Sports Prop Betting Guide

The betting opportunities don’t begin and end with the question of which side is going to win the game and by how much. There’s a lot more to explore in the world of sports betting, much of which can be found by clicking on ‘more wagers’ on the individual game listings.

Once you take that step, you’ll find a whole host of prop betting opportunities to consider for each game on the docket. In a nutshell, a prop bet is akin to side wager. The offerings revolve around things that might happen from a player, team or game perspective.

For the biggest games, there are tons of opportunities to explore. For example, Super Bowl prop bets are a huge part of the game’s betting market, and that results in sportsbooks releasing hundreds of opportunities for bettors to consider.

Even the games that don’t attract much in the way of national attention will have plenty of prop bet offerings to scroll through. This is a great way to get even more action on games you are already keyed on, and it can be potentially profitable as well.

In this complete guide to prop betting, we’re going to cover everything you need to know, including some strategy tips you can work into your routine. Let’s get to it by taking a look at the best spots to place your prop bets here in Michigan.

What is a prop bet?

A prop bet is an additional wagering opportunity for individual games and events. It’s like a side wager on something that may or may not happen during the course of the action.

Props can generally be found by clicking on the “more wagers” link on the contest you are interested in betting on in the online sportsbook lobby. After clicking, you’ll see a range of opportunities. Generally, the more popular the game or event, the more bets that will be offered.

For team-based sports, props are usually in one of three categories: player, team or game. On the player side, the offerings are based on individual accomplishments and things of that nature.

Team-based props revolve around what each side may or may not do, while game-specific props are based on the contest as a whole. We’ll walk through some examples for each kind below.

Props are another way to get action on the events you are interested in. They can be a great starting point for those who are looking to transition from fantasy sports to online sports betting, but there’s also lots to like for experienced handicappers.

Prop betting odds

Unlike other bet types, there isn’t a set range of odds for each prop bet. It all depends on the offering at hand. However, there are parallels which can be drawn to other types of popular wagers.

When it’s a prop bet with just two choices attached, the listing will resemble what you would see for over under betting or a moneyline wager, such as in the following NBA and NFL prop bets example.

Which player will have more combined points and rebounds in the game?

  • Kawhi Leonard +115
  • James Harden -105

For proposition bets in which there are a number of different choices, then the odds listing will look like what you would see for a future bet.

Who will score the first touchdown in the game?

  • Ezekiel Elliott +150
  • TY Hilton +200
  • Amari Cooper +225
  • Marlon Mack +250

Favorites will be listed at the top, longshots at the bottom and everyone else will be in between with odds listed for all players in the field.

While the menu of prop betting opportunities is deep, there’s no need to spend time researching each and every one. When beginning, focus on a few types that make the most sense to you and zero in on learning the ins and outs.

Once you have established an initial comfort level, you can then take some time to explore the other offerings. As you do so, make a short list of the types that jump out to you. These are the ones you should be focusing your research efforts on.

How to place a prop bet

To place prop bets at online and mobile sportsbooks, the first step is to locate the wagers for the game or contest you are interested in. Typically, clicking on the “more wagers” link inside of the individual listing will open up the menu.

From there, locate the prop bet you are interested in. After handicapping and studying the odds, make your choice by clicking on the odds for that pick. The prop bet will be added onto the wagering slip immediately.

From here, all you need to do is plug in the amount you want to bet. It’s good practice to review everything to make sure it all looks good. Once you’re happy, click submit and the bet will be placed for you right away.

Prop betting examples

For an even better sense of how prop betting works, we’re going to walk through some examples using the major categories. We’ll get started by looking at the player side, which you’ll find has a lot in common with fantasy sports.

Individual player prop bets

Prop wagers in this category revolve around the individual accomplishments of players in the game. They may be based on things like the output of one of the players:

  • How many hits plus walks will Mike Trout have – Over/Under 2.5?
  • How many points plus assists will Stephen Curry post – Over/Under 23.5?
  • How many goals and assists will Connor McDavid get – Over/Under 1.5?

Or it could be a scenario in which you have to make a choice between two players:

  • Who will gain more rushing yards – Derrick Henry or Dalvin Cook?
  • Who will score more points – Zion Williamson or Nikola Jokic?
  • Which player will score a goal first – Auston Matthews or Alex Ovechkin?

It could also be a situation in which you have to choose from a number of players in the game.

Who will be the high scorer for the game?

  • Lebron James +120
  • Kawhi Leonard +125
  • Anthony Davis +135
  • Paul George +145

Props that fall into this category are essentially a mash-up of sports betting and fantasy sports. As such, those who have developed skills in projecting fantasy output can have a leg up here. There are also a number of resources to be found online which provide detailed projections for Daily Fantasy Sports output that can prove to be a helpful guide.

Team-based prop bets

The props that fall into this category are based on things that one or both teams might accomplish during the game, or a comparison bet in which you have to choose sides.

Here are some examples for both categories.

