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Bet Types

These days there’s a lot more to online sports betting than just betting on who will win a football match, a game of tennis, a golf tournament, horse race, or one of the many extremely popular US sports. There are numerous other different betting types beyond just who will win and mastering them will provide you great choice and numerous odds with your favourite sportsbooks. 

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Accumulator Betting (Parlays)
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Fixed Odds
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Handicap Betting
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Totals
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Draw No Bet
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More different types of betting mean greater choice when it comes to deciding which markets offer the best value and best betting opportunities on whatever event you’re betting on. 

So that’s the good news but first, you’ll need to understand what those different markets mean in terms of what you’re actually betting on, how they work and what you need to do to get the most out of them. 

Here’s your need-to-know guide to the different types of sports betting. 

Types of Betting and Their Meaning

We’ll soon come to different types of betting, as in the different types of single bets that can be placed as an alternative to just the winner market. Also known as the match odds market, or 1x2 market in football. 

But first up, let’s look at different types of bets that aren’t singles but rather bets that involve several selections within the same bet. 

Single

A bet on a team to win a football match, a football team to keep a clean sheet, a golfer to win a tournament or a cricketer to be top batsman for their team are all examples of a single bet. In other words, it’s a bet that’s only dependent on one outcome. 

Accumulator (acca)

A bet made up of several selections. Each selection needs to win for the acca as a whole to win. If one loses, your whole acca will have lost. The acca’s odds are calculated by multiplying each selection of the acca by the other selections. For example, if you bet on Arsenal (odds of 2.0), Tottenham (2.5) and Liverpool (1.5) all to win, the acca’s odds would be: 

  • (£10) Stake x 2.0 x 2.5 x 1.5 = Odds of 7.5

A double is just an acca made up of two selections, a treble is made up of three, a four-fold is made up of four, and so on. 

Bet Builder 

Similar to an acca but here all the selections are within the same game, rather than spread across separate events. They’re generally only offered in football, basketball and American Football. 

If it was a football game, the Bet Builder may be made up of:

  • Liverpool to win (1.5)
  • Both teams to score (2.0)
  • Over 4.5 cards in the game (2.3)

So, the odds would be 6.9.

As with any acca, you need all selections to win for the bet to win. 

Trixie/Patent/Yankees

These are different types of accumulator bets. 

Rather than needing all the selections to win, here it’s a case of the more selections that win, the better. 

For example: a Trixie is made up of 4 bets involving 3 selections in different events. The bet includes 3 doubles and 1 treble. You need a minimum of 2 of your selections to be successful to get a return. For example, if your 3 selections were A, B and C, then your 4 bets would be AB, AC, BC, and ABC.

Patents and Yankees work the same way but just have more selections in them. The likes of Yankees, Lucky15s, and Canadians have even more selections in them. 

Betting Types by AskGamblers

Most Popular Bet Types

And now to betting types that are single bets which you’ll find across numerous different sports.  

Moneyline Bets

A moneyline bet is the equivalent of a straight bet on who will a match of say NFL, basketball or baseball, but is a term used a lot more in the US than in Europe. 

In the US punters tend to bet a lot more on close-to-even-money spreads than they do on the moneyline. 

The key reason for that is that the main spread is almost an even money/50-50 chance; ‘almost’ because the house always has an edge so won’t offer you even money (2.0) but rather 1.85, or 1.9.  

Most US punters tend to prefer close-to-even-money shots to outsiders or short-priced favourites, and some prefer not to have to worry too much about the odds. 

But back to the moneyline. Let’s say the San Francisco 49ers are playing the Dallas Cowboys. 

San Francisco are the sportsbook’s favourites and are available at -180; Dallas are the outsiders and are +160. 

When the number is negative, that’s how much you’d need to bet to win $100. So, in the case of favourites San Francisco, you’d need to bet $170 to win $100. 

The positive number is how much you’d win if you bet $100 on it and it went on to win; so, in this case you’d win $160 in total on Dallas, a $60 profit. 

Point Spread

Point spreads are types of sports bets mostly used on US sports such as basketball, American Football and other high-scoring games. By that we mean they’re games where a lot of points are scored; unlike say football where 1-0 or 1-1 are common scores. 

As hinted when talking about the moneyline, the points spread makes it a level playing field by awarding the outsider an artificial head start, the head start worked out exactly by looking at the match-winner odds. The more of an outsider they are, the more of a head start they’re given. 

Let’s say it’s San Francisco vs. Dallas again in the NFL. Outsiders Dallas are given a 4.5-point start.

The points spread will look like this:

  • Dallas Cowboys +4.5 points (Odds 1.85)
  • San Francisco 49ers -4.5 (Odds 1.85) 

Now it’s up to you to decide whether you think the favourite will win by five points or more, in which case you’d back San Francisco -4.5 points, or not. 

Let’s say you back San Francisco -4.5 points. 

Here are the possible outcomes: 

  • San Francisco win by 5 points or more- You win. 
  • San Francisco lose- You lose. 
  • San Francisco win but by less than 5 points- You lose. 

Taking the opposite side of the bet works in exactly the same way. In this case, you’re betting that Dallas will win, or at least will lose by less than five points. 

In some cases, the points spread will be a whole number without the +0.5 or -0.5. 

Where that’s the case, the bet can end in a ‘push’ where you neither win, nor lose, and just get your money back. 

Handicap Bets

First things first: points spread bets are a form of handicap bets.

Handicap bets are the generic game for a type of sports bets where one team or player is given a head start of points, goals, sets etc., as the underdog.  

