How to Bet Proposition Bets at a Sportsbook by RJ Bell

The Imperial Palace Casino’s sportsbook is well-known for the enormous number of prop bets offered. The two main ways of wagering on non-team sports are “Betting to Win” an event and “Matchup Betting” which pits an individual against another individual or a group of individuals. If her opponent pulls off the upset, $100 bet on the underdog would profit $360 (plus the return of the $100 risked). Open tennis tournament, a reasonable money line would require Serena bettors to risk $400 to win $100 while a $100 bet on her opponent would win $360.

Before every major event in non-team sports like golf, tennis and auto racing, futures are set by oddsmakers. Props, also known as exotic wagers, are also extremely popular on high-profile team sporting events like the Super Bowl in Las Vegas . A NFL future bet on a team to win the Super Bowl might be 20/1 in the preseason; but by midseason, their odds might decrease to 10/1 if they turn out to be legitimate championship contenders.

Furthermore, a tennis match would be considered a tournament-style head-to-head matchup since the competitors involved directly play against each other in the event.

Matchup Betting

RJ Bell

©Pregame.com 2006

Website: http://www.Pregame.com

Betting sides and totals on major sports like baseball, basketball and football are the most common wagers available everywhere. The odds on a “field” bet are typically comparable to a bet on the favorite in order to protect sportsbooks from taking a big hit if a major upset occurs. For example, if Serena Williams faced an overmatched opponent in the U.S. The same holds true for major team sports like NFL and college football, NBA and college basketball and MLB baseball. Unlike team sports such as football, non-team sports also have multiple events over the course of a year, so “Betting to Win” obviously happens much more frequently than a once a year NFL futures bet on the Super Bowl winner does.

As you can see, there’s much more to betting than simply totals and sides, especially when it comes to gambling on non-team sports. These artificial matchups are also fake in the sense that bookmakers are the ones creating them – solely for betting purposes – and different books will often offer different matchups.

What player will score the game’s first touchdown . However, many sportsbooks also offer proposition bets (or props short) for gambling on non-team sports like golf, tennis, boxing and auto racing – including NASCAR – due to their growing popularity. Other examples of props for non-team sports include what racing team will finish highest in a particular NASCAR race (Chevy, Ford or Dodge) or how many rounds will the fight between Mike Tyson and Kevin McBride last (Over/Under 8.5 rounds).

Betting to Win

Contributed by:

It is very important to note that not all the competitors in an event may be listed, so another betting option is on the “field” which includes all other competitors not listed.

For non-team sports like golf, boxing, tennis and NASCAR, “Matchup Betting” offers an alternative to simply betting on the event’s winner. “Matchup Betting” generally involves an individual going up against another individual in a head-to-head event, such as a tennis match, and the odds are determined using the money line. Since golf and NASCAR both have pre-qualifying, not everybody makes the cut to the final day of competition, and these group matchups require all individuals to qualify in order to be eligible for action.

The main advantage of futures is that you can get appealing odds by betting far in advance of when the event takes place. For example, you can bet on:

Every $400 bet on Serena nets a $100 profit if she wins (plus the return of the $400 risked).

“Betting to Win” an outcome event like The Masters is the most common way to wager on individuals competing for a particular non-team title. These are not fixed and are adjusted by sportsbooks several times leading up to the event and are sometimes released months before an event. For example, betting on the 2006 Masters golf tournament now might get you much better value on Tiger Woods, who may be 10/1 at this moment but dip to 6/1 closer to the event if he is on a roll.

Here’s how the money line would be listed: Serena Williams -400 / #102 Ranked Opponent +360. In exchange for a lesser payout, field bettors gain the advantages of having more than one entrant that can win for them.

Proposition bets for non-team sports are not limited to “Betting to Win” an event and “Matchup Betting” but those are the primary ways to wager on them. An artificial head-to-head matchup involves competitors in an event like a golf tournament or auto race who are indirectly competing against each other since in reality they are competing against everybody in the field, not just one other competitor. For more information on how this works, be sure to check out How to Read the Money Line.

What will be the exact margin of victory

An example with team sports would be NFL futures, where you often can get much higher odds on a team by betting before the season starts. So be aware of all your wagering options and don’t miss out on the excitement non-team sports have to offer with prop betting!

