Wagering on any given football game, or any sport for that matter, is supposed to be fun. Whether you’re making a moneyline bet on the Dodgers beating the Cardinals, guessing who will cover the spread in a Saints vs Cowboys Sunday nighter, or taking the OVER in the Celtics-Lakers game, the whole point of gambling is to have a good time and (hopefully) win some money.
For those in the market for an even more entertaining way to bet on sports, why not try prop betting?
What is a Prop Bet?
Short for proposition, a prop bet is a wager based on occurrences or non-occurrences during a sporting event. Unlike point spreads, totals or straight-up wagers, these incidents may not affect the outcome of the game or even the final score. Props are considered novelty bets since they can deal with individual player or team milestones. These milestones are things like how many catches a wide receiver will have (football), how many total goals will be scored (hockey), how many strikes a pitcher will throw (baseball), or how many rebounds a center will grab (basketball).
How to Read Prop Odds
Understanding odds is the first step in making a prop bet. At your online sportsbook of choice, you’ll see prop odds listed as follows:
NFL First Touchdown Scorer: Eagles vs Packers
Davante Adams +300
Aaron Jones +450
Zach Ertz +700
Miles Sanders +1000
If you believe that Adams is going to score the first TD, and you wagered $40 on him, a winning bet would give you a payout of $160 – your original $40 is returned along with your prize of $120.
For the purpose of this example, we used American odds. However, you can choose between decimal (1.20) or fractional (1/5) if you want. Bettors in North America tend to prefer their namesake odds, whereas those in the UK gravitate to fractions. Most betting sites will offer each odds type.
To determine how much you’d win based on the odds and how much you bet, you can use our Odds Calculator.
Making a Live Proposition Bet
Live betting is popular in any sport and you’ll find action on games that are already in progress at your favorite sportsbook. These are prop bets that allow you to wager on each drive, at-bat, kick or faceoff. For instance, in-play betting will be available for the NFL and college football like so:
How will the next drive end?
Field Goal +500
Interception + 900
Live odds change quickly. It’s best to take advantage of them as soon as they’re offered, otherwise you could miss out on great action.
Super Bowl Prop Betting
The NFL’s biggest Sunday is where you’ll find the most entertaining props. Super Bowl prop betting is huge with bettors of all levels, because you’ll get odds on everything from how many sacks a player will have to which team will score first.
• Coin Toss: Will it land on HEADS or TAILS?
• National Anthem: How long will it take to sing the Star-Spangled Banner?
• Gatorade Color: What color liquid will be dumped on the winning coach?
• MVP: Who will be named Most Valuable Player?
• Player’s Projected Production: How many touchdowns will quarterback X launch? Will there be a safety in the second half? Which receiver will have the longest reception?
These props will be released about a week before the big game, giving you enough time to do your research in order to make smart picks – more on that below.
Handicapping Your Prop Bets
When it comes to getting an edge on your props, it’s important to do some homework. You don’t have to scour the internet for angles, but you can keep it locked to Odds Shark since we have betting news and trends for every top sport.
To give you an idea of how to handicap a prop bet, we’ll use the Most Valuable Player example. Instead of current players, we’ll use retired ones and pretend they all played in the same Super Bowl, even though it would’ve been impossible.
Peyton Manning +150
Jerry Rice +175
Jim Brown +250
Barry Sanders +300
Joe Montana +300
Emmitt Smith +500
Randy Moss +700
To research a bet like this, you would look at each player’s performance leading up to the Super Bowl. Using Peyton, you would look at his overall QB rating, his ability to move in the pocket, and how calm he is under pressure during marquee games. How many Monday or Sunday Night Football games has he won during the regular season? How has he performed in the playoffs? How has he fared against the opposing team in the past?
Once you have evaluated this information, you’re ready to make your MVP pick. We’ll also have this info ready for you as soon as the Super Bowl props are released, saving you precious time.
Prop Bets vs Futures
Proposition bets are often confused for futures bets, however, they are not the same thing. A future is a bet you make on events that will occur in time. These are bets made prior to the start of the season for any sport, like which team will win the World Series, or which team will win their conference.
No matter if you’re looking for player props on how many TDs Tom Brady will throw during a Patriots/Chiefs AFC championship game or making picks on which player will win Super Bowl MVP, we’ve got you covered.