The Big Game and Prop Bets — Gateway to Problem Gambling

Caucasian American football player, in uniform, isolated on white, with various related props.

When it comes to sports betting, placing a single bet on the outcome of a game has gone the way of half-time game analysis (long replaced by pop concerts) of the Big Game. There are now numerous bets placed within the game beyond picking the winner. In fact, with the Big Game set for Feb. 13, the number of bets someone can place can exceed the number of players on the field. These abundant ‘in-game’ bets are known as prop, or proposition, bets. 

Proposition bets represent a growing slice of the betting industry pie. They can range from whether the opening coin toss comes up heads or tails, the length of the National Anthem, how many passing yards Tom Brady throws in the first half, and what color the Gatorade bath at the end of the game is. 

These prop bets provide variety for bettors to dive into throughout the Big Game; they also create more chances to lose. Proposition bets have become an increasing part of the Big Game experience for people who only participate in sports betting once a year; it makes them feel like their odds of winning have improved. 

The Big Question: Can Prop Bets Lead to Problem Gambling?

Problem gambling can stem from various sources and past traumas — but can prop bets be a gateway into more troubling gambling behavior? There’s always the potential for robust prop markets to entice people with the predisposition to a gambling disorder to explore the wider gambling scene. 

It’s a case-by-case basis, but usually, a single prop bet or Big Game wager will not lead a person to become a problem gambler. Additional stressors and triggers must be in play for someone to begin placing larger bets more frequently, starting down the path towards potentially problematic gambling behavior. 

Understanding the Potential Triggers

Prop bets by themselves often aren’t what drives people to problem gambling. Around the Big Game, things like your financial situation, family life, significant life-changing events, and the like can all make you more susceptible to place progressively risky bets. 

Additionally, gambling in person and drinking alcohol in Atlantic City can be potential triggers during the Big Game. If you have been battling depression and anxiety, and then hit on a slew of prop bets, that feeling of euphoria could create the potential for relying on betting to feel that dopamine surge again. 

Get the Help You Need

While prop bets can appear to be harmless fun for people during the NFL’s Big Game, the potential for a problem gambling still exists. Find the resources you need to understand problem gambling and how you can find support groups to help you through your problem betting for sports in Monmouth, NJ, and throughout the state.

If you or a loved one have a gambling problem, our resources are here to help. Call our completely anonymous 24/7 helpline at 1-800-GAMBLER at any time. We’re here to help you begin your path to recovery. 


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