Learn How to Make NFL Prop Bets

Get the facts on NFL prop bets, the most common and popular NFL props, and a few tips to help you maximize your prop betting returns.

Last Updated: Aug 2, 2022 8:03 AM ET Read Time: 3 min
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) dives into the end zone for a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021 in Jacksonville, Fla.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Have you ever wanted to bet on more than just the winner or loser of an NFL game? Look no further than NFL prop bets. Prop bets (or propositions) allow bettors to wager on the myriad events occurring within a game. Prop bets spanning everything from the winner of the Superbowl’s coin toss to how many yards a QB throws in a given game.

What are prop bets in the NFL?

Prop bets in the NFL allow you to wager on events within an NFL game. Prop bets span individual player performance and various statistics (team or player related). Some sportsbooks offer props on outlandish in-game events not directly linked to on-field play, such as the color of Gatorade used in the customary post-Super Bowl celebration.

When learning how to bet on NFL football, It’s important to note that prop bets, by definition, are not related to the outcome of a game. Most props do not rely on the winner or loser of an NFL game, nor are they linked to the total points scored within a game. 

The three most common types of prop bets are player props, team props, and game props.

NFL player props 

The most common type of NFL prop bet, player props, allow bettors to wager on what individual NFL players will accomplish within the confines of a game. Player props link to a player’s individual in-game statistics or accomplishments. Most frequently, player props are wagers on whether a player will hit the Over or Under (O/U) on a specific statistic or event. 

Let’s explore some common iterations of NFL player props below.

Touchdown props

Touchdown proposition bets revolve around a player scoring a touchdown within a single game. Depending on the specifics of the wager, this may be a rushing touchdown, a passing/receiving touchdown, a special teams touchdown, a defensive team touchdown, or simply any touchdown rendered as a single broad category. Always scrutinize the terms and conditions of the player prop bet you’re selecting before putting your money down to ensure you’re selecting the desired touchdown category. 

The odds you receive on touchdown props vary widely, depending on each player’s resume and the statistical probability of scoring. You’d get shorter odds on a well-known star with a proven body of work than a relatively unknown player. 

Suppose you’re betting on a star (think Derrick Henry or someone with a similar reputation). In that case, your odds might not be altogether different from a moneyline bet (as in anywhere from -150 to +200). Of course, the odds attached to any player prop will vary wildly depending on the player’s quality and their opponent’s strength.

First-time touchdown props allow you to wager on the player who will score the first touchdown of the game, and sportsbooks will allow you to select from a list of players within the game. 

Anytime touchdown props allow you to wager on whether a player will score a touchdown within a game—a simple yes/no proposition.

Derrick Henry Anytime Touchdown
Yes -175

In the table above, a sportsbook offers odds for Henry to score a touchdown at -175. In this instance, the sportsbook isn’t offering odds on the No option.  

Finally, total touchdown props allow you to bet on the number of touchdowns a select player will score in a game. Bettors would wager on the Over or the Under of a total set by the sportsbook.

Passing props

Passing props are relatively straightforward. They allow you to make bets linked to a quarterback’s total number of thrown passing yards, the number of times they make a pass attempt, or the number of touchdowns a QB throws. Sportsbooks assign a total number of passing yards, attempts, or touchdowns to a player (i.e., 250 passing yards for Derek Carr) and then allow betters to pick the Over or the Under.

Derek Carr Total Passing Yards
Over 250.5 yards -110
Under 250.5 yards -110

Rushing props

Rushing props are similar to passing props, but for rushing yards instead passing yards. Think Jonathan Taylor, not Tom Brady. Sportsbooks allow you to wager on the Over/Under of a player’s total rushing yards, rush attempts, and total rushing touchdowns.

Jonathan Taylor Total Rushing Yards
Over 116.5 yards -110
Under 116.5 yards -110

Receiving props

Receiving yards follow the same structure. NFL receiving props allow you to bet on the Over/Under of a player’s receiving yards and a player’s number of receptions within a game. It is also possible to bet on the Over/Under of the longest reception within a game and the player on the receiving end of said longest reception.

Cooper Kupp Total Receiving Yards
Over 105.5 yards -110
Under 105.5 yards -110

Defensive props 

Finally, it’s possible to bet on a player’s defensive acumen through defensive props. These props allow you to bet on a player’s number of sacks, interceptions, tackles, or other standard defensive statistics tracked during a game.

