Prop bets are fun wagers that don’t necessarily require a lot of insight or knowledge of the game and don’t rely on the final outcome of the game. In some cases, an informed bettor has an advantage, such as a prop bet on who will be the first player to score a touchdown in an NFL game. If you know a team’s tendencies, you might be able to find value.
How to Bet On Props
1. Know How Prop Lines Are Set
A number of factors go into how prop lines are set by oddsmakers each week, and it’s not too dissimilar to how conventional game lines are set. Oddsmakers are able to use a melting pot of algorithms and data as a resource to help establish the baseline for a particular prop.
The factors include offense vs. defense matchups, injuries, expected game outcome, and recent performance. Other consierations might include home field advantage, weather, and pace of play. For example, a quarterback going against a below-average pass defense will lead to the line on the passing yardage prop being set higher than it would against an elite defensive unit.
2. How Do Prop Betting Odds Work?
Prop bets are commonly displayed as over/under bets. Similar to point spreads, oddsmakers set prop betting lines with hopes of seeing equal action on both sides. This leads to many props having similar -110 lines, at least to start. DraftKings Sportsbook may set Aaron Rodgers’ passing yards at 295.5 yards (-110), allowing bettors to select over or under that mark.
For negative odds, the line represents the amount a bettor must risk to win $100 in profit. So in this case, betting Over 295.5 passing yards (-110) means risking $110 to win $100 for a total return of $210.
It should be noted that not all props have juice attached to them as spreads and totals do. There are plenty of options with longer odds and larger payouts, it just depends on the market you choose.
For example, picking a touchdown scorer comes with plus-odds in many cases. This means the line represents the amount you can win with a $100 wager. So if you take Derrick Henry to score a touchdown at +200, bettors can risk $100 to win $200 in profit for a total payout of $300.
It’s also worth mentioning that some props are also offered as futures bets before the season starts. Betting on season-long props usually means fruitful payouts. For example, Aaron Rodgers’ Week 1 passing line could offer a -110 price, but betting Rodgers to lead the NFL in passing touchdowns could pay +800. While the payouts for futures are much larger, they are also riskier bets.
3. Know The Difference Between Player Props vs. Game Props vs. Team Props
Knowing which kind of prop bet you want to target is a huge step in being successful when you are making a bet and gambling your money. Maybe you’re certain the Buccaneers’ receiving corps will have a huge day, but you’re unsure about whether it’ll be Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, or someone else.
Or, maybe you have a terrific feeling about how a game will play out, but you want to hedge your bet in case the team you bet on doesn’t pull their weight. That’s why it’s good to know the difference between player, game, and team props. We’ll use NFL odds are the example since football props are the most popular.
NFL Player Props
Player prop bets are very popular types of prop bet, especially during NFL season because these are wagers on player performance. Because of that, they’re perfect for fantasy players. Depending on where you’re betting, bettors can also choose to bet props for a full game or just a half or quarter. When it comes to the NFL, below are just some of the popular options to expect:
- Touchdown Scorer (First/Last Of Game, Anytime, 1st Half, 2nd Half)
- Passing/Rushing/Receiving Yards
- Pass Attempts/Completions
- QB Longest Completion & WR Longest Reception
- Rushing Attempts
- Total Receptions
Simple over/under props for player stats tend to have modest lines similar to spreads (around -110), but selecting a touchdown scorer could come with a much larger payout. For example, a single-game bet on Justin Jefferson Over 5.5 receptions could pay out at -110, but picking Jefferson to score a touchdown may come with +400 odds.
NFL Team Props
Team props are pretty similar to player props, but the difference is that the variable of the player is removed. Instead of focusing on one specific player or the combined performance of both teams, these bets cover one specific club. Some well-known team props include:
- Team Totals (Quarters, Halves, Full Game)
- First Team To X Points (10, 15, 20, 25, etc.)
- Halftime/Full Time Result
Betting on a specific team’s total amount of points is a popular bet with a standard payout, but other team props are more lucrative and very unique. Betting on a race to a specific amount of points is offered as a three-way moneyline with a tie included if you feel neither team will reach a certain number. Halftime/Full Time Result is perfect for those who want improved odds on a large favorite.
NFL Game Props
Game props focus on specific in-game occurrences rather than individual players and teams. The options can vary greatly depending on the sportsbook and can include everything from a specific margin of victory to the total number of first downs in the game. Some of the more popular options include but are not limited to:
- Quarters & Halves Moneyline, Spread, & Total
- Winning Margin
- Longest Made FG/Longest TD Scored (Yards O/U)
- Total Made Field Goals/Touchdowns Scored (Halves, Full Game)
Unlike team and player props, there are many game props which involve the ultimate result of the game. In fact, a bet on a specific winning margin is a higher-paying version of a moneyline or spread bet. Other game props include alternate moneylines, spreads, and totals for varying aspects of the game.
4. Bet Props During Standalone Games
On any given Sunday, there are around 12 to 16 matchups. Unless your job is to break down games, there is a great chance you’ll miss a lot. Betting on standalone games such as Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football cam help narrow your focus and increase your odds.
When you have one game on the schedule, so much of the betting public is on the money-line, spread, and total. Most prop markets aren’t being poured over by every casual and sharp bettor in the space, and many of these lines can present much more value. There are also so many choices that bettors are nearly guaranteed to find a market to be excited about.
5 Focus On Specific Markets
You can’t be an expert at every game. So, focus on season-long props for quarterbacks where you see vulnerabilities in the market. For example, Randall Cobb has a season-long receiving yardage prop of 725.5 yards (prorated to 41.6 yards per game over 17 games). In his career, he hasn’t eclipsed 35 yards per game and has recorded more than four receptions in a game once. By focusing on this niche, you’ll be more successful more often.
6 Consider All Factors Before Betting
The number of factors that go into betting props, specifically player props, is seemingly infinite and can vary based on the sport and league. With a sea of conflicting stats, it’s hard to know which ones to really focus one. Here’s the short list of some stats that hold water when it comes to NFL betting:
- Expected Points (rushing, passing, total)
- Offensive/Defensive efficiency (DVOA)
- Pressure Rate
- Yards Per Carry (YPC)
- Yards Per Attempt (YPA)
- Snaps Per Game
- Target Share
- Red zone/10-zone/5-zone targets and carries