Learn all types of bets before you decide to bet on sports games
There are always an abundance of questions in the world of sports betting, especially from those that are new to placing wagers on sports. One of the most common questions we encounter quite often is "What is the best types of bets to place?" Obviously, this is not an easy question to answer. In fact, it's rather impossible to give an answer as no bet type is essentially better than the others. It greatly depends on the individual placing the bet, the sport they decide to bet on, and the circumstances. Every type of bet has its merits when the right situation presents itself.
Those that are experienced in the world of sports betting should certainly know this, but for those that are new to placing a bet on sports games, it can be rather confusing at first. This is completely understandable and therefore we urge beginners to learn every single betting type as soon as possible. Although some betting types are far more complex than others, all of them are quite easy to understand if they are properly explained. This is exactly what we aimed to achieve in this article as we offer every bet type you'll come across when betting on sports along with easy-to-understand explanations on each of them. Below, you will find all types of bets in the world of sports betting.
A Win bet, or Moneyline bet, is one of the most popular and simplistic wagers you can make when it comes to sports betting. This is because it's extremely easy to understand and is considered the most traditional way to place a bet on sports games. This type of bet is essentially available on every sport and only requires that you pick the outright winner in a match, game, or event. Let's look at an example where this type of bet is featured in a basketball game:
- Cleveland Cavaliers: 3.60
- Golden State Warriors: 1.33
The Cleveland Cavaliers are considered the underdogs in this match, hence the higher odds. A bet of $100 on the Cavaliers will provide a total return of $360 should they win the match, while a bet on sports games with a bet of $100 on the Golden State Warriors will provide a total return of $133 should they beat the Cavaliers in this game.
Point spread betting is different to moneyline betting, as you not placing a bet on who will win the match or game. Instead, you'll place a bet on which team will 'cover the spread'. Bookmakers will create the spread, making each team equal favourites for the purpose of this type of betting. A team considered as favourites to win the match will have points deducted, while a team that's considered the underdogs will receive points. The size of a spread will determine how many points are deducted and awarded.
When you place a bet on the favourites to win the match, you betting that the team will win by more than the size of the spread. When you place a bet on the underdogs, you betting that they will either lose or win by less than the size of the spread. Although this sounds rather complicated, it's actually very straightforward in practice. Let's look at an example where this type of bet is featured in a football game:
- Baltimore Ravens: +8 (-110)
- Denver Broncos: -8 (-110)
The spread is set at 8 points. You can see this with the -8 and +8 advertised next to each of the two teams. The Baltimore Ravens are awarded 8 points and are considered the underdogs in the match, while the Denver Broncos are deducted 8 points and are considered the favourites to win the match. The -110 next to each of the two teams are the odds displayed in American format. You'll see that the odds are exactly the same for both teams, which is usually the case when it comes to point spreads.
If you place a bet on the Baltimore Ravens, you will win your bet if the Ravens lose by less than 8 points or win the match outright. If you place a bet on sports games and the Denver Broncos, you will win your bet if the Broncos win by more than 8 points. Should the Ravens lose by exactly 8 points, or the Broncos win by exactly 8 points, your bet will be a push and the bookmaker will return your original bet amount.
This type of bet is usually featured in sports like cricket, American football, soccer, tennis, or rugby. Basically, any sport where a number of points is required to be scored by a team. Handicap betting essentially levels the playing field by giving one team a head start while the other team starts with a disadvantage. Let's look at an example where this type of bet is featured in a soccer game:
- Chelsea (-2.0) 8/13
- Manchester United (+2.0) Evens
From the example above, you will notice that Chelsea is handicapped with 2 goals with 8/13 odds, while Manchester United are given an advantage of 2 goals at even money. Should you place a bet on sports games and Chelsea to win, they will need to score at least 3 clear goals for you to win your bet. Should Chelsea only score 2 goals, the bet will be considered a draw, and if they only win by 1 goal, you would lose your bet. Should you place a bet on sports games and Manchester United, they will need to be within a 2 goal range of Chelsea for you to win your bet or draw the match or even win the match outright.
Totals, or Over-Under betting, is extremely popular in the world of sports betting and very straightforward. Bookmakers will set a line on the total number of runs, goals, or points scored by both teams in a match or game. You will then have the option to either bet that the total will be lower or higher that the line set by the bookmaker. Let's look at an example where this type of bet is featured in a football game:
- Atlanta Falcons 46.5 (-110) Over
- Houston Texans 46.5 (-110) Under
You will immediately notice the half point in this matchup which means there isn't a possibility of a push. Should you bet on sports games, you will need 47 points or more to be scored by both teams combined for you to win your bet. Should you bet on the under, you will need 46 points or less to be scored by both teams combined for you to win your bet.
Specials, or propositions, are bets placed on a specific aspect of a sport and do not necessarily have anything to do with the final outcome of a match or game. Below, you will find several examples of prop bets that you will find on a wide range of various sporting events. Although we only listed a handful of examples below, you will notice that bookmakers can add 100 different prop bets or more on a single game.
- First player to score a goal/point?
- Will a penalty be awarded?
- Time of first goal/point?
- Will a hat-trick be scored by any player?
- Time of first touchdown scored?
- Will a touchdown be scored by a specific player?
- Will the team that scored the first goal/point win the match?
- Will Player B score more points than Player A?