So, you’d use the term ‘handicap bets’ for sports such as football (the handicap would be the number of goals in the head start), snooker (frames), tennis (games or sets) or any other sport. 

To slightly muddy the waters, in rugby -which does use points as a scoring system - the market is still referred to it as a handicap bet, whereas in the US sports they prefer to talk about points spreads. 

Over/Under (Totals)

This refers to the total number of points scored in the game. 

For example, in football the over/under 2.5 goals market is asking whether more (over) or less (under) than three goals will be scored in the game. There’s no such thing as half a goal/point so it will always be one or the other that wins. 

If it was a more high-scoring game like basketball, the over/under line might be say 180.5. 

If it was American Football, it might be over/under 45.5 points. 

In some cases, the total points refer to the number of points scored by the named team rather than across both teams. Where that’s the case, the bookie will make it clear which team it refers to. 

Parlay Bets

All acca bets such as doubles, trebles and four-folds where all outcomes need to win for the bet to win are parlay bets; it’s just another name for an accumulator.

However, Trixies, Patents and Yankees aren’t parlay sports betting types because not all the outcomes need to win for you to win. 

Futures Bets (Outright Bets)

These are a type of sports bets that involve wagering not on a single match, but rather the season or tournament as a whole. 

Betting on who will win the Premier League, the Superbowl, Wimbledon or the Formula One World Championship are all types of futures bets. 

They can also refer to such events as the Oscars, X-Factor or even an upcoming presidential election and can relate to both teams, or individual players. So, who will be the Premier League top goal scorer is a futures bets, the name coming from the fact you’re betting on something in the (distant) future rather than the near future. 

Prop Bets

The term prop bets, short for proposition bets, is a term mostly used in the US whereas in Europe you’d probably know them as side bets.

They cover many types of bets involving players doing, or not doing, certain things. 

A player scoring a goal in a football match, a golfer making a hole-in-one, a Quarterback passing over a certain number of yards, or a batsman scoring a century in cricket are all examples of prop bets. 

Prop bets are particularly popular in the lead-up to the Superbowl where punters want to bet on anything from what colour the Gatorade poured on the winning coach will be, to who will be the game’s MVP or what sort of outfit Taylor Swift will wear to it!  

Ifs & Reverses

Again, these are types of bets that you’d mostly only see in the US and in a way, are betting types that are a special form of parlay bets. In both cases, they involve two or more pre-determined bets. 

Let’s say the ‘If’ bet is made up of just two bets: for the LA Lakers to beat the New York Knicks and for Liverpool to beat Everton. You’ll always need to determine which is the first bet and which is the second.

‘If’ the first bet wins, then the second bet will come into play. Your stake will be rolled over to the second bet. If the second bet goes on to win as well, you will win have won at the odds of the first bet multiplied by the second bet, like a normal acca. 

If the second bet loses, you’ll lose your stake on that one but will still have won on the first bet.    

But if the first bet loses, your ‘if’ bet comes to an end right there and there’s no second bet to consider at all.

A reverse bet is also made up of two or more selections but disregards the order in which they happen. So essentially, it’s made up of two ‘if’ bets.

Unlike with the ‘if’ bet where your stake is dependent on the outcome of the first bet, here you’re committing two lots of stakes from the start. Both can lose, both can win, or one can win and the other can lose. Your P and L from the bet will depend on which of the three scenarios happens and the odds at which the two bets were placed.  

Sport-Specific Bets

And here are some types of bets that are specific to just one sport or only used in a couple of sports. 

  • Correct Score (Football/Ice Hockey): Normally used in sports that are low-scoring in nature, where goals or points are usually at a premium. Here you’re betting on what the final score will be and you need to get it exactly right. For example, that Liverpool v Everton will end 1-1.  
  • Innings Runs (Cricket): How many runs will the named team score in their innings while batting? 
  • Fastest Lap (Formula One, Moto GP, Superbikes): Which driver or rider will complete a lap in the fastest time during the race? 
  • First Goalscorer / First Try scorer (Football / Rugby): A market on who will score the first goal in a football match or who will score the first try in a rugby game (whether Rugby Union or League), both markets working in a very similar way. 
  • Winner Without (Horseracing / Golf): One of the betting types that you only occasionally see.

In horse racing, it’s offered on races where there’s a clear favourite and sportsbooks want to give punters a chance to guess who will be ‘best of the rest’. In other words, the named horse is artificially excluded from the race and it’s a case of seeing who does best among the others. 

In golf, it’s often offered when a player is 5 or more shots clear going into the fourth round and customers are betting on who will finish best among the field, whether the named golfer goes on to win, or not. 

Sites by Betting Type

Choose The Best Type of Sports Bet for You

As we’ve seen, there are plenty of different types of sports bets available to wager on and which types will depend on the sport in question. 

For those who wish to focus just on the main aspect of the game, who wins, the winner market will be the one to be playing.

But there are good reasons to consider other markets beyond this. 

For starters, many punters will feel there’s better value to be found in some of the less obvious markets than on the main one. 

Others may feel that they can become true experts on other aspects of the match beyond the winner market and that by focusing their attention on these they can get an edge based on knowing more about these ‘games within a game’ than the bookie does. 

For example, knowing which player in a football match may be shown a card may allow customers to get better odds on certain players than what the odds actually should be. 

Some customers may just enjoy the thrill of having a live bet that will run till the end even when the winner of the match has become obvious for some time; the man-of-the-match market in cricket being a good example of that. 

Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to decide what sort of odds they want to be betting at and which areas of the match they feel they’re best at predicting when deciding which types of betting to engage in.