Online Betting / Betting Guide / Prop Betting Guide: What Are Prop Bets & How Do They Work Online?

Prop Betting Guide: What Are Prop Bets & How Do They Work Online?

James Leeland
Editor
Fact checked by: Jim Knight
Publish Date: 06.03.2024

Prop bets are sports betting options that aren’t directly connected to the results or outcome of the game. Unlike traditional betting lines, this market doesn’t deal with ongoing game dynamics like player performance or specific game statistics.

Otherwise known as proposition bets, prop bets surged in popularity during the 1986 Super Bowl, with an active line on Chicago Bears’ William Perry to score a touchdown. While bookies now permit punters to boost their chances via parlaying in this market, the increasing risk of player wagers shouldn’t be underestimated. Are you curious how you can reduce this risk?

What are Prop Bets and How Do They Work?

Unlike traditional sports bets on match outcomes, top betting sites offering proposition betting markets allow punters to place wagers on specific match conditions; think of it like predicting mini-games within the larger game itself. While traditional betting lines require a deep understanding of your team’s dynamics, being a casual bettor doesn’t stop you from wagering on entertaining and easy-to-understand prop betting lines of your favourite sports, you just need to understand what prop bets are. Are you ready to find out about these lines?

Revolving around game statistics and player performances, prop betting lines are famous for their flexibility, converting situational game factors into likely winning opportunities. So that you’re no longer wondering ‘What is a prop bet?’, here are some popular types of online proposition bets.

Player Prop Bets

Perfect for players with a bias towards a specific player, player prop betting options allow punters to place wagers on the specific actions or statistics of a particular player. Here are some examples.

  • Scoring Props: With this market, bettors can wager on how many points a specific player will be able to win in a match. Wagering that a player will score three touchdowns in a football match and another player will score thirty points in a basketball game are two instances of this market.
  • Player Performance Props: This betting market allows punters to place predictions on player in-game statistics. For example, you can place a prop bet on the number of yards that a player will cover or the number of assists a specific player will have in a football match.
  • Outcome Props: Outcome proposition wagers concentrate on projecting a particular result or event associated with a particular player’s performance in a game. These wagers usually centre on particular outcomes or acts that take place during the competition. In basketball, for instance, you may bet on the player who makes the first goal or last goal. The same goes for American football, and you may bet on the first touchdown scorer.

Team Proposition Bets

With team prop wagers, bettors can concentrate on specific team-related statistics or events rather than just guessing the winner or the final score. Some popular betting lines for this market include total points scored by a team and the team to score first.

Game Bets

Unlike traditional bets that centre on the winner or final score, game proposition bets allow players to wager on specific events that will occur during the game. The result of the coin toss that precedes the start of an NFL game and the total number of goals scored in a football half are two common game proposition betting lines.

Common Sports for Prop Betting

The versatility of prop wagers has earned the market a spotlight across various sports, building a fanbase across various events and cultures. Here are the most popular sports for prop bettors, though the best prop betting sites will have more options.

American Football

Recognised as the patron of legal proposition wagers, American football’s stop-and-start nature allows sportsbooks to offer various bets on specific events. Some of these markets can include the outcome of a drive, the first team to score a touchdown, and exotic bets like entertainment-related props during the half-time show. Some popular prop bets in American football include:

  • First touchdown scorer
  • Quarterback passing yard totals
  • Team to score in each quarter

Football (Soccer)

Football’s popularity holds no ground against the real reason for coming right behind American football as a candidate for online prop wagers; a dynamically diverse range of occurrences. From different game conditions like yellow cards to player performances like a player with an assist, football’s dynamic range of events undeniably offers thrilling options to prop bet lovers. Some popular prop betting in football is predicting results at half-time and wagering on the number of corners or cards issued. Below are some popular soccer prop bets to keep an eye out for:

  • Anytime goalscorer
  • Number of bookings
  • Total number of in-game passes

Basketball

Earning a spot on this list courtesy of its fast-paced nature, basketball opens up a new world of betting opportunities as the sport’s fast-paced nature includes a rapidly unfolding series of points scored, rebounds, and assists. Some basketball prop bets that have caught our eye include:

  • Player to get a triple-double
  • Number of steals
  • 3 pointers made

Hockey

Hockey is also loved for its fast-paced nature; however, that’s not all. Hockey features power play and penalty kill situations, which create strategic moments during a game. Some popular hockey prop markets include:

  • Goal scorer
  • Penalty minute props

MMA

This one-on-one heavy contact sport has built a fanbase amongst prop bettors courtesy of the diversity of event outcomes. Proposition wagers in the MMA allow bettors to predict the specific outcome of a fight, adding an extra layer of excitement beyond just picking the winner. Aside from the method of victory, punters can also wager on time-specific props and even fighter fitness statistics. Some popular prop bets to look out for in this market include:

  • Fight conclusion time
  • Performance of the night

In sum, prop bets can be found across many different sports, and they will vary within that sport based on the nature of the game.

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Strategies for Successful Prop Betting

Prop betting can be rather fun, but is not just about randomly selecting something to bet on. There are a few strategies that can help you make place valuable prop bets.

