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Guide to Prop Bets

Prop BetsIt’s wild that one particular type of bet can be extremely fun, profitable, and sometimes dangerous all at the same time. Now, this might be because the definition is extremely wide and encompasses a lot of smaller types of bets. Either way, it can make for an exciting addition to your betting profile whether you’re betting for entertainment purposes or for profit.

We’re talking about proposition bets or prop bets for short. Maybe you’ve never heard of these bets before or maybe you’ve heard of them but want a little clarification on all of the details surrounding prop bets? Whichever category you fall into, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’re going to break down prop bets from top to bottom. We’ll talk about what they are and what they encompass, how they pay out, the benefits of making these bets, and some incredible tips to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success.

School is now in session and on the docket today – prop bets.

What is a Prop Bet?

Before we get into the tips, benefits, and how to make money off these bets, we need to make sure that everyone is on the same page and knows and fully understands what a prop bet is. A proposition bet by definition is a type of sports betting wager where you bet on whether something proposed will happen or not. While the definition might be a little confusing, everything becomes clearer with examples.

These are just a few examples of proposition bets. The sportsbook proposes something to potentially happen, and then you decide whether it will happen or not. If you’re correct, you win your bet! If you’re wrong, you lose. It’s really that simple.

The most important distinction to be aware of when it comes to prop bets is whether they are designed for entertainment purposes only or if they are beatable with skill. Let’s look at our above examples to see what we mean. You’ll see as we work through these that this can sometimes be a gray area with some bets and sometimes it will be black and white.

Do you think you can skillfully bet what the coin toss is going to be? 100% no. This is a prop bet that is designed exclusively for entertainment purposes. Can you skillfully predict whether Deshaun Watson will throw an interception? You certainly can. You can look at his abilities, how he’s been playing lately, and the skill of the defense and the safeties and corners he’s going to be matched up against. This is an example of a prop bet that can be entertaining but also very profitable if you’re sharp and know what you’re doing.

Will the Broncos score first? This is one of those prop bets that falls somewhere in the middle. Yes, you can look at the defenses and offenses and see how they match up. You can see who is more likely to start fast and get the first points on the board. But, the coin flip is also going to determine who gets the ball first and that is straight luck. You can look at which teams like to defer and which like to receive, but you most likely are still going to have an element of luck in there. This is a prop bet that can utilize some skill, but you’ll still mildly be at the mercy of luck in a lot of situations.

Why is this important to know? If you’re someone who is looking to make a consistent profit betting on sports, you need to stick as closely to the more skill-based prop bets as possible. The more the bet moves towards entertainment only, the less of a place it needs to have in your betting strategy. But, if you’re someone who is just looking to have a good time betting on sports and isn’t trying to turn it into a revenue stream, then fire away on anything and everything you want.

How do Prop Bets Pay Out?

When it comes to how prop bets pay out, it’s actually pretty simple. The sportsbook will assign odds to each side of the bet that will dictate how much you stand to win. As they do with any other bet type, they will shift the odds as necessary to get the balanced action on both sides of the bet that they desire.

For example, you can almost guarantee that the coin toss odds are going to open at something like this.

The Coin Toss

Since this bet is 50/50 on either side, you can expect to see the odds start completely even. What’s funny, though, is that when you see this bet in the Super Bowl (where it is most popular), the action often does not close at even. Remember, when the odds are released they are indicative of what the sportsbooks think the actual odds of each side happening are.

But, after that, it is completely dependent on what action they have coming in. If they start to get a ton of people that think it’s going to be heads, they might shift the line to try and get more people to start betting on tails. You might see this.

The Coin Toss

Now, you’re going to get paid better than even money on tails and worse than even money on heads. As a side note, this is an instant value opportunity because we all know the coin flip should be 50/50 to land on either side. It is rare to ever be able to know the exact probability of a bet happening before it happens.

With prop bets that have multiple selections, you will see odds posted for each different option. For example, if you were betting on who the first player to score a TD in a football game was, you would see something like this.

And so on and so forth. You’d end up seeing odds on the most popular and likely players and then a bet on the field which encompasses everyone else that there were no odds posted for. The payouts with these are simple. If you pick player 3 and they score first, you’ll get paid out at +500 or a 5 to 1 return on your money.

Benefits of Prop Bets

So, why would someone want to bet prop bets? Most of you probably have a decent idea of that already from the above information, but we wanted to be thorough and spell it out for you. Below, you’ll find a couple of the most important benefits to betting prop bets in sports. You’ll notice that there are financial benefits as well as entertainment benefits.

They Can Have Huge Value

Prop bets can be very profitable. One, they give you betting flexibility which we will discuss in a moment. But two, they tend to attract bettors who really have no idea what they are doing. When you get bettors that don’t know what they are doing, they tend to bet lines in the wrong direction. This means that you can end up getting a lot of value on a bet thanks to the ignorance of the betting public.

While the betting public does this pretty much across the board, it does tend to happen more with prop bets. Part of this is due to the fun and allure of these different and unique bets and part of it is due to the fact that the betting market is smaller on prop bets. In other words, there is less total money bet on props which means that the lines will be more volatile and move more often and further. This creates more opportunities for you to find value and get paid.

They Give You Betting Flexibility

As we touched on briefly, prop bets give you an added layer of betting flexibility that is just down-right awesome. It’s great that you can bet on things like the game winner or the total score of the game. But, without prop bets, that is where your predictions stop. Anything else you expect to happen is worthless when it comes to turning them into cash.

