Types of Sports Bets

Types of Sports Bets


With sports betting being legalized in select US states, now is a great time to be a sports fan in the United States. Betting on sports has been illegal in most states for a long time, though, so the idea of betting on favorite sports might be a bit unnatural for most. The majority of sports have similar betting markets, so having a good idea about these most common markets can give you a good head start when making your first venture into sports betting.


Money Line

The easiest way to bet on sports is to use the money line. This is essentially a single bet on who you think will win a particular game, so it is fairly simple to understand and to work out whether you’ve won. In most sports, your money line bet will include any results after overtime, but it is worth taking into account the chances of a tie in sports like soccer where there is a decent possibility of this happening. In sports like football, where a tie is unlikely but a small possibility, you will generally get your money back if that does happen.


Spread Betting

Another popular way to bet on a team in a single game is using point spreads. In sports games, the bookmakers will create a spread based on the margin of victory they are expecting from the favorites in the game. We are then able to bet on the outcome after this spread is applied.


To give an example, if the New England Patriots were playing against the Cleveland Browns, the bookmakers might put the spread at around 13.5 points in favor of the Patriots. This means they are expecting the Patriots to win by around 13 or 14 points. We can then either bet on the Patriots with a 13.5 handicap or on the Browns with a 13.5 head start, with the odds likely to be around -110 for each.


Totals (Over/Under)

Sometimes we might not have any idea about who will win a game, or even who will win on the spread, but may have a better idea about what sort of game to expect - whether it will be a shootout or a defensive masterclass.


This is where over/under bets come to the fore. Most of the time when we talk about these over/under bets we are talking about the total points or goals in a game. The bookmakers will decide on a “line” for this total, and we have the choice whether we think there will be over or under this number of points or goals. We can also bet on the total points/goals for a single team or in a particular period of the game, among others.


Player Bets

If you would rather bet on the players in a game rather than the teams involved, then you can do this too. You can bet on a player to be the first scorer in the game in sports like football with first touchdown scorer bets and hockey with first goalscorer bets. In sports like basketball, you can bet on how many points, assists, or rebounds a certain player will get, while you can make similar bets in the NFL for how many rushing, passing, or receiving yards a player will get in the game.


Proposition Bets

Proposition or “prop” bets focus on the specifics of a game. Compared to the money line and point spread, prop bets tend to focus on individual stats like the longest field goal in an NFL game, whether a player will be ejected in a game of basketball, or which team will score the first run in a baseball game. You can bet on pretty much any detail in a sports match through prop bets.



Parlay bets have actually been legal in some states despite the laws against gambling on sports and essentially consist of multiple selections in the same game. Sometimes called an accumulator bet, a parlay consists of a few teams that you think will win their respective matches, and in order to win your bet, they all then have to win. You can make parlay bets using teams to win to beat their spreads; you can pretty much accumulate whichever bets you want in order to get the customized bet that you want. Parlay bets often have great odds due to the number of different results you need to be successful.


There are hundreds of ways to bet on your favorite sports, but the offerings from each sports betting site can differ greatly. Make sure to find the sports bookmaker that offers the betting markets and sports you want by using only the top sports betting sites.


About the Author

Dan Bradley

Ever since he was 6 years old and made the fatal mistake of asking his Dad, "What's that on the TV?", Dan has been engrossed by football, and many other sports have since had a similar impact on him. Dan has been blogging and writing about sport for the last few years, usually looking at things from the perspective of a bettor, but most of all as a true sports fanatic. From golf to ten pin bowling: You name it, Dan’ll have an opinion on it.



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