Different Types of Sports Bets

Different Types of Sports Bets

A Guide to the Numerous Ways You Can Bet on Sports

Sports gambling is big business and sportsbooks are always looking to expand on the various ways in players can bet on their favorite sports. The following article defines and explains money line betting, parlays, line betting, totalizer betting, live betting, head-to-head betting, combination bets, proposition betting and teasers. Have a read and find out all you need to know in order to take the sports betting world by storm.


Betting Against the Spread

This is the most common type of bet in US sports. Oddsmakers look at an event, such as a Basketball game between the Lakers and the Heat, assign one team as a favorite and decide how much they are favored by.

Lakers +3.5
Heat -3.5

In this case, the Heat is favored by 3.5 points. Your bet would be on whether the Heat will beat the spread by winning by four or more points, or if the Lakers will beat the spread by winning or losing by less than three points.


Money Line

This is a straightforward bet on which team you think will win a certain event. The sportsbook will price up an event and the favorite will be given lower odds than every other selection. These bets are popular across all sports, particularly horse racing, greyhound racing and soccer.



Parlays are a way of betting on numerous games in one go and give the bettor the opportunity to score a larger payout. The number of selections is generally up to the individual, ranging from two to twelve. The downside of making parlays is that if one selection loses, your entire bet is lost.


Line Betting

Very similar to betting against the spread, line bets normally consist of fixed lines in certain sports. Generally, the favorite is offered at -1.5 and the underdog is offered at +1.5 in both baseball and hockey. Because these lines are generally fixed, the odds may vary a little more than your standard against-the-spread bet.


Totalizer Betting

Also referred to as pari-mutuel betting, totalizer bets involve all bets placed being put into a total prize pool, which is then divided up by the number of winners. The more a selection is bet on, the lower the return. If you are the only one with a winning ticket, you win the entire pool. The final prize pool will normally be lower than the total value of the money staked, as the operator will take a cut for running costs.


Live Betting

Many sportsbooks now offer live betting features on all or many of the events for which they have odds. This feature allows you to place a new bet, change your mind, or potentially secure a guaranteed win all while the action unfolds on the court, field or ice.


Head-to-Head Betting

Head-to-heads involve betting on one particular selection going up against another in a given sporting event. For example, you would bet that horse A beats horse B in a given race that involves many more horses. What happens to the other competitors is irrelevant – only the two head-to-head selections are important.


Combination Bets

Particularly popular in the UK and often seen in horse racing, these bets are similar to parlays, however not all of the selections need to win to guarantee a return. For example, the bettor may choose four selections, and have four win bets, six doubles, four trebles and a fourfold (known as a Lucky 15). In this case, just one winner will see some return on their investment. What’s important to keep in mind when placing this type of bet is that the more winners there are, the greater the return.


Proposition Betting

These are bets which are made inside of a particular sporting event – not on the eventual outcome of a game. Also known as “prop bets”, these can be made for a particular player to score a goal in soccer, a century at cricket (or score more runs than another particular player), to hit a homer in baseball or a quarterback to throw four or more touchdowns in a game of football.



These are very similar to parlays but offer slightly lower odds due to the fact that the spread can be adjusted by the bettor to make the chance of each selection coming in greater. Some sportsbooks will also allow the opposite – adjusting the spread the other way – which increases the odds on each selection, making them more profitable than a standard parlay.

With a wide variety of ways to bet on each and every sporting event, there has never been a better time to use your knowledge to get that extra edge. Be sure to study your chosen sport, sit back, watch and maximize your returns.