When first entering the world of sports betting even a seasoned sports fan can find the vast array of information on offer daunting. Firstly you have different odds formats, that all seem to mean very little. Then navigating online bookmakers, these people know their sports and have a huge selection to choose from, the standard horse racing or football bet can get lost in this mass of sports.
If these two stumbling blocks haven’t stopped you you may now be thinking this isn’t the type of bets I get down my local high street bookie. And you might be right, as some betting sites have moved on from the traditional ways of betting. You now have betting exchanges, these are known as peer-to-peer betting sites. Here you will be betting against other likeminded punters up to hardened pros. Then you have Asian bookmakers, punters in Asian like their bets to be two-way markets as close to 50-50 as possible, so this is what Asian bookies offer. They do this by adding handicaps to unfancied teams. And if that wasn’t enough you also have Spread firms, totes or pools type sites.
Ok, so I might have gone off on a bit of a tangent there so let’s get back to what this article is all about; explaining different bet types.
What are Single Bets
The starting point for many punters is a single bet. My first bet was at about 13 when my Dad let me pick a horse in the Grand National (with him placing the bet obviously as you need to be 18 to bet for yourself). I knew nothing of the types of bets that were possible and all I wanted was to bet my chosen horse would win. Well I now know this bet type is a single bet, a bet on an individual selection to win.
What are Outrights Bets
Outright betting is a particular favourite of mine, because it seems a lot easier to find value than in any other bet type. Of course this kind of bet comes with the drawback of also having your money tied up for longer periods of time.
Outrights often go under the name of futures or ante post betting, they are typically season or tournament long bets such as World Cup winner, league winner or Cup winner.
This type of betting is recommended to the punter with a decent sized betting bank and is in it for the long term. If you’re risk adverse and have a skill in trading betting markets this is defiantly a type of bet for you. Your whole stake will rarely be lost on a single event, small changes to the odds will be made as each event occurs, allowing you to trade out of the bet at a small loss if thing aren’t going your way.
What are Match bets
Match bets are basically single bets that are confined to certain aspect of a match. Types of match betting fall into three main categories:-
- 1×2 markets – such as full time result, half time result and next team to score
- Totals markets – Most common one being bets on total number of goals (over/under)
- Handicaps – To make for more interesting bets, bookies handicap favs to even the chances out
Although you’ll see a great many other Match markets, other than specials bets (sometimes called prop bets), they will all be derived from the 1×2 and over/under odds – bookies actually do this from team supremacy and goal expectancy, but we’ll first see these values as 1×2 and over/under markets.
What are Specials
Specials, novelty bets or prop bets are some of the names these types of bets get called. Value bets can often be found in specials as early markets are rarely fully formed. If you know your stuff you can defiantly make these an earner. The only problem being that as these are seen as fun bets, bookmakers’ limits are generally rather low.
The most common types of specials bets are non-sport related. They are bets that involve the political world, reality TV, the Royal Family or entertainment awards. But some do involve sports, probably the most popular sports related specials are that of the next manager markets.
What are Multiple bets
The number of multiple bets seem endless and all have a fancy name, Lucky 15, Goliath and Yankee to name a few. Punters love these bets as it gives a chance of winning tens of thousands from very small stakes. Also many of these types of bets give a return even when some of the selections lose.
The reality of multiple bets is they are all pretty much a combination of accumulator bets (a bet containing two or more selections, where each selection must win). For example a horse racing Yankee is made up of 4 two horse accumulators, 6 three horse accumulators and a four-fold accumulator.
A bet type more commonly found in America as this bet type works better with sporting events that are high scoring, such as Basketball and American football. Teaser bets have many different names, like big teaser and Vegas teaser, but they will all have one central theme. A changing, by the punter, of the games point line (either in their favour or the bookies) in order to get a price they are happy to bet on. Obviously a shortening of the points line is for the punter that wants to minimize the risk, but the odds will also reflect this.