Trey Hendrickson To Record A Full Sack
Yes -135
No +115

NFL team props

Team prop bets work nearly the same as player props, but they relate to what the entire team accomplishes within a game, not just a single player.

For example, a team prop would allow you to bet on the total number of field goals a team scores within a single game, such as the Patriots scoring Over or Under 3.5 touchdowns. 

New England Patriots Total Touchdowns
Over 3.5 -135
Under 3.5 +115

In this instance, if you bet the Over, you’d hit your bet as long the Patriots scored four or more touchdowns. Of course, team props can also link to other typical scoring and defensive plays that you’ll see during NFL games.

In team props such as the example above, anyone on the team can contribute to the total number of touchdowns, not just a single player.

NFL game props

A game prop bet is very similar to a team prop bet, but it spans the events occurring within the game and does not link to a player or a specific team. For example, a game prop would allow you to bet on the total number of touchdowns during a game scored by either team. Game props commonly link to statistical totals or whether a specific event will happen, such as betting on whether a touchdown is scored off an interception during the game.

In this example, a sportsbook offers odds on the method of the first scoring play.

Method Odds
Touchdown -185
Field Goal +135
Any Other +4,500

Here bettors wager on whether the first scoring play by either team will be a touchdown, a field goal, or something else.

Super Bowl props

Super Bowl prop bets are some of the most popular bets—not to mention the most fun. 

Sportsbooks allow you to wager on the usual player props for Super Bowl, like touchdown, passing, receiving, and rushing props discussed above and just about any game-related statistic throughout the Super Bowl.

However, sportsbooks also allow bettors to wager on unorthodox Super Bowl props and exotic bets you never see during the regular season.

Exotic Super Bowl props include wagering on the national anthem length, the color of Gatorade dumped on the winning coach, or even the title of the final song performed at the halftime show.

For Super Bowl LVI, the Gatorade color odds looked like this:

Color Odds
Green/Yellow/Lime +270
Orange +300
Blue +310
Clear +520
Red/Pink +880
Purple/Indigo/Violet +880

In the end, Blue won when the Los Angeles Rams used Blue Gatorade to celebrate with their coach.

Tips for making NFL prop bets

NFL prop bets don’t always garner as much attention as conventional NFL odds, but that doesn’t mean they lack value. Here are some tips and strategies to maximize your NFL props betting. 

Find the hidden value in player prop markets Find the hidden value in player prop markets

Sportsbooks don’t invest nearly the same amount of time or resources into generating lines for prop bets as higher volume lines like the moneyline or the point spread.

Odds linked to props are generally not quite as sophisticated as regular bets. Often, especially for non-marquee players, they’re generated by fairly rudimentary readings of a player’s stat line or recent performance. 

Suppose you’re keen to dive deeply into a player’s statistical profile. In that case, it’s easier to gain an edge on the player prop than a bet linked to the game’s outcome.

If you know, for example, that a player will get a unique opportunity —think a surprise starting QB — and this information doesn’t reflect the line at your sportsbook, pounce on it.

Use our NFL scores and matchup pages to start your research, looking for matchup data, injuries, weather, and more.

Additionally, when researching player props, use Covers NFL player pages to see their best odds for specific prop markets and their recent statistical performances.

Shop around for the best odds Shop around for the best odds

While line shopping is always a good idea, it’s perfect for player and game props. Each sportsbook operates from different sets of information regarding certain players, and oddsmakers will doubtlessly have different opinions when setting lines regarding individual player or team performance. 

Additionally, sportsbooks tend to quickly factor new information into NFL game lines, which isn’t always true of new details on player props.

If there’s a player or team that you like to hit a specific statistic or fulfill the conditions of a particular prop, shop around. With a bit of looking, you’ll likely gain more favorable, longer odds than you would if you just defaulted to your favorite book.

Create a story for the game using regular games Create a story for the game using regular games

When you’re prop betting, it can help to create a narrative for how you see the game unfolding. What’s more, you can leverage the information sportsbooks are already giving you to determine a reasonable sequence of events.

Say, for example, that for Sunday’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs tilt, sportsbooks set the total at a whopping O/U 52.5. Such a line indicates that sportsbooks believe the game will be heavy on the offense and light on defense. 

The example above is an excellent game to wager on Tom Brady, adding to his lofty career totals. The information gleaned from an intelligent reading of a sportsbook’s line can be invaluable when creating a logical narrative for a game, supplemented by your research and perspective.

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