What Are Sports Prop Bets?

October 22, 2019

A proposition bet in sports betting are more commonly known as a “prop bet.” This kind of betting is very popular overseas. It is now one of the fastest-growing segments of the sports betting industry in the United States. The growth of prop betting in Nevada sportsbooks is evolving and constantly changing as gaming control boards open up to the new kinds of opportunities.

Some prop bets may sometimes appear to be similar to futures bets. The difference between the two bets is that a prop bet is a wager on an individual player or specific event. However, the majority of prop bets at a sportsbook are on individual players and not the entire team during a game. Both opportunities may be available depending on the game.

For example, Super Bowl 53 touchdown props:

Player Props

In this example, Sony Michel was the ONLY player to score in the 13-3 Super Bowl win for the Patriots. Therefore he hit the +600 FIRST TO SCORE prop; the +600 LAST TO SCORE prop; and the -134 TO SCORE prop. All other player props on this list failed to cash since nobody else scored in the game.

Find the Best Current Prop Bets at Online Sportsbooks

Prop betting origins

Prop bets became popular in the United States with the Super Bowl. The specific explosion of prop betting started at the Westgate in Las Vegas (previously known as Las Vegas Hilton). The team at the Las Vegas SuperBook was the first Nevada sportsbook operator to offer a large number of prop bets for an individual game.

Today, all sportsbook operators in Nevada offer hundreds of Super Bowl prop bets, and online sportsbook operators in New Jersey (like DraftKings Sportsbook pictured above), Pennsylvania and more legalized states have followed.

Prop betting started modestly with the Super Bowl but continues to grow. Some sportsbook operators offer prop bets every week during the pro football season. Fewer sportsbook operators offer prop bets every day for other sports. The evolution of prop betting in United States sportsbooks is taking the wagers off the field.

Modern prop bets

Prop bets in Nevada may be available for non-game events such as award winners (i.e. Mike Trout to win AL MVP), major league drafts (i.e. NFL draft), and even simple yes or no bets on teams to do something (i.e. Will the New York Jets make the playoffs).

Sportsbook operator William Hill even allows customers to email or tweet suggestions for an individual prop bet. As long as the bet proposition works within the Nevada Gaming Control Board guidelines William Hill will add them to their mobile sports wagering app menu.

Prop bets may be the most exciting betting opportunities in the United States right now. Offshore sportsbook operators offer prop bets on everything from who will be president to the number of yards a wide receiver might have. That’s not the case in the United States.

Even though the growth of prop bets seems limitless, gaming regulators have limits that keep prop bets in sportsbooks limited to, well, sports. Additionally, all prop bets must be reconcilable through information and data from the sport being wagered on. Even awards in sports must be reconcilable by official league information.

Having said that, sportsbook operators have a good amount of freedom within gaming control board parameters. If a player is on a hot streak, a sportsbook operator may choose to make short-term prop bets available. Since the information is tabulated on the field, these are quickly made available.

Coin Toss
Coin Toss Props at DraftKings Sportsbook

Exotic prop bets

Exotic prop bets are only offered by some sportsbooks around the world. These non-traditional prop bets are not necessarily based on activities that take place during a game. The most popular of these exotic prop bets, such as the length of the national anthem or the coin toss results, happen during the Super Bowl.

These props can be as outlandish as the sportsbook operator wants them to be. They usually take place during the most publicly popular events such as a Royal Wedding in the United Kingdom or who will play a specific role in a movie series.

While they may be fun, these kind exotic proposition bets are not legal in America. The Nevada Gaming Control Board has not seen these wagers fit for approval yet. This could change in Nevada and in other states that may legalize sports betting in America.

Personal prop bets

Proposition betting doesn’t only take place in a sportsbook. Bets with a friend for random activities also fall into the category of a prop bet. For example, a bet that a friend can’t finish 40 pushups during a game of poker might be considered a personal prop bet between friends.