What Is a Prop Bet?
Ever placed a bet on the color of Gatorade that’ll be poured on a winning coach or how long the national anthem will be sung? Welcome to the world of prop bets!
So what exactly is a prop bet?
Prop bets are a special type of sports bet where the outcome of the bet doesn’t hinge on the games final score.
The key here is that it’s not a bet on the score in any way. Let me clarify…
It means you can win your prop bet no matter who wins the game or what the final score is. This isn’t true with the most popular types of sports bets like the over/under, moneyline bets, or spread bets where you are directly winning on how many points are score in the game, who wins the game, or how much a team wins by.
It’s worth noting that your bet can still influence the games score. A common prop bet that would effect the score is how many goals, baskets, homeruns, etc your player score. The scores points will direct impact the score, but it’s still a prop bet because the bet doesn’t tell you what the final score is. Let’s cover a few other random prop bets before we start (we’ll get into sports specific bets later):
- How many strikes or balls a baseball pitcher throws within a specific time frame.
- Which team will score first in a game?
- The total number of cards that will be dealt in a single round of Blackjack.
Specific examples of prop bets
To understand prop bets, it helps to see some examples. We’ll cover both common prop bets and fun or random prop bets.
Basketball Prop Bets
A common basketball prop bet would be how many points, assists, or rebounds a specific player would have.
Think Stephen Curry dishes out 7.5 assists in the game? Bet the prop. If he gets 8 assists or more, you win. Anything 7 or less, you’re out your money.
What about betting on who’s the hothead? I’ve seen prop bets for past NBA finals that give odds to the players most likely to get the first technical foul.
Football Prop Bets
Football prop bets are often how many touchdowns a player will score, who will be the first touchdown score, receiving yards for a player, running yards for a players. On the defensive side, you’ll find sacks and interceptions bets for specific players.
On NFL Sunday, a common bet might be Patrick Mahomes scoring over 1.5 touchdowns. This means if he scores over 2 touchdowns in any way (he could run it in or pass it in), you win the bet. If he scores one or no touchdowns, you lose. One important thing to point out is pay attention to whether the bet says “scores” or “passes.” If it says passes and you have a mobile quarterback, those run into the end zone touchdowns won’t count.
A popular and entertaining Super Bowl bet is guessing the color of the Gatorade shower. Pick orange, purple, blue, or whatever color options there are, and when the winning team dumps the Gatorade over the coach, you’ll find out if you win or lose.
Soccer Prop Bets
Soccer prop bets usually are based on goals scored by individual players, but another one I see commonly is how many corners there will be in a game.
So a standard soccer prop bet might be does Robert Lewandowski score over 1 goals. You win if he gets 2 or more, lose if he doesn’t score, and 1 you push.
Or if you want a more random bet, the biggest soccer matches will have more obscure bets like “Does any player take off their shirt after scoring a goal?”
Baseball prop bets
If you like baseball, you can bet on whether Max Scherzer will get over nine strikeouts. Or you could bet homeruns, number of base hits, or number of steals for a player.
Like going for something more up to chance? Bet how many fans will catch a ball in the World Series.
Hockey games often have the option of whether a goal will be scored before or after 10 minutes. You can target this bet, and here a tip: there is a 57% chance of a goal being scored in 10 minutes in the NHL.
NHL provides one of the most obvious “fun” bets: how many fights are there going to be?
Novelty sports bets
Novelty sports bets can be considered a subcategory of prop bets. While not a distinct category, these bets usually refer to wagers that are only rarely seen–usually in a championship type game.
The Gatorade bet is one such example. Let’s take a look at some other quirky novelty bets:
- How many times an announcer says a phrase they’re known for
- How often an announces a specific (usually interesting) fact about a player
- What brand has the most halftime commercials?
- Who’s the 2nd player to touch the championship trophy?
- Who will win the coin toss?
- How long will the national anthem be?
The huge championship games bring flocks of people to the Sportsbook, so they can afford to make more random novelty props. If nothing else, it makes for good advertising.
Props aren’t just “fun bets,” you can make money, too
Prop bets sometimes have the reputation of a fun, un-skilled bet. And that can definitely be true for something like “What color will the Gatorade be?” Or “How many times will the announcers mention X player was cut from the high school team?”
But I also like certain prop bets. They aren’t as mainstream as the standard bets, so I think you can sometimes find an edge. Maybe you’re an avid fan of a college team, and you’ve seen flashes of a little-known player breaking out. Word on the street is the started is injured and your little-known player will get the starting role, but Vegas doesn’t respect him yet.
Perfect prop bet.
Think you can enjoy prop bets for fun and making money. If you’d like other gambling tips and strategy, check out our sports gambling strategy guide.