Types of Bets Explained for Beginners | Bookies (2023)

The thrill of sports betting is unmatched. Emotions rise and fall along with those of the athletes on the field. Adrenalin pumps, optimism surges and triumph is sweet — as well as lucrative. No wonder wagering on sports has ballooned in popularity as more and more states have legalized the practice.

For those new to sports betting, the concepts of winning and losing are easy to understand. However, the many types of bets can be more intimidating. Knowing all the different varieties of bets doesn’t just give you more wagering options, it also enhances your chances of winning, because you know which bet to make when.

There’s a type of sports bet for every bettor and any situation at sports betting sites. Let’s go over the most popular, so you’re fully prepared the next time you’re ready to wager.


Also known as a straight bet, moneyline betting is the most elementary of sports wagers: You’re betting on one side to win a contest. The key is understanding the plus/minus format, which conveys how much you can win on the underdog with a $100 bet and how much you need to wager on the favorite to win $100.

Let’s use some college football odds as an example. Say Alabama is playing Missouri, and favored Alabama carries a moneyline of -500. That means a bettor must bet $500 to win $100 if the Tide prevails. Now let’s say Missouri is the underdog at +350. That means a bettor collects $350 for every $100 wagered. In any moneyline bet, the minus sign is how much it will cost you to win $100, and the plus is how much you win with a $100 wager.

Of course, you don’t have to bet $100; that’s just the standard used to set the numbers. Moneylines are easy bets to make once you know how to read betting odds, and they’re best used when a bettor has a strong feeling about an underdog to pull the upset.

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Check Out Our Complete Guide To Moneyline Betting

(Video) Betway Sport Betting Overs and Unders for beginners( easy to understand)

Point Spread or Handicap

Point spread betting odds are a bedrock wager of sportsbooks, but to novices they can take a little time to understand. Like moneylines, they’re expressed in a plus/minus format, but instead of the numbers representing dollars, they stand for how many points one team is favored to win by.

An example drawn from NFL odds: Packers -7.5 Bears means the Green Bay is favored to beat Chicago by 7.5 points. Since teams can’t score half points, the Packers would have to win by eight or more in order for a bet to collect. A bettor who backs the Beats wins if Chicago loses by seven or less or wins outright. The same wager can be expressed as Bears +7.5.

Point spread bets are sometimes known as handicap bets because the favorite faces a point handicap it must overcome. Unlike moneyline betting, just winning the game isn’t enough for a bettor to collect — the final score also has to beat the spread. The amount the bettor collects is different from the spread, given that these bets typically pay out in moneyline format of around -110.

Point spread bets can be thrilling, especially in contests where the score goes back-and-forth. They also can keep you interested in a blowout because a 24-point underdog that loses 42-21 is still a winner to the person who backed them.

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Check Out Our Complete Guide To Spread Betting


Also known as a totals bet, this is a wager typically made on the combined score of the two teams playing in the game. Bettors wager against a total set by the sportsbook, and whether that combined score will fall over or under that number.

Say you are looking NBA odds at your favorite sportsbook and you see the Boston Celtics are playing the Los Angeles Lakers and the over/under is 214. You think the game will become a shootout, and wager on the over. If you win, you collect. Over/unders are usually set at around -110, unless the total is extremely high or low. That means betting $110 on the over would earn $100 should the wager turn out to win.

The over/under is another easy wager to make, whether you are betting on the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB or college sports. You will even find over/unders set for halftime or period scoring.

(Video) What Are Units in Sports Betting? Sports Gambling for Beginners | Units Explained

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Check Out Our Complete Guide To Over/Under Betting


A futures bet is just that: A wager on something coming up in the future. They’re usually offered on season-long championships in major sports, big individual awards like the Heisman Trophy or prominent standalone events like the Masters or Daytona 500.

Futures are all moneyline bets. If you like the Astros to win next season’s World Series at +500, then a $100 wager will net you $500 if Houston claims the title. But there’s a risk/reward component: By betting in advance, you’re getting more favorable odds than you would closer to the event. But any injuries or other unforeseen issues can scuttle your team’s hopes of winning — and yours of collecting.

Futures are fun, easy bets to make, and are typically available everywhere. They’re most effective when you can find very favorable odds on a team or athlete capable of bucking the odds to become champion. Imagine if you had made a $100 futures bet on the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals, who were 1,000-to-1 longshots before that season began.

