The most common questions that come up when you talk to a newbie sports bettor are “what types of bets are there?” and “what are the best types of bets to make?”.
Well, these aren’t easy questions to answer for sure. It really depends on the type of bettor you are, the sport you are betting on and the circumstances in which you are betting.
Because there are so many different types of bets available, new bettors may find it all a trifle confusing. Because of this, it’s hugely important to know exactly what different types of bets there are out there and understanding how they work.
Some types of bets are simple, others are trickier, but we have compiled an explanation of each type of bet you might come across as you go through your online sportsbetting journey. The terminology may be different in other areas of the world, so do watch out. Also, make sure you never place money on a bet unless you are totally sure what that bet is.
This is the simplest of all forms of betting out there. It can also be called a straight bet, or even a moneyline bet in the US. Many consider this the traditional way to bet and it simply just means picking the winner.
A straight bet in tennis would involve you having a 50-50 choice between two players. If it was a close competition – maybe between Djokovic and Federer, then you might expect odds that are very similar.
However, a more mismatched pairing would offer vastly different odds (check out how odds work for more information). However a straight bet or win bet would mean you picking one of two outcomes.
However, if you were to make a win bet on another sport, such as football, you also have to take into consideration the chance of a draw. This means you are upping the odds a little bit, especially on close matches, which will mean slightly better odds on offer as there are three possible outcomes – not two. This increases your risk and therefore increases your potential winnings.
This form of betting is there to either improve your chance of winning and reduce the odds, or decrease your chance of winning but improve the odds – depending on whether you are betting on the favourite or underdog. To do this, the bookmaker decides on a handicap that it awards the favourite.
An example of this might be Liverpool v Stoke. Ordinarily, Stoke would be underdogs. You might get the following odds:
Liverpool to win: 2/7
Stoke to win: 9/1
However, a bookmaker could attach the following handicap:
This would mean that for you to win your bet if you backed Liverpool, they would need to win by 2 goals. If you backed Stoke to win, then you will win either if Stoke wins or if there is a draw. If Liverpool wins 1-0 then it would be the equivalent of a draw. This could affect the odds as follows:
Liverpool -1: 12/5
Stoke +1: 23/20
Therefore, it effectively makes the game more equal. As such, you will get more even odds. This is great of you believe Liverpool will win by a big margin or if you want to bet on Stoke and believe they can hold out for a draw.
This type of bet is very simple and very popular. This is where bookmakers set a line for the number of goals, points or runs that will be scored in a match. You then decide whether the total will be over or under the number stated. Bet on higher and it’s backing the over and bet on lower and you’re backing the under. As a result, this is generally a 50/50 bet. It is very commonly used as a football betting strategy, boxing betting strategy and a cricket betting strategy.
Now, depending on whether the teams are considered to be high scoring or low scoring teams, the bookie might offer different goal/run/points amounts all with different odds attached:
Example: West Brom is playing Stoke. The bookie may offer the following Over/Under bet:
Over 0.5 goals: 1/17 – Under 0.5 goals: 7/1
Over 1.5 goals: 1/3 – Under 1.5 goals: 11/5
Over 2.5 goals: 21/20 – Under 2.5 goals: 8/11
Over 3.5 goals: 13/5 – Under 3.5 goals: 1/11
As you can see from the odds, the bookies believe that it is almost certain that at least 1 goal will be scored, but that it is unlikely that 4 or more will be scored. You then have the choice with how risky you want to go and choose the odds that reflect your element of risk.
The same applies to games such as cricket, where you can bet Over/Under a number of runs, or even boxing, where you can bet Over/Under a certain amount of rounds. This type of bet is available for most sports out there.
This can also be known as a Prop bet (proposition bet). This type of bet is generally designed to be more of a fun bet than a serious bet. This is the type of bet that serious bettors often believe they should probably steer clear of. However, that isn’t always the case. Some special bets may just be a case of guessing, but others can present decent opportunities to make well-informed decisions.
