Types of bets

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Understanding the difference between the various types of bets available is a key to successful betting.  The best bookmakers offer a range of bet types, with some offering more value than others.

Those new to betting on sports may be satisfied with the more common bets. By which, we mean, moneyline, spread betting and total over/under. However, it’s important to familiarize yourself with other bet types because you could find some excellent betting opportunities.

So, what types of bets are better than others? In reality, there’s none ‘better’ than any other. The key to success is to find a bet type that suits your betting style.

The aim of this guide is to give a thorough explanation of all types of bets. Some can be more difficult to grasp at first glance, but we’ll endeavor to break down each bet type available with online sports betting clearly.

Types of Bets

Main types Of bets

There are many types of bets available on a range of sports. You have plenty of choices when it comes to football betting, basketball betting, and more. We’ve listed the most common bet types for a money wager below. We’ll go into more detail shortly.

  • Moneyline
  • Spread betting
  • Over/under
  • Parlay
  • Outright
  • Progressive parlay
  • Full cover bets

Moneyline

The most common bet in online sports betting is the moneyline bet. Also known as the win bet, with this type of wager you choose the result of a specific game.

The main reason for the popularity of the moneyline bet is its simplicity.

Let’s look at an example. We’ll use an NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors.

We head to the online sports betting site and click on the game. We see the moneyline odds as follows:

Los Angeles Lakers: +105

Golden State Warriors: -125

The plus (+) and minus (-) signs before the odds signify the underdogs and the favorites. With this example, we see that the bookies are predicting a win for the Warriors. With the moneyline bet, you simply pick who you think will win the game outright.

Betting on the NBA | A complete guide

As we’ve briefly touched upon, the plus sign demonstrates the underdogs, whereas the minus sign signifies the favorites for the game. 

The plus sign shows how much you would win if you wagered $100. The minus sign displays how much you would need to wager to win $100.

So, if you think the Lakers will defy the odds and win the game, a $100 bet would see you win $105 (in addition to your stake) if you were correct. If you go with the bookies and bet $125 on the Warriors to win, you’d win $100. 

With some sports, a third option is available. Let’s take soccer for our next example. In a soccer game, you can pick either side to win or bet on a draw. We’ll use an English Premier League game between West Ham United and Manchester City for this example. West Ham are taking on City at home.

HomeDrawAway
+850+490-370

So, we can see that West Ham are rank outsiders to win the game, with odds of +850. So, if you think the Hammers can pull off the upset and placed $100 on them to win, you’d win $850. Think City have it in the bag? A $370 bet would see you make $100 in profit.

There is also the possibility of a draw. You’ll notice the plus sign in front of the odds. This means a successful $100 bet on the draw would see you win $490.

Spread bets

Another popular bet, spread betting is slightly more complicated than the standard moneyline bet at first glance. Once you understand how spread betting works, it can offer more value than a win bet.

Also known as the points spread or handicap betting, this type of bet focuses not on a team to win, but how much they win by.

Let’s use another example to explain this. We’ll use an NFL game between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears for this one.

Green Bay Packers +3.5Chicago Bears -3.5
-120+100

So, we have the Packers +3.5 at odds of -120, and the Bears -3.5 at odds of +100. What does this mean? For the purposes of the bet, the Packers have been given a 3.5-point head start. So, if the Packers win or don’t lose by four or more points, you win your bet.

The Chicago Bears have, hypothetically, been given a 3.5-point handicap. In order to win this bet, the Bears need to win by four or more points.

NFL betting explained: NFL odds, point spreads, and more

Over/under bets

Over/under bets, also known as totals bets, are extremely common. Like point spreads, totals bets can offer more value than a standard moneyline wager.

An over/under bet is exactly that, you bet on over or under a specified number. The online sports betting site will set a number, such as total points or total goals. This bet requires you to bet on over or under this number.

We’ll return to soccer for our next example. We’ll use an international friendly between Mexico and Brazil.

A total goals over-under bet will look similar to this:

  • Total goals 2.5
  • Over: +180
  • Under: – 225

From the odds offered, we can surmise that the bookmaker believes this will be a low-scoring game. This market is using 2.5 goals as the set limit. So, if you believe there will be two goals or less in the game, you’d bet on the under odds. If you expect three or more goals, bet on the over odds.

A popular market in Europe, and one that is expected to become popular in America, is the moneyline/total goals market. With these types of bets, you bet on both the result and how many goals will be scored, over or under the given amount.

Parlay bets

Parlay bets, or accumulators, involve betting on two or more selections as part of the same bet. Each selection on your parlay bet needs to be correct in order for you to win.

So, we’ll take tennis as our next example. We want to place a bet on Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, and Simona Halep to all win their matches at Wimbledon.

We can combine betting markets to create one single bet.

Other Types of Bets

What other types Of bets are there?

There are plenty more types of bets available. Futures and special bets are popular, along with arbitrage betting, each way betting and various types of horse racing bets. Let’s take a look at those that have proven popular.

Outright betting

Outright betting involves placing a wager on the outcome of a tournament or competition. These types of bets are also known as futures. Think the New England Patriots will win the Super Bowl? Manchester City to win the EPL? 

You can place these types of bets at the start of the season and throughout. Odds will fluctuate, depending on the team’s outlook and results, but generally these types of bets are available up until the final day.

Prop bets

Prop bets, or specials, are available at most online sports betting sites. These types of bets consist of betting on markets not necessarily to do with the final score, but rather events that can happen during the game.

Examples of these kind of online bets can include first rushing touchdown, time of first goal, time of first point, will a penalty be awarded, and so on.