Prop Bets

Prop bets are fun wagers that don’t always require real knowledge of the game and don’t rely on the final outcome of the game. In some cases, an informed bettor has an advantage, such as a prop bet on who will be the first player to score a touchdown in an NFL game. If you know a team’s tendencies, you might be able to find value.

Other prop bets straddle the line. Will someone make a hole-in-one? Will a winning driver have a car number higher or lower than 10?

Then there are the ones that are just fun and require no knowledge, including Super Bowl betting props such as who will win the coin toss, will it be heads or tails and what color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach.

Prop bets offer an easy way for a novice bettors to dip a toe into the wagering pool. They pay out in moneyline format — more likely occurrences are expressed in minus numbers, less likely in positive numbers. Just keep in mind that you’re unlikely to make a killing on props, given how heavily they rely on chance, and sportsbooks often cap prop bets to limit their total payout liability of a longshot comes through.

(Video) Lay Betting Guide for Beginners | Profitable Tips & How it Works by Caan Berry

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Check Out Our Complete Guide To Making A Prop Bet


You’re now familiar with other bet types. Now comes the really fun part: combining them all into one big wager called a parlay bet (or accumulator bet in Europe). The more bets in a parlay, the more money you can collect. The kicker: If one of those bets loses, they all lose.

RELATED: Calculate Your Potential Total Payout With Our Parlay Calculator

Parlays can be tremendous fun, especially on an NFL Sunday or during the NCAA tournament. Parlays can be comprised of as few as two and as many as a dozen bets (depending on sportsbook policies), with the potential payout increased with each wager. A four-team parlay will pay out around 13-to-1, a 10-team parlay around 640-to-1.

Parlays most typically mix spread, moneyline and over/under bets. Amateur bettors love them because they hold the allure of a huge possible payout. But far more often, even for the best sports bettors, they prove very, very hard to win, which is why smart bettors make them a small part of their overall betting strategy.

A subset of parlay wagering is the round robin bet, which are typically two-team parlays with anywhere from 3 to 10 teams involved. With more bets in a round robin, the larger the component parlays can be. Utilizing the wagers, you construct parlays. If one of your teams doesn’t hit, each parlay the team is involved in is a loss. The payouts are smaller than a jumbo parlay but you have more mini-parlays you could win. Learn more about round robins here.

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Check Out Our Complete Guide To Parlay Betting


A teaser bet is another very popular type of parlay where the lines are shifted slightly in the bettor’s favor, reducing both the amount of risk and the amount of the prospective payout. Teasers are usually offered only on football and basketball. The amount a bettor can tease varies by sportsbook, typically between six and seven points maximum for football and four and seven points for basketball.

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The entire line for each game in the parlay is moved depending on the total tease you have chosen – the bigger the tease the bigger the reduction in payout. For example, here’s an NFL three-team parlay teaser bet:

  • Original lines: Packers (-3) over Bears, Vikings (+4) over Lions, Patriots (+6) over Ravens
  • 7-point teaser: Packers (+4) over Bears, Vikings (+11) over Lions, Patriots (+13) over Ravens

As you can see, all lines were adjusted by the same amount in the same direction. Teasers may seem easier to win because of the more favorable lines, but just like standard parlays, one lost bet scuttles the whole ticket.

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Check Out Our Complete Guide To Teasers

Ifs & Reverses

Reverse and “if” bets can also get complicated, so they aren’t very popular among rank-and-file bettors. “If” bets string wagers in succession: If I win this game, then I bet on this game. It’s a way to use a modest bankroll and your winnings to bet more often, as long as your luck holds out. Every successive “if” bet wagers the total amount of winnings from the bets before, so you don’t collect until you stop.

Similarly, there’s the reverse bet, which is a type of “if” bet that covers you against two potential outcomes. If your original “if” bet is the Cowboys win then the Eagles win, your reverse is the Eagles win then the Cowboys, raising your odds of at least a payout (though you won’t get back the amount of your initial wager). There’s a reason these are known as “exotic” bets.

CHECK OUT: Curious About Horse Racing Bets? Want To Know The Difference Between An Exacta And A Trifecta? Our Horse Racing Betting Guide Has The Answers

Full Covers

Full covers are package bets that cover all multiple wagering options within a given number of betting selections. More popular in the United Kingdom, these wagers have specific names given the number of total bets involved: such as a Trixie (four bets), a Super Yankee (26 bets) and the Goliath (247 bets).

