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Explaining Different Types of Sports Bets

Types of Sports Bets
In sports, there are many different types of bets that you can make. Yes, you heard that right. You can bet on a lot more than just the winner of a game, race, or a match. Sportsbooks have gone above and beyond to try and give you the most options possible and incredible betting flexibility.

But, a lot of newer bettors can get lost in the sea of bet options. It can be hard to know what you should bet and what you should stay away from. Even worse, there aren’t a lot of great options on the internet that break these bet types down in a way that you can understand. They’re usually jam-packed with confusing jargon and too many assumptions that you already know everything about sports betting. Don’t they realize that the people looking for this information are not seasoned veterans of the industry?

Well, they didn’t realize that, but we did. In this guide, we’re going to introduce you to every single type of sports bet available in a way that’s easy for you to understand. We won’t overload you with confusing terms or assume you know things that aren’t common knowledge outside of the sports betting industry. If you’re ready to learn about the different options available to you to bet on your favorite sports, then buckle up because you’re in the right spot today.

Moneyline Bets

You may have heard someone use the phrase, “Bet the moneyline!” before if you’ve been around a sports bar or sportsbook before. While this term may be foreign to you, you actually probably already know what a moneyline bet is. A moneyline bet is the simplest bet in the sportsbook. This is a bet on who is going to win a selected game, race, or match.

It doesn’t matter how many points or seconds they win by or in what manner they win. All that you need to happen to win your moneyline bet is the team, person, or entrant that you selected to win the contest.

It is important to note that not all moneyline bets are going to pay you the same amount of profit for a correct pick. This is because the moneylines account for the team being a favorite or an underdog and also the money that has already been bet. Sportsbooks want balanced action which means they will move the lines to try and encourage or discourage action on either side of the contest appropriately.

If you’d like to learn more about moneylines, check out our Moneyline Bets Guide for all of the information you could ever want or need to know.

Spread Bets

If you’ve spent any time around a sportsbook, you’ve probably heard someone ask, “What’s the spread on that game?” Curious what they’re talking about? They’re talking about spread bets! A spread bet is a wager where the sportsbook tries to level the playing field allowing you to bet on either team.

What they do is predict how many points they think one team is going to win the game by and they set that as the spread. After they do this, you are able to bet on which team you think is going to outperform that expectation. Confused? It’s okay. This bet is much easier explained with a quick example.

Let’s say that the Washington Redskins are playing against the Denver Broncos in an upcoming game. Let’s say the Redskins are having a great season and are expected to win this game. The sportsbook gets all their experts together, and they decide that they think the Redskins should win the game by 6 points. This obviously means that they think the Broncos are going to lose the game by 6 points as it’s not humanly possible to lose by a different amount than what the other team won by.

So, the spread (also called the line) would look something like this. The minus sign indicates that they are the favorite and the plus sign indicates they are the underdog. The number that follows each sign is the spread or how many points they are favored or expected to lose by.

What happens if you think the Broncos are going to play better than everyone thinks but you still think they are going to lose the game? Well, you certainly wouldn’t want to place a moneyline bet because you need the team to win in order to collect. But, this is where the spread bet comes in. The criteria to win a spread bet is that the team you bet on outperforms their expectations.

So, what is the expectation placed on the Broncos here? They are expected to lose the game by 6 points. So, all you need them to do in order to win a spread bet on them is for them to lose by fewer than 6 points. This means they can win the game and you’d win your bet because winning is better than losing by 6 points. It also means they can lose the game by 1,2,3,4, or 5 points. All of these outcomes are better than losing the game by 6 points. You can now bet on a team that you think is going to lose and still make money as long as they don’t lose as badly as people think they are going to.

What about a bet on the Redskins? What does that look like? Well, the expectation placed on the Redskins here is to win the game by 6 points. If the Redskins lose the game, that is underperforming which would be a loss. If the Redskins win by 1,2,3,4, or 5 points, that is still underperforming their expectation of winning by 6 points and would be a loss. If they win by 7 or more points, though, that is outperforming their expectations and would be a win for your Redskins spread bet.

If they happen to win or lose by exactly 6 points in this scenario, the bet would be a push, and everyone would get their money back. If you’d like to learn more about spread bets including what happens with half points, how spread bets pay out, and how to beat them, check out our Spread Bets Guide now for all of that and more.

