NFL season is almost here and the hunger for betting goes beyond the traditional wagering systems, a lot of attention is set on proposition bets. But certain propositions are mere chance. For example in football games, will the coin toss be heads or tails? heads -105 / tails -105; this is a proposition that has negative expected value (-EV) no matter which side you choose.
To address this: the NFL uses a coin that weighs equal on each side and physics behind coin flipping are not enough to overcome the 2.38% advantage. There is a fundamental strategy rule to prop betting, avoid bets that no matter how much you study them, you can’t win.
The next thing to understand about prop betting is there a tons of ways, whether intentional or not, that the bookmaker can cheat you. Prop bets that have any ambiguous wording, or any possibility for multiple interpretations, should be avoided because disputes are frequent; no to to mention the ridiculous and absurd lines, one year there was actually a dispute about whether the shirt Kim Kardashian wore to the Super Bowl was brown or black.
Many Football Props are Beatable.
Once you move past all the sucker bets and the bets where you could be free rolled by interpretation, a ton of value can be found. Props are a small market the bookmaker handicaps and prices using simple math. They then keep the limits small say $50 to $300 maximum and adjust the odds as they accept bets. Many online sportsbooks have gone on record, stating they routinely lose money on football propositions. The reason is these are novelty wagers meant to keep people showing up, or keep players funding their accounts. Many bookmakers take millions of dollars in wagers on the point spread of each and every game, and take just a few thousand on a given prop. For them close enough is good enough – and as a result the smaller limit professional can make decent money analyzing and shopping props. Chances are you spend more than 10 minutes on a given prop; you’ll have analyzed it far more than the bookie has. With props they can’t afford to spend way too much time because there are hundreds available and spending too much time on any given one, would cause you to miss several others where a large edge can be found.
How to Prop Betting?
Don’t expect to find too many professional bookies willing to give you the ins and outs of every proposition bet on the board. Each prop is a small market and those best at handicapping and pricing props are unlikely to help a competitor; teaching you to handicap and price means one more person to potentially beat them to the punch. If you’re going to beat props you’re going to need to be sharp and learn through trial error until you determine how the odds are set.