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Proposition Bets

Sports Betting: Proposition Bets

By Loot, Sports Handicapper,

Not many wagers have exploded in popularity as much as proposition bets. There was a time when you would only be able to take part in prop betting in huge games like the Super Bowl. Nowadays, you can make prop bets on a Memphis-Xavier regular season college hoops game. So what are these prop bets that everyone is talking about?

A good way to look at it is this: prop bets are wagers you make concerning details within a game. Most of us understand sports-betting as wagers that are placed on the game itself--namely the final result. Proposition bets generally have nothing to do with the final score, but rather on details about the game itself.

You can now make prop bets on virtually any sport. In baseball, it could be which pitcher in a game will register the most strikeouts. In football, it might be which running back will gain the most yards. In basketball, it could be whether a point-guard will have a certain number of assists. In boxing, it could be if a fighter will score a knockdown against his opponent. The options are endless.

Tip: Online Sportsbooks offering the most prop bets include 5Dimes and Bovada.

There are a few different kinds of proposition wagers. It could be a team-wide prop bet, like whether or not a football team will register a safety or how many sacks they will have. It can be focused on a single player, like if a basketball player will score over or under a certain number of points. Then there are player vs. player props, like which of two quarterbacks will throw for the most touchdowns. The options are really endless.

Here are some examples of what you will see when looking for prop bets:

Player vs. Player Props
Which Quarterback Will Throw for the Most Yards on Sunday?
Tom Brady (-130)
Ben Roethlisberger (-110)

Player vs. Total Props
How Many Strikeouts Will Clayton Kershaw Have Today?
Over 6.5 (-160)
Under 6.5 (+120)

Team Props
How Many Yards Will the San Francisco 49ers Defense Allow on Sunday?
Over 297.5 (-120)
Under 297.5 (-120)

Field Props
Which Wide Receiver Will Have the Most Yards on Sunday?
Calvin Johnson +160
Vincent Jackson +300
Brandon Marshall +400
Andre Johnson +400
Dez Bryant +450
AJ Green +500

Again, the options are vast and only getting deeper with seemingly each passing season. There may be times where you have a better read or feel for a detail that lies within a game more than the game itself. Then, a well-placed prop bet might be just what the doctor ordered. But as you can tell from the prices offered in the examples above, there is a steeper juice associated with prop bets. If you look hard enough, you can bet on sides at -105. In prop bets, it’s not uncommon to see two choices, each at -120.

There is no hard-and-fast rule about prop bets. An easy thing to say is that they have too much juice and are too difficult to handicap. But make no mistake, there are prop bets that can offer exceptional value if you look hard enough. Just be careful, as prop bets are a canvas upon which bookies dangle sucker bets out there for the betting public.

A sucker bet is basically when you bet on something that seems too obvious. You almost can’t believe the bookie is offering the bet. That’s how good it looks at first glance. A lot of times, the bookie is dangling a carrot, hoping you take the bait. So exercise caution when something seems too obvious. The book isn’t in business year after year because they give gifts to the betting public. If the book is offering even odds on which running back will gain the most yards on Sunday and the choices are Adrian Peterson and someone like Isaac Redman, your spidey-senses should start tingling. Why would the top back in the league have even odds with a fringe starter like Redman? Chances are the bookie knows something you don’t. Don’t run headlong into sucker bets.

Our advice would be to not go out of your way trying to make prop bets. If this is a major part of your betting portfolio, you’re probably paying too much juice or suffering from being overly-opinionated. More of a sharpshooter-sniper approach is what’s called for with prop bets. Keep your eyes peeled and look for something where your handicapping gives you a strong perceived edge. Be wary of falling for sucker bets and look for little edges here and there in an effort to bolster your bottom line.

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