What Are Prop Bets?
Short for proposition bets, a prop bet is wager on whether an event will happen or not.
Prop bets have long been a part of poker lore and have experienced a surge in popularity in betting markets outside of poker in recent years.
The Super Bowl draws by far the biggest market for prop bets each year. Instead of placing a traditional bet on the game’s outcome, many bettors wager on things like which team will win the coin toss, what player will score the game’s first points, how many total touchdowns will be scored, and so on.
Super Bowl prop bets go far beyond what happens in the game, however, as we’ll discuss later in this article.
The prop bet market isn’t just limited to sports. The modern bettor can place wagers on things like elections and political events in general. These prop bets can go far beyond merely betting on the results of an election.
For example, if you wanted to place a bet on what color necktie a candidate would wear at a presidential debate, there’s a betting market out there somewhere that would take your wager.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to prop bets, and with that in mind let’s take a look at some of the craziest of those possibilities.
The Five Craziest Prop Bets You Can Make
#5: Length of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl plays host to the healthiest of prop bet markets, and each year plenty of bettors put down action on the length of the National Anthem.
Historically, this bet boils down to an over/under of around two minutes.
Super Bowl LIV, played in February 2020, featured Demi Lovato singing the anthem. SportsLine set the over/under line at two minutes exactly, and Lovato gave the under bettors the win with a 1:50 performance.
Unofficial time for the National Anthem:
UNDER Hits 💰#SBLIV pic.twitter.com/B5j4jAXKrN
— SportsLine (@SportsLine) February 2, 2020
#4: Snow on Christmas in the UK
A long-standing tradition in the United Kingdom is the prop bet on whether it will snow on Christmas day.
William Hill, the world’s largest bookmaker, offered odds ranging from 5-2 in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland, 5-1 in Dublin, Ireland, and 6-1 in London, England this past holiday season in 2019.
This prop bet goes back far longer than that, however, and probably will for years to come.
#3: Odds of Alien Life Being Confirmed in 2020
It seems that the oddsmakers at certain books think the chances are increasing for an affirmative answer to the question of alien life’s existence.
Like the snow in the UK prop bet, bettors have been able to place a wager on alien life being proven for years if they searched diligently for a place to make the bet.
According to this article from Sports Betting Dime, as of September 2019 one offshore bookmaker had the odds of alien life being proven by the end of 2019 at +5000. In other words, a bet of $100 would earn you $5000 in profit.
The 2019 version of that bet wasn’t a winner, but that same bet could be made for 2020 (again as of September 2019), with significantly less profitable odds of +2000.
#2: Gatorade Color at the Super Bowl
We’re going back to the Super Bowl for another long-standing tradition in the Super Bowl prop-betting market.
Beginning with Super Bowl XXI way back in 1987, players dumping a bucket of Gatorade on the winning head coach has become an annual rite.
Betting on the color of that Gatorade has become its own long-standing tradition. With the number of Gatorade colors seemingly infinite and ever-expanding, bettors never quite know what to expect when it comes time for this sports-drink shower.
SB Props 🏆
What will be the first Gatorade color dunked over the winning coach?
Red +500 pic.twitter.com/ajQJCavTQW
— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) January 29, 2019
#1: U.S. Presidential Election
The 2016 United States Presidential election was by far the most wagered on US election ever, with some highly unexpected results for both bettors and books alike.
Donald Trump, according to this piece from Odds Shark, was a +2500 underdog to win the presidency in August 2016, just three months before the election. Those odds dropped to +475 on election day, but even though betting trends showed that Trump was gaining, Trump’s eventual victory indeed caught bookmakers by surprise.
The Odds Shark article mentions that one UK book started paying out bets on a Hillary Clinton win before the election was actually over, much to its eventual detriment.
Have you ever placed a prop bet? Let us know in the comments below.
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