Different Types of Bets Explained

For those of you looking to learn about the different types of sports bets, you've come to the right place. We've developed this page with the goal of helping sports bettors of all levels gather all of the knowledge that they need on the subject. By the time you finish checking out our detailed guide on the different forms of bets, you'll have a good understanding of what your betting options are and how they all function.

On this page, our first order of business will be providing you with an explanation of all of the common types of sports bets. After that, we've compiled an additional sports betting resources section that's packed with other quality guides you can use to expand your knowledge on several topics. Finally, we'll conclude things with a frequently asked questions section to help you answer any unanswered questions that you may have.

Common Bet Types

In this section, we're going to provide you with a high-level overview of the primary types of sports bets. Along with each explanation, we've also included a link to a detailed page that's packed with even more information about each bet type. Using these pages, you'll be able to dig in more in-depth on the ones you're most interested in.

If you're searching to learn about a single type of betting, you can use the jump links below to head straight to that section. However, if your goal is to learn about all kinds of sports bets, be sure to read through each of the sections below so that you can soak up as much as possible.

Win Bets and Moneyline Bets

Win and moneyline bets are interchangeable. Although said differently, they both mean the same thing. However, depending on where you reside, it may be called one thing over the other. In the United States, most folks refer to this type of bet as a moneyline wager. Around the rest of the globe, the same kind of wager is called a win bet.

No matter what you call it, this type of bet is the most basic one of them all. With this type of wager, you'll simply be selecting who you believe will win the game or match that you're betting on.

Here's a sample for you: if you're betting on an upcoming NBA game between the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat, you'd need to determine which team you think will win. If you believe that Miami will come out on top, you will place a win bet on Miami. If Miami goes on to win the game, you'll also win your wager! It's that simple!

If you'd like to learn more information about moneyline and win bets, we've included a link below to our page dedicated to this type of wager. Just click on the link below to view our in-depth coverage of this bet type.

Totals and Over/Under Bets

This type of wager also has two interchangeable names associated with it. Folks in the United States most often refer to this bet type as a total, while the rest of the globe typically calls it an over/under bet. Once again, regardless of the name, both refer to the same type of sports bet.

Totals are another very simple wager that can be great for beginners to use in conjunction with win bets. With a totals bet, the sportsbook will issue a specified total associated with a sporting event. In many cases, this total is tied to the number of points scored in the game. When placing this type of wager, you'll have to decide if you think the total will actually come in over or under the number set by the sportsbook.

Let's look at an example. If we circle back to that same Miami Heat versus Chicago Bulls game, a sportsbook may set a totals line at 199 points. If you believe that both teams combined will score more than 199 points in the game, you will bet the over. Conversely, if you feel like the teams will have a combined score less than that, you'd bet the under. If you pick correctly, you'll win your totals bet.

If you're new to over/under bets, we've developed a page with more detailed information if you'd like to learn more. Just click below to gain a deeper understanding of this type of sports bet.

Point Spread and Handicap Betting

Another type of bet that you can place on many sporting events is a point spread wager. This type of wager is used very commonly in the United States. Another similar kind of bet is also common in parts of Europe and other places around the globe. In these places, this type of wager is referred to as handicap betting.

The core idea behind both of these wager types is the same. It all starts with a sportsbook determining which team they think is favored to win the match. Once they have that done, they'll then assign a total number of points they believe that team will win the game by. It's up to you to then decide if you think that the pick by the sportsbook is over or understated.

Here's an example to help you visualize this: in an upcoming game with the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat, a sportsbook has posted a point spread of 5 points in favor of Miami. In short, that means that the sportsbook expects Miami to win by that many points. If you were placing a point spread wager on this game, you'd have to choose if you think the sportsbook is high or low.

If you think that Miami will win the game by at least five points or more, you will bet on Miami. However, if you believe that Chicago will win the game or lose by 4 points or less, then you'd wager on Chicago. To win this bet type, you'll have to correctly select from one of the two options above.

To gain a deeper understanding of these wager types, don't miss out on the link below. Here, you'll be able to soak up more information about point spreads and handicap betting.

Futures and Outright Bets

In the sports betting world, futures bets and outright bets also mean the same thing. With this type of sports wager, you'll be selecting the winner of an overall tournament, competition, or league. In most cases, you're making your pick well in advance of the actual sporting event happening. It's because of this that the term "futures" is associated with these bets.

