Different ways to bet on sports

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Ever since there have been games of chance, there has been gambling. It is one of the oldest pastimes around. As gambling has grown older, more ways to play have been introduced. The Betting Veteran has been around for most of them. Because of that, he is the best person to get information from. Fortunately, he is more than willing to share his information and teach you all about the different ways to bet.

Moneyline bets

When it comes to placing wagers on sports, moneyline bets are generally the most common wagers that you will come across. In fact, there is a good chance that you have placed a moneyline bet in the past without even realising it. It is a nice and simple wager on the winning team. No point spreads or final score predictions. It is laid out with one team as the favourite and one as the underdog. Once you have chosen the team you are going for, it is a simple case of waiting to see if it comes in.

The moneyline bet is laid out in a specific way. The favourite will have a minus value associated with them and the underdog will have a positive value associated with them. The majority of sports will have a two-way moneyline associated with them. A win for either side will settle the bet. In the event of a tie, the wager will be repaid, but no winnings will be paid. There are also three-way moneyline wagers – these tend to be mostly associated with football, or soccer, depending on where you are from, and they have the added choice of being able to wager on a draw. This means that there is no push on a three-way wager – you will either win or lose.

The way that a moneyline bet pays out is quite simple once you know how it works. Take, for example, a game between the Golden State Warriors and the Atlanta Hawks. Because basketball can sometimes have scores that are relatively close, it may be worth going for a moneyline bet over a spread bet if you think that a game is going to be close. In this game, the Warriors would be the favourite, so they would have a minus value for their odds. The Hawks would have a positive value. The bookmaker would show something along the lines of Warriors – 173: Hawks + 141. The Betting Veteran will explain the Warriors first.

The – 173 means that the Warriors would return less than the wager as winnings – so by wagering £173, you would get a return of £100 as winnings. At first glance, this may seem like a ridiculous wager to make, but you have to take into account that your stake is returned – so the total from wagering on the Warriors would be £273 from a £173 wager. The Hawks would return £141 as winnings from a £100 bet. This means that the total returned from a wager on the Hawks would be £241 from a £100 bet. Obviously, in each case, your wager needs to win in order to pay out.

Spread betting 

Spread betting is slightly different from moneyline betting, but is one of the most popular ways to wager on sports. In America particularly, it is a highly popular form of wagering on sports. It is also quite a complicated way of betting when you first come across it. Fortunately, the Betting Veteran is here to help you understand. He is going to share his knowledge with you and make sure that you have a complete understanding of spread betting.

With spread betting, you wager in a different way from other betting. With a fixed odds bet, you know as soon as you put it on how much you might win and how much you might lose. With spread betting, you do not know how much you will win, or possibly lose. This is because you are betting on the spread. What does betting on the spread mean? Have no fear, the Betting Veteran will explain all.

Take a football match, for example. If you were to choose spread betting for the number of corners in a game, then you have something like the following choices: firstly, you could have the opportunity to sell at four corners. Secondly, you could have the opportunity to buy at six corners. The selling option means that you are banking on there being fewer than four corners in the game. The buying option means that you are banking on there being more than six corners in the game. So far, so simple.

The next part is where things become a little bit more complicated. If you wager on selling at four corners with a unit price of £10, then there are a number of outcomes. If there are only two corners in the game, then you will have made a profit. This is because the amount of corners was lower than what you sold at. In this case, you would have made £20 profit. The way that this is worked out is by taking away the number of corners there were from what you sold at. So 4 – 2 = 2 means that you will get two times your unit price back as profit. However, if there were eight corners, you would have to pay out four times your unit price and make a loss of £40. This is because 4 – 8 = -4.

It is the same concept if you bought at six corners. If the number of corners is two, then you will have made a loss of four times your unit price because 2 – 6 = -4. However, if there were eight corners, then you would have made a profit of two times your unit price. This is because 8 – 6 = 2.

