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Prop Bet Strategy Guide for Sports Bettors

by June 1, 2019

In the world of sports betting, prop bets are becoming a more popular type of bet with every passing season. They’re a great way to throw action on a game even if you’re not particularly confident in the game’s outcome. While prop bets can be some of the most fun bets to make, there are also a lot of pitfalls that come with the territory. For example, Super Bowl props have been popular for years, yet most of them are among the least likely to help you create a positive return on investment. Below I am going to do my best to offer you a strategy on how to avoid these pitfalls and how to earn the most money making prop bets.

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Don’t Think in Terms of Fantasy
This is very apparent in the NFL, but is relevant to every sport. When the NFL season starts up, there are hundreds of player props every Sunday, and all of them are enticing. The reason for this is that all of the numbers seem so easy to achieve if you think in terms of fantasy sports.

Antonio Brown over 87.5 yards. Well, he does that every game, so that must be a lock. But it’s not. Because he doesn’t do that every game.

It’s easy to get caught up in this “lock” situation if you’re thinking in terms of fantasy sports because 88 yards isn’t much when scoring fantasy. But think in reality. How likely is it for Antonio Brown to go over 87.5? Still pretty high. Take the bet.

A particularly dangerous bet when it comes to football is catches, especially pertaining to running backs. In a league where running backs are becoming more and more impactful in the passing game, it can be easy to look at a line and think “he will go over that without a problem.” There are no locks. You’ve been warned.

Think About It
When I think about prop bets, I like to actually think about upcoming games before looking at the line. Last season when Drew Brees played against a bad Bucs defense in a revenge game after an epic Week 1 shootout, I expected Brees to have an absolutely huge game. I was wrong, and ended up losing my bet, but I have no regrets in placing any Brees-related bets because everything was pointing to him having a great game.

The important thing is to think about the line before you head over to bet. If you think that Brees is a lock to throw three touchdowns and you can get decent odds on his over at around 1.5, then you absolutely take that bet.

Same goes for the NBA. If you think a player has a particularly good matchup and expect them to drop 20, then find their line is set at 9.5, you take the bet as quickly as you can. But think about it first. Because every number is going to look like a no brainer the first time you see it.

It’s Not an Exact Science
There are so many prop bets that are exact, offer great odds, and have bettors salivating over them. While there are certainly some that are worth taking a look at, there is a reason why the odds are so good. It’s because your odds of winning are so bad.

We all heard the story about the guy who bet on the Rams to score exactly three points in the Super Bowl. That’s an outrageous bet. One that paid off, but nevertheless an outrageous bet. Betting an exact number of points in a game is nearly impossible. Freak things happen, and if you win, you win big, but think about exact bets really hard before placing them.

Don’t Bet the Coin Toss
Seriously…it’s a 50/50 shot, yet most books give you -110 odds, some even -115 or -120. These types of random prop bets have become very enticing over recent years. Yes, they’re fun. Yes, you could be the person who brags about the national anthem being one second over its expected time and all the money you won because of it, but it really does come down to luck. We’re looking to take the luck out of the equation.

Do Bet the First Team to Score
Wait, but isn’t this 50/50 too? While it’s a little random, it is certainly not 50/50. In most sports, aside from maybe basketball, there is normally a team that is just far superior on the offensive end and much more likely to score first. With baseball, you even have the added advantage of knowing which team bats first. Normally, the odds for the favorite in these types of bets aren’t outrageous, and there are also times where you can get a good underdog that is +odds. These are bets you can put some thought into to figure out.

Mix It Up
A lot of new bettors will focus on one thing that they completely understand. Everyone understands total yards, touchdowns, points, rebounds, goals, and home runs, but if you start to look into some other bets you can really make a killing. Look at teams’ tendencies. Look at reasons why players have or haven’t performed well before picking their totals. Look at how teams generally score.

Clemson versus Notre Dame from last season was a great example. If you picked the first score of the game to be a field goal, then you won. If you thought Clemson was going to kill Notre Dame and bet an alternate line, then you also won. Look around and figure out where you’re finding that you’re smarter than the average bettor. Once you do, not only will you have a lot of fun betting props, you’ll also find yourself winning.

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Philip Wood is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Philip, check out his archive and follow him @Phil_Wood_Jr.