What is Spread betting
Spread firms are said to have some of the sharpest odds compilers and is therefore believed to be harder to win against them. Whether this is true I’m not sure as basically there spread bets are pretty much in-line with that of traditional bookies although in a different format.
If you are looking to take part in spread you’ll need to have good control of your emotions, as the swings with this type of bet far out way that of any other bet type. The best way to explain spread betting is with an example. Take the total points spread from the picture below. Here you are betting on the total points of two teams. The spread firm (or bookie) has offered a spread of scores which they think is most likely (between 195 and 199 in this example). As the punter you have a choice to ever buy at 199 or sell at 195. Now here is the bit that can play havoc with your emotions, with every single point in your favour you win a unit stake, but for every point in the bookies favour you owe them a unit stake.
So if you Buy at 199 and stake £100 and the game ends with 219 points, you’ll earn 2K, but on the flip side if the total points end 179 you owe the bookie 2K. Sounds exciting, well read sporting index’s sales pitch and you’ll be rearing to go
What is Lay betting
Many sports fans would have made a lay bet without even knowing it. Picture a typical scene between two mates down the pub that support rival teams. “I bet you Arsenal win tonight” one says to the other, “no chance, Tottenham are on fire lately” comes the reply. “Ok, put your money where your mouth is, I’ll give you a tenner if Tottenham win, and you’ll give me a tenner if Arsenal win”.
As normal a scene this may seem they have both just layed a bet at even money. It can also be said that both have also just made an even money back bet, and both would be correct. In fact every horse bet you have had could also be called a lay bet – you have backed horse A or layed the field. Lay and Back betting are just different side of the same coin.
Betting exchange companies have just brought this type of bet to another level, now instead of just your mate, you can bet against thousands of other sports betting fans. You can also now easily lay just one selection instead of laying the field. The best way to describe lay bets is that you are betting in the hope something will not happen.
When betting exchanges (or particularly betfair) first came about, it was a massive shock to traditional bookies. They lost a ton of customers and the hearts of the betting public. Not only did they offer the ability to lay a bet you also got vastly superior odds. Thankfully for the punter, just when it seemed one firm would dominate the market betfair got complacent, letting the old school firms catch up. This has resulted in bookmakers now being able to offer comparable and sometime better odds than the exchanges. So be sure to check if backing the opponent with a traditional bookie will give better odds that laying your selection on the exchanges.
What is an Asian Handicap
Asian Handicaps cause a lot of confusion amongst European punters, but for the seasoned pro it is a betting staple. A basic explanation is Asian Handicaps are a type of bet in which each team is given a handicap (by means of goals, points, etc.) in order to level the match up. Why would this cause confusion I here you ask, well Asian Handicaps have three different pay-out structures based on the type of handicap given. You have Full ball, Half ball and Quarter ball handicaps. This bet type is a two-way market, meaning one side or the other wins – draws aren’t an option.
Full ball Asian Handicap – is when a full integer is given as a handicap, like plus or minus one goal. Obviously with full ball Asian Handicaps a draw is very likely, but isn’t an option in the betting. So when this happens (called a push) the bookie returns all stakes.
Half ball Asian Handicap – by far the most popular of the three types of handicap. Here any handicap given will end with a half, 0.5, 1.5, 2.5 etc. This takes out any chance of there being a draw and now your bet can only win or lose.
Quarter ball Asian Handicap – The trickiest of the three. The bet should really be seen as a combination bet as it is actually two bets in one. A full ball handicap and a half ball. The handicap is given in quarter goals; if it ends in a .25 then it’s rounded down to a full integer for the full ball part whereas if ending in .75 it is rounded up. For example 1.25 Asian Handicap would be a 1 full ball handicap and a 1.5 half ball handicap bet.