Basically, these bets involve staking your money on an aspect of the event that won’t necessarily affect the outcome of the game. An example of this might be which team or player scores first. Other examples might be:
- What will be the time of the first goal?
- What will be the time of the first corner?
- Will a player score a hat-trick?
- Will the team that scored first win?
- Which team / player will win the coin toss?
- Will tennis player A or tennis player B score more points overall?
- Will there be a penalty?
- How many yellow cards will be awarded?
There are hundreds of options available, so you never know, check them out and you could find one you could make an educated guess on.
Also known as futures, these are bets you make on a winner of a league, tournament or competition before the event has even started. This is also described as ante-post betting.
Examples of this are:
- Betting on a team to win the World Cup before it starts.
- Betting on a tennis player to win Wimbledon before it starts.
- Betting on a team to win the Premier League at the very beginning of the season.
- Betting on a darts player to win a darts tournament.
Sometimes referred to as Parlays and multiple bets. People often use these in their horse racing betting strategies. It involves making more than one selection and making them all part of one single bet. An example of this is if you want to back 5 horses to each win their next races, you would add them all to your accumulator bet.
Because winning involves being right on more than one outcome, it is harder to be successful. You need to accurately predict every single outcome you bet on in order to win. If one loses, your whole accumulator bet is lost. However, the pay-outs for successful accumulators are very appealing. Generally, the returns are easy to work out. If all of your selections are successful, then multiply the return of each selection with your wager – e.g.:
You place a £10 accumulator bet on
Liverpool to beat Man U at 5/4 (2.25)
Chelsea to beat Tottenham at 6/4 (2.5)
Man City to beat Arsenal at evens (2.0)
West Brom to beat Southampton at 2/1(3.0)
Your return would be £10 x 2.25 x 2.5 x 2.0 x 3.0 =
£337.50 – not bad for a £10 bet.
Full Cover Bets
These are also sometimes known as combination bets or permutation bets. These are multiple bets that involve picking more than one selection. However, the difference is that they don’t simply combine all the selections into one bet. This is actually a full series of bets that will cover every selection in every conceivable combination.
Say, for example, you make two selections. There are three possible combinations of bets you could make on these:
- A single bet on your first selection.
- A single bet on your second selection.
- An accumulator bet on both selections.
If you make a full cover bet, then it covers each of these three combinations. Then, each of these combinations would be a stand-alone bet and will not rely on the other bets. Therefore, if the first selection was successful, but your second wasn’t, then you’d still get a return on your first selection. However, your bet on selection 2 and your accumulator would lose. If both proved to be successful, you’d get returns on all three combinations.
A Patent Full Cover Bet
Obviously, the number of overall combinations grows as the total number of your selections grow. For example, if you made 3 selections it would cover:
- A single bet on your first selection.
- A single bet on your second selection.
- A single bet on your third selection.
- An accumulator on the first and second selections.
- An accumulator on the second and third selections.
- An accumulator on the first and third selections.
- An accumulator on all three selections.
This type of full cover bet is known as a patent bet. There are names that relate to other numbers of selections also:
- Lucky 15 (4 selections)
- Lucky 31 (5 selections)
- Lucky 63 (6 selections)
Also, a bookie will offer full cover bets that don’t include all of the relevant single bets attached to it. Bookmakers call these bets:
- Trixie (3 selections)
- Yankee (4 selections)
- Canadian / Super Yankee (5 selections)
- Heinz (6 selections)
- Goliath (8 selections)
However, be aware that you place each individual bet at the same amount. Therefore, if you chose to do a £1 Lucky 31, the total amount of your stake would come to £31 – because it’s made up of 31 individual bets.
This type of bet is very popular in football and it entails punters predicting the exact score of the match. It is a difficult wager to get right, but if you do, the potential payout reflects that.
There are many types of wagers available to you. It is important to become familiar with them if you are going to take up sportsbetting as a serious past-time. You can find most other types of bets and sporting terms in our sports glossary.