How Does A Prop Bet Work?

Prop bets are one of the most fun and exciting ways to wager on sports. They are also a great way to introduce new people to sports betting because of how easy they are to understand and how much interest they can add to otherwise random sporting events. Prop bets are wagers on smaller events within a game that may not be directly related to the outcome. An example of a prop bet could be betting on the Cleveland Cavaliers to make over 13 3-pointers as a team in their upcoming game.

The Super Bowl is like Christmas for prop bet lovers, as sportsbooks go all out in offering extra props. Super Bowl prop bets can include everything from betting on what color of Gatorade the winning team will pour on its coach to how many touchbacks will occur during the game. However, you can also find a variety of prop bets during regular-season games across a variety of sports. Continue reading for a complete guide to betting on props in the state of Ohio, including everything from the pros and cons to the logistics.

What is a prop bet?

A prop bet is a wager on a specific event or statistical milestone within a game. Think of it as a side bet. Popular prop bets include betting on individual player statistics (for example, Collin Sexton scoring over 20 points) or team milestones (for example, the Cleveland Browns rushing for over 150 yards as a team).

Pros and cons of prop bets

No bet is inherently better than the rest, so it’s impossible to say that prop bets are superior to other wagers. They are different, however, and those differences are something to be aware of. To begin, one of the positives of prop bets is that they’re often smaller betting markets. This can result in sportsbooks allocating fewer resources to developing prop lines. And such below-the-radar props may be easier to profit on. For example, sometimes sportsbooks will be slower to catch mistakes in a line if it’s for a smaller prop. They will likely be much quicker if the mistake is related to a major bet like a point spread.

Another positive for prop bets is all the variety. There is truly a prop bet for everyone. Additionally, most prop bets are easy to understand even for novice bettors, as they are often quite self-explanatory. For example, anyone can understand betting on Darius Garland to make more than four 3-pointers, but it can be tougher to explain concepts such as spread bets to novice bettors.

Along with all these positives, there are also a few negatives about prop bets. For one, prop bets can be much more fickle than others like moneyline betting or spread. Smart prop bets lose all the time because betting on such specific events has a higher degree of variance. For example, betting on a certain player to score over a certain number of points can end up losing due to a cold shooting night, even if the bet was smart and had the numbers on its side.

Also, sportsbooks will be quick to limit players who are making money from prop bets. It’s more cost-effective for them to just limit how much successful bettors can make compared to fixing their lines. Thus, you will rarely see professionals who place big money on prop bets unless they’re using a large number of accounts.

Prop bet examples for major American sports

You’ll have various prop bets to choose from for every major sport. We’ve tried to help you out by listing a few examples of prop bets from major sports:

NBA prop bets

NBA betting offers an array of options when it comes to props. Individual player statistics are a major category here, as they are for most sports. For example, you may find a bet on Evan Mobley to go over or under 2.5 blocks and steals combined for a game. There are also plenty of team props, for example betting on whether the Cleveland Cavaliers will score over or under 100.5 total points.

NFL prop bets

Betting on the NFL is the most popular option at legal Ohio sports betting sites. Therefore, you can be sure that those books offer plenty of NFL props. One of the most popular is the “anytime touchdown scorer” bet, where you can bet on a specific player to score a touchdown during that game. For example, you might bet on Jarvis Landry to score a touchdown at odds of +275.

Other NFL props may not include picking a specific team or player. For example, you could bet on whether the shortest touchdown in the game will be over 1.5 yards long. Or you could bet on if there will be over or under 4.5 field goals from both teams combined.

MLB prop bets

Baseball betting has its share of props, as well. As with the other sports we go over here, betting on individual player stats — homers, RBIs, strikeouts — is a popular option. Or you might come across an MLB prop on a player’s total bases for the game. For example, you could bet on Jose Ramirez recording over 4.5 total bases.

NHL prop bets

The NHL is the final of the four major North American sports leagues (though we may be talking about the big five soon with the way that MLS is growing), and there are plenty of prop bets available. Hockey betting once again includes basic props such as a certain player to score a goal, but they also dive deeper. For example, you could bet on Max Domi to record more than 3.5 shots in an upcoming game.

MLS prop bets

Alongside MLS’ rapid rise in popularity has been an increase in the number of people looking to bet on MLS games. Prop bets are a great way for these newcomers to get used to the mechanics of soccer betting. Some examples of bets that they might like are similar to ones in other sports, such as a certain player to score or record an assist. However, soccer also has its props that aren’t available in other sports. Betting on the total number of cards between the two teams is common, as is betting on the total corner kicks.

Golf prop bets

As largely an individual competition, golf departs a bit from the prop bets that we see in other sports. However, it also is similar in that there are prop bets that work on an individual level. Betting on how many birdies a player will have in a round or if that player’s score will be over or under a set line are two examples of individual golf prop bets. Something like Dustin Johnson to record over four birdies on Friday is a more specific example.

However, you’ll also find golf props that aren’t focused on individual players. You could, for instance, place a golf bet on the lowest score of the day across the entire field, or that the lowest score will be below 69.5 on Saturday. Another interesting prop is betting on what country the winner of a tourney will come from.

How and when do prop bets pay out?

The majority of prop bets are single-game wagers. Thus, they will pay out at the end of the game. For certain props, such as betting the over on an individual player stat, the bet may pay out during the game if the player has surpassed that milestone. This depends on the official policy of the sportsbook that you’re using.

Prop bets at Ohio sportsbooks will use American odds as the default format. It’s important to be able to read online sports betting odds when betting to be able to quickly understand how much money you could win. Fortunately, the American odds format isn’t too difficult to learn.

Positive odds numbers represent how much you stand to win from a $100 bet. For example, let’s say that you bet on Patrik Laine from the Columbus Blue Jackets to score a goal at odds of +225. A bet of $100 at those odds would win $225 if correct, returning a total of $335.

Negative odds numbers, on the other hand, indicate how much you would wager to win $100. For example, let’s say that you bet on Baker Mayfield to throw for over 1.5 touchdowns. You bet $150 at odds of -150. If you win, you’ll get a profit of $100 for a total of $250.

Sportsbook rules for prop bets

Before you place a prop bet — or any other wager, for that matter — you should check the terms and conditions of the sportsbook where you’re betting. There are a few slight variations in how different sportsbooks treat extraordinary circumstances that could affect your wager.

For example, what happens if a player you bet on doesn’t play that game? Many sportsbooks will void the bet if the player sits out, but the moment that the player plays a single second, the bet has action. This depends on the specific sportsbook and thus is something worth investigating.

Key takeaways about prop betting

All the major sports have some form of prop betting. Individual player props are a common example that you’ll see, but you can also place props on team accomplishments and game circumstances. Prop betting can be fun, but it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons. Prop bet lines can be weaker, yes, but props can also be more fickle than other wagers. With the extra variance, game props may be more popular with beginners. This may also be due to the limits that sportsbooks sometimes impose on successful prop bettors.