Sports lottery bets
These types of bets don’t really have a name but I have called them lottery bets due to the massive pay-outs and the chances you have of actually winning. For horse racing punters the most popular lottery bet is the Scoop 6 and for football fans it is the Colossus.
Scoop 6 is a rollover prize pool that increase in proportion to the amount of money bet. This bet is offered by totesport.com and is syndicated to other bookmakers. The prize pool for winning this has been known to get as high as ten million.
Colossus is a relatively new bet to the market; it has a fixed prize pool, the biggest one currently being ten million. What you need to do to win this money is correctly pick the correct score of the rounds selected games. You would get a better pay-out for this had you selected all the correct scores with a traditional bookies, but unfortunately all bookmakers have an upper limit you can win with a single bet (the highest I’ve seen is two million)
What is Live betting
This bet type creates a lot of excitement. During the advert breaks on any live game you will see a host of betting companies telling you what the current in-play odds are. It is the typical “fast cash fun” that can be had at the casinos – next card, next corner, next goal etc. It is not really its own type of bet as it is actually just a host of the other bet types discussed in this article, but due to its ever growing popularity I though it deserved a special mention.
What are Forecast bets
These are generally only offered for horse racing and dog racing, although you will find some bookmakers offering it for other types of outrights. You will have to feel rather lucky to be placing this bet as not only do you need to correctly predict the winner of a race but also who will come second. There are three types of forecasts bets, straight forecast, reversed forecast and combination forecast, all with a different twist on selecting the first and second place finisher.
You also have tricasts and the same three types of bets but with tricasts you need to pick the first three finishers. Read here for more on forecast betting.
What is Each way betting
A bet type new punters love as it gives a bit of insurance should your horse just fail to win. This is actually two bets, and as would happen if placing two bets, you have to give the bookie double stakes. The first portion of the bet is a simple win bet (or single) and the second portion is a place bet (see below).
Check our article on each-way betting for the best time to place this type of bet.
What are Place bets
A place bet is very rarely offered by bookmakers as a bet in itself as they normally only offer it as part of an each-way bet, but you can find this bet on the exchanges. Depending on the sport and the number of participants the pay-out terms from bookmakers differ, and in horse racing it changes depending on the type of race. The pay-out odds are a fraction of the win odds, 1/4 of the win odds for example, and is paid if your selection finishes within a set number of finishing places – first three finishers.
With betting exchanges this is very different, you still get a return based on finishing position but here you will have odds that aren’t a set fraction of the win odds, although they do normally come pretty close.
What are Cash out bets
A relatively new type of betting; the cash out button. From what I recall (and I’m happy for anyone to correct me in the comments section) befair was the first to offer this option, but is slowly being added by many of the main stream bookmakers. Cash out, is the ability to get out of your bet before the end of the event. So if you bet on Liverpool to beat Everton and in the 80th minute Liverpool are leading by a single goal you might start to get nervous. Clicking on cash out basically lets you now lay Liverpool with the correct stake amount to guarantee an equal profit regardless of the outcome.
What is Scorecast betting
A bookmakers favourite; with a scorecast you must predict the first goal scorer (FGS) and the correct score. There is no set formula for combining this double and different bookies with the same FGS and correct score odds will often have different scorecast odds.
Bettors will argue that the price should be that of a double – FGS odds multiplied by correct score odds. Bookmakers say that once you have predicted the first scorer the correct score you predicted is now more likely to happen. I’m inclined to agree with the bookies on this, but having said that I have also seen the margin this type of bet returns for bookies – around 40%, and this is why you always see this bet type displayed in betting shops front window and this is why I’ll never be betting on scorecasts.
What is Antipost betting
An outright market that normally refers to horse racing bets. Ante post bets are normally offered for the big events many months in advance, such as the Gold Cup or the l’arc de triomphe. Make sure you know the risks with this type of bet, as if your horse doesn’t run your money will probably not be refunded
It is likely that I may have missed out a couple of different types of bets so fell free to add to the list in the comments sections.