What are Prop Bets?

Prop bets are becoming more popular now that sports betting is legal. The thrill of sports betting has worn off and now gamblers at both the land-based casino and at the online casino are looking for more excitement and more entertainment when they wager.

Some bettors employ research and expertise when placing their bets. They are serious gamblers who are out to win.Others just want to participate in the sport through their betting and aren’t serious about whether or not the wager is successful. 

Both types of bettors enjoy prop bets that take sports fans away from the seriousness that can sometimes overwhelm sports aficionados and puts a little fun into betting on an athlete or on a team.

Prop Bets

Prop bets, or as they are formally known “proposition bets” are bets on individual player or on general team performance. They involve  an assessment on how a player or team will perform in a specific category.

For instance, placing a bet could involve the outcomes/sub-outcomes of a specific aspect of the game such as: the number of fouls that a pitcher will pitch during a baseball game, which team will score first in a match, which team will win the coin toss in a football game, which player will score the first point, etc. 

Sports bets first became popular with the Super Bowl but quickly exploded when the Westgate Casino in Las Vegas started to take advantage of the interest. The Westgate sportsbook includes prop bets although not all land-based casinos accept such bets -- in Las Vegas however, all of the sportsbooks at all of the big casinos accept prop bets and, in those casinos that offer sports betting online, the option is present.

Growing Field

Prop betting is growing with some sportsbook operators offering prop bets every week during the pro football season. Prop bets are also offered on other sports though football remains the most popular sport for props betting.

Sportsbook operator William Hill encourages their clients to tweet or email suggestions for individual prop bets and if the proposition meets the requirements of the Nevada Gaming Control board guidelines, the casino will  add it to their mobile sports wagering app menu.

Growing Popularity

Prop bets aren’t new but they’ve been gaining attention and popularity since 1986 when bettors were given the chance to  wager on whether William “The Refrigerator” Perry would score a touchdown in Super Bowl XX. The bet gained attention and popularity, opening  as high as 100-1 and closing at even money. It buried the books when Perry scored in Chicago’s 46-10 defeat of the Patriots. Bookmakers remember that bet as one of the most unfavorable props in history. They were encouraged to start coming up with new props and expanded their menu to dozens of options.

Another milestone occurred in Super Bowl XXIX which was played in 1995. That year the San Francisco 49ers were favored by up to 19½ points over the Los Angeles Chargers, Westgate sports book director Jay Kornegay remembered that  “It looked like it was going to be a boring Super Bowl, so we decided to double the props at that time and we came up with 100 of them. It really caught on like wildfire, and the fans really enjoyed it. It also gave the opportunity to fans who weren’t associated with the two teams something else to wager on. It’s really grown from that point to where we’re over 400 propositions.”

Props Today

Today the Westgate is viewed as the worldwide leader in proposition wagering. Kornegay says that “we  get more action on the props these days than the game itself. It’s 60-40 for us, because we have so many.  The typical fan will come in and make a bet on the game and then bet five or six propositions. His biggest bet will be on the game, but he’ll have a little bit more on the props when it’s all said and done.”

Examples of Prop Bets

Within the realm of sports betting there are multiple types of prop bets. Most involve wagers that are tied to performance. Some examples include:

  • How many three-point shots will a specific player make tonight? (over “x” number or under “x” number)?

  • In which period will the most number of points be scored?

  • Which player will receive the most penalties/fouls?

The majority of prop bets involve Yes/No propositions. Some examples:

  • Will There be a Penalty in the First Five Minutes?

  • Will Offense score before Defense?

  • Will Player X score in the game?

  • Will there be overtime/a 10th inning?

Sportsbooks like yes/no bets but they’re difficult to handicap as a bettor because they are set up as win/loss bets. There’s no skill involved in making such a wager --  you can pretty much pick a side and toss a coin.

Alternative line props is a type of prop bet that's the best option for risk-takers. Alternative line prop bets allow the bettor to select different odds than those that the sportsbook offers so they enjoy a larger regurn if the bet succeeds.

Strategy

Prop bets are generally a type of bet that don’t involve a lot of knowledge or preparation -- they’re “fun” bets at which the bettor guesses.There’s no real way to prepare for wagering on a prop bet so if you want to gamble on luck, go ahead!

In short, the results for prop bets are generally random and bookmakers don’t put as much resources into setting the odds for a prop bet as they do for bets on results, scorelines or spreads. Prop bets take more foresight and knowledge of a situation on which the bet is being placed in order to be successful and. Since regular betting odds are the result of probabilities and statistical analysis, it’s a bit of a distraction to have some simple prop bets to add a little spice and fun to the proceedings.

Greatest Prop Bet Ever

One of the greatest prop bets ever involved the odds that President Donald Trump would Tweets about the NFL/anthem between Sept. 6-9 of this year.

Sure enough, Trump tweeted about the NFL at 10:42 on Sept 9th, leading to a payout for anyone who bet “yes.”  

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