Proposition Betting Explained

Proposition betting is one of the most popular types of wagers in the world. In fact, even people who do not gamble on sports engage in propositions.

However, Coloradans need to pay special attention to props these days, thanks to the advent of a particular type of proposition that has taken US sports betting by storm. Read on for all the information you need to bet propositions.

How prop betting works

The first thing to know about propositions is what they are. Simply put, a proposition bet, or prop bet, is a wager on an event ancillary to the outcome of the game.

As a result, any kind of bet on side events, partial game results, or individual players falls into this category. Basically, prop bets are an umbrella category for wagers that don’t qualify as other straight bets.

Because the definition for a prop bet is so broad, most informal wagers between individuals fall into this category, too. Anything from friendly bets, gentlemen’s wagers, and dares could be termed a proposition.

The good news is that, as far as professional sportsbooks are concerned, a prop bet is perhaps the easiest type of wager for the layman to understand. Rather than having to know what the spread or moneyline are, a casual sports bettor can place a bet on events such as:

  • Player-based events
    ○ Which player will score the first goal/basket/run
    ○ Which player will score the most goals/points/runs by the end of the game
    ○ Whether a player score more than or less than a certain number of points
    ○ Whether a player will achieve a certain goal or statistic, like a double-double or a hat trick
  • Game-based events
    ○ Which team will be first to score a certain amount of points/goals/runs
    ○ Whether the game will go into overtime
    ○ Whether the total number of goals/points/runs be odd or even
  • Team props
    ○ Over/unders for points each team might score by the end of the 1st quarter
    ○ Over/under for each team’s individual points

Some propositions will even combine these elements into a single bet. In effect, it’s a mini-parlay, but the two events will affect one another.

So, a prop wager might ask if a player might score a certain number of points AND his team wins the game. Needless to say, the odds of both events happening are much lower than either event happening individually.

Some sportsbooks will even allow bettors to propose their own wagers to the sportsbook. Obviously, if a player can come up with an offer not already available, it’s a proposition bet.

Real examples of proposition bets

There’s no major math or calculation to perform for prop betting. Prop bets tend to be expressed as moneylines, and pay accordingly.

So, here are some real examples of proposition bets. All of these wagers were offered at DraftKings Sportsbook at one time.

Example of a player prop

Game: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Milwaukee Bucks (NBA)
Prop: Player to Score the First Field Goal of the Game


  • Giannis Antetokounmpo +350
  • Joel Embiid +550
  • Khris Middleton +700
  • Tobias Harris +700
  • Ben Simmons +700
  • Eric Bledsoe +1000
  • Brook Lopez +1100
  • Al Horford +1100
  • Wesley Matthews +1600
  • Shake Milton +1600

Example of a game prop

Game: Anaheim Ducks vs. Montreal Canadiens (NHL)
Prop: Away Team to score first and win the match – Inc. OT and Shootout


  • Yes +220
  • No -335

Prop: Home Team to score first and win the match – Inc. OT and Shootout


  • Yes +117
  • No -159

Example of a team prop

Game: Athletic Club Bilbao vs. FC Barcelona (Copa Del Rey)
Prop: Away Team Totals

  • Over 0.5 -335
  • Over 1.5 +160
  • Over 2.5 +575
  • Over 3.5 +1800
  • Under 0.5 +235
  • Under 1.5 -220
  • Under 2.5 -1000
  • Under 3.5 -10000

Live betting: The revolution is live

Propositions are also home to a subset of betting that has taken the sports betting world by storm. Live betting, or in-game wagering, has become a must-have for online sportsbooks throughout the US.

As its name implies, live betting involves wagering on sporting events that are already in progress. The technological advances enjoyed by online sportsbooks have allowed sports betting to look very different from the smoky backrooms of old.

One of the main reasons for the change is that the technology allows sportsbooks to offer wagers on extremely small events during the match. Prop bets on situations as mundane as individual play outcomes are common offerings.

Because of that magnification, sportsbooks now have the potential to offer more than one hundred wagers during the course of a single game. As it turns out, this ability is a rare win-win situation for both operator and bettor.

For bettors, the increased number of bets means that you can either augment your pre-game bets that look promising, or you can hedge against those that are going awry. In either case, you have more flexibility to stay active and put more money in your pockets.

For sportsbooks, their revenue tends to vary directly with the number of wagers that bettors make. The more bets that are submitted, the more vigorish, or “vig,” sportsbooks can add to their coffers.

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Types of live bets

Live bets tend to come in three flavors. Each comes with its own set of quirks.

Continued pregame wagers

The first type of live bet is the continuation of pregame wagers. A sportsbook will often allow the spread, moneyline, and totals offers to keep going, even after play begins.

The trick is that these pregame wagers are not nearly as static as they used to be. Instead of only moving according to the amount of betting, a live bet will now vary dynamically according to the progress of the actual match.

Partial game results

The second type of live bet is the partial game result. Though it is possible to bet on segments of the game before it begins, sportsbooks are now able to offer a far greater array of questions about how portions of the game will end.

There will obviously be questions about the outcome of defined periods of play, of course. Those are common in pregame betting, too.

However, it is here where sportsbooks can begin breaking down pieces of the game into astounding granularity. It is not uncommon to see offers about whether the next football play will be a pass or run, or which player in a tennis match will win the next point.

Milestone achievements

Finally, the third type of live bet pertains to milestone achievement. A sportsbook might pose the question about whether a team or player will achieve a certain statistic during the course of the game.

These statistics could be specific to the game, the season, or even the player’s career. Generally, however, they relate to a player’s performance based on existing patterns.

For instance, if a player were to score 10 points in the first quarter of a basketball game, the book might offer a bet about whether he will score 20 by the time the game ends. Or, if a player is having an off night, the sportsbook could ask whether he’ll achieve his average number of points.

Obviously, the milestones are just arbitrary measures. One of the great things about live betting, and prop bets in general, is that they are limited only by the imagination of the sportsbook and bettor.