What team will win the coin toss

Group matchups are another way “matchup betting” is used which is particularly popular in golf and auto racing events like NASCAR, where you can select whether a leading competitor or a few other lesser competitors will finisher higher amongst the group, with the odds again based on money lines

Betting on basketball akin to investing.

But another part of me is slightly worried. You can’t actually make bets – – they’re only for “entertainment purposes” – – but many of us were left scratching our heads about the favorites for the major awards.

That’s what sleep deprivation does to you folks.

Betting on sports is legal in Nevada and most of the casinos in Vegas have a section called the sports book where people place their bets and watch the games. I occasionally get angry emails from readers who disapprove of negative comments I make about stocks they own. When the color commentator pointed out that Tulsa is a small team, I probably did not need to act as if he was insulting my mother.


Like investing, gambling has a lingo that you need to learn in order to be successful. Penn didn’t cover, losing by 7 after this story was published. Grrr)

Why betting is better than investing

There’s also the emotion factor. If Pepperdine covered, we’d both win $120.

 Top of page

With that in mind, I have no idea what to do when my beloved alma mater Penn plays California on Friday. Sounds exactly like the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Savvy strategies

I reacted quite angrily any time one of the CBS announcers said a bad thing about a team I bet on. What if I bet on Penn with the spread and they don’t win but lose by only three? Would it make me happy to profit from a Penn defeat? This is too disturbing a thought to consider any further.

I, however, was not so wise. A friend of mine and I placed the same $20 bet on a 3-team parlay: Kent State, Missouri and Pepperdine. I maintain that getting too emotional about a stock is not a good thing. Huh? Ewan McGregor singing Elton John (quite badly I might add) is more worthy of the cinema’s highest honor than The Lord of the Rings, Gosford Park or In the Bedroom? Whatever.

Most of my friends and fellow gamblers that I talked to would stick to betting on games with the spread but I foolishly followed the venture capital style of investing in college basketball. So I did not hedge. But I, hate to admit, am a bit of a hypocrite in this regard.

My friend, being a prudent lawyer, decided to bet $22 dollars on Pepperdine’s opponent, Wake Forest. Some of the odds did seem pretty good. A sports book during the height of March Madness is a wild, profane, testosterone-charged pit fueled by greed and fear. Fortunately, a $100 windfall at a blackjack table that day kept me even for the day. Instead of P/E ratios and mutual funds, you have “point spreads” and “parlays”. Gandalf, baby!”

(Disgruntled writer’s note: As it turned out, my fears were for naught. “Best bet on the board?” observed my friend Jamey Tesler, “Ian McKellen for Best Supporting Actor at 6-1. If Wake Forest won by more than 4 points he would lose his parlay bet but win $20 on the Wake bet. Pepperdine was competitive for the entire game but missed some crucial shots in the last few minutes (the bitter loser in me would say that they choked) and lost by eight.

Moulin Rouge was listed at 3-1 to win Best Picture: the second favorite behind A Beautiful Mind. You don’t have to worry about whether or not Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski set up special purpose entities in order to keep some of star player Jason Williams’ turnovers off the stat sheet. So it would essentially be a wash. Pepperdine, a 4-point underdog, played after these two games were finished. Hey, I actually thought the Waves would win the game outright (similar to how many investors were convinced back in early 2000 that tech stocks could only go higher and higher) and even have a chance of upsetting Oregon in the second round. It’s kind of like making a covered call on an option, selling the right to buy shares at a certain price while also having a long position on the stock.

Odds for the Oscars

. Just goes to show that you can’t discount the importance of luck any time you put your money to work.

When it comes to sports, the numbers for the most part don’t lie.

Betting on basketball isn’t even as risky as you might think. All three teams had to cover in order to win the bet, which paid off at odds of 6 to 1. Example. There are even ways to hedge and minimize your losses if you really know what you’re doing. (Go Quakers!) Part of me wants to bet big on Penn (they were four and a half point underdogs as I wrote this) so I can reap the financial rewards when they win. (The spread is the number of points that the favored team is expected to win by while parlays are wagers that allow you to bet on several games in order to increase your payout.) And just as a market neophyte would be confused by a streaming quote feed, the rows of neon numbers on a sports book’s massive board is certainly overwhelming for the uninitiated.

