Football Prop Bet Strategies
Proposition bets, commonly referred to as prop bets, are an entertaining and highly-lucrative type of football bet. Not every sportsbook is going to offer football prop bets, and the variety of options you’ll see will vary depending on where you’re betting. The higher-profile the game is, the more likely you’re going to see prop bets. The Super Bowl is probably the single game with the most prop bets every single year.
When you do get the chance to bet football props, you have some unique and entertaining opportunities to turn a healthy profit. In this guide, we have compiled our experts’ tips, tricks, and strategies that they use to master football prop bets. Regardless of the type of prop you are betting, these tips are going to help you get the best of the book and give you the best opportunity to make a consistent profit.
The Difference Between Beatable and Unbeatable Prop Bets
The single biggest bankroll killer when it comes to football prop bets is either not being able to tell the difference between beatable and unbeatable prop bets or ignoring it. What are we talking about? Well, football props come in all shapes and sizes. If you’ve ever seen the list of bets available for a high-profile game, you know that there are a ton of different options that are really all over the place.
Some of these bets require skill, football knowledge, and some expertise to pick winners, while some of them are straight gambling. If a football prop requires no skill to pick a winner, then it’s just gambling and cannot be beaten long term. If you feel you can beat those props, that’s the same as saying you want to become a professional roulette or slot machine player. It might sound cool, but it’s not feasible.
Let’s look at a few example prop bets so that you can see the difference between the two.
Will the coin toss in the upcoming game be heads?
- Yes -110
- No -110
Are you able to make an educated prediction on whether the coin toss is going to be heads or tails? Definitely not. It is completely random, and you have no way of knowing whether heads or tails is more likely to come. This is an example of a football prop bet that requires zero skill and is nothing more than gambling.
Is this prop bet fun to bet? Of course. But if your end goal is turning a profit, you’re going to want to stay away from gambling. You only want to be betting when you find value and have an edge. That is simply not possible with a prop bet like this.
Will either team score in the first 5.5 minutes of the game?
- Yes +105
- No -125
This football prop bet is one that requires some skill to determine an educated prediction. Do you think both teams are going to start hot? Do you think that both defenses are going to take a while to settle in? Do you think the books are overestimating the defensive prowess of each team? If all of these questions are answered with a yes, you might have some value in betting that one of the teams is going to score in the first 5½ minutes of the game.
There is definitely still some luck in this bet with regards to which team gets the ball first, but you can still make a good case for value here. This is a bet where you would be able to show a long-term profit if you’re able to pick winners.
The takeaway here is that you need to be betting football props that give you the ability to utilize skill and expertise to pick winners. If someone flipping a coin could have the same results as you “using skill” to make the bet, it’s probably a bet you want to avoid.
That within the bets that require skill, there will be some that require a little skill (with a lot of luck) and some that require a lot of skill (with a little luck). You want most of your action to be on the football props that require the most skill and the littlest element of chance.
The Perks of a Smaller Betting Market
When you bet football moneylines and point spreads, you’re usually going to be betting with a much larger betting pool. This is especially true if you are betting the NFL. There’s nothing wrong with betting bets with more action, but things are going to be a little different. When you’re betting football props, you’re going to be betting in a much smaller betting pool, meaning that there will be a lot less money being bet on the props.
Usually, this is because the maximum bet limits are lower, and a lot of pro bettors spend their time where they can bet larger amounts. If you’re not someone firing thousands of dollars every game, though, you can still find a lot of great value in these smaller betting markets.
The smaller volume of bets and money being wagered will also have an effect on the betting line. Smaller bets and smaller movements are going to cause the line to shift easier. Line shifts will be more frequent, and they also might be more severe. This means a lot more opportunities to find value. You’ll run into a lot more situations where recreational bettors move a prop line severely in the wrong direction. When you catch this, you’ll have an incredible opportunity to steal some serious value.
There are additional perks as well that you should be aware of. You may be wondering why there are smaller max bet size caps on prop bets. This is because the sportsbook does not plan on dedicating a lot of time, effort, and resources into figuring out the correct line for these bets.
Often, they use prop bets as a way to bring in new bettors and attract their business. They’re willing to lose a little bit with bad lines on props in the hopes that new bettors will stick around and bet other bets in the future as well.
