What Are Prop Bets? Proposition Betting Explained With Examples


Introduction To Prop Bets

Prop bets, short for proposition betting, are a unique type of sports bet that allows wagering on very specific events or outcomes within a game or season. Unlike traditional bets, which generally center on a game’s overall outcome, prop bets focus on individual player performances, in-game events, or non-game-related activities. In this article, we’ll discuss how prop bets work, the reasons they’re offered, and provide examples of common prop bets available in the market. In all, this article will cover:

What Is A Prop Bet? 

Prop bets are wagers placed on what are generally considered novelty events that occur during a sporting event. They can sometimes be considered a catch-all category for betting markets that are not the moneyline, point spread, or over/under bets

Generally, a prop bet is anything that does not deal with the final outcome of a game, but instead deals with player performance, coach behaviour, or occurrences unique to each league. Typically, prop bets use moneyline-style odds where bettors can wager outright whether the prop will happen or not, or over/under style betting for numerical values.

Why Do Sportsbooks Offer Prop Bets?

Sportsbooks offer prop bets partly because they allow almost limitless options for bettors. They act as a way to diversify the betting markets available at a given sportsbook, so sportsbooks can offer more bets than simply ‘who will win?’. At the same time, prop bets are offered as a way to keep players engaged during the game as they typically focus on events that occur before the final result. They’re often used for more social games, betting at home, or betting amongst friends to keep low moments during the game exciting. 

For inexperienced players or those who don’t have strong knowledge of a sport, props also add more accessibility to sports betting. Most proposition bets don’t require in-depth knowledge of how a team performs to be able to win. Instead, they generally focus on novelty events that frequently come down to pure luck.

Lastly, sportsbooks love to use props as a marketing tool. Prop bets can be an excellent form of advertising for sportsbooks, where they often use high-profile events to build hype and draw in new bettors to their site. For instance, in recent years, prop betting gained popularity in Canada when sportsbooks offered a large number of props for the Super Bowl. They implemented this strategy to keep bettors engaged near the end of the season, when bettors had already wagered on who they thought the final winner would be.

Prop Betting Examples

While the number of prop bets available on any given sportsbook site can be endless, these are some common examples of prop bets to help you understand what they look like. Again, generally any betting market that doesn’t deal with the final outcome of the event can be considered a prop bet. Here are some examples of prop bets:

Player Performance Prop Bets

  • Over/Under: Bettors can predict whether a specific player will score more or less points than the amount listed. Usually they can also bet on other statistical amounts such as number of assists in basketball, throwing over a certain distance in football, or net strokes in golf.
  • First Scorer: Betting on which player will score the first point or goal in the game.

Team Performance Prop Bets

  • First to Score: Betting on which team will score the first point, run, touchdown, or goal in the game.
  • Penalty Kicks: Betting on whether a penalty kick will be awarded during a soccer match.
  • Opening Tip-Off: Predicting which team will win the opening tip-off in a basketball game.

Game-Specific Props:

  • National Anthem Duration: Betting on the duration of the national anthem performance before a major sporting event.
  • Gatorade Color: Betting on the colour of the Gatorade shower that will douse the winning coach.
  • Celebrity Sightings: Betting on whether a specific celebrity will appear on the broadcast during the game.
  • Coin Toss Outcome: Predicting the outcome of the coin toss before a football game.

Prop bets can get as specific as is reasonable for the sportsbook to offer. If there’s money to be made, the sportsbook will offer a betting market.