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A proposition, or prop bet, is one of the most popular wagers in the sports book. The book offers odds on the likelihood of a specific event happening in a game, and you can wager against the odds that the event will occur. The best example of a prop bet takes place during the Super Bowl. Books offer odds on every imaginable situation: which team will score first, which player will score first, which team will have more turnovers, which team will win the coin flip (a hint: if you’re betting on a coin flip, giving 10% vig you should probably check yourself into Gambler’s Anonymous). Some books even offer creative cross-sport options: will the Colts score more points in their NFL game than LeBron James does when the Cavaliers play an NBA game earlier that day?
Some online sports books have taken the prop bet concept a step further and offering live in-game wagering. Will the next play in the Bears/Lions game be a pass or a run? 25:1 odds against this punt coming up being blocked? Will Cedric Benson be stopped for a loss the next time he carries the ball? It’s not a new idea: Frank Rosenthal (the real-life guy behind the Robert DeNiro character in Casino) talks about guys offering this kind of action in the bleachers at Wrigley Field when he was a kid in the 1950s. But with advances in technology, anyone can do this while sitting at home, watching the game on TV and wagering online.
As with any sports book action, the book takes their vig on prop bets by offering slightly worse odds than is mathematically true. In some cases, they know that the Bears special teams block 3% of opponent’s punts, so they’ll offer 25:1 rather than 32:1. In others, they just short the total payout one of the most popular Super Bowl Wager is which player will score first? A sports book will list the 10 or 12 most likely players to score in the game, and then offer a field bet to allow you to say it won’t be one of those guys, but someone else. If you add up all of the individual odds, the field bet won’t make up the difference. The total will come up to somewhere around 90%.
Prop Bets A proposition, or prop bet, is one of the most popular wagers in the sports book