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Football Betting 101: Our Guide to NFL Prop Bets

The NFL regular season is often centered on sides and totals, but with every betting site offering a slew of different wagering types, props are becoming the go-to bet every Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and some Saturdays in December. Instead of making a traditional point spread bet or moneyline wager, why not try your hand at something a little more entertaining?

Making NFL prop bets requires skill and a little handicapping. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Odds Shark’s got you covered like the Patriots in the red zone.

What is a Prop Bet?

A prop bet is a wager that typically has nothing to do with the outcome of a game. NFL prop bets can be anything from how an individual player performs, how long the national anthem will be, which team will win the coin toss (more on that below) and even how many penalties a team will get.

Prop is short for “proposition” and these are bets that are generally made for entertainment purposes. Let’s use the example of Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints and future Hall of Famer. At your betting site of choice, prop bets for this type of player would be something like:

• How many touchdowns will he throw in the Saints’ game against the Falcons?

• How many passing yards will he have in the first quarter of a game against the Panthers?

• Will he throw an interception against the Buccaneers?

How to Read NFL Prop Bet Odds

When you visit any online sportsbook, you’ll find prop odds. Depending on the type of NFL props you’re looking to make, the odds will look something like this:

Will Player X announce his retirement in the postgame interview?

Yes +500

No -1000

For this scenario, let’s pretend that a star player is turning 45 and isn’t moving as quickly as he used to. There are rumors that he is going to retire at some point during the 2019 NFL season. Oddsmakers hear the same buzz that we do and will create props based on that information.

If you believe that Player X is going to announce his retirement after the game you’re betting on, you would choose Yes. Let’s say you lay down $25 and he does end his playing career. You would get a payout of $150 – your $25 comes back along with your winnings of $125. On the other hand, a winning $25 No bet would get you $27.50 – your original amount is returned plus the $2.50 that you won. Our Odds Calculator can help you determine how much you’d win based on the amount you bet.

In this case the Yes would be a riskier bet with a higher payoff because of the plus sign (+). A No bet comes with less risk and a smaller win due to the minus sign (-). This is the same as a traditional moneyline bet where you have a favorite and an underdog. In this case there is no fave (-) or dog (+) but the same symbols to signify which bet is riskier.

Super Bowl Props

Football’s biggest game creates a prop betting frenzy. Sportsbooks will provide you with countless options that go beyond what you’d get during the regular NFL season.

Anthem: For the Super Bowl, the NFL goes all out and gets a huge recording artist to perform the anthem. You can make a prop bet on how long it will take to sing the Star Spangled Banner.

Coin Toss: You have a 50 percent chance of winning this bet which also means that you have a 50 percent chance of losing. The result is completely random and something you can’t research, but it’s still a fun prop to make.

Gatorade Color: As is tradition, the winning team dumps an entire Gatorade dispenser on their coach. You can bet on what color the sports drink will be.

• Player Props: An example of a player prop would be: Who will be Super Bowl MVP?

Live Betting

As your sports betting prowess improves, you can make more advanced NFL prop bets. Since props are considered the more entertaining bets you can make on any regular-season game, the better you get at betting, the easier it is to find value in other prop wagers. Why not try something more advanced like live betting?

If you’ve been following a particular team and know their tendencies, this is a great way to uncover NFL football props that have more significance. Keep an eye on the weekly injury reports and latest game matchups and you could find major value on betting while the game is in progress. In-play betting allows you to bet on things like which team will score first after halftime, or if the next play will end in a field goal.

Another rule of thumb for live betting is to evaluate the spread and see a team’s ATS standings. In a blowout, the team that’s leading tends to run the ball to milk the clock like a dairy cow, while the trailing squad tends to up the air attack like a scene from Top Gun. The score of the game has a direct effect on statistical output, so handicap your bets accordingly.

Live odds will appear during regular-season games, but not all betting sites offer them during the postseason.

How to Maximize your NFL Proposition Bets

There are things you can do to boost your bankroll when betting NFL team and player props. Stick to what you know well and make sure what you’re betting on can be researched – our Odds Shark NFL pages can help with this. We have free picks, odds, scores, betting trends, consensus and pretty much everything you’ll need to research the particular prop bet you’re looking to make, whether you’re looking at regular-season National Football League odds or fun Super Bowl bets.