Some in-play markets also incorporate props bets. Time of next goal and next point scorer markets are common in live betting, amongst many other markets.

Progressive parlay betting

Progressive parlays are similar to standard accumulators, but can give you the opportunity to still win your bet, even if one or more selections lose. Let’s return to our previous tennis example.

So, we’ve got Djokovic, Nadal, Williams, and Halep all to win. If we were to place a progressive parlay bet on all players to win, but one lets us down, we could still win part of our bet. 

The amount you win in this instance is greatly reduced than if all selections were correct. Rules with progressive parlays can vary, depending on which of the online betting sites you’re using. 

Generally, though, these types of bets need at least four selections. Some progressive parlays allow for more than one losing selection, depending on how many selections are in your accumulator.

Teasers and pleasers

Teasers and pleasers are variations of combined bets. These types of bets allow you to change or adjust point spreads, either in your favor (teasers) which reduce the odds or against your favor (pleasers) which increase the odds.

Full cover bets

Full cover bets are relatively rare in the United States, but we expect that more online sports betting sites will start to offer these types of bets in the future. What are they exactly? Well, they’re a version of betting that covers every possible outcome.

One type of full cover bet is the Lucky 15. As you can guess from the name, a Lucky 15 covers 15 possible outcomes on your bet. With this bet, you make four selections. A Lucky 15 covers the accumulator as normal. In addition, it covers four single bets (each selection you’ve made); six doubles and four trebles.

Other types of full cover bets include the following:

  • Patent
  • Trixie
  • Yankee
  • Lucky 31
  • Lucky 63
  • Super Yankee (Canadian)
  • Heinz
  • Super Heinz
  • Goliath

If you’re looking to bet on these types, we recommend you use a bet calculator. A calculator can help you assess how much should be wagered and the potential profit you can make. 

If bets and reverse bets

If you bet regularly, you may have come across if bets and reverse bets. They sound complex, but in reality they’re pretty simple to understand.

Let’s start with if bets. This bet asks you to make selections in a certain order. The first selection is your first bet. If this bet is successful, you get paid out and move on to your second selection with your initial stake. This continues until one of your selections loses, or all win.

If one of your selections does lose, the bet is over. However, you do keep the winnings you’ve made on the previous selections.

Onto reverse bets. These are a little more complicated. Reverse Bets combine your if bets but cover every possible order of selection. In this way, these types of bets are similar to the full cover bets we discussed earlier.

How to assess betting value

As we’ve discussed, understanding different types of bets is key to giving yourself the best chance of success. Equally important, though, is finding betting value.

Any betting guide you find will talk about betting with value. How is value judged? This is something that can daunt bettors, particularly those new to online sports betting.

In the most simple terms, betting odds are there to imply the possibility of a specific event happening. We can demonstrate this with the toss of a coin.

So, our coin has two sides – heads and tails. If we toss this coin, there is an equal chance of it landing on heads and landing on tails. In other words, there is a 50% chance of the coin landing on heads and a 50% chance of it landing on tails.

How can we relate this to online sports betting? Let’s return to our soccer example from earlier. Manchester City are priced at -370 to win the game. This means the implied probability of the City win is 78.7%.

So where is the value? Value can be found in a bet where the probability of an event occurring is greater than what the bookmakers have worked it out as. The bookmaker has priced West Ham at +850, or have given them a 10.5% chance of winning. 

However, you’ve done your research. For the purposes of this example, you know that City are missing key players, aren’t in good form and West Ham have a great home record. You think West Ham have a greater chance of winning the game than what the bookmakers are predicting. You’ve found a value bet!

Betting offers

You’ll find betting offers available on many types of bets. The best betting offers can give you the opportunity to make extra profit, or give you risk-free opportunities.

Betting offers can be available on many different sports and markets. We’ve seen many promotions offered on run lines and puck lines, amongst many other markets.

Before you take advantage of any betting offer, make sure you read the terms and conditions attached. 

Sportsbook sign-up offers

SportsbookT&CsSign-up offer
bet365(T&Cs apply, 21+,NJ only) Open Account OfferUp to $100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Make a qualifying deposit (min $10), place bets to deposit value, once they are settled, matched amount in Bet Credits available to use. Bet Credits risk excluded from returns. T&Cs apply.
BetMGM(T&Cs apply, 21+,NJ only) If first bet loses, get up to $500 in free bets
Borgata(T&Cs apply, 21+,NJ only) Risk-free first bet up to $300
PointsBet(T&Cs apply, 21+,NJ only) Deposit $50, bet with $150
Resorts(T&Cs apply, 21+,NJ only) First bet matched up to $250
SugarHouse(T&Cs apply, 21+,NJ only) First deposit match bonus up to $250

Successful betting requires a great deal of research, patience and a little luck. We recommend that you search for the best online betting tips. These can help you pick the right bets.

Now, you don’t necessarily have to follow these tips, but they can show you how experienced punters approach their own betting. The best online betting tips come with an analysis or explanation of their choice.

Where can you bet in America?

Currently, it is legal to bet in New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. West Virginia has also passed regulations to allow online gambling. A number of other states are in the process of authorizing legislation.

Betting in these states has proven popular. In particular, sports betting in New Jersey has taken off, with some of the best sports betting sites also offering casino betting. 

The best New Jersey sportsbooks all offer the types of bets we’ve discussed in this article. You can read about the top 3 New Jersey sportsbooks here.
The most important aspect of betting on sports is to bet responsibly.

Never bet more than you can afford to lose, never chase your losses and always approach any form of online gambling sensibly.

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