To a newcomer, the crux of sports betting would be to predict the outcome of a game. But this is not the be-all and end-all of sports betting. In general, sportsbooks have all sorts of little things you can bet on – whether a player will hit a big score, which team will take the lead first, which team or player will fulfil a certain statistic before others. As an umbrella term, we call most of these wager types ‘prop bets’. ‘Prop’ here is simply short for ‘proposition’. Prop bets can be almost anything save for point spread and total scores. Its subject can be something as specific as how many yards the ball will fly out on the next strike a batsman makes in a cricket match. With some of these rudimentary tips, you can use prop bets to cash in a lot of betting money.
Pick the right kind of prop bet
The best thing about prop bets is that there are nearly limitless options. If you can imagine a statistic you could realistically wager on, you will certainly find it on at least one sportsbook. So it is also important to distinguish a winning deal from a pointlessly risky one. For example, one very popular prop bet that people seem to jump on no matter what is on the coin toss. The coin toss is a part of all the top sports: soccer, cricket, American football – you name it. So naturally, this would be an entertaining occasion of casual betting if you are watching the match with friends. But the problem with coin toss is you absolutely cannot predict which one wins. You have a nearly 50-50 odd no matter which side you took.
Why take such risks?
This is the worst kind of prop bet to take on if you want to make money. By far, the superior option every betting pundit will recommend is to place bets by relying on performance. Which brings us to our next point:
Know the strengths and weaknesses of both sides
It is only natural that most prop based are based on factors that will play themselves out over the course of a single game. For instance, take individual player scores. In a soccer match, a common bet is which player will score first – and obviously, there are crowd favourites. Most bettors will put their money on the best striker out of the 22 players if the teams are even. That also translates to the same bet on which team will score first. When we bet on performance-oriented wagers like these, we tend to rely on precedents. What are their past performances? What is their recent form like? While relevant statistics, these do not win you the games; you cannot look at one player or one side, but rather, on the big picture stuff.
This applies similarly to almost every sport. In the UFC, for example, most bets will be placed on the star player with great form. But the far more important angle is how the favourite fares against their immediate opponent. A fighter’s versatility may matter more than their recent score.
Predict the course of the game first
Bettors often look at the best odds on the available miscellaneous prop bets and then try to gauge it in isolation. This might be how you approach betting in general. But because of how vast and varied prop bets are, this is an inefficient approach. Instead of looking at individual players, first, research the conditions of the game. Then break down the game into chunks (halves, quarters, overs according to the game). And then think of how the game is likely to progress through them. This is when you start looking at prop bets and narrow down the best prop bets based on your strongest predictions.
Do not chase the crowd
This is good advice for all betting in general. Sportsbooks make money when bettors collectively invest more than they win. So the very business model depends on people making wrong guesses.
Exploit the oversights of the sportsbook algorithm
Most prop bets line movements are based around recreational action. Because there are several hundred money lines to manage, sportsbooks cannot optimize all of their props to be optimally profitable for them. They can underestimate the exploitability of a particular prop bet with great odds. As a good bettor, you can analyze individual props in far greater detail. They have low investment limits, so you cannot make huge piles of cash on one steal-deal prop bet. But if you can spot these regularly, they add up fast.
Above all, prop betting is also meant to be entertaining. They are about little factoids and micro-level statistics, and by design, you cannot win or lose a lot of money on them. So keep at your profiteering adventures, but don’t forget to have fun!