NFL Prop Betting

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NFL Prop Bets

Prop bets (short for proposition bets) have been around at least since the first professional baseball leagues began in the 1870s. But betting on football props didn’t officially take off until 1986, when Caesars Palace bookmaker Art Manteris posted odds of 20/1 that Chicago Bears defensive lineman William “The Refrigerator” Perry would score a touchdown at Super Bowl XX. With the game already well in hand, Perry found the end zone on a 1-yard plunge as the mighty Bears beat the New England Patriots 46-10.

While the Perry touchdown would end up costing Caesars Palace $120,000 in the short term, it set off a wave of NFL props betting that has yet to slow down. These days, there are dozens of prop bets available on every NFL football game, and literally hundreds of Super Bowl props. Here’s how you can get in on the action with prop bets at Bovada Sportsbook (to check all our current NFL betting lines - follow the link).


What are NFL Props?

A prop bet is often a question as to whether an event that’s not directly tied to the game’s outcome will occur. The structure behind an NFL prop bet is a lot like that of spreads or totals. For props with YES/NO betting options, odds will be listed for both the YES side and the NO side. Here’s a typical prop for an NFL game:

Will a special teams or defensive touchdown be scored?
YES: +250
NO:  –325

The line in this case is expressed in the form of American odds, just like the moneyline, or the vigorish when you’re dealing with NFL spread betting. If you bet $100 on YES for the above example and someone scores a touchdown on defense or special teams, you’ll win $250. If you bet $325 on NO and one of these touchdowns doesn’t get scored, you’ll win $100 (or any multiples thereof). As with other NFL lines, the sportsbook can move the odds at any time before kick-off in order to balance the action on both sides and limit exposure. Some NFL props will only list odds for the YES side; these are usually reserved for highly unlikely events, like whether there will be a “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show.

You’ll also find NFL props that are listed much the same as NFL totals, asking you whether an event will go over or under a certain number – like how many touchdown passes the starting quarterback will throw. Other NFL props ask you to choose from a list of possible outcomes, each with its own odds attached. For a hypothetical example, here’s how the odds might appear for the famous “Gatorade” Super Bowl prop, asking which color liquid will be dumped over the winning head coach:

Yellow   1/1
Clear   7/5
Orange   4/1
Green   5/1
Red   12/1
Blue   12/1

The odds for these multiple-choice NFL props are often expressed as fixed odds, like the ones above, although American odds are also used. In this example, if Orange is the winning color, bettors will be paid $400 for every $100 they bet, or any multiple thereof. If no liquid gets dumped on the head coach for whatever reason, this prop will likely be graded as "No Action" and all monies returned – check for any such conditions listed when you bet on NFL props. Also note that some NFL props come with a smaller maximum bet than usual, especially those dealing with entertainment; a cap of $50 is common with these wagers.



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How to Bet on Props

NFL props fall under a few different classifications, which you can find on the NFL odds betting menu at Bovada Sportsbook under NFL season props:


NFL Player Props

These props deal with outcomes regarding a specific player, like whether the starting quarterback will throw over or under a certain number of touchdown passes.

NFL Team Props

Instead of a specific player, you’re now betting on the whole team and their accomplishments (or lack thereof), like how many touchdowns they’ll score.

NFL Game Props

Now you’re betting on something not specific to one team, like whether or not a safety will be scored in the game.

NFL Season Props

Extending the betting range from a single game to the entire season (or the remainder of the season), you can bet on NFL season props like whether a team will make the playoffs or finish the year undefeated. You can also bet on who will be the NFL regular season MVP.

NFL Specials

This term often gets used interchangeably with NFL props, but any prop bet that doesn’t fall into the other categories winds up here; for example, you can bet on who will be the next head coach for a certain team.

Again, NFL props are made available for every game on the schedule, but you’ll find the most props for the most important games – and no single game in sports is more important than the Super Bowl. The more exotic prop bets should be made for entertainment purposes only, but if you do your homework when you bet on football, you should be able to find some value bets on the NFL props market. Happy hunting.

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