  • What will be the range of total points scored for the Colts – Over/Under 27.5?
  • Will the Rockets lead by 10 points during the game – Yes/No?
  • Who will score more power play goals – Kings or Sharks?
  • Which club will hold the halftime lead – Pacers or Clippers?
  • Which side will score the first TD in the games – Seahawks or Rams?
  • Which team will score three runs first – Red Sox or Yankees?

For games in which you are already placing individual wagers, this can be a great spot to branch out and find even more action. Many of the offerings will revolve around questions you might have already answered while handicapping the contest.

Game-specific prop bets

This is another great category of wagers for single-game bettors to explore for attractive opportunities. These are bets that will revolve around specific game situations or results, as well as combined accomplishments of the two sides.

  • How many total TDs will be scored in the game – Over/Under 6.5?
  • Will overtime be needed in the game – Yes/No?
  • How many total runs, hits and errors for the two sides – Over/Under 25.5?

Just like the team category, you may very well come across the expected answers to these questions while breaking down the game. As an added bonus, seeing the benchmark odds and numbers posted by oddsmakers for wagers in this group can provide you with additional clues that might help with your single-game wagers.

Prop bets for other sports

Prop wagers are not exclusive to the team-based sports. You’ll find them available for the major individual sports as well. As with sports in the team category, the bigger the event, the more prop opportunities you should have to explore.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

Golf prop betting

The typical golf tournament lasts four rounds. You’ll see some prop opportunities for each of the individual rounds, as well as some which revolve around the event as a whole. A fantasy mindset can be helpful, but so too can nuggets of information you may uncover during handicapping.

  • How many birdies will Tiger Woods card in Round 1 – Over/Under 5.5?
  • Who will finish higher in the tournament – Justin Rose or Phil Mickelson?
  • Who will win the event – Brooks Koepka or the field?

Tennis prop betting

While tennis may fly slightly under the radar in comparison to the other major sports, it’s incredibly popular from a betting perspective. Each tournament is chock full of tennis matches to bet on, and you can also place your wagers on the event as a whole. On the prop side, you’ll find numerous opportunities under the more wagers section for matches.

  • How many total games will be needed to decide the match – Over/Under 29.5?
  • Will either player win in straight sets – Yes/No?
  • Who will have more unforced errors – Simona Halep or Ashleigh Barty?

NASCAR prop betting

This is a sport with a very passionate following which remains engaged nearly all year round, but interest really spikes in the betting community for the biggest races, such as the Daytona 500. You’ll find a number of props to consider revolving around the race as a whole or the individual drivers.

  • Which driver will record the fastest lap?
  • Who will have more total laps led – Jimmie Johnson or Kevin Harvick?
  • How many total drivers will finish the race – Over/Under 36.5?

UFC prop betting

A big UFC fight is going to attract tons of betting action, though even the minor cards will garner plenty of attention. Beyond just making your picks on fighters to win, you can dig even deeper and get more specific with what’s to come during the card. Here are some of the UFC prop bets you might come across.

  • Which round will the fight end in – 1/2/3?
  • What will be the exact result of the fight – KO/Decision/Stoppage/Draw?
  • How many total knockouts for the entire card – Over/Under 4.5?

How to handicap prop bets

For many prop bets, you’ll be able to rely on things you come across during your regular handicapping. You’ll need to dig a little deeper on other offerings and also lean on your instincts for what may transpire.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you scan the menu.

  • Matchup history: For all categories of props when two teams face off, take some time to glance through the historical results for the last few matchups. Some teams put up buckets of points versus particular teams, while the offense remains stuck in the mud against others. The same applies for players, so the few minutes spent researching this can be well worth it.
  • Recent form: Athletes and teams go through peaks and valleys just like the rest of us. There are times when they are performing at an elite level, other times when things aren’t going so swell, and plenty of other instances in the middle. When considering prop opportunities, gauge them against how things are going for individual players and teams.
  • Performance at venue: This one can be useful for team sports as particular players either light it up or fall flat at certain stadiums and arenas. It’s particularly valuable for individual sports like golf, tennis and NASCAR. Those who have historically done well at a specific venue should continue, while those who have struggled may do the same.

Handicapping for prop bets can add on some extra time to your routine, but that can be the difference maker for winning and losing tickets. Additionally, remember to focus your strategy and only research and wager the offerings that you have the best feel for.

Key takeaways on prop betting

Proposition bets afford handicappers the chance to consider even more opportunities for games and events they may already be focused on. If you’ve already spent time handicapping the result, it makes sense to explore the menu to see if anything looks appealing.

For team sports, props generally fall into the categories of player, team or game-based situations. Props are also offered for the individual sports such as golf, tennis, NASCAR and UFC. In general,, the bigger the game or event, the more props will be offered.

To have the best chances of success, it’s helpful to focus on the prop types that you have the best understanding of and feel for. Handicapping every bet out there could take tons of time, but a more focused approach can lead you to better long-term results.

You’ll find a lot of parallels between prop betting and fantasy sports, so those who have had success in the latter can use these wagers as a great transition point. For more experienced handicappers, prop betting can easily fit into your overall game plan for wagering.