Propositions 26 and 27 failed by an overwhelming margin in the Nov. 2022 ballot, meaning retail and online sports betting will remain illegal throughout California for now. Still, many are hopeful that California sports betting will be legal within the next couple of years.
It wouldn’t be the first time sports betting launched in a state prior to the pinnacle of the NFL season. While point spread, moneyline, and totals are the three most popular NFL bets, we’ll explore a set of miscellaneous wagers you can take on football games.
Here’s everything you need to know about NFL game props.
What Are NFL Game Props?
Proposition betting involves betting on segments of a sporting event that aren’t necessarily tied directly to its final outcome. Player props constitute a set of bets pertaining to individual player performances. In contrast, bets targeting individual teams are team props, while those covering various occurrences within a game as a whole are called game props.
NFL game props apply to many scenarios that occur on the football field. For example, you can bet the Over/Under on the total number of touchdowns scored by both teams. Another popular game prop is guessing what the first scoring play will be, with a list of options such as:
- Los Angeles Rams: Touchdown (+200)
- San Francisco 49ers: Touchdown (+175)
- Los Angeles Rams: Field goal (+380)
- San Francisco 49ers: Field goal (+380)
- Los Angeles Rams: Any other score (+7000)
- San Francisco 49ers: Any other score (+10000)
In fact, there’s a whole list of scoring props you can find at online sportsbooks, including team to score first or last, to score first and win or lose, race to 5/10/20 points, total touchdowns scored over/under, highest or lowest scoring quarter or half, winning margin, and a bunch more.
Totals props have a list of alternate total points lines, betting on individual team total points, total touchdowns, and other similar bets. You may also wager on individual quarters of the game.
Some NFL game proposition bets can settle relatively quickly. For instance, you can bet on whether the first drive of the game will be a punt, offensive touchdown, field goal attempt, or anything else. Certain sportsbooks even give you the option of betting on which team wins the coin toss before kickoff.
How to Calculate NFL Game Props Winnings
Calculating the winnings resulting from an NFL game prop bet works the same way as other single bets.
The number assigned to each bet represents the amount of money we stand to win and the probability of something happening. Let’s take a typical NFL game prop as an example:
- Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers total touchdowns scored:
- Over 5.5 (-130)
- Under 5.5 (+105)
The negative (-) odds tell us how much money we must wager to earn a $100 profit. In this case, if you placed $130 on Over and both teams scored six or more touchdowns, you’d win $100. Conversely, the positive (+) odds tell you how much money you’d win off a $100 stake. So, if you put down $100 on Under and there are five or fewer touchdowns scored, you’d get a $105 profit.
The bigger the positive odds, the bigger the potential profit, but it also means a riskier bet. For instance, you can bet on both teams to score 4+ touchdowns in each half and get the odds of +20000 ($100 bet wins $20,000), but the chances of that happening are very slim.
Best Sportsbooks for NFL Game Props
NFL game props may vary from one sportsbook to another, but that’s not the only reason you should browse between different betting apps.
A sportsbook may have better odds or lines for a given prop than its competitor. Therefore, shopping for the best sports betting odds in California for a given market should be one of your strategies.
When it comes to NFL game props, DraftKings usually ranks at the top, both in terms of prop bet variety and overall odds. You’ll find plenty of exotic game props at DraftKings unavailable at other sportsbooks, like “team to make first coach’s challenge” for example.
Of course, there are other betting apps worth considering, such as BetMGM, Caesars, BetRivers, FanDuel, and PointsBet. These have a solid selection of NFL proposition bets and sometimes offer slightly better odds than DraftKings.
Since none of these are currently legal in California, you should go for an alternative like Fliff Sportsbook, which is a social sportsbook where you can practice placing NFL game props and see how they work.
Variations of NFL Game Props
Unlike moneylines or point spreads which are one-dimensional and almost universal across all sports, game props can be very diverse and specific.
For example, most NFL game props are different from basketball or hockey. Also, many of them don’t necessarily have a direct correlation with the final outcome. Instead of the final score, an NFL game prop can relate to a scoring segment, like the number of total touchdowns in a game, picking the team to score first, or Over/Under on the largest lead of the game.
Some NFL game props can be simple yes/no questions such as: Will there be overtime? Is there going to be a touchdown scored in each quarter? Is the first field goal going to be on or after the 15-minute mark?
The more important the game, the bigger the range of game props. That’s why top sportsbooks offer hundreds of different props for the Super Bowl or each of the games in the playoffs compared to games during the regular season.
Sportsbooks can sometimes have a different tab containing team props for participating teams. There’ll also be a list of player props through which you can predict their individual performances.
Best Strategy for NFL Game Props in California
Here are a few strategies to keep in mind while placing NFL game props:
- Try finding value: The sheer number of NFL game props presents a good opportunity to find value, as oddsmakers can sometimes be off when determining the lines and odds for a given market.
- Stay away from purely random props: Props like coin flips are the worst types of bets you can make, as they always come with a negative value. The probability of success on a coin flip and similar bets is always 50%, while the typical sportsbook edge suggests you must be successful on 52.38% of those types of bets to make a profit in the long run.
- Look for odds boosts: Odds boosts are enhanced odds that the sportsbooks usually offer on long-shot props. While they often serve as “bait,” some props can, in fact, provide good value.
Apart from these tips and strategies, we also want to point out that NFL game props aren’t ideal for novice bettors. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to stick to standard bets like moneyline, point spread, and Over/Under and move to game props gradually.
NFL Game Props for California Teams
You can find NFL game props for every California-based NFL team, including the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, and the San Francisco 49ers. Here are some of the game prop examples featuring these teams:
- San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Chargers: Both teams to score 20+ points
- Yes (-130) / No (+105)
- Los Angeles Chargers vs. Los Angeles Rams: Field goal made on the first drive
- Yes (+450) / No (-900)
- Los Angeles Rams to beat San Francisco 49ers by a margin of 7–12
- San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams: Team to score first
- 49ers (-110) / Rams (-115)
How to Place an NFL Game Prop Bet on an Online Sportsbook App
Here’s a typical route to placing an NFL game prop bet:
- Choose an online sportsbook and create an account. Registering an online betting account in regulated states entails sharing some of your personal details, including full name, date of birth, email, and last four digits of your social security number.
- Complete a deposit using one of the secure payment options, including debit cards, PayPal, Play+, wire transfer, or other methods.
- Take advantage of California sports betting bonuses and claim the sportsbook’s welcome offer, which will usually be a deposit match bonus, a risk-free bet, or free bet credits.
- Find the NFL from the list of sports and competitions in the sportsbook’s menu.
- Choose a game and find a tab containing game props.
- Click/tap on the odds to add a given bet to your bet slip.
- Review your slip, enter the amount you want to stake, and submit the wager.
Once you confirm the bet, it should be accepted momentarily. If the bet is successful, your winnings will be added to your existing balance, after which you can withdraw the money or use it to place more bets.
NFL Game Props FAQs
Betting on the NFL is big in the US, so NFL game props are some of the most popular proposition bets across all sports. You’ll find hundreds of game props on the most important games of the year, like playoff games and the Super Bowl.
All top real-money sportsbooks offer NFL game props. They’re currently illegal in California, but you can test how NFL proposition bets work by visiting Fliff Sportsbook.
Yes, FanDuel features a long list of game props on every NFL game during the regular season and the playoffs.