LAS VEGAS (CNN/Money) – This will be blasphemy to hardcore followers of Wall Street, those who think of the market as a rational way to try and accumulate wealth. Kind of like the way VCs invest in many risky companies with the hopes of having one big initial public offering make up for all the flops, I made several “money line” bets on huge underdogs. Kent State and Missouri both covered. But after spending most of Thursday watching college basketball at the Paris Casino’s sports book in Las Vegas, I can safely say that betting on the NCAA Tournament has a lot in common with investing in stocks.

It would have been nice to be able to make real bets on the Oscars though. Kansas (boy did Holy Cross give the Jayhawks a scare!) isn’t going to announce that the NCAA is investigating it for improperly recognizing hundreds of points scored in Big 12 games from 1999.

Hoops junkies pore through the stats published in the USA Today college basketball special pullout section (an essential purchase for any NCAA fan) with the same amount of rigor that accountants use to audit financial statements.

Speaking of auditing, the fact that stats in college basketball cannot be manipulated is actually a reason why betting on a college basketball game might be a wiser move than buying a stock. It was totally irrational. OK, there certainly has been some point shaving in the past – – the City College of New York scandal of the 1950s comes to mind – – but that doesn’t even come close to the scam that was Enron.

In addition to the NCAA action, you can also get odds for the Oscars. Betting the money line means you think a team will win the game outright, regardless of the spread.

All in all, I made six bets on Thursday and won none, for a total loss of $100. I was convinced that Pepperdine would cover

Sports Bettor Billy Walter’s Winning Streak

He used to make his living off it.

But after 30 years of unprecedented success, the man who calls himself a Kentucky hillbilly agreed for the first time to open the door into his betting life in Las Vegas – a life he describes as one long hustle – in betting parlors, in pool rooms and on the golf course.

“What’s the most you’ve ever made on a hole?” Logan asked.

The Gambler

Extra: The “Keyser Soze” of Las Vegas?

Extra: Billy Walters’ Analytics

Extra: The $3.5 Million Bet

“Ten,” McCarlie said.

Asked if there’s anything he doesn’t gamble on, Walters replied, “Not really.”

“He is,” both men replied simultaneously, laughing.

Copyright 2011 CBS.

He bets on football and basketball, is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and has been so successful that many Las Vegas bookmakers are afraid to even take his bets.

The Super Bowl: America’s Biggest Bet

More people bet on the Super Bowl than any other sporting event. Now, he’s a very wealthy man,” Walters replied.

“That’s a lot of money,” Logan remarked.. And he showed us how the hustle worked with Gene McCarlie, an old friend and casino owner.

“Who’s the better golfer?” correspondent Lara Logan asked Walters and McCarlie on a golf course.

Asked what his biggest win was on a round of golf, Walters said, “Probably a million bucks, around a million dollars.”

Walters just missed a 60-foot putt, but after only three holes, he was up $17,000. “Probably $400,000,” Walters said.

He gambled on the Super Bowl last year and won $3.5 million.

“I’ll take 15,” Walters countered.

“How much money have you taken off him over the years?” Logan asked.

When Walters golfs, it’s mostly for fun. I lost it all in the Horseshoe Hotel playing blackjack before I went to bed,” he replied.

Walters has been almost as elusive as Howard Hughes, avoiding publicity, reluctant to reveal his secrets. All rights reserved.

“Five-to-one for birdie,” McCarlie replied.

When it comes to gambling, everybody knows the house has the advantage. Small potatoes for Walters.

On the day we went along, the two buddies decided to play for $5,000 a hole, with a few side bets along the way. I never got to bed to with it.

“Yes. Most bettors come to a sports book inside the casino, to lay their bets, wagering $2.5 billion dollars every year. Believe me,” McCarlie added.

“When I met him, he was driving an old Cadillac full of bullet holes. So, how does a professional gambler approach the big game?

“You got it for a dime!” Walters agreed.

“What’s the price?” Walters asked.

“By far. But there are some high rollers who consistently win, and it’s hard to find anyone better at winning than Billy Walters. Nevada is the only state in the country where taking bets on individual games is legal. Had no air conditioning