Like American parlays, both the risk and the potential payout multiply with the more bets you add. Unlike parlays, you don’t have to sweep all your bets to collect. In most cases, winning just two of the bets is enough to merit something a return.

(Video) Sports Betting 101 | Sports Betting & Odds Explained for Beginners


An outright bet is a European version of the futures wager in which you’re betting on the winner of an upcoming tournament or a season-long competition, such as the British Open or English Premier League. Like futures, you get more favorable odds by betting early, which also increases the element of risk.

For some events such as tennis, bettors can place “each way” outrights that pay off even if their backed player reaches the final, although the amount collected will be less. Outrights in Europe are usually expressed in a fractional odds percentage, such as 100/1, with the first number being how much you can win from each dollar wagered. But you can easily convert those odds to American odds with an odds calculator.


Which bet is easiest to win? ›

What are the easiest bets to win?
  • BTTS: BTTS bet demands the punters to predict if both teams will score a goal or not. ...
  • Over/Under: This bet can work in your favor when you have chosen a smaller figure as reference. ...
  • Double chance bet: In this bet, you win money when any two from the three outcomes are obtained.

What type of bet is most profitable? ›

Football. Many sports bettors consider football to be the best sport to bet on, and it is without a doubt the most popular. Betting on the NFL and college football brings in the most sports betting handle each year.

How do you bet without losing? ›

Beginner's Methods Of Winning Bets Without Losing
  1. Carry out Extensive Research. ...
  2. Avoid Overconfidence. ...
  3. Make use of a Handicapper. ...
  4. Avoid Parlays.
14 Jul 2022

What is the safest type of bet? ›

Double Chance allows betting on two outcomes of a sporting event, increasing the chances of winning. This type of bet is commonly used in football matches. It's one of the easiest and safest bets on football because it involves two possible results.

What are the easiest bets? ›

The easiest sport to bet on in terms of beating the book is college basketball. The easiest sport to bet on in terms of accessibility is NFL football. The easiest sport to bet on for beginners is MLB baseball.

What are the different bet types? ›

Types of Sports Bets
  • Money Line Bets. Of all the bet types, the simplest and most common is a moneyline bet. ...
  • Point Spread. Another common type of bet is a point spread bet. ...
  • Over/Under (Totals) ...
  • Parlay Bets. ...
  • Teasers. ...
  • Prop Bets. ...
  • Middle Bets. ...
  • Futures Bets.
20 Jul 2021

What is the smartest way to bet? ›

Betting with your head instead of your heart is all about making smart bets based on odds rather than emotions. Sometimes it's a good idea to bet on the numbers rather than who you think will win, because this can represent a better value if the odds are in your favor.

What is a 7 horse bet called? ›

The 'Super Heinz' bet requires the bettor to pick 7 selections, which results in a total of 120 bets overall within this bet type.

What is a 7 fold bet? ›

Seven-fold accumulators – a bet of seven selections. Eight-fold accumulators – a bet of eight selections, and so on.

What is a 8 horse bet called? ›

A Goliath is a bet on eight selections taking part in various events consisting of 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 fourfolds, 56 fivefolds, 28 sixfolds, eight sevenfolds and an eightfold accumulator totalling 247 bets.

Can bet make you rich? ›

Sports betting is unlikely to make you rich unless you turn it into a full-time job and become one of the best bettors in the world. That's an extreme statement and before getting rich, it's important to remember that only a small percentage of sports bettors are simply profitable.

What is the biggest bet ever won? ›

According to multiple reports, the $75 million USD is believed to be the largest payout in sports betting history after he placed $10 million USD in bets across several sportsbooks.

What was the biggest bet of all time? ›

William Lee Bergstrom (1951 – February 4, 1985) commonly known as The Suitcase Man or Phantom Gambler, was a gambler and high roller known for placing the largest bet in casino gambling history at the time amounting to $777,000 ($2.56 million present day amount) at the Horseshoe Casino, which he won.