Outright betting and Future betting are essentially the same thing. Both can be used to describe the bets placed on the winner of a specific competition, league, or tournament before it gets underway. We included a few examples of Futures/Outrights below to give you a better understanding of what to expect when you want to place a bet on sports tournaments or competition:
- Placing a bet on the winner of the Super Bowl prior to the start of the regular season.
- Placing a bet on a golfer to win the British Open prior to the start of the competition.
- Placing a bet on a soccer team to win the FIFA World Cup at the start of the tournament.
- Placing a bet on a tennis player to win the Australian Open before it gets underway.
Accumulators, or Parlays, are basically considered multipliers. This type of bet involves making more than just one selection forming part of a single bet. For instance, if you wish to bet on 5 soccer teams to win their next match, you will include all 5 teams in a single parlay or accumulator bet. These types of bets are extremely difficult to win as every single selection needs to be correct. Should one selection be wrong, you will lose your entire bet. However, Parlay or Accumulator bets are very popular as they provide massive returns if all your selections are correct.
This type of bet is essentially a type of parlay bet but offers a slightly lower risk to you. Where you will usually lose a bet if one selection is incorrect in a standard parlay bet, progressive parlays are more forgiving and more flexible. Depending on the number of selections you choose to make, you will still receive a payout even if 2 or 3 selections are wrong. The only downside with progressive parlays is that the payouts are significantly lower when compared to standard parlays. It's also worth mentioning that progressive parlays require a minimum of 4 selections, whereas standard parlays only require 2 selections.
Full Cover Bets
This type of bet is primarily used in the UK. They are also referred to as permutation bets or combinations bets. Like accumulators and parlays, they are considered multiples involving more than 1 selection. However, full cover bets don't just combine all selections in a single bet, but a series of bets covering all selections in every combination possible. For instance, let's assume you making 2 selections. You will then have 3 possible combinations of bets on these as follows:
- A single bet on sports games on your first selection
- A single bet on sports games on your second selection
- An accumulator on your first and second selections
A full cover wager will essentially place each of these 3 combinations at once. Every combination will still be considered a standalone bet and won't be reliant on the other bets. Should your first selection be correct, but your second selection is wrong, your first selection will still provide a payout. However, your second selection and accumulator bet will both lose. The number of combinations will grow exponentially when the number of selections start to increase. You will also have specific names for this type of bet covering 3, 4, 5, and 6 selections.
This type of bet is used in games like basketball and football. Teasers are extremely popular in the United States and are widely available across the country. This type of bet is essentially a type of parlay and involve picking multiple selections that form part of a single bet and all selections will either have to be totals or point spreads. For instance, let's say you select 3 football teams in your teaser bet. The spread will look as follows:
- Cleveland +3
- Washington -4
- New England +11
Now you decide to do a 6-point teaser, meaning the spreads will increase 6 points in your favour on each. Once a 6-point teaser is taken, your bet will look as follows:
- Cleveland +9
- Washington +2
- New England +17
Where you previously needed Cleveland to lose by 3 points, they only need to lose by less than 9 points. Where you previously needed Washington to win by 4 points or more, they can now lose by 1 point. New England can now lose by 16 points instead of only 10 points. There's clearly a massive advantage when placing a bet on sports games teasers, but the odds won't be as appealing as a standard parlay bet. The potential payout on a 3-team, 6-point teaser for a $100 bet will get you a return of $150, whereas a 3-team standard parlay will get you a return of $600.
If Bets & Reverse Bets
These types of bets are primarily available in the United States and are a bit more advanced when compared to parlay bets. If bets involve selecting bets in a specific order. The outcome of the first bet will dictate if the subsequent selections will be activated. Should your first selection be incorrect, you will lose your bet. However, should your first selection be spot on, the next selection will become active. You will receive a payout on your first selection which will then be placed on your second selection if you are correct. This process will repeat itself until all selections are done or when a selection loses. Let's say you pick the following 3 football teams to basically cover the spread in their next matches:
- Oakland Raiders
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Tennessee Titans
To keep things simplistic, let's make the odds for each selection is +100 and you bet $100 as your initial stake. Should the Oakland Raiders fail to cover, you will lose your bet and the wager will be done. Should the Raiders cover, you will receive $100 in winnings and your initial bet will then be placed on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Should the Steelers fail to cover, your bet will be over. You will lose your initial bet but will still receive the $100 in winnings from the Raiders covering. Should the Steelers cover, you will receive an additional $100 in winnings and your initial bet will then roll over to the Tennessee Titans. Should the Titans fail to cover, you will lose your initial bet but receive $200 in winnings. Should the Titans cover, you will receive $300 in winnings.
The Reverse betting option basically takes multiple If Bets and covers your selections in every order possible. So, let's say you make the same 3 selections on a reverse bet, you will essentially end up with 6 If Bets. Please be aware that your initial bet will be multiplied by the number or orders possible. In this case, your initial bet will be $600 for the 6 separate If Bets.
Each Way Bet
This type of bet is essentially two bets. One will be allocated for the win, while the other will be allocated for a high placing. Each Way bets are tremendously popular when it comes to horse racing and soccer matches. Let's say you place a bet of $100 on Brazil to win the FIFA World Cup at 10/1 odds. Should Brazil win the FIFA World Cup, you will receive a payout of $150 as you will receive $100 in winnings for the win and an additional $50 for placing in the top 2 positions at odds of 5/1. Should Brazil lose during the Final, you will only receive a payout of $40. This is because you will receive $50 for placing second minus your $10 bet you lost on the win.