Prop bets are bets that have to do with specific outcomes in a game that aren’t related to the winner or loser of the contest. If you don’t want to wager on the winner of a game or the point spread or the total, that doesn’t mean you are out of betting options.
Quite the opposite actually, as the prop market is robust and has tons of offerings to choose from on any given night.
The big prop market centres around player props, which are bets that you can make on an individual athlete’s performance. These props focus on a player's output in a particular category, such as how many points or assists they will get.
How to bet on props
Sportsbooks will set a number and you have the option to either bet the over or under on it.
For instance, you can place bets on the O/U of how many points Scottie Barnes will score in a game. If his prop is set at 14.5 points, you can pick either side and both will be assigned a set of odds.
You can also bet the O/U on how many passing yards Josh Allen will throw for, how many shots Auston Matthews will record in a game or the number of strikeouts Alek Manoah will generate.
Props across all the major sports follow the same format as the Barnes example, meaning you will see a total that you can either bet the over or under on and each will have odds attached to it.
Most sportsbooks will usually allow you to bet on the major offensive categories for each sport (yards, goals, runs, home runs, points, and so on). There are many more prop options, with the NFL typically having the largest offerings.
Player prop odds
While spreads and totals are usually set at -110 for both the over and under, props have more variance.
Sometimes the over or under will have more juice (commission you are paying to the operator to place the bet) attached to it if the sportsbook deems it the more likely outcome.
For example, you can place a bet on whether Fred VanVleet will exceed a certain number of 3-pointers in a game and the sportsbook will have different odds for the over and under. Let's say the number of 3-pointers made is set at 3.5, a number Toronto's point guard regularly surpasses. The sportsbook would factor that in and, for example, put the odds on the over at -155 and the under at +140.
Your earning potential would be higher on the under bet because VanVleet, one of the league's top long-range shooters, typically records more than three 3-pointers in a game.
Nothing in a player prop bet is tied to the actual outcome of the game. Whether the Raptors win or lose would be irrelevant as it relates to that VanVleet prop, and same for the Allen and Matthews examples as well.
There are also markets on game props, which have to do with events that take place in the game but, like player props, not the actual outcome. How many touchdowns will be scored in a game and the number of total power-play goals in a contest are examples of game props.
Like those player props, you would have the option to either bet the over or under on the particular number that is established by the operator.