How do I win a bet every time? ›

How to bet on football and win
  1. Follow expert football predictions.
  2. Profit with matched betting.
  3. Keep a betting record.
  4. Change bookmakers.
  5. Stay impartial.
  6. Know football inside out.
  7. Know your markets.
  8. Take the small wins.
9 Nov 2022

How do I guarantee a winning bet? ›

Promoted Stories
  1. The favourite doesn't always win. ...
  2. Don't just stick to one bookmaker – shop around. ...
  3. The fewer selections, the better. ...
  4. Avoid the temptation of odds-on prices. ...
  5. Consider the less obvious markets. ...
  6. Make sure you understand the markets. ...
  7. Don't bet with your heart. ...
  8. Pick your moment.
11 Apr 2018

Is it better to bet early or late? ›

Here's what we discovered. Punters placing their bets as late as possible, that is just before the jump, got better odds 61% of the time compared to if they had placed their bets earlier at 11.00 a.m. on race morning. They got the same odds 6% of the time and worse odds 33% of the time.

What is the most money lost on a bet? ›

Terrance Watanabe

He placed a stunning $835 million in bets and lost $127 million of it. According to reports, Watanabe's excruciating losing streak is the longest Las Vegas has ever witnessed and he was seen drunk during his sessions.

What is the best bet in gambling? ›


Blackjack has the best odds of winning, with a house edge of just 1 percent in most casinos, Bean said.

What is a low risk bet? ›

But there is a clear difference between, for example, betting on a clear outcome in a match and betting on a favourite with a plus handicap. The probability of the second one's higher. These are low-risk bets. The odds are very low, but the likelihood of losing is also low.

What is a good 3 bet? ›

What is a good 3-bet percentage? Strong, winning players do not 3-bet only their strongest hands. At the low stakes, a good 3-bet percentage will be around 5%–9%. Players can win aggressively with 3-bet percentages as high as 11%, however generally for beginners it is much easier to play with a tighter 3-bet range.

What is a good bet? ›

to be something that would be useful, clever, or enjoyable to do: Putting your savings in a high-interest account is a good bet. SMART Vocabulary: related words and phrases. Useful or advantageous. advantageous.

How do I win a single bet? ›

How Do Single Bets Work?
  1. You place a single bet on a single outcome of an event. If your bet is correct, you win. If your bet is incorrect, you lose.
  2. For example:
  3. Baseball Team B loses the first game but wins games two and three, so you win the bet. You win your original stake, plus the winnings.
18 Jun 2021

What is a 3 way bet called? ›

Also known as regulation time bets, three-way odds are popular soccer betting options as those contests often end in a draw. Displayed below, moneylines are the most common three-way betting odds. Bettors need to decide if either side will win outright or whether the score will be tied after regulation time.

What are the 3 types of gambling? ›

Although there is no universally accepted classification, the five types of gambling are sports betting, casino games, poker, raffles, lottery, and coin flipping.

What is a 3 and 4 bet? ›

A 3/4 system consists of 4 bets which transpire from 4 picks -- four 3-pick multis (parlays). At least three of the four picks must be correct to gain some winnings - the exact amount of the winnings depends on how many of the predictions prove correct.

What is the best age to bet? ›

FLORIDA REGULATIONS REQUIRE PARTICIPATES TO BE 18 years old to enter and play in any bestbet poker room.

How do you know if a bet is good? ›

To put it another way, a wager has positive value when it's MORE likely to win than the odds suggest. A wager has negative value when it's LESS likely to win than the odds suggest. In order to make money, you'll need to find positive value. The probability reflected by the odds is known as the implied probability.

Which sport is most predictable to bet? ›

Tennis is one of the easiest sports to predict. For beginners, tennis is the best sport to predict the winner as there are no draws. It can be called a game sport.

What does F mean in horse? ›

Some useful abbreviations relating to the sex of the horse that you will find on the race card are; C= Colt, H=Horse, G=Gelding, F= Filly and M= Mare.

What is a Heinz bet? ›

A Heinz bet consists of 57 bets of equal value on selections in six separate events: 15 doubles, 10 trebles, 15 four-folds, six five-folds and one five-fold accumulator. We explain how a Canadian works as well as the benefits and drawbacks of this type of bet.

What is a Lucky 63? ›

A Lucky 63 consists of 63 bets of equal value on selections in six separate events: six singles, 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, six five-folds and one six-fold accumulator. We explain how a Lucky 63 works as well as the benefits and drawbacks of this type of bet.

What is a Lucky 15 bet? ›

What is a Lucky 15 bet? A Lucky 15 bet involves 15 bets across four different selections. Your bets are: 4 single bets, 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and 1 four-fold accumulator. Because single bets are included, one winning selection is enough to trigger a payout.