Totals Bets

“What’s the over/under on that game?” This is the cry of the totals bettor. If you’ve heard this before at a sports bar or a sportsbook, you’ve heard people talking about making a totals bet. A totals bet is a wager on the total number of “somethings” that happen in a game. Typically, this is the total cumulative score of the game.

The sportsbook will predict what they think the total will be and then they will release that. You’re then given the option of taking the over (if you think it will be more than that) or the under (if you think it will be fewer than that). In a lot of sports, both sides of a totals bet pay out the exact same, but in some sports, there will be varying payouts based on the likelihood of each side occurring.

Totals bets are great because they allow you to bet on the flow of the game without having to select a winner. For example, let’s say you are looking to place a totals bet on an upcoming NBA game. Let’s say that the sportsbook sets the line at 207 points. If you take the over bet, you are betting that more than 207 points will be scored by both teams combined. You do not have to decide who is going to win the game or who is going to score all these points. If you think the game is going to have a lot of offense, you will take this over bet.

Or, if you think the game was going to be a defensive battle and fewer than 207 points total would be scored, you would take the under. Again, it doesn’t matter who wins the game or who scores the point. As long as when you add up the final score of both teams it is less than 207, you would win your under bet.

If you are interested in learning more about these types of bets, check out our Totals Bets Guide where we break things down in even greater detail for you.

Parlays, Teasers, and Pleasers

There are a group of bets that many think is just reserved for the serious sports bettors. In fact, though these three bets can be a lot of fun and are great for bettors of all skill levels as long as you take the time to fully understand how they work. We are referring to parlays, teasers, and pleasers.

The simplest of these three is the parlay. A parlay is nothing more than a collection of individual bets all rolled into one big bet. It can be as few as two individual bets connected or as many as the sportsbook will allow. In order to win your parlay, you must win each individual bet on your parlay. If you lose just one of the bets, the entire parlay is a loss. But, if you do happen to win all of the bets, parlays pay out much more money than individual bets due to the more challenging nature of hitting a winner.

Teasers and pleasers are variations of parlays where all of the betting lines are shifted in your favor or out of your favor. With a teaser, every line is shifted in your favor by a set number of points. This makes every single individual bet much easier for you to win. The payouts will be lower than a parlay, but your variance will also be lower as it’s much easier to hit a winner.

A pleaser is the exact opposite of a teaser. All of the betting lines are shifted a set number of points away from your favor. This will make each individual bet much more challenging to win, but the payouts are adjusted accordingly. It’s tough to hit a pleaser, but when you do, you’re going to be rolling in the dough.

While this is most of what you need to know about these three types of bets, there are some nuances that you need to understand before you get involved. Specifically, you need to understand what happens with ties, how they pay out, and a few other special conditions with each. To help you with this, check out our Parlays, Teasers, and Pleasers Bet Guide for all of this information and more.

Futures Bets

Ever wanted to bet on a team or player to win their respective championship? Ever wanted season-long action for just one bet? If the answer to either of those questions is a yes, then you are looking for a futures bet. A futures bet is a wager on something that will be decided in the…(drum roll please)…future! More specifically, it’s something that is usually decided by more than one game and is usually some form of culminating event.

For example, a bet on the Chargers to win the Super Bowl at any point before or during the season or playoffs would be a futures bet. It’s something that will take more than one game to happen. Or, a bet on Rory McIlroy to win the PGA Championship at any point before or during the season or playoffs would be a futures bet. It’s going to take more than one golf tournament for that bet to be settled. This is what we mean when we say “the future” in sports betting.

You may be thinking that picking out a winner that far in advance would be challenging and you would be correct. But, as is the case with everything in sports betting, the payouts associated with futures bets are adjusted accordingly. If you’d like to learn more about these bets and how to win with them, check out our Futures Bets Guide now for tons of useful and valuable information.

Prop Bets

The catch-all for all other bets in the sports betting world not previously mentioned is the prop bets category. Short for proposition bets, these are wagers where you get to decide whether a proposed “something” is going to happen or not. Will the QB throw more than two touchdown passes? Will the center have more than four blocks this game? Will there be a hole in one during the upcoming golf tournament?

Those are just a few examples of prop bets you might see. Obviously, they would be more specific with real player’s names, but you should get the idea. With these prop bets, you would decide whether you think it is going to happen or not and then you would bet accordingly. You will see varying payout odds on the yes and no side of the bet based again on the likelihood of occurrence and the bets that have already come in on either side.