The essential way to work it out is that you always take away using the spread you chose and the number of corners, or whatever market you are wagering on. If you chose to sell, then you take away the number of corners from the spread you chose. If you chose to buy, then you take away the spread from the number of corners. So when laying out the sum, if you sell, then the spread comes first, and if you buy, then the number of corners comes first.

This does mean that you potentially could lose a lot more than with fixed odds betting, but by the same token, it allows for a lot more in terms of profit.

Over-under betting

Over-under bets are quite close to being a combination of moneyline betting and spread betting. They offer the ability for bettors to place a wager on a specific market being either over or under a score point. This is similar to spread betting in that as long as the market comes in at what you wagered on, you will win. It is similar to moneyline betting in that a fixed stake is placed and a fixed amount can be won. Still confused? The Betting Veteran has an example to help you understand.

If the Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland Raiders are playing against each other, then a bookmaker might offer the opportunity to place a wager on there being over 47.5 points, or under 47.5 points. This means that there are two potential wagers that can be made. If you choose over 47.5 points, then it may offer odds of -110. This means that if the combined scores of both teams is 48 points or more, then you will win your wager. If you choose under 47.5 points, then it may offer odds of +110. This means that if the combined scores of both teams is 47 points or less, then you will win your wager.

Just like moneyline betting, you are well aware of what you may win or lose, but like spread betting, you can choose an area to aim for, rather than being overly specific.

Proposition bets

Proposition bets, or prop bets, are simply bets that either will or will not happen during the course of a game. It can encompass a range of different areas from sports betting to Betting games. You may place a wager on which card will come up next in a game of blackjack, which team will score first in a sporting event, or you may even bet your friend that you can jump over a post box.

In each of these cases, it is only the one specific event that is wagered on. Everything else that happens has no bearing on whether you win or lose the wager.

Parlay bets

Parlay bets, also known as accumulators, are when you string together a number of different types of bets. This is usually done to increase the overall odds of a wager and to increase the winnings. A number of different types of bets can be used for a parlay bet. Moneyline bets, spread bets and over-under bets can all be put together to create a parlay.

The way that parlays work is slightly different though. You need to win every single aspect of your wager when placing a parlay – otherwise, you go home with nothing. So, if you chose Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion to win as separate bets with odds of +110 each, two separate wagers of £100 would return £220 profit if both bets came in. This means that a total wager of £200 would have a return of £420.

When placing the two bets as a parlay, there would be a profit of £622. This means that a total wager of £200 would have a return of £822. As you can see, the total profit is more than doubled with a parlay, but this is because the risk is much higher. By putting the wagers on as separate bets, if only one wager wins and the other loses, there would still be a return of £210 from a wager of £200. With a parlay, if only one wager wins, then there would be a return of nothing from the wager of £200. As with most things, with higher risk comes higher reward.

Head-to-head betting

Head-to-head betting is, very simply, betting on an event that only has two, or sometimes three, outcomes. Usually used for sports betting, a head-to-head bet is where you will choose the winner of a contest. In some cases, a draw is a possibility – this means that the draw will also be offered as a choice. If the choice you make comes in, then you will win your bet. If any of the other possibilities come in, then you will lose your bet.

Because of the simple way that head-to-head bets work, it is very easy to understand. The Betting Veteran was actually able to put together a list of head-to-head bets before he could walk.

Totalizer betting 

Totalizer betting is different from fixed odds betting in that the odds for your bet choice are not decided until the race has been started. All of the money that has been wagered is placed into a total pool. From there, the odds will be calculated once the event has started and betting has ended. The bookmaker will take a percentage from off the top, and then they will distribute the winnings based on the calculated odds once the event has finished. The easiest way to describe totalizer betting is with an example.