What is a Lucky 31 bet? ›

What is a Lucky 31 bet? A Lucky 31 bet framework allows you to place 31 bets across five separate selections as a single wager. So at a £1 win-only stake your total outlay would be £31. How much you win depends on how many of your selections succeed, and at what odds.

What is a Yankee bet? ›

A Yankee consists of 11 bets of equal value on selections in four separate events: six doubles, four trebles and one four-fold. We explain how a Yankee works as well as the benefits and drawbacks of this type of bet. In a Yankee at least two of the selections must be successful to guarantee a return.

What is a 3 fold bet? ›

Multiple bets consist of folds, or legs, and these are the separate selections that all need to be winners for an accumulator bet to be successful. Although it is more commonly called a treble, if an accumulator has three selections it can be referred to as a three fold.

What bet wins the most in horse racing? ›

Trifecta Bet

A trifecta is more difficult than win, place and show wagers, as well as exacta wagers, so it yields a higher payout than any of those bets. These horses must finish first, second, and third, in that exact order, for you to win the wager.

What is a Trixie bet? ›

Predominantly used in Horse Racing – but available across many sports – Trixie betting is a three selection wager that ultimately consists of four placed bets, offering high potential profits for comparatively low stakes. With an accumulator, you require every bet to come in.

Who is the richest gambler in the world? ›

Zeljko Ranogajec
Born22 May 1961 Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Other namesJohn Wilson
OccupationBusinessman; Professional gambler

Can I gamble for a living? ›

The short answer is yes, but becoming a professional gambler is neither easy nor without its financial perils. Gambling for a living invites a lifestyle that can carry significant financial risks and you ought to be aware of that before you get started.

Is there a billionaire gambler? ›

1. Bill Benter (Net Worth: $1 Billion) We will start off the list with the most successful gambler on the planet – Bill Benter. He has achieved the spectacular feat of becoming a billionaire with blackjack and betting on horse races.

Who lost most money in Casino? ›

1. TERRANCE WATANABE: $127 MILLION. Terrance Watanabe was the son of a successful businessman, inheriting the Oriental Trading Company when his father died in 1977. However, he was more interested in gambling than business, and sold the company in 2000 to turn his attention to Baccarat and Blackjack.

Who is the most successful gambler? ›

William T. Walters (born July 15, 1946) is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and retired professional gambler widely regarded as among the most successful sports bettors in Las Vegas, having a winning streak which extended for over 30 years.

Who owns the most of bet? ›

Denise Coates CBE (born 26 September 1967) is a British billionaire businesswoman, the founder, majority shareholder and joint chief executive of online gambling company Bet365. In October 2019, Forbes magazine estimated Coates's net worth at $12.2 billion.

Who gambles the most in the world? ›

In fact, the biggest gamblers in the world include countries that are least suspect. The ranking of the 200 gambling countries is based on data provided by H2 Gambling Capital.
Countries That Gamble The Most.
RankCountryGaming Losses Per Adult
6 more rows

How do you predict a game to win? ›

Therefore, here are some well explained useful tips that will give you in-depth insight on predicting match results:
  2. PATIENCE. ...
24 May 2021

What bets have best odds? ›

If you're willing to put in a little work, blackjack offers the best odds. I'm talking about a . 5 percent casino edge, depending on which table you're sitting at. (Meaning for every dollar you gamble, you'll lose only half a penny on average.)

Is it better to bet high or low? ›

If you want to make a big risk in anticipation of a big payout, high odds are the best for you. If you want to make a safe bet with little risk and don't mind a relatively low payout, you're looking for low odds.

How do you place a bet correctly? ›

Most sportsbooks make it quite easy.
  1. Navigate to your desired game and bet type.
  2. Click the “bet cell”
  3. The bet will populate in your bet slip.
  4. Enter your bet amount.
  5. Submit bet.

How can you tell if a bettor is sharp? ›

To be considered a sharp sports bettor you need to win roughly 55% of your bets or more. The sharpest pros in the world hit around 60% are very few ever exceed 65%. This means pros are losing 40% to 45% of their bets. However, this still means they are winning more games than they lose.

What country likes bet the most? ›

America has been considered as a gaming nation for a very long time. However, America is not the world's biggest gambler as many would think.
Countries That Gamble The Most.
RankCountryGaming Losses Per Adult
6 more rows


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