Prop bets come in all shapes and sizes with the most important distinction being the prop bets that are designed just for entertainment purposes and the prop bets that you are capable of making a profit off of. If you’d like to learn more about this distinction as well as more about these bets in general, check out our Prop Bets Guide now.

Tips for Using These Bets Properly

We’d like to take a little time now and give you some great tips for using these different types of bets properly. When a lot of bettors are introduced to this betting flexibility, they can get really excited about the new opportunities which we think is awesome. But, sometimes that new excitement can lead to mistakes or improperly using their new knowledge.

To help combat that, we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks to ensure that you’re giving yourself the best opportunity to be a winning bettor with all of these different bet types.

Don’t Feel Forced to Use All of The Bets

Just because you have so many options does not mean that you have to take advantage of them all. For some reason, some sports bettors out there (who are clearly clueless) like to try and tell people that they have to bet a wide variety of bet types in order to be profitable. They make it sound like a stock or investment portfolio where you have to be diversified.

This is just silly (that’s us using our nice words). As long as you are placing bets that have value and practicing good bankroll management, you’re going to be a winner. Notice that nowhere in there do we say that you have to also bet more than one type of bet. You can be a profitable sports bettor sticking to one type of bet and just being good with it. You can also be a profitable sports bettor by being all over the place with the types of bets you’re making.

The point is don’t let someone convince you to make bet types that you’re not comfortable with. As long as you are making bets with value, you will be a winner.

Don’t Place a Bet You Don’t Understand

The purpose of this entire guide was to make sure you had a firm understanding of each type of bet. We do our best to try and explain things in a way that anyone can understand. That being said, there are times that things just don’t click for you or maybe we didn’t do the best job of explaining a bet. If that’s the case, certainly let us know so we can fix it.

But, more importantly, if you are not 100% comfortable with a bet and do not have a firm understanding of how the bet works, how it pays out, and what it takes to win, then you should not make that bet. Just because someone else gave you a hot tip and told you to make a bet does not mean you have to blindly follow their information.

Take the time to make sure you understand the types of bets you are making completely. If this means you have to pass on some hot tips and wait to get some bets in, that’s fine. Sports betting isn’t going anywhere, and there will always be plenty of opportunities to get into the action. There is no need to force something you don’t understand because that is the quickest path to losing money betting on sports.

Understand Liquidity Issues

This tip is fairly specific to futures bets. When you make any kind of bet, you don’t get your winnings until the bet is completed, right? Well, when is a futures bet completed? At the end of the season or tournament. This means that if you make a bet at the beginning of the season on the end of season champion, that money is going to be locked up for the entire duration of the season.

If you have a smaller bankroll where you need access to all of your funds, you might want to shy away from making long futures bets. They can be a great way to make money, but in your specific situation, it might not be ideal.

This should not be a deterrent from making these bets because as we just said, they are a great way to make money. But, you just need to aware and be comfortable with your money not being accessible until the very end of the season.

Track Your Results and Focus Your Efforts

You should be tracking your results regardless of what types of bets you are using, but that’s another discussion. What we are talking about today is specifically tracking your success or lack thereof with each different bet type. What you’re looking for is if there are certain types of bets that you are crushing with and if there are certain types of bets that you are struggling with.

If you start to see these patterns over a long period of time, then it might be time to adjust which types of bets you make. You can start focusing on making more of the types of bets that you crush at and fewer or none of the bets that you are struggling with. If you are already betting as many of the bets you crush at, you can always look to shift some of the money from the other bet types to those and bet more on each wager. Make sure that this stays within your bankroll management rules, though.

Sports betting is all about optimizing your ability to generate a profit. Sometimes this comes in the form of figuring out what you need to keep betting and what you need to stop betting. The only way you’re ever going to draw these conclusions, though, is by tracking your results including the types of bets that you are making.

More Options Online

If you’re someone who likes to bet a lot of different types of bets, you may be more interested in betting with an online sportsbook. Online sportsbooks don’t have some of the limitations of brick and mortar establishments which allow them to offer a lot more action and a lot more options.

This is especially true when it comes to prop bets and more specialized bets. You’ll get all your standard bets no matter where you go, but if you’re looking for something more specific you’re most likely going to need to go online. Even if you do find it in a brick and mortar establishment, you’re not going to be able to shop lines at all because chances are there is no way you’ll find it at another sportsbook close by.