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What Are Prop Bets?

OddsChecker guides you through prop bets and explains what a prop bet is.
Fri, October 27, 4:20 AM EDT | 2 min read

There are some sports fans that enjoy betting on the moneyline and or the points spread and there are others who enjoy getting more creative with their bets. The latter will typically include prop bets in their sports wagering strategy, which can offer a balance of higher odds and entertainment throughout the course of the big game.

Placing prop bets is just as easy as betting on the moneyline. In fact, most sportsbooks now offer more prop bet markets than conventional markets on the moneyline or spread. That's because sports fans enjoy the fact that prop bets require minimal research and can add an extra dimension to watching the action unfold.

What Is A Prop Bet?

Prop bets are short for proposition bets - a speculative wager placed on a particular event happening during the game. For instance, it might be a prop bet on a player scoring a certain number of points in an NBA game or being the first to score a touchdown in an NFL game.

In the modern-day era of sports betting, bettors are armed with more player data than ever before. For sports enthusiasts that enjoy profiling players and athletes to help them make informed wagers, prop bets can be an exciting way to find winning betting angles across all the major league sports. For instance, NFL fans may look at recent game data to try and correctly guess how many passing yards the Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes will have in the next game. In most markets like these, there will be a yards benchmark and bettors must decide whether it will be "Over" or "Under" this figure.

It is said that the world's first prop bet to capture the imagination of the sporting public was at the NFL Super Bowl 30. Prior to the clash between the Patriots and the Bears, reports suggested that Chicago's defensive tackle William Perry could be utilized in more offensive plays. The sportsbooks on the Las Vegas Strip offered prob bets on the likelihood of Perry scoring a touchdown. Sure enough, he did, and the sportsbooks went on to lose big bucks on that single prop bet. It opened the eyes of bettors to the possibilities of winning prop bets regardless of which team wins the game.

What Are The Benefits of Prop Bets?

  • No need to correctly predict a game winner Prop bets don't require you to correctly guess the winner of the game outright. Your in-game outcome just needs to happen to earn a payout. For instance, if you're unsure whether the USA soccer team can defeat France at the World Cup, but you're confident that Jozy Altidore will score, you could decide to wager on him to score one or more goals in the game. Even if he scores and the USA loses, you'll still win your prop bet.
  • Higher potential payouts Most prop bets are less likely to happen than betting on the moneyline or points spread. Unsurprisingly, this means the odds on most prop bets are higher, offering greater winning potential.
  • Request your own "exotic" prop bets Some sportsbooks will even have a function which allows bettors to request odds on their very own "exotic" prop bets. If you have a hunch that something in particular is going to happen and you can't find a betting market for it, choose a sportsbook that offers "request a bet" style options.

What Are The Different Types of Prop Bets?

There are two types of prop bets offered for most major league sports betting markets - fun prop bets and skilled prop bets. The latter enables seasoned bettors to use their sporting knowledge to make more educated picks on certain in-game outcomes.

  • Fun Prop Bets Fun prop bets require next to no skill to win. They are typically a 50/50 gamble. For instance, many NFL fans like to place fun prop bets on the outcome of the coin toss at each Super Bowl. They might also bet on how long the National Anthem will take to be sung before the game. These bets often have very little relation to the game itself, but add an extra dimension to your experience when watching live.
  • Skilled Prop Bets Experienced sports bettors may use their knowledge and access to pre-game team or player data to make skilled prop bets and leverage higher available odds. For instance, skilled prop bettors may be able to decide whether an NFL team has the defense capable of stunting the attacking prowess of a quarterback or not. In which case, they would be able to accurately wager on whether the quarterback will throw "Over" or "Under" 3.5 touchdowns in a game. If you bet on them throwing under 3.5 touchdowns, your bet wins if he throws three or less. If you bet on over 3.5 touchdowns, your bet wins if they throw four or more.

What Are NFL Player Prop Bets?

The above model of a skilled prop bet is also a prime example of an NFL player prop bet - a side wager that’s not determined by the final outcome of the game. NFL player prop bets have become increasingly popular, particularly among daily fantasy sports (DFS) enthusiasts, who have an in-depth knowledge of player statistics to make informed wagers on player props.

Typically, the more popular the NFL player, the more prop bet markets there will be for them. Household names like Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes are likely to have multiple NFL player prop bet markets every game. The most common NFL player prop bet markets, available during the regular season and postseason, include:

  • Passing yards for quarterbacks
  • Completions for quarterbacks
  • Interceptions by quarterbacks
  • Rushing yards for running backs
  • Touchdowns by running backs
  • Receiving yards for wide receivers
  • Receptions by wide receivers
  • Head-to-head NFL player props

You'll also find NFL picks that extend to prop bets on the NFL Draft too. NFL Draft prop bets allow bettors to correctly predict the destination of some of the most exciting hopefuls from college football into the big league.

Where Can I Find Super Bowl Prop Bets?

Confident about the outcome of the coin toss? Got a hunch about what the first offensive play will be? At OddsChecker, we accumulate all the latest Super Bowl NFL odds and prop bets from the most popular licensed US sportsbooks so you don't have to.

Our comparison tables can help you pinpoint the best value odds and the biggest free bet promotions for your NFL prop bets before the Super Bowl, giving you the most bang for your buck.

Novelty Prop Bets - What Else Can I Wager On?

It's not just major league sports that sportsbooks run prop bet markets for. Most operators also run novelty prop bets, covering everything from The Oscars to US politics. For instance, debate prop bets are regularly offered during US Presidential Debates, with bettors capable of wagering on the likely winner of an upcoming debate or, latterly, the overall winner of the US Presidential Election.

Rest assured, whichever novelty prop bets you're after throughout the year, OddsChecker will be here to pinpoint the best value odds for your speculative wagers.


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