What Are Prop Bets?

Now that sports betting in Massachusetts is available, sports fans in The Bay State have plenty of wagers to choose from. Bets can only be made in person right now, but MA mobile betting apps are on the way.

Along with popular wagers like moneyline and spread bets, prop bets are an exciting way to get in on the action. Prop bets are compelling for new bettors because they’re the closest thing to daily fantasy sports that sportsbooks offer.

The question is, are prop bets easier to get correct than other bets, or are they strictly for experts? Or an even simpler question might be, what actually is a prop bet?

Well, we’ve got the answers for you. This page will serve as your one-stop shop for all things prop betting in Massachusetts.

What Is A Prop Bet?

Prop bets are wagers that you can place on individual aspects of a game, rather than just betting on the game as a whole. For instance, a prop bet can be on specific players or in-game events that may or may not directly impact the game’s result.

In today’s prop betting markets, you can bet on virtually any player to hit any number of milestones in a game or season — from 3-pointers to passing yards to strikeouts, and more.

Prop bets can include individual statistical milestones, in-game events, or depending on the sport, even stray into more random elements. Some popular prop bet examples include:

  • Football: Total passing yards, total receiving yards, total rushing yards, touchdowns, etc.
  • Baseball: Hits for hitters, strikeouts for pitchers, which team will score first in the game, total runs by each team, etc.
  • Basketball: Total points, total rebounds, total assists, total three-pointers, which player will score first, etc.
  • Hockey: Goals, assists, saves, total goals scored by each team, etc.

Typically, you can bet on either the over or under for prop bets. Odds can vary, although more times than not they will be around -110 for either side.

In addition, lines for prop bets can vary between sportsbooks. For example, Jayson Tatum’s point total may be listed at 30.5 on DraftKings, but 29.5 on FanDuel. That half point could be the difference between a won and lost bet.

Placing Prop Bets In Massachusetts

Right now, all legal sports bets in Massachusetts have to be placed in person at three Massachusetts casinos: MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor, and Plainridge Park Casino. All three of these facilities offer a wide variety of prop bets for various different sports. When placing bets in person, make sure to keep track of your ticket/bet slip. You won’t be able to claim your winnings without it!

Soon, MA mobile betting apps will be available. They are expected to launch in late February or early March. When that happens, sports fans in Massachusetts will be able to place prop bets (and all bets) from the comfort of their own homes.

Betting props is a simple process that can be done online. To get started, you need to find a sportsbook, sign up, and download the app if you plan to bet on your phone a lot. Don’t forget to to claim any MA online sports betting bonuses that may be available.

Once you open an account and make your first deposit, you are ready to begin placing bets. From there, check out individual games that interest you to see what prop bets are available.

One compelling aspect of prop betting is that you can make them at any time before or during a game/season. With odds and betting options that continue to update once a game starts, you can continue betting on prop lines and odds that change depending on what’s happening on the field.

Best Online Sportsbooks For Prop Betting

Once mobile betting in MA launches, all legal online Massachusetts sportsbooks will offer prop bets. At full capacity, there could be as many as 15 mobile betting apps available in Massachusetts.

Here is a look at some of the top Massachusetts sportsbooks that will offer prop betting when the industry launches:

DraftKings

Thanks to a user-friendly interface, DraftKings Sportsbook makes its prop markets easy to find. Click any game listing and select the “player props” tab. What you’ll find is a fun and diverse range of prop betting options including an extensive selection of prop categories for NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and more. In addition to starting players, prop bets can be found for more obscure/bench players. DraftKings also offers tons of live betting props once a game has started.

FanDuel

FanDuel Sportsbook props are also easy to find via a clean interface and marked tabs inside individual game listings. FanDuel is close to DraftKings in prop betting options, offering a solid list of props for all major sports and leagues (slightly less than DraftKings but still among the best in the industry). FanDuel also has a good selection of single-game parlays that allow you to combine props and other game outcomes. In addition, much like DraftKings, FanDuel has terrific live betting prop options.

BetMGM

The BetMGM Sportsbook app is intuitive and easy to use, with clearly labeled prop betting options. While BetMGM does not provide the same number of individual player props as FanDuel or DraftKings, it still offers a fantastic range of team and player props, point total props, and same-game parlays. There is now a BetMGM retail sportsbook at MGM Springfield, meaning players can bet on props with BetMGM in person.

Game Props vs Season-Long Props

In addition to betting on individual games and player milestones, you can also bet on season-long accomplishments. Prop futures are often tied to team/player statistics but reflect the entirety of the season rather than just one game.

Popular prop bets in the futures market involve statistical milestones (total number of home runs, total passing yards in a season, etc.). Betting on season-long props comes with additional risks and rewards. Given the greater sample size, you may be able to make your bet with greater confidence. However, unforeseen factors — such as injuries — can also influence these bets.

