What is prop betting?

What is a prop bet?

Prop bets – short for proposition bets – are bets that are related to a specific game but not directly tied to its outcome. While moneyline and point spread bets are directly linked to the event’s result, there are various additional bet types that can be placed before or during a game. These could include betting on the coin toss, total passing or rushing yards, first touchdown, and many more. These are all prop bets.

With a plethora of statistics and metrics tracked during football, basketball, hockey and soccer games, the opportunities for prop betting action are huge, and if you are well researched and can spot the right opportunity, they can be a fun way to enhance your betting experience. Prop bets have grown exponentially in popularity since its introduction. In 2022 during a Kansas City Chiefs prime-time game, more bettors wagered on Travis Kelce to score a touchdown over the actual spread of the contest.

The world of prop betting was closed off to Canadian bettors until 2021, when single-game betting was legalized nationwide. However, the change in the law now means that bettors are able to explore the wide range of additional betting opportunities available, through the various prop betting markets for each of the major sports.

How can you place a prop bet?

Placing a prop bet couldn’t be easier. Simply choose your bet, pick an outcome and set your stake. All you need to do is decide whether the odds offered to you are good enough to bet on. Some bets, such as Total Rushing Yards for a given player, have just two options, while others, such as First Touchdown or Goalscorer, offer long lists of options.

Here is an example of a total rushing yards prop bet market for an NFL game:

Joe Mixon – Total rushing yards


Over 63.5


Under 63.5


A bet of $100 on either selection would win $190.90 (your $100 wager plus $90.90 profit).

Here is an example of a first goalscorer prop bet market for an NHL game:

Seattle Kraken @ Toronto Maple Leafs – First goalscorer


Auston Matthews (Toronto)


John Tavares (Toronto)


William Nylander (Toronto)


Michael Bunting (Toronto)


Mitchell Marner (Toronto)


Jared McCann (Seattle)


Jordan Eberle (Seattle)


Ondrej Kase (Toronto)


Yanni Gourde (Seattle)


A $100 bet on William Nylander would win $1,000 (your $100 wager plus $900 profit).

Does placing prop bets provide value?

In short, yes. Prop bets offer value you won’t find too often in point spread or moneyline markets. Prop bets that offer multiple options also provide the possibility of large payouts if a less-fancied option becomes a winner, and it is these props that give you the chance to find outstanding value.

The key, as with all sports betting, is research. If you think a betting line has a better chance of success than the odds suggest, then you have discovered a solid value betting opportunity. For example, injuries to key players may open up opportunities for the opposition, or provide additional playing time for fringe players. Knowledge of which players have filled in effectively in similar injury-hit situations could provide a higher-value prop bet on the replacement player.

While you will need to check the odds in multiple-option bets like first goalscorer, other coin-flip bets like the total or over/under can still offer value even though the odds are smaller. With total bets, the odds will tend to be the same across different sportsbooks, but there may be differences in how they set their total lines. Look for the sportsbook whose total line offers you the best chance of success. Don’t forget, BET.CA has a comprehensive set of sportsbook reviews to ensure you always bet with a betting site you can trust.

What are the options for a prop bet?

Whether you’re betting on the NFL, NHL, NBA, or MLB, you’ll never be short of prop betting options. Generally, they fall into one of three categories:

Game props

Game props are prop bets that focus specifically on the game, and tend to be tied to a key statistic or metric within it. These could include prop bets such as, “Longest run from scrimmage over/under 22.5 yards” for a football game.

Another type of game prop involves a race to hit a specified target. These could include prop bets such as “Which team will score first?”

Game props are a fun option for betting on games where you don't necessarily want to choose an outright winner.

Player props

Player props focus on the achievements and performances of individual players during a game or season. Depending on the sport you’re betting on, these could include player stats such as touchdowns, points scored, assists, passing or rushing yards, or strikeouts.

These often take the form of over/under bets, but markets such as “First Touchdown Scorer” feature a long list of potential options. It’s the latter that offers more scope for value, but that comes at the expense of being tougher to accurately predict the winner.

Novelty props

Novelty prop bets can feature almost anything oddsmakers can think up that they think people might bet on. Novelty props are particularly popular with occasional and first-time bettors, especially around major sporting events such as the Super Bowl or NBA Finals.

While NBA Finals props tend to focus on player stats, such as player rebounds, Super Bowl props often feature a host of novelty one-off bets on outcomes such as who will win the coin toss, the length of time taken to sing the national anthem, or even a bet on the color of Gatorade dumped on the winning coach.

Prop betting FAQs

What are the best football prop bets?
Should I follow prop bet predictions?
Do all sportsbooks offer the same prop bets?

All betting guides on BET.CA are written by in-our house team, who have over 40 years’ experience in the sports betting and gaming industries, and have worked and written for several of the world’s leading sportsbooks. They possess in-depth knowledge of betting markets and strategies, as well as an understanding of what is important to bettors, meaning you can read on with the confidence that they will help improve your betting.

BET.CA staff
BET.CA staff