If there was a horse race with six horses racing, each horse would have bets placed on it by bettors. As each bet is placed, the total pool would increase, as well as the amount that had been wagered on each horse. Bets would be placed up until the start of the race. Once this is done, the total amount would be counted up, the bookmaker would take a cut off the top first, and then the winnings would be distributed to whoever placed a wager on the winning horse.

This all sounds relatively simple, but it is the distribution of winnings that is the complex part. For example, say £1,000 was wagered in total on the six horses. The first four horses all had £200 wagered on them, and the last two horses had £100 wagered on them. The totals would look something like this:


Horse 1 £200
Horse 2 £200
Horse 3 £200
Horse 4 £200
Horse 5 £100
Horse 6 £100
Total £1,000


If the sixth horse won the race, the first thing the bookmaker would do is take their cut from off the top of the total. So, for example, if they took 10%, they would take £100 from the £1,000, which would leave £900 to be split between the people who wagered on horse number six.

In order to do this, the money would have to be divided. The remaining £900 would be divided by £100. The total, after the bookmaker’s cut, is divided by the total wagered on the winning choice. £900/£100 gives a total of £9. This means that for every £1 that was wagered on horse number four, there would be a return of £9. So someone who wagered £10 would get £90 back – an £80 profit.

Because the total winnings are not decided until after the event has finished, it is impossible to know how much you will get in return when you win. If you chose a horse with a small amount wagered on it in the hope of getting a big return, then this could change if other people place large wagers on that same horse.

Half bets 

Half bets are also known as Asian handicaps. This is a marginally complex betting type that has both positives and negatives. It is a form of betting that removes the draw from a three-way head-to-head bet. It is usually used with football matches, or soccer, depending on your country of origin. How does it work though?

The two main forms of half bets remove the draw in two different ways. If you chose a neutral half bet, also known as a 0.0 Asian handicap, then it removes the draw by voiding the wager if a draw happens. This means that you will have your stake returned – essentially, it just gives you a refund. This is very useful when betting on football as it increases your odds of not losing by 33%. As there are still three outcomes to the game, you will have a 33% chance of winning, a 33% chance of receiving a refund, and a 33% chance of losing. Obviously, this is a simplistic way of looking at things as there are other factors in play, such as team quality, current form and injuries. However, a neutral half bet will still reduce the chances of you losing your wager by 17%.

The second main form of half bets is a handicap half bet, or a 0.5 Asian handicap. This is carried out by placing a handicap of 0.5 goals onto one of the teams. It can either be a positive or negative handicap – it depends on how you place your bet. An example of this would be placing a positive handicap on the away team to win. As long as the game finished as a draw or the away team won, then your bet would be a winning bet. This is because you have added half a goal to the away team’s total, which means that if they are drawing, then in the theoretical world of your bet, the away team have 0.5 more points, which makes them the winner. If you use this method, then the odds on offer would be slightly lower than usual as you have given the away team an advantage for your wager.

If you applied a negative handicap to the home team, then they would have to win for your bet to win. This is because in the theoretical world of your bet, they start the game on -0.5 goals. This means that for your bet, unless they win the game, they will always have 0.5 less than their opponents. This does make it harder for the home team to win and is a good way to increase the odds if you want to place a wager on the heavy favourites.

In-play betting

In-play betting is one of the most popular ways to bet at the moment. The advent of online bookmakers means that bets can be processed almost instantly, odds can change instantly, and as such, in-play markets have become a dynamic environment for bettors. What kinds of wagers are possible with in-play betting though?

It is usually based around aspects of the game – for example, the amount of points scored in the first half, the total number of fouls, or the total number of corners. These are just a selection of in-play wagers that are on offer – essentially, every regular market that is on offer to players will have an in-play variant. The main difference that in-play wagers offer is that as the time remaining in the game runs out, the odds for your in-play wager will increase. This means that on the whole, in-play wagers can offer superior value if they are placed after the game has started. Of course, this also runs the risk of the wager you want to make having much shorter odds if that outcome becomes more likely as the game goes on.