Prop Betting Guide

what is a prop bet
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What Is A Prop Bet?

A prop bet (short for proposition bet) is a wager on a specific outcome within a game. Generally, prop bets are tied to a specific statistic and hinge on a player or team accomplishing a certain goal within a match.

In basketball, for example, you might place a prop bet on Stephen Curry to make 4 or more three-pointers during the Golden State Warriors game against the Memphis Grizzles. Don’t worry—we'll provide plenty of examples on this page, which covers all you need to know about prop bets.

Prop Bet Examples

Prop bets run the gamut, including hundreds of different types and levels of specificity. You can bet on all sorts of outcomes, making props a favorite among stats enthusiasts or parlay builders. Still, there’s a lot of value even if you enjoy placing the occasional single bet or cheering on your favorite player. Here are a few prop bet examples from different sports. For this page, we’re pulling odds from FanDuel.

NBA Prop Bets

Frankly, there are so many prop bets available for NBA games it’s impossible to cover them all here. But there are plenty of fun examples that showcase what prop bets can be.

One market for the 76ers vs. Heat game lists “Method of first basket” as a prop bet. A few of the options listed are:

  • Bam Adebayo: dunk (+2000)
  • Bam Adebayo: free throw (+2600)
  • Gabe Vincent: layup (+5000)
  • Gabe Vincent: dunk (+10000)

There are tons more options on that market alone, most of them above +2000 odds. These outcomes are unlikely, of course, because only one of them will happen.

For more reasonable props, let’s shift gears and look at player points, which are much more common props. We’re using the same game: Philadelphia 76ers Vs. Miami Heat.

  • James Harden Over/Under 22.5 points (-106/-116)
  • Tyrese Maxey Over/Under 21.5 points (-102/-120)
  • Jimmy Butler to score 25+ points (-138)
  • James Harden to score 30+ points (+420)

You’ll find similar examples for practically every player expected to get time on the court. This allows you to hone in on one player and try to clock how well he’ll play.

But that’s not all. You can also bet on player rebounds, player three-pointers, assists, steals, blocks, and more. If you’re really into basketball, you should be able to find plenty of props that fit your betting preferences. Skim through your favorite sportsbook’s NBA section for the full slate of props.

MLB Prop Bets

Baseball is a statistician’s sport, and the prop bets on offer for MLB games reflect that status. Here’s a small sampling of props from a Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs game taking place at the time of writing.

  • Luis Robert to hit a home run: +560
  • Tim Anderson to record a hit: -310
  • Jose Abreu to record 2+ hits: +200
  • Lucas Giolito over/under 6.5 striekouts: -120/-106
  • Chicago Cubs over/under 3 runs: -102/-120

You can find similar bets for many of the players on the roster, plus tons of other props on offer.

The message here is that prop bet variety is gargantuan. You can often find dozens if not hundreds of prop bets available on a given game or match.

Which Sports Are Best For Prop Bets?

You can find prop bets for most sports, but a few stick out as ideal candidates for these wagers. Here are a few sports that lend themselves well to prop bets in particular.

Football

The NFL in particular is a great fit for prop bets. Many sports bettors like to bet on touchdown scorers, passing or rushing yards,

The NFL is littered with stats and data, making it a prime candidate for prop bets. This is especially enticing if your team isn’t worth betting on to win (like my ill-fated Chicago Bears). You can instead bet on a single player’s performance and hope they do well even if the team doesn’t bring home a victory.

Baseball

Baseball is so flush with stats it practically begs for prop bets. Strikeouts, hits, RBIs, home runs, and many other options fill the baseball prop landscape. If you’re a savvy fan, you can spot trends and place profitable bets on any given game.

Basketball

Basketball is a fun first for prop bettors because of its pace. The game moves quickly, only stopping during the occasional foul or timeout (of course, the stoppage is most common in the last few minutes).

Basketball is also a game of superstars, where a proficient player can make or break a team. It’s a lot of fun to bet on any solid player’s performance with wagers such as made three-pointers, total points, rebounds, or assists. The sheer number of options makes the NBA a perfect pop betting sport.

Golf

The PGA and LPGA tour provide plenty of prop betting opportunities, including bets as specific as a single player’s score on a single hole.

Because golf doesn’t have your typical moneyline, point spread, and totals bets available, props are the sport’s bread and butter. You can find all sorts of lines during tournaments. It’s especially helpful to watch players on the Thursday and Friday, then bet based on their performance once the more impactful Saturday and Sunday play occurs.

Should I Bet Props?

If you feel confident in your knowledge, the prop bets can be a great option. But before you dive right in, it helps to ask a few other key questions to determine whether props are right for you.

Do Props Require A Hefty Bankroll?

This one’s up to you, more or less. You can shape your prop betting strategy to fit a slim bankroll as long as you stick to bets with relatively short odds. Betting the longshot every time will lose you a lot of money very fast unless you’re hitting the occasional lucky wager.

