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Tips For Sports Prop Betting

By Kory Walker
Published on May 11, 2017

One of the funnest aspects of online sports betting is taking advantage of the many sports prop bets your favorite betting sites have to offer. Of course, the snag with sports prop betting is often finding the right way to mix the “fun” with finding the “advantage”.

The idea of enjoying the sports prop bets and also mixing that in with turning a profit is one sports bettors continue to carve out. Sports betting of any kind rarely produces an exact science (if it did, we’d all be rich), but there are certainly a lot of things you’ll want to consider before just diving into sports prop bets and blindly blowing your cash.

This post won’t scream “this is how you win money with sports prop bets!”, but it can nudge you in the right direction and perhaps make you think about different angles you haven’t before. So, let’s take a second to go over sports prop betting and see what the best avenue for success might be:

Don’t Bet Just to Bet

The first rule of any betting is to not just throw money around blindly for no good reason. It’s like they say in daily fantasy sports when you fade a player (or decide not to use them); have a good reason.

It works the same way with any sports bets you lay down on your favorite sports betting sites. Sure, you might hit it big if you just blindly lay down bets left and right, but usually that leads to big losses and more often than not, losses that you could have avoided by not being so loose with your bets (and money).

Instead of firing off prop bets just for the heck of it, make sure that you’re always going into your bet with a purpose. You’re taking this bet for one great reason or several solid reasons.

Knowledge is Power

Part of that purpose is preparation and actually knowing what you’re doing. This stems from knowing the sports and players you’re wagering on, as well as the wager types and odds you’re dealing with.

A lot of prop bets or futures deal with specific player and team goals. Prop bets can range from where a player is selected in a draft, to how many points/yards/touchdowns/goals/rebounds they’ll accumulate in their respective game.

Before you can place a bet on a specific player, you probably want to know a lot about their skill-set, their matchup, their team and you know, the sport they play. For instance, just about everyone knows Sidney Crosby is one of the top NHL players in the league, but if you know nothing about hockey, why are you betting on how many goals or assists he’ll have that night?

That doesn’t make any sense. You might not know hockey very well, which could keep you from understanding that Crosby is on the road, in a rut and/or facing a very tough defense. Without knowing these variables, it’s pretty tough to accurately gauge how Crosby or any other player will fare.

Without the proper knowledge of players, teams and sports that you’re wagering on, you truly are handcuffing yourself to unnecessary risk and worst of all – blind luck. That’s the type of “strategy” that gives sports betting a bad name, as it eliminates your own knowledge and betting skill-set when the time and effort put into achieving that could really turn you into a dynamite sports bettor.

The point here is you never want to just roll the dice for the sake of rolling the dice. So, just as much as you want a purpose before making prop bets, you also want to know what you’re doing and stretch that knowledge out as far as possible.

Cast a wide net when it comes to knowledge and refrain from betting on things you don’t know anything about.

Look For Value

Avoiding careless betting or betting on sports, players and teams you know nothing about is easier said than done. Doing so puts you ahead of the curve, though, because a lot of gamblers don’t really care about playing it safe and will just throw bets around without much restriction.

There should be even more restriction to how you bet – specifically when it comes to sports prop betting. Instead of just getting bet-happy and taking every fun sports prop bet you encounter, it truly pays to be a little stingy by being selective with the prop bets you’ll target.

You’re already doing this by mostly just sticking with the bets you know about, but you can narrow it down even more by chasing truly elite betting value. This is going to depend a lot on your own research, of course, but it also hinges on how each individual online sportsbook offers their prop bets.

Some sports betting sites are going to offer a slew of fun prop bets, but you’re not always going to get prop bets with playable odds. You can still make plays on these in the situations where what looks like a 50/50 proposition is more like 60/40 for you, but the payout is obviously weak with your best bet being doubling your cash, or often times it’s even worse.

This is part of betting and we need to prepare for the grind by taking these bets even when the profit margin isn’t amazing. That being said, it can start getting tricky when we’re betting too much and the upside is so capped. Instead of targeting a ton of low upside bets, it’s often best to just sift through the sports prop bets you find online and only target the best ones that both offer playable odds and solid value.

For instance, ahead of the NFL season, a site like Bovada could offer a player prop bet where you bet the Over/Under on whether or not Adrian Peterson will top 900 rushing yards. Peterson is an older running back and at the time of this writing on a new team with another capable running back on the roster, so the obvious play would be the Under.

We can freely target that, but with the Over and Under paying out just -110 odds, there isn’t any real upside. We can still go hard at a bet like this that strikes us as obvious, but this is an example of a great prop bet without any real value.

Something with more value could be a site like BetOnline offering a home run prop bet for Angels hitter, Kole Calhoun. A prop bet with +500 odds could be offered if he hits a homerun. Your knowledge of Calhoun could produce positive splits in a hitter’s park against a bad pitcher. If the math is all there and Calhoun has been hitting well, this could look like a very fun bet with loads of upside.

There is still risk across the board, but if we can find that combination of playability and logic, that’s ideal.

We don’t want to ignore solid bets just because they lack upside, but we want to especially focus on high end betting value and upside anytime we can locate it.

Distinct Edge

All of this boils down to one important aspect: you have the edge over Vegas or whatever sports betting site you’re wagering on.

The reason is two-fold: sportsbooks probably don’t have time to always know where they are giving up serious value and you, the bettor, can spend as much time as needed to locate the bet that works best for you.

This gives us an unprecedented edge in sports betting that we really aren’t going to find anywhere else. There are always high upside upset bets we can make, but they’re usually that playable for a reason. After all, the Phillies at +305 sounds like a great bet, but are we really getting excited if Philly is at L.A. and taking on Clayton Kershaw? Probably not, and that bet gets even worse if the Phillies have some trash right-handed arm going against a stacked Dodgers offense.

Sports betting sites produce odds and lines that usually benefit them across the board, but they are either calling sports prop bets close to the chest (because they don’t know which way to lean) or they’re offering too much value (because they don’t have the time to focus on where it should be).

This isn’t always the case, but it’s on us to sniff these opportunities out and put in the work to make sure the chances we’re taking have a decent shot at paying off.

In summary, we always want to know the sports, teams and players we’re betting on and we don’t want to walk into any type of betting – specifically prop betting – without having solid knowledge and a clear plan at hand.

On top of that, we want to attack the obvious bets regardless of profit, while also seeking out the best value plays that can warrant serious upside. If we do all of these things, we stand to succeed in our sport prop betting wagers more often than not. That may not mean we’re going to get rich off grinding prop bets away for a living, but it should mean we win frequently and don’t lose, overall.