This means opportunities galore for you. Typically, we see betting maximums around $500 for prop bets, but occasionally they may be a little higher or a little lower. The lowest we’ve seen is $150. Even there, that is plenty of room to work for many bettors who aren’t firing off massive bets every week. If you’re a recreational bettor just trying to get better, this is a great way to pick up some easy money and build your bankroll.
Shopping Lines Is More Valuable
Prop bets are probably the smallest betting market in the NFL and college football. Because of this, the variance in lines that you will see at different sportsbooks is going to be much greater. This means that checking multiple books to get the best line on your prop bets is key. With prop bets, you’re going to see the biggest changes from sportsbook to sportsbook, which makes line shopping that much more necessary.
Now, you will run into one issue when it comes to shopping prop bets. If it’s an obscure prop bet, it might not be offered at any other sportsbooks. In this case, you will have to decide to take the odds offered at the first sportsbook or elect not to place the bet.
Even though this is the case, you should still take the time to at least check to see if you can get better odds somewhere else. If you’re betting a high-profile game like the Super Bowl or a bowl game, you should be able to find multiple books offering the same props. Don’t waste a ton of time shopping through a million different sportsbooks, but if you check at least two or three, you’ll be able to see if there is a big difference in lines and find some value.
Predict the Game Before You Select a Prop
Which came first: the chicken or the egg? While this mystery might not be solvable, there is certainly a correct answer when you ask which should come first: the prop or the prediction. Many bettors like to pick out the prop they are going to bet first and then start their research. We’re not going to say that this method is wrong, but there is a better way you can approach things. This better way will prevent you from being swayed by the existing line and stop you from trying to force bets where they don’t work.
Here’s what we recommend you do. Instead of selecting the football prop bet you want to bet first, start with your game prediction. Map out exactly how you think the game is going to go in as much detail as possible. Figure the score for each quarter, how you think the defense is going to do, how you think individual players are going to do, and any other details that you can make an educated prediction on. If you’re putting a lot of effort into this (as you should be), you should be able to rattle off a lot of predicted stats and occurrences you expect to see in the game.
After you’ve done this, then you should go looking for props to bet. If you find bets that fit into the prediction you came up with, you’ve got a great opportunity to make some money (as long as the payout price is right). If you don’t see anything that matches your predictions, then you saved yourself from making a bad bet. Had you started with the props, you probably would have forced something where it didn’t belong.
Additionally, seeing the lines for particular props will influence what you think is going to happen. If you see that the sportsbook thinks it’s highly likely that there will be a safety in the game, you might start working out scenarios where a safety happens. This might not be what you actually think is going to happen, but you don’t want to be wrong and way off from what the “experts” think is going to happen.
Betting lines are way off all the time, and the oddsmakers and the betting public miss miserably on a daily basis. Don’t be scared if your bet prediction doesn’t line up with what they say is going to happen. By waiting to look at the prop bet lines until after you’ve made your prediction, you protect yourself from consciously or subconsciously changing your predictions.
Become an Expert in Something
Aim small, miss small. This is a popular teaching cliché that you might hear if you ever take shooting lessons or join the military. The point is that if you dial in and aim for something precise, even if you miss, you won’t miss by much. While diversification in sports betting does give you more options, specializing can help you turn a much more consistent profit.
Regarding football prop bets, you might want to look into specializing in a few particular prop bets. For example, maybe you become an expert on first drives. You learn to tell which teams are the most likely to score on their first drives and which are not. This is a popular prop bet that is usually offered weekly that you can take advantage of.
Or maybe you become an expert on wide receivers. You learn everything there is to know about each receiver, the routes their coaches like to call, and the safeties they are going to face. There are a lot of different football prop bets regarding wide receivers – yards per catch, most receiving TDs, etc. Additionally, you’ll see a lot of opportunities with totals bets here as well.
Prop bets in football can be a great addition to a winning betting strategy. If you’re a big hitter who bets huge, you may run into issues finding sportsbooks to take large action on props. If you’re someone who bets <$500 per bet, though, you should be able to find plenty of sportsbooks to take your action. With the tips we provided above, you should be well on your way to finding the best use of prop bets for you. Take advantage of your own knowledge base, utilize these tips and research, and get out there and crush the books.