Another strategy is to make the most of a small bankroll by building parlays comprising multiple prop bets. Of course, this is inherently riskier, but if you combine strong props and bet responsibly, this can be a profitable strategy over time.

The bottom line is you should only bet within your means. Prop bets tend to be flexible, suiting many a betting style.

Are Props Best For Big Or Small Bets?

Well…both, in a way. Some props are better suited to big bets. Jimmy Butler to score 25+ points is at odds of -138. So a $138 bet would pay out $100. That sort of line is ideal for a bettor who’s willing to shell out a bit of cash upfront.

On the other hand, some props give longer odds because they’re less likely to happen. These bets—such as Luis Robert to hit a home run (+560)—are a better fit for smaller bets. A $100 bet on that line would pay out $560 if it hit. But again, that outcome is relatively unlikely, making it a risky bet.

Prop bets, for these reasons, are flexible. If you prefer to bet longer odds and hit the occasional win with small bets, you can find props to fit that strategy. If you prefer to build your bankroll with bigger bets that are more likely to hit, there’s room for that, too. Or you can combine the strategies for more fun.

Prop Betting Tips

Looking to make some prop bets? Here are a few tricks and tips to keep in mind. Remember betting is never a sure thing, so wager responsibly.

Shop Around

Always, always always shop for the best lines and odds. If you have access to one sportsbook, chances are you have access to many others. If you take the time to compare and contrast sportsbooks, you’ll find advantageous lines and thus, better potential payouts.

If you always bet on the first sportsbook you visit without comparing the odds or lines, you’ll end up wasting money. Take a measured approach when looking for the ideal prop bet.

Do Your Research

Check the stats and past performance of teams or players you’re betting on. Previous matchups, injuries, locker room atmosphere, coaching, and many other factors can offer valuable insights that aren’t always reflected in the odds. If you do your homework and keep track of stats, you’re more likely to find a really advantageous line before it becomes less favorable.

Stick To What You Know

If you’re a baseball stats junkie…bet on baseball. Football fanatic? Seek out football props. Your baseline knowledge will go a long way and help inform you when you’re making picks.

That isn’t to say you can’t bet on sports you are less familiar with. If you do, stick to the point above and do your research to make informed bets.

Manage Your Bankroll

If you lose a bet, don’t go crazy on a longshot wager to try to recuperate your losses. Stay measured and sensible in your bets and keep your wagers within a responsible threshold.

Don’t Discount The Under

Betting the over is a popular strategy. “Life’s too short to bet the under,” goes the betting-related adage. But it’s not entirely true. Under bets can be very beneficial, especially if you’re making a wager backed by historical performance and stats. IF a player is only nabbing 3-4 rebounds per game over the past few matchups and the line is set at over/under 5 rebounds, the under could be a smart wager.

Arguably, you could apply this advice to any bet. It boils down to this: don’t discount a single bet type for any reason. You can use less popular bets to your advantage.

Always Check The Vig

You’ll rarely find odds of +100 on both sides of a bet, and that’s because of the vig. -110 is a much more common odds format, and that’s because sportsbooks need to make money on the bets they process. But sometimes props show the vig in favor of a certain side.

Take this example: James Harden Over/Under 22.5 points (-106/-116). The over has a smaller vig and thus would pay out a tad more if the bet hit. The Under has a heftier vig but may also be slightly more likely to hit. Take these differences into account as you’re surveying the options.

How To Place A Prop Bet At A Sportsbook

Placing a prop bet is relatively easy. The toughest part often includes navigating a vast ocean of options to find the one that works for you. Here’s a step-by-step guide to placing an NBA prop bet at FanDuel sportsbook.

FanDuel NBA Prop Bet

  1. Sign in to FanDuel sportsbook on your desktop or mobile device.
  2. Navigate to the NBA section.
  3. Select the game that you’d like to bet on by clicking “more wagers.” Here, we’ll use the 76ers vs. the Heat.
  4. Find the category you’d like to bet on. In this case, we’ll go with “Player Points.”
  5. Find your ideal bet. For our purposes here, let’s go with James Harden Over 22.5 points. Select that bet.
  6. Navigate to your betslip and type the amount you’d like to wager.
  7. Select “place bet” and wait for FanDuel to confirm your bet is placed.

That’s it! It’s fairly easy. The process is similar at other sportsbooks such as DraftKings and PointsBet, though the menus and options may differ slightly. If you have trouble finding your preferred bet, feel free to contact the sportsbook’s customer service channels.

Can I Make Prop Bets On Live Games?

You can absolutely place prop bets in live games. Occasionally, this can be advantageous and give you a better possible payout. For example, let’s say you want to bet on Steph Curry to make 3+ three-pointers in the Warriors-Grizzlies game. If the first quarter goes by without a three-pointer from Curry, that bet will probably see its odds go way up. If you think Curry will explode with three-pointers in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters, that may be a smarter bet than it was before the start of the game.

Like all other bets live props require a careful touch and a well-researched approach. Place these bets with caution, but use them to your advantage!

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