Any sporting event instantly becomes more exciting when you have money riding on it, but newcomers to the world of online sports betting can find themselves overwhelmed. The vast array of betting terms and types of bets on offer can be confusing, but this guide should equip you with everything you need to know before making a wager.
This is the simplest and most common type of bet. You simply pick a team or a player to win a sporting event, or back a specific horse to win a race or a Presidential candidate to win an election. If your team wins, you are paid out, and if they lose or draw you leave empty handed. This can apply to sporting events that are about to take place, or you can bet on who will win a competition that will not be decided for several months, such as who will win the Premiership or the next Ryder Cup.
You are never confined to betting on who will win or lose an event. Bookmakers offer a wide range of bets on most sporting contests. In a football match, you can bet on who will score first, who will score last, whether someone will score at any time, which half will see the most goals, the correct score, a team winning to nil and many more outlandish bets if you so desire. The principle is the same – you make a selection and if it comes in you win.
A popular bet is choosing the number of points or goals there will be in a certain game. You can bet on the exact amount, for instance that there will be four goals in a game between Man City and Chelsea, or you can bet under/over. So if you say there will be over 2.5 goals, there will have to be three or more for you to be paid out.If you say there will be under 106.5 points in a basketball game, there will have to be 106 or fewer for you to be paid out.
Handicaps are often used when the odds on a favourite winning are poor. For instance, the odds on Chelsea beating Sunderland at home might be just 1/5, so you only win £1 for every £5 you stake. So you might want to give Chelsea a handicap, starting them with -2 goals, so that they have to win by three clear goals for your bet to pay off, but you would get far more attractive odds. There are two types of handicap bets: European and Asian. European is riskier but offers greater rewards, while Asian is often a safer choice.
An accumulator involves betting on the outcome of more than one event. Typically punters choose events from the same sport – for instance, backing Man Utd to beat Burnley, Liverpool to beat Southampton and Chelsea to beat West Brom on a particular weekend – although you can often spread it across different sports. An accumulator is a riskier bet, as all of your selections have to pay off or you lose, but the rewards are greater. Two selections is a double, three is a treble, four is a four-fold, five is a five-fold and so on. These are often called accas, while Americans call them parlays. They do not have to relate to who will win a bunch of events. You could choose three players that you think will score first in three different matches, or the correct score of six different matches. The more you choose, the harder it is, but the greater the potential reward.
These are similar to accumulators, but take place within the same contest. For instance, you might think that Chelsea will beat Sunderland 3-0, and that Eden Hazard will score first. You could bet £5 on each outcome, and would enjoy a good payout if that came off. But you would earn far more money by putting £10 on Chelsea to win 3-0 and Hazard to score first. If Chelsea won 3-0 and someone else scored first, you would