Most sportsbooks offer bettors a chance to engage in proposition wagering. Proposition bets are also called props, prop bets, side bets and exotics. A proposition is a bet made on some sort of special circumstance that can have two or more outcomes. Prop bets normally do not include wagers on the outcome of a game or contest.
Proposition bets on the Super Bowl include wagering on whether the coin toss will come up heads or tails, who will win the coin toss and which team will receive the kickoff. One of the most common props is the over/under, which is the total number of points scored. For Super Bowl XLIII, the over/under was 46. The final score was 27- 23, making the actual over/under 50. If you wagered on the under for Super Bowl XLIII, you lost.
Other common props include the over/under at halftime, the total number of yards thrown by a specific quarterback and the total number of yards picked up by a running back. The latter two wagers are offered with a range of choices. As an example:
How many yards will Kurt Warner throw for in Super Bowl XLIII?
• 100 or less
It’s obvious that such a prop bet is hard to win. First, you’ve got six choices from which to pick. Once a gambler has more than two outcomes to choose from, the chances of hitting the bet diminish greatly. Plus, there’s little room for error. If you wager on 201-250 yards and Warner gets 251, you lose. In the Super Bowl versus Pittsburgh, Warner connected for a total of 377 yards in a losing effort, making 300+ yards the money bet.
Other prop bets for the Super Bowl included who would catch the first pass, which team would score first and what player would make the initial score. Although exotics involve some analysis, many of them are much more chance based than picking the winner of the game. Prop bets can payoff big for sports bettors but more often than not they are dead end wagers because they are so hard to hit and the bookmakers hold percentage is exponentially high.
To give you an idea of some the crazy props sports books will offer, here are some football props that were posted for 2009- 2010 NFL football season.
What position will the Kansas City Chiefs draft in the first round of the 2009 draft?
• Quarterback +225
• Offensive Line +200
• Wide Receiver +300
• Cornerback +500
• Field (any other position) +200
Where will Bill Cowher coach for the first week of the 2009 NFL season?
• Carolina Panthers +600
• Cleveland Browns +350
• Detroit Lions +250
• Kansas City Chiefs +500
• Oakland Raiders +1200
• Philadelphia Eagles +600
• Any other NFL team +425
• Stay Retired +325
Who will be with the Philadelphia Eagles for the first week of the 2009 NFL season?
• Andy Reid only +150
• Donovan McNabb only +300
• Both +200
• Neither +200
The payouts on these wagers are fairly hefty, but that’s because they’re tough to hit due to the range of choices and the various forces that will influence their outcomes.
Proposition wagering is certainly intriguing and entertaining and an occasional prop can be fun to play and, occasionally, it will payoff. But a steady diet of wagering on such exotics can end up costing gamblers a lot of cash. So be wary of regularly playing such chance bets unless you are a sharp gambler that is able to make a better prop line than the bookmaker.