For example, you might bet on the winner of the NBA Finals before the next season actually starts. Another sample is if you bet on the winner of the Super Bowl before a single NFL game was played for the current season. In both of these examples, you're placing a wager well in advance of the actual event happening.

Because most of these outright bets are placed so far ahead of their completion, they can be tough to pick correctly. When betting on a sport before the season begins, you don't have a ton of information about how a particular team will perform. Due to this, the payouts associated with them can be very handsome. However, it's important to keep in mind that the attractive payouts mean that they are risky bets.

We've also developed a page dedicated to futures and outright bets. You can utilize this page to gain a deeper understanding of these types of wagers if you'd like to begin placing them as a part of your sports betting strategy. To view this page, click below.

Proposition Bets and Specials

If you're looking for something a bit different than a standard sports bet, you might consider placing a proposition bet. Also known as prop bets or specials, these types of wagers can be on just about anything.

As an example, you can place prop bets on which team or player will score first in a game. Other prop bets include the time of the first goal in a soccer match or which team player will score the first run in a game. These samples hardly scratch the surface on different prop bets that you can place. In reality, there are all kinds of different things that you can bet on using this type of wager.

If you'd like to view more information about prop bets and see other samples of them, be sure to check out the link below. It will take you to our detailed page on prop bets where you can learn more about them.

Parlays and Accumulators

When it comes to parlays and accumulators, things begin to get a bit more complicated. Because of this, these types of sports betting wagers should not be used by beginners. With these types of bets, you'll actually select a string of picks as part of one single wager.

For example, if you're betting on horse racing, you can place an accumulator bet on the winner of six different races. To win this wager, your picks would need to be accurate for all six races. If just a single one of your picks is incorrect, you'll lose the bet and your stake.

Due to the string of picks associated with parlays and accumulators, these bets are very risky. That means that you can earn high payouts, but it is less likely that you'll get them correct. Because of this, we'd suggest you only place smaller wagers when using these bet types.

Teasers and Pleasers

Taking the idea behind accumulators to more complicated heights brings us to teasers and pleasers. These bet types are similar to parlays and accumulators in that you'll make multiple selections as part of your bet. However, there are some critical differences between them all.

With teasers, you'll pick the string of bets that you want to make. Next, you can move around the point spreads in your favor to help give you a better chance of winning the wager. This gives you a big leg up over a standard parlay-style bet.

Conversely, you could also place a pleaser bet which makes it harder for you to win. With this type of wager, you'll actually move the point spreads out of favor. Here, you'll have a disadvantage to winning compared to a standard parlay bet. However, since it is a harder wager, the potential payouts will be higher if you're able to win the wager.

Because teasers and pleasers are different in how they function, we've made a dedicated page for each one of them. If you'd like to learn more information on one or both, you can use the links below.

If Bets and Reverse Bets

Some of the hardest wagers to understand are if and reverse bets. At their core, these bets are ones where you'll make multiple selections. However, depending on your picks, how things play out can change.

For example, with if bets, you'll kick things off by picking two or more wagers joined by a common cause. With this type of wager, if your initial pick is incorrect, all subsequent wagers are off. Because of this, you have reduced risk with if bets, which makes them considered safer options than standard parlay wagers.

With reverse bets, you're essentially combining two if bets into one. For the first portion of the wager, you'll place an if wager on your first and then your second selection. Next, there will be another if bet in place for your second selection followed by your first one. In short, reverse bets work in both ways.

Due to the complexity of if and reverse bets, we'd strongly suggest you check out the link below before placing any real money bets using them. On our in-depth page about these bet types, we'll give you a deeper explanation along with other samples that you can use to grasp precisely how they function.

Permutation Betting

Rounding out our explanation of common bet types brings us to permutation betting. This type of sports betting is one of the most complicated ones to understand. With this wager type, you'll make multiple selections and place numerous wagers through the combination of the selections. This bet type is another one that should not be used by beginners due to how difficult these wagers are.

If you'd like to dig more into permutation betting, be sure to check out the link below. It will take you to our detailed page focused solely on this bet type. Here, you'll find sample permutation bets and a more in-depth explanation of how they work. Once you see a handful of samples from this page, you should have a good understanding of these complicated wagers.

