Prop Betting Guide

In sports betting, the term “props” is short for propositional bets. These are the kinds of wagers in which sportsbooks post a proposition of whether an event will occur. The lines on these wagers can take many forms. Oddsmakers’ creativity is often limited only by the laws and regulations of the jurisdictions for which they operate.

Although the Super Bowl originally made these bets popular, they have grown beyond one football game a year. You will find sportsbooks posting prop bets throughout the year on a wide array of sports. They differ from straight bets in that the sportsbook doesn’t ask you to pick an athlete or team to win a game. They also differ from point spread bets and totals wagers since the scores of contests don’t determine the markets.

These types of bets most closely resemble futures markets or in-game bets. These bets involve events that take place months in the future or within the confines of a game. Prop bets are a category unto themselves, however. That’s partially because they can revolve around events that have little to do with the actual gameplay, like what color of Gatorade shower a coach will receive after a win.

Tennessee law bans legal sportsbooks from taking prop bets based on the individual performances of college athletes. Other than that, TN legal online sportsbooks have a great amount of liberty. A lot of bettors enjoy these markets because they are unique. It can be a great way to diversify wagering. The first step is to place this type of bet.

How to place a prop bet at a TN online sportsbook

All you need to do place a prop bet in Tennessee is internet access and the appropriate funds. 

You must be at least 21 years old and willing to provide the sportsbook with some pertinent information, of course. To start, download the appropriate sports betting app or visit the desktop website of the legal TN sportsbook. Then go through the steps to create your account. If you’ve already registered with the sportsbook in another state, you can just sign in with your existing credentials. 

From there, you’ll need to deposit funds. At that point, you’re ready to wager. If you’re new to betting, you might not know how the odds work for prop bets. It’s pretty simple once you understand the “language,” though.

How prop bet odds work at TN sportsbooks

Because of the variety of prop bet markets, they can be confusing. Essentially, prop bets are set up the same way as straight bets, but many of them with much larger fields. For example, several legal sportsbooks had prop bets on who would score the first touchdown in Super Bowl LIV. The market at FanDuel Sportsbook looked like this:

Damien Williams+600
Raheem Mostert+700
Travis Kelce+750
Tyreek Hill+800
George Kittle+850
Matt Breida+1,100
Emmanuel Sanders+1,500
Patrick Mahomes+2,100
Darwin Thompson+2,900
Jimmy Garoppolo+4,200
Kyle Juszczyk+4,200

To place a wager on this market, select one player and let the sportsbook know how much you want to put on the line. The line tells you what your payout would be.

Since Patrick Mahomes scored the first touchdown of Super Bowl LIV, anyone who chose Mahomes in this market would win. Anyone who picked any other player in the field would lose. The bettors who chose Mahomes made out handsomely in this market. Because the odds are positive, the line tells you what your profit would be if you wagered $100.

For such individuals, FanDuel paid them a total of $2,200. That’s the $2,100 in profit and their original $100 wager combined.  The sportsbook kept the wagers of everyone else who didn’t bet on Mahomes on this matter.

This example is one popular type of prop bet on team sports. There are also props on individual sports like golf and tennis, which can represent a great variety of prop bets.

Other types of prop bets

Golf is a sport that lends itself well to prop betting in which you decide whether an athlete will or won’t accomplish a certain objective. The following is a good example:

Will Rory McIlroy make a hole in one?Yes +2000No -200

Tennis sets up well for other types of prop bets. This type of market presents a line and an option to pick the over or the under. Many different markets in different sports use such a format.

Number of games for Novak DjokovicO 19 -150
to beat Borna CoricU 19 +150

The odds work the same way for these bets. With negative lines, the odds tell you how much you need to wager to make $100 in profit. So far, we’ve only looked at prop bets that involve individual athletes, whether in individual or team sports. There are prop bets on teams, however.

For example, many sportsbooks will post markets that ask bettors to predict whether a team will make the playoffs in a particular season. Those are also futures bets, as the events that dictate whether the wager is a win or loss won’t unfold for months.

Some sportsbooks might also post propositional wagers on components of games. For example, you might find a market on the over/under for how many points Ja Morant will score in the second quarter of a game. While these technically are prop wagers, they can also be considered in-game or live bets. That’s because the lines on these bets can move quickly, and sportsbooks will settle these markets while the games are still in progress.

How to win prop bets on TN legal betting apps

In all these markets, the path to victory is the same. If you put your money down on the correct outcome, the sportsbook will grade your bet a win. Like for any other type of bet, how successful you are will depend on how wisely you bet. That requires you to know the subject matter well and pay attention to any relevant updates.

Bettors considering our first touchdown in the Super Bowl LIV market were wise to go through both teams’ histories and see if there are any trends for decisions that they make when in scoring position. Additionally, it would have been helpful to be aware of which players entered the game on hot streaks.

In our tennis example, it would help to research the history of matches between Djokovic and Coric. Knowing how each player performs on the appropriate surface and at the particular event are also good pieces of information. Of course, even bettors who complete hours of research will lose wagers. Part of the best strategy when considering any betting market is to assume the odds are set up for the sportsbook to win.

Part of betting wisely means staying on top of what might cause lines to move. There is one major factor that motivates for sportsbooks to change the odds on prop bets.

Why sportsbooks move the lines on prop bets

For the most part, operators are free to set the odds on prop bets as they will. Market forces like the desire to stay competitive with other operators that influence those lines. Additionally, bettors influence the odds as well. 

If the large majority of the action on a prop bet market is coming down on one side, for example, that’s a message that sportsbooks hear loud and clear. In response, they might change the lines for other options to entice bettors to even the money out on the market. It’s in the sportsbooks’ best interests for the money to be as even as possible, so no matter the outcome, they make some profit.

Other factors that have more to do with the actual sports may cause oddsmakers to adjust as well, however. They include:

  • Coaching and player transactions
  • Injuries
  • Player discipline issues
  • Weather fluctuations

Because of this element, timing is a paramount factor in maximizing the value of your wager. Sportsbooks won’t adjust the odds on your betting ticket if the line on your bet moves in your favor later.

On the other hand, the book you placed your bet with won’t adjust the line against you either. When your wager settles, the sportsbook will pay out the odds as shown on your ticket should you win regardless of any movement of that market since you placed your bet. You might hear stories about exotic prop bets like the results of coin tosses. There’s a good reason why you won’t find those at TN legal online sportsbooks.

Legal sportsbook limited by TN laws and regulations

Laws and regulations in TN govern what action that legal sportsbook operators can and cannot take. As previously mentioned, college sports are off-limits for legal operators in TN — as far as prop bets go.

The law also bans more exotic prop bets like how long the National Anthem will last. The logic behind these regulations is simple. Legal markets require sportsbooks to be able to verify the results of events that they set upon betting markets. The services that supply such information only covers a certain number of events in regards to sports, so there are limits on what operators can verify.

While this may seem like a burdensome requirement, it’s a good policy for consumer protection. It ensures that sportsbooks are operating in compliance with equitable practices. That doesn’t have to take away from your enjoyment of prop bets at legal sportsbooks. Winning is always fun, and when there’s money involved, all the better.