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Home » Your Guide To Prop Bets, And A Props Betting FAQ

Your Guide To Prop Bets, And A Props Betting FAQ

Sports betting fans have had a long time to get familiar with the standard bet types – moneylines, spreads, and totals. By now, bettors have also invariably noticed the rise to prominence of props betting – even if they don’t know what exactly that is or how to make prop bets.

They go by different names in some sports. However, every sport has them in some way, shape, or form at the country’s best online sportsbooks. You can use some of them as part of sportsbook bonuses or promos, too.

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Curious? We’ll aim to answer any and all burning questions below.

What is a Prop Bet?

By definition, props (short for propositions) are any markets available to bet on that aren’t directly tied to the outcome of the game. It’s a broad definition that covers various betting types, which are usually categorized into player props, team props, and game props. Because of their range, the betting markets for props and how players engage with them can range widely across sportsbooks.

Rise of Prop Betting

Historically, Super Bowl betting has been a significant driver in the popularity of props. The event draws a large number of eyes (and bets) every year, and it offers the opportunity for players to bet on several unique props. These are called novelty props, and can include markets like the result of the coin toss, the length of the national anthem, and the color of Gatorade poured on the winning team’s coach.

More recently, props have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with parlays. These allow players to bet on multiple markets at once and receive a boosted payout if they get every prediction right. Bettors can fill out parlay slips with multiple props, or they can mix props with standard bet types.

Types of Proposition Bets

Here’s a quick breakdown of the types of proposition bets available at most sportsbooks.

Player Props

Player prop bets focus on individual, statistical player performances within a game. The type of player props available varies widely between sports, but are functionally the same. These can include total markets on a quarterback’s passing yards in an NFL game, whether a particular golfer sinks a hole-in-one during a tor which player will score the next goal in a soccer game.

Team Props

Team prop bets focus on the achievements of either team in a game. Some are extensions of player props, like whether an NBA team makes more than a certain number of three-point shots. Others are just a step removed from mainline bets, like totals for either team’s total points.

Game Props

Game props allow players to bet on the events within a game that aren’t material to the greater outcome or tied to either individual team. This covers such betting markets as which team is the first to a certain number of points, which team logs the first scoring play, or whether a game will go into overtime.

Event Props

Event props are more niche markets, covering the off-field events surrounding a game. These are typically reserved for big-ticket events with a higher media production investment. In the aforementioned Super Bowl example, these would include lines concerning the national anthem, halftime show, or post-game sequence. They could also include things like Taylor Swift-related prop bets (although those wagers are mostly available on offshore sportsbooks and likely won’t be sanctioned by legal, regulated outlets).

Best Sports for Betting Props

Sports betting, at its most basic level, is predicting outcomes from a range of possibilities. The sports with the widest array of betting props, by extension, are the ones with the greatest number of variables in every game that eventually become tangible values. Every statistic measured in a sport has the potential to be turned into a betting proposition.

Football Prop Bets

Anyone with experience playing fantasy football knows how many stats are counted in each game, and they’ll see a lot of familiar stats when browsing prop betting options. Passing yards, rushing yards, receiving yards, receptions, and touchdowns are measured for player prop lines – which draw heavy interest – at almost every sportsbook. Team props for stats such as total yards, points, sacks, and turnovers are also typically available.

Basketball Prop Bets

NBA betting and WNBA betting offer a wide range of stats that can be turned into betting props. Points, assists, and rebounds are the highest-volume markets, but players can also bet on lines for three-point field goals, blocks, steals, and turnovers. Lines also exist for combinations of stats (a player’s combined points and rebounds, for example), and whether a player will record a double-double or triple-double.

Baseball Prop Bets

Baseball is notorious for the sheer amount of numbers and statistics tracked within a game. Most of them can be found on a list of prop bets. For MLB betting purposes, these are sorted into batter and pitcher props. Batter props include totals on stats like home runs, hits, total bases, RBIs, runs scored, bases stolen, singles, doubles, walks, strikeouts, and others. Pitcher props are more consolidated, with lines on hits, earned runs, and walks allowed, among other markets.

Hockey Prop Bets

Similar to baseball, NHL betting divides player props into two categories – this time to set unique props for goalies. The typical player prop selection in hockey will include totals on a player’s shots, assists, points, powerplay points, and blocked shots. For goalies, the props include lines for saves and goals against. Bettors can find lines for either team being the first to score, which team will hit a certain number of goals first, and whether the game will go into overtime.

