What are Prop Bets?

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What are Prop Bets
Info Details
Definition Sportsbooks assign odds to the likelihood something will happen during a sporting, gambling or public event. The outcome may not directly affect the game result.
Bet Type Exotic
Odds See each Prop bet’s money line
Sportsbooks Most USA Sportsbooks
Example Will a safety be scored during the Super Bowl?

Prop bets are meant to attract novice gamblers, lured to a sportsbook with an enticing wager. Most sports bettors will avoid props because the chances of winning are remote. Morover, payouts on easy winners are too small to justify the risk.

See Also
What is a Futures Bet?
What is the Sportsbooks Juice?

In most cases, props are offered for a certain sporting event. Common examples include the Super Bowl, NBA finals, March Madness or Stanley Cup. Occasionally odds are offered for non-sporting events: beauty pageants, Hollywood award shows, elections and jury verdicts. Prop bets are great sportsbook marketing tools. The right prop on a popular story will draw attention from the news media.

Example 1: Will the Super Bowl favorite team score a touch down in the first 5 minutes?

If you think this will happen, you will take the sportsbook’s "Yes" odds. Payouts are expressed as money lines, where a number indicates how many dollars a bettor will receive for every $100 or $1,000 wagered.

Example 2: Will a college basketball coach get a technical during the Final Four?

If you do NOT think this will happen, you will take the sportsbook’s "No" odds. Payouts are expressed as money lines, where a number indicates how many dollars a bettor will receive for every $100 or $1,000 wagered.

Prop bets are like side bets. Suppose you’re attending an NFL matchup between the Jets and Dolphins. Your friend bets you $10 the Dolphin’s will run a Quarterback draw during the first quarter. If you take this bet at even money, you’ll pay your friend $10 if he’s right. He’ll pay you $10 if he’s wrong.

The number and variety of props are virtually limitless: anything and everything can be a prop bet! Interest in prop bets is higher with major sporting events like the Super Bowl, March Madness, or Kentucky Derby. Prop bets are meant to be fun, made with smaller amounts of money.

The only time Prop Bets can be lucrative is if you have insider knowledge. For example, suppose a sportsbook offers a prop bet on whether Tom Brady will leave a game injured. If you know in advance Tom Brady is nursing a bad knee, with this information being unknown to the public, taking "Yes" on this prop would be wise.

That aside, save Prop bets for your spare change. If you want to make long term profits as a sports bettor, stick to standard wagers and learn to spot bad lines.