Here are some examples of future prop bets you can make that play out over the course of an entire season:

  • Football: Passing yards, passing TDs, rushing yards, rushing TDs, receiving yards, receiving TDs, etc.
  • Baseball: Home runs, RBIs, strikeouts, etc.
  • Basketball: Total points scored, total assists, total rebounds, etc.
  • Hockey: Total goals scored, total points, goalie wins, etc.

Furthermore, popular prop bets in the futures market involve Yes or No bets. These types of wagers involve player X to have the most of a certain statistical category in the league. For example, in NFL prop futures, a Yes or No bet would be something along the lines of: Patrick Mahomes to lead the league in passings yards, Yes (+200), No (-250).

How Are Prop Bets Paid Out?

Payouts usually happen as soon as the prop bet in question has a result. For instance, if you bet “Stefon Diggs to score the first touchdown,” the bet closes as a win or a loss as soon as there’s been a touchdown in the game.

The same goes for season-long props if a player reaches the milestone in question before the end of the season — for example, “Stefon Diggs over 995 receiving yards.”

You’ll want to confirm this by checking the rules of your sportsbook, as there are some exceptions where bets only pay out at the end of the game/season or have slower processing where prop bets take a little longer to pay out.

Can You Parlay Prop Bets?

You can, depending on the sportsbook. Many books will not let you parlay props because of their increased odds (i.e., Stefon Diggs first touchdown +700). Sportsbooks want to limit their exposure by stopping you from parlaying lines that are already juiced.

Some books, like BetMGM, might limit which props you can parlay or allow you to parlay a prop bet with a game outcome (i.e., New England Patriots to win and James White to score). FanDuel is one notable exception, with a wider variety of player props you can use in its same-game parlays.

Popular Prop Bets By Sport

Prop bets can vary quite a bit depending on the sport in question. Here are some of the most popular prop bets for major sports leagues (NBA, MLB, NHL, etc.): 

NFL prop bets

  • Player to score the first touchdown
  • Player to score at any time
  • Total passing/rushing/receiving yards for a specific player (over/under)
  • Defensive touchdown (yes/no)
  • Number of receptions (over/under)
  • Number of interceptions (over/under)

NBA prop bets

  • Points, assists or rebounds by a specific player (over/under)
  • Player to score the first basket
  • Number of 3-pointers (over/under)
  • Player X double/double (yes/no)
  • Player X triple/double (yes/no)

MLB prop bets

  • Pitcher X total strikeouts (over/under)
  • Player X total hits (over/under)
  • Player X to hit a home run (yes/no)
  • First team to score a run
  • First player to score a run
  • No runs in the first inning (yes/no)

NHL prop bets

  • Player X to score (yes/no)
  • Goalie X total saves (over/under)
  • Player X total shots (over/under)
  • Player X total assists (over/under)
  • First team to score

College football & college basketball prop bets

In addition to the popular basketball and football props above, specific NCAA-themed prop bets might include the following:

  • Team X to earn a No. 1 overall ranking at some point in the season
  • The school with the most players drafted
  • The conference with the most playoff teams

Golf, tennis, MMA, soccer prop bets

A few examples of popular prop bets across other sports including golf props, tennis props and more:

  • Player X to shoot below a certain number (golf)
  • Player X to finish higher than player Y (golf)
  • Number of aces (tennis)
  • Number of unforced errors (tennis)
  • Total rounds a fight will last (MMA)
  • Player X to win by KO (MMA)
  • Player X to score a goal (soccer)
  • Number of corner kicks (soccer)

Super Bowl Prop Betting

The Super Bowl is synonymous with prop betting, ranging from the standard bets listed above to an even more extensive selection, sometimes straying into the bizarre or random. In addition to the standard football props above, here are some of the most popular Super Bowl bets:

Game related:

  • First offensive play (run or pass)
  • Team X to score on its first drive (yes/no)
  • Will there be a safety? (yes/no)
  • Two-point conversion attempt (yes/no)
  • Last play QB kneel (yes/no)

Unrelated to the game:

  • Coin toss (heads or tails)
  • Length of the national anthem compared to the shortest scoring drive

You can also make crossover props involving the Super Bowl and another sport. An example of this would be “more points scored — Jayson Tatum or the New England Patriots?”

Most Extreme, Weirdest Prop Bets

Prop bets allow for a lot more flexibility than traditional game lines. This added level of creativity can sometimes stray into the more extreme. Here are some examples of such prop bets:

  • Kicker X to hit the upright during the game (yes/no) (aka the “Doink” special)
  • Color of the Gatorade poured over the winning coach
  • The first coach fired (season)
  • The first player to get a technical foul (NBA Finals)

Some offshore sportsbooks will even offer prop bets related to politics or pop culture. However, legal sportsbooks in the US won’t offer these bets. It is illegal to provide odds on political elections, so you know you’re using an unlawful sportsbook if you see them.

While it can be fun to mix things up with an outside-the-box bet, make sure you remain in your comfort zone.

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