Soccer Prop Bets

Player props in soccer betting revolve around the scoring of goals – whether a player will score first, last, at all, or more than once. Team props can include over/under totals or exact lines on the number of times either team scores, as well as lines concerning either team’s margin of victory. Game props may cover scoring margins at intervals in the game, whether both teams score (or whether they both won’t), and other such markets.

Why Should I Bet on Sports Props?

There are several reasons why new bettors might find to bet on props – not the least of which is value. Setting optimal lines for props is difficult. Most  operators limit their risk by posting prop markets shortly before a game and setting low limits on them.

For players coming into betting with a limited bankroll but an extensive background knowledge of a particular sport, this can be a great setup. An NFL fan may have a much easier time turning a profit trying to predict quarterback passing yard totals, rather than traditional line outcomes.

This can also be true when betting with parlays – including same-game parlays – which more often than not incorporate props. Odds in same-game parlays involving props can get complicated. Operators understand there’s a relationship between one player’s passing yards and another player’s receiving yards, for example. Still, parlays are a great way for players to boost their potential winnings when they believe they’ve found value in props.

Prop Betting Tips

Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking about proposition bets:

  • Derivative theory – Changes in game lines don’t always result in corresponding changes to prop lines. Bettors can capitalize on these discrepancies to find value that operators inadvertently leave on the table.
  • Other forces affecting markets – Plenty of factors can swing the likelihood of props without the lines necessarily accounting for them. Keep injuries, coaching tendencies, specific team/player matchups, and other sport-specific variables in mind when betting on props.
  • Over bias – All things being equal, sportsbooks have observed that players prefer to bet the over rather than the under. They’ll set lines intentionally to profit from that bias. Players willing to take the under may find that there’s value in consistently doing so.
  • The vig – Short for vigorish, also known as ‘the juice’. The vig is the added cost of placing a wager for a certain potential payout, beyond the true odds. Every bet at a sportsbook will have some vig attached, but props will typically have higher vig than traditional lines. Most sportsbooks will offer a similar selection of props for the same events. Make sure you aren’t paying more for the vig than you have to.

When are Prop Bets for a Game Released?

Traditional moneylines, spreads, and totals are usually announced well ahead of a game’s starting time. They’re usually available shortly after each team’s preceding game has concluded. Prop lines usually become available much later by comparison, sometimes not opening until the day of the game.

Not all props for a game necessarily become available at the same time. The popularity of an event is a significant variable in when props become available. For the Super Bowl, bettors will be able to browse the prop selection well in advance of kickoff. For a Sunday afternoon game in the regular season, odds typically appear midway through the week prior. Leagues with nightly action won’t typically have props available before the morning of a game.

When are Proposition Bets Paid Out?

The payout speed of a prop bet can vary significantly. Most available props at sportsbooks concern objective stats that offer little room for interpretation or subjectivity. In cases like this, relevant prop bets are paid out as soon as the event they happen in concludes.

Payouts can get slightly more complicated with more subjective stats (i.e. shots on goal in hockey or soccer). With these bets, it’s important for players to know which authority the sportsbook defers to for an official statistical record, as well as the timetable for these stats being reviewed. Issues in these cases aren’t common, but sportsbooks won’t pay out prop bets before their results are finalized.

Props Betting FAQs

Why Was My Prop Bet Canceled?

Prop bets may be canceled for any of a handful of reasons, all of them legitimate. The most common one is bets made on props concerning a player who didn’t ultimately play in the game in question. If you place a passing yards bet for a quarterback who’s ruled out of a game hours before kickoff, the sportsbook will likely cancel the bet. The same outcome is likely if a game is canceled for any reason.

Other cases where a sportsbook will go the route of canceling prop bets are more niche. Sometimes the lines for one game’s props are posted incorrectly, and the sportsbook will void all bets made on them. In extreme cases, sportsbooks will void all bets made on sporting events where the integrity of the outcome is deemed suspect – or, bluntly, if they believe an event might’ve been rigged.

What is the Origin of Sports Proposition Bets?

Sports betting props first gained traction in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The most popular subject for prop betting initially was the Super Bowl. However, the prevalence of fantasy sports has helped proposition betting become popular across all events in more recent years.

What are Exotic Props?

‘Exotic props’ is a term often used to define props available for betting that aren’t attached to a sporting event. Novelty props attached to major events are sometimes referred to this way, but it’s also a term for proposition betting involving politics or other cultural events. Betting of the latter type isn’t facilitated by licensed operators anywhere in the United States.


  • Andy Hammel

    Andy is an NFL betting expert but his knowledge extends to all corners of the sports betting industry. Check out his content for the latest industry trends and stay up to date on all the relevant news/betting offers in your home state.