With prop bets, though, you’re able to bet on just about any aspect of a game. You’re not always going to have access to every prop bet that you’d like, but when you do it gives you a lot of extra opportunities to turn your predictions into profit.

They’re Fun

If you’ve never sat in a room full of gamblers watching the Super Bowl when they’ve all bet huge on the coin flip, you’ve never truly experienced the awesomeness of gambling. Okay, maybe you have elsewhere, but this is still a pretty awesome sight. Prop bets are fun. Even the prop bets that require skill to beat are fun. They allow you the ability to be even more engaged in every aspect of the game.

For example, the first drive of a football game might not usually matter that much to you if you bet the moneyline or the spread. But, if you have a wager on who is going to score first, you’re sweating the coin toss to try and get the ball and then every play you’re sweating your player to get the ball and make it into the end zone.

Prop bets can add an extra layer of excitement to any game in pretty much any sport. They’re also great for complete beginners who are just looking for something unique and fun to bet.

Tips for Betting Prop Bets

We’d like to leave you with some information that will help you to make the most of betting props. If you’re someone who is betting strictly for entertainment purposes, most of these tips are not going to apply to you unless you want them to. But, if you’re looking to turn a profit or turn your prop betting into a revenue stream, you’re going to want to pay attention to these prop betting tips.

They’re designed to help you process all the information we just provided you properly and set yourself up for the best chance of profitable success. Ultimately it’s going to come down to picking value plays and hitting winners, but these tips will help to get you on that right track with a strong foundation.

Know the Difference Between Fun and Skill Prop Bets

We talked about this quite a bit earlier, but we wanted to drill it home because it’s that important. If you are trying to make money betting on any sport, you need to avoid the prop bets that are aimed at entertainment bettors only. This means that if it does not require skill to predict the winning side of the bet, then you should stay away from it.

Sports bettors have a strange tendency of trying to convince themselves that certain bets require skill when they really don’t. No joke, we have heard people try and tell us they can study the design of the coin for the Super Bowl and how the tosser is going to toss it. People, use your brain and listen to yourself. Don’t force logic where it doesn’t exist just so you can make yourself feel better about gambling on a bet. If you’re trying to be a long-term winner, you should never be gambling. You make educated picks, and positive expected value plays which is completely different from gambling.

Predict the Game and Then Look for Props

The best strategy for betting props does not start with pulling up the list of available props and picking which ones you want to research and bet. The best strategy starts with predicting the full outcome of the game.

What do we mean by the full outcome? Well, instead of just predicting a winner and a final score, we want you to put together a storyline of how you think the game is going to go. Break the game down into smaller chunks (like quarters, periods, or halves) and come up with a detailed prediction of exactly what you think is going to happen. Look at who you think is going to score, who they’re going to give the ball or the puck too, and everything else that you think is going to happen. The more detailed you are, the better this is going to work.

Once you have this done, head over to the list of available prop bets and see which ones fit into your storyline. If you predicted a certain player scoring first, then you might be wise to make a prop bet on that player scoring first. If you predicted that a certain team was going to get X number of sacks, then you might have value in betting that they will get over a certain number of sacks.

There is an infinite number of examples that we could give you. But, the takeaway here is that you should start all of your sports betting research (not just for prop bets) by predicting in detail how you think the game or match is going to go. Then you can take this and draw out the bets that are going to be most profitable based on what you’ve predicted.

Shop Your Available Bets and Payouts

When it comes to prop bets, you’re going to have to do a little shopping if you want the maximum in betting options and the best payouts. Let’s talk about each of these real quick. First, the biggest disparity in offered bets across different sportsbooks will be with prop bets. Even amongst the sites that offer a ton of prop bets, you’re still going to see a big difference in what each site is offering.

What this means for you is that you’ll want to check a couple sportsbook to see what props are available. The first book you’re at might not have what you need to maximize your profits. You don’t need to check every sportsbook in the world but checking an additional one or two should be sufficient.

Secondly, you’ll want to shop the different payouts offered when multiple sportsbooks are offering action on the same prop bet. Sportsbooks are always look to balance their action on bets based on what is happening within their book. They are not trying to balance the action across the entire sports betting industry. All they care about is what bets they have taken which makes opportunities to get better lines and more money on wins based on where you place your bets.

Shop your prop bets around individually and find the best payout odds at one of the sportsbooks you trust. Don’t waste your time shopping for lines at sportsbooks that you don’t trust. Getting a better line is not worth risking losing your entire bankroll.

Be Aware of Correlations

A correlation between bets means wagers that when you win one makes the other more likely to happen. When you’re placing bets, you never want to have bets that are working against each other. This has a tendency to happen when it comes to prop betting and can cost you money or limit the potential profit you can make.

For example, if you pick a team to score first, you would be a little silly betting on the other team to win the game. Yes, it’s possible to predict one team coming out hot and then giving the game away. But, this puts you in an awkward spot where you need a lot of particulars to happen to win all of your bets. It’s typically advised not to try and be Superman when you are betting. Pick bets that work together and omit the ones that don’t. Yes, if you’re an absolute rock star, you can pull off making both of these inversely correlated wagers, but it’s probably not worth the risk in our opinion.

In Conclusion

At this point, you should feel pretty up to speed on all of the ins and outs of the prop betting world. They can really be a great addition to an entertainment betting strategy or a profitable one. While all of this information is helpful, it’s really going to come down to your ability to find value and pick winners. A lot of that is going to be dependent on the sport that you are choosing to bet on. If you’re looking for a next logical step to go from here, we recommend you check out our sports betting strategy guides where we talk prop bets and a whole lot more.