Different Types Of Sports Bets

Sports betting online is very easy and much less intimidating than betting at a land based sportsbook or casino. The online sportsbooks we recommend all offer a straightforward listing of the various types of sports bets available and the odds for each bet.

The types of sports bets available will vary depending on the area of the world and the sport you are betting on. In North America, money lines expressed as a plus or minus are very common. In a European style of betting, the odds might be expressed in decimals. Here in the UK, it is more common to see the odds expressed as fractions.

So, for example, in North American sports betting, a money line wager might list a team as +160. This would mean that the team is a 40 point underdog. For every $100 wagered the bettor would win $160. The total return would be $260 (the winnings plus the original amount bet). In the UK, you are more likely to see sports bets expressed in fractions as opposed to decimals.

Straight Spread Sports Bets:
Spread sports bets are one of the most common sports bets. Spreads are intended to level the betting playing field between two teams. If the handicappers do their job right and choose the right spread number, there should be an even chance of winning or losing the bet taking into account the spread. It makes things a little more fun.

In a spread bet, the team perceived to have less of a chance of winning will have points added to their score - the team expected to win will have the same number of points subtracted from their score. Those points are known as the point spread, and are sometimes called the line or the price.

Lets say you bet on the team everyone expects to win. So you know that this team will have points subtracted from it's score - the spread - to even things up. The team must win by the point spread given at the time you placed your sports bet. If your team still has a greater number of points than the opponent after the point spread has been subtracted from its final score, your bet is said to have covered the spread and you win.

In a spread bet, the favorite team is always listed with a negative number. Why a negative number? Remember, for sports betting purposes, points are subtracted from the favorite team's final score to determine if the favorite is a winner. As you might expect, the reverse is true for the underdog. The underdog team is given a positive number because points are added to the underdog team's final score to determine if the underdog is a winner for purposes of the sports bet. Events that tie are considered "no action" - no one wins or loses. Point spreads can go up or down at any time depending on various factors like player injuries, weather, and the like. You are generally locked in to whatever the point spread was at the time you placed your sports bet. Let's look at an example. Basketball is one of the sports you will commonly see spread bets. The Los Angeles Lakers are playing the Sacramento Kings - a heated rivalry. The Lakers are expected to win the game and the spread is 6. So, you see on the sportsbook screen the Lakers listed as -6 and Sacramento listed as +6. You place a bet on the Lakers. If the Lakers win by more than 6 points, you win the bet. If the Lakers only win by 6 points, then the game is considered "no action" and all money is returned. If the Lakers win by less than 6 points, you lose the bet. Spread betting can be applied to many sports and is very common for bets on American football games and some ice hockey wagers.

Money Line Bets:
Money line bets are also very common sports bets. Money line bets are expressed in a way that tells you how much money you will get back on a sports bet. Let's say the money line bet is listed as -110. This basically tells you that you need to bet $110 in order to get back $100. Now, you can actually bet any amount that you like. But, your return will be in the same proportion - 110/100 or 11/10. So, for example, if you bet $11, you would win $10. If you bet $55, you would win $50. If you bet $220, you would win $200.

Let's look at an example. You want to place an American football bet on the Oakland Raiders who are playing the San Diego Chargers. You look at the sportsbook screen and it shows Oakland -160 at San Diego +260. A bet of $160.00 on Oakland would win $100.00 if Oakland wins (of course you also get your original bet back). A bet of $100.00 on San Diego would win $260.00 if San Diego wins (plus return of the original $100.00 bet).

Money line sports bets are very common in a wide range of sports including American football, baseball, ice hockey, golf and tennis.

Over/Under Bets (Total Score):
Over / Under sports bets give you a chance to bet on the combined total score of both teams. It's an interesting bet if you have a particular feel for whether it will be a high scoring game or a low scoring game. Maybe it is snowing and you think there will be little scoring. Or, two great offenses are playing each other and you think there will be lots of scoring. So you look at the sportsbook screen and see that the over / under is listed at 45. Now, you have to decide whether you think the score will be over 45 or under 45.

These types of bets usually lay $1.10 to win $1.00 unless otherwise indicated (the house need it's juice).

Here is a quick example. The sportsbook lists the over / under at 45 for the Oakland football game at San Diego. You place a bet of $110 on the over. If combined score of both teams is more than 45, then you win $100.00. If the combined score is less than 45, then the sports bet is lost. If the combined score is equal to 45, the bet is considered "no action" and your money is returned.

Parlay Sports Bets:
A parlay bet is a way for you to essentially place more than one bet, and bet that you will win them all. It is a sports bet that links together several individual bets. For the parlay bet to win, every one of its individual bets must win. If any of the individual bets does not win, then the entire parlay wager loses.

What happens if one of the individual bets is a tie? The parlay bet is still good for the remaining individual bets. The bet is just treated as if the tie bet was never placed. For example, a parlay bet with four individual bets would become a parlay bet with three individual bets. The bet pay-off would also be reduced to a three bet parlay.

Why would anyone place a parlay bet and take such risks. Well, as you might expect, bigger risks mean bigger rewards. The parlay bet payout is much higher than for individual bets. As an example, rather than placing individual bets on five different games, you could place a five game parlay bet and get 20 to 1 odds. You get a higher payout because it is much harder to pick the outcome of several events than it is to pick the outcome of one event.

Following are some typical parlay bet payouts odds:

  • 2 Teams 13/5
  • 3 Teams 6/1
  • 4 Teams 10/1
  • 5 Teams 20/1
  • 6 Teams 40/1
  • 7 Teams 75/1
  • 8 Teams 150/1
  • 9 Teams 300/1
  • 10 Teams 7000/1
Teaser Sports Bets:
A teaser sports bet is basically a parlay bet in which you get to "tease" or pull the point spread a little bit in your favor. You essentially get to buy points on the individual bets that make up your parlay bet, thus increasing the chances of your winning those individual bets. In return for getting the extra points, you agree to a smaller return on the bet.
"If" Bets:
An if bet is a form of sports betting money management. You may have five bets that you like this week. With an if bet, you place your money on one of those bets, and essentially tell the sportsbook ahead of time - if I win this bet, then take the winnings and put it on this next bet that I like, and so on. The next bet does not happen unless you win your prior bet.

The interesting, and sometime confusing aspect of this type of bet, is that it doesn't matter what order the games are actually played. You could make your first if bet a game that is played at 7:00 in the evening, and if that bet wins, then place a bet on the game that was played that morning. Your bet must be in before all of the games are played, and you are locked in once the bet is placed, so it really doesn't matter when the games are played.

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