Niche Down

Remember to specialise in specific sports while curating your bets; you can check out our guide to bet builder markets for a compass to aid your selections. Niching down allows players to become experts in the nuances and trends of that particular market. Whether it’s specific outcomes in MMA fights or player props in football, specialisation provides a competitive edge, so use it!

Research Extensively

Opting for proposition bets requires up-to-date information on the preferred sport, and that includes building a strategy for getting the best odds. Punters must also remember to utilise advanced statistics to gain deeper insights. Some information to watch out for includes understanding team/player strengths and evaluating head-to-head matchups.

Diversify Your Bets and Learn From Experience

Always diversify your bets across different markets or combine parlays, as exploring the market allows you to spread your risk and capture a range of potential outcomes. Check out our accumulator betting guide for more information on how you can pick your parlays. While doing this, keep a record of your prop betting performance and analyse both successful and unsuccessful bets to identify patterns and adjust your present strategy to better suit your preferences.

Prop Betting vs. Traditional Betting

While prop betting has been around for a while now, the concept of this market remains a confusing niche subculture for upcoming punters. Curious how this market varies in comparison to traditional betting markets? Check out our comparison below:

Prop BettingTraditional Betting
Markets are diverse in nature, offering a series of unique betting lines.Lines often depend on overall match outcomes.
Lines offer uncharted levels of entertainment based on predictions of individual player performancesLines mostly lean towards overall team performance.
Wagers require in-depth knowledge and familiarity with the sport, which might be intimidating for casual bettors.Moneyline, spread, and totals bets are often simpler to understand, making them accessible for many bettors.
Odds for proposition wagers can vary widely, making it challenging to find consistent value.Odds for traditional bets are generally more consistent, providing stability in terms of betting patterns.

Famous Prop Betting in History

Proposition bets are arguably one of the most staked options in sports betting, and we’ve witnessed some great examples in the past. Below are some popular examples.

Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Conor McGregor (2017)

The 2017 clash between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor remains one of the most legendary combat sports matches in recent times. It also provided some prop betting opportunities as punters had many betting options to go for. Some bookmakers allowed wagering on McGregor’s mode of victory, while others let punters predict the possible round for a victor to emerge. Other prop betting sites also created betting markets to bet on McGregor, delivering any punch on Mayweather.

Charles Barkley’s Golf Swing (The Match: Tiger vs Phil, 2018)

Charles Barkley is a popular lover of golf, despite being an NBA legend. He had a signature golf swing which most audiences found exciting. In a 2018 face-off between Phil and Tiger, a proposition bet relating to his unique swinging style appeared on many betting platforms.

Some betting sites allowed golf punters to bet on Barkley, demonstrating his unique style of golfing during the tours. Punters who wagered on this betting market won as Charles Barkley displayed his signature golf swing to entertain the audience.

Janet Jackson’s Wardrobe Malfunction at the 2004 Super Bowl

The 2004 Super Bowl half-time performance by Janet Jackson is another popular proposition betting scenario. Betting sites allowed punters to wager on a possible Janet Jackson costume malfunction. It came as a surprise when Justin Timberlake inadvertently gave away a fleeting glimpse of her breast. 

Pros and Cons of Online Prop Bets

While prop bets do offer the promise of uncharted and constantly evolving entertainment, it is safe to assume that there is as much as a drawback to watch out for while placing prop wagers. Here are some pros and cons of online prop bets.

  • Enhance the entertainment value of sports events
  • Go beyond traditional bets like moneyline, spread, and totals
  • Attractive to bettors who may find traditional betting lines monotonous
  • Are diverse across sports
  • Odds for can vary widely across different sportsbooks, as the market’s uniqueness can mean lack of uniformity

As you can see, there are many reasons you might want to try prop bets in your betting strategy – but they will make betting more complicated, but very fun. So you should make sure you take your time and choose them wisely.

Wrapping Up: The Idea Behind Prop Bets

In conclusion, this comprehensive prop betting guide provides an in-depth understanding of how proposition wagers work, from their surge in popularity to their various types across different sports. Covering popular proposition bets like player props, team props, and game props, we’ve explored the dynamics of online prop betting and provided you with an overview of common sports where prop bets thrive.

Dedicated to your convenience, we’ve also delved into the strategies for successful prop betting, highlighting the importance of specialisation, extensive research, and diversification of bets.

Our thoughts about this market? While the variety of proposition betting lines offers punters a range of lines to explore, this variation also applies to the odds, which can be detrimental if not utilised properly. Our advice: play safe, choose informed prop bets only, and have fun!

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Prop Bet FAQ

🤔 What’s a prop bet?

Also widely known as proposition bets, a prop bet doesn’t solely depend on game results. Rather, they allow punters to place wagers on events within the game.

Prop bets gained popularity during the 1986 Super Bowl when a line was opened on William Perry to score a touchdown in the ongoing game.

👟 Which sports are proposition bets are common in?

Some popular sports where you can access a wide range of prop bets include American football, football (soccer), and basketball.

➕ Can I combine a parlay of proposition bets?

Absolutely, provided your bookmaker of choice offers the market.

Some popular types of prop betting include the total number of goals from a team, the player to first score a touchdown, the player with the most assists, and many more.