offensive/defensive prowess. “No goal” can be found around +130 or +140, with “goal” at around -170.
Max Scherzer over/under 8 strikeouts. Strikeouts by starting pitcher are available for just about every regular season game.
Why Bet Props?
Why should you bet props? There are two main reasons.
Additional action: If you aren’t satisfied with just rooting for a team in a game, props offer a way to stay involved during almost every play. If you bet Mecole Hardman to score a touchdown for the Chiefs during the Super Bowl, you’ll be on the edge of your seat every time Patrick Mahomes drops back and launches a deep ball, hoping Hardman is on the other end of it. If you bet Travis Kelce over 6.5 catches, you’ll be hoping for plenty of short passes.
Props are exploitable: With a little math, you can get the better of many prop markets. Betting limits are low for these props, so books aren’t as incentivized to get the lines right.
Remember, the biggest advantage you have over a sportsbook is that you don’t need to take every bet, and they do (they’re supposed to, anyway). By specializing in a certain type of prop, you can beat the books because they shouldn’t be able to get hundreds of lines as accurate as you can get one or two.