Additional Resources

We didn't want to leave you without also offering some of our other top-notch sports betting-related resources. Below, we've included links to some of our most popular and helpful guides on many different things. If you're seeking to increase your knowledge of sports betting, there's something below to help you learn more.

Beginner's Guides to Sports Betting

If you're on this page because you're new to sports betting in general, then the links below are your new best friends. These links are our two best sports betting beginner's guides. In these two guides, you'll get a firm understanding of sports betting basics so that you can begin placing wagers quickly. Even if you have some knowledge of sports betting, these pages are worth a quick scan to make sure that you're informed on all of the critical topics.

Sports Betting Essentials

For those of you that are experienced sports bettors, you'll want to get things started at our sports betting essentials page. This page is also an excellent spot for beginners that have worked through our two guides above. On our essentials page, we'll dive deeper into more advanced sports betting strategies that you can use to elevate your sports betting knowledge to more than just the basics.

Odds Converter

While you're making sports bets online, you may occasionally come across an online sportsbook posting odds in a format that you're not the most comfortable with. If that's the case, all hope is not lost. By using the link below to our proprietary odds converter page, you can take odds of any format and convert them into another. By doing this, you'll always make sure that you understand the odds of a wager before you risk real money on it.

Suggested Sports Betting Sites

If you don't already have an online sports betting home, we've got some great suggestions for you. Below, you'll find links to a few of our pages dedicated to different sports betting sites. Up first, we've got our page on the best all-around sports betting sites. Next, there are also links to our pages for the best mobile sports betting sites and online sportsbooks for live betting. No matter what you're looking for, these pages will help you find a legit and trusted website to do all of your sports betting.


Hopefully, you've gained the knowledge on bet types that you came here for. If you've never visited our site before, we'd encourage you to poke around and see all of the other excellent resources that we have relating to sports betting. We've developed this site to help gamblers of all skill levels elevate their betting to all new heights. Thank you for dropping by, and best of luck in all of your future sports wagers!

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we've included a handful of FAQs relating to the different types of sports bets. If you still have some questions after checking out the rest of what this page has to offer, we hope that this portion will help you locate the answers you need. To view the answer to one of the questions, you just need to click on the question itself.

I'm New to Sports Betting. Which Bet Type Should I Start With?

Those of you that are new to betting on sports should stick with more basic wagers while you get a firm understanding of how sports betting works. Specifically, we'd suggest you start with win, moneyline, spread, and over/under bets. Once you're comfortable with these bet types, you can then consider some of the more advanced bet types like parlays.

How Much Should I Bet?

We can't provide an answer here that will work for all individuals reading this page. The amount of money that you should bet on any particular bet will depend on several factors. Some of those factors are your risk tolerance, the type of bet you're making, and the size of your betting bankroll.

If you don't already have a bankroll management plan established, that would be something we'd urge you to develop as soon as possible. Bankroll management plans will assist you in determining how much you should bet. Instead of betting your entire bankroll at once, you'll bet a small portion of your bankroll to help extend the life of it. To learn more about bankroll management and learn how you can establish a plan for you, check out the link below.

Do I Have to Use All of These Bet Types?

Absolutely not. If you're happy betting using just one of two of the sports betting types listed above, that's perfectly fine. Ultimately, it's up to you to choose which wager types you'll utilize in your sports betting strategy.

Are All of These Bet Types Available on All Sports?

No. Different sports and sportsbooks will have different wager types associated with them. The best thing for you to do is check out an online sportsbook and see what options you find available for the sports you would like to bet on. Keep in mind that things can vary between sportsbooks, so it's always a good idea to check out several and see which one gives you the most extensive set of betting options.

Which Bet Types Are the Riskiest?

If you're looking to avoid risky sports bets, then you should steer clear of parlays, teasers, pleasers, if, reverse, and permutation bets. Since each of these bet types requires you to make more than one selection, their risk is elevated over the other forms of wagers. The bet type with the highest risk is typically permutation betting due to how this bet type is structured.

Some of you may still have some questions that were not answered above. If that's the case, then don't miss our full sports betting frequently asked questions page. Using the link below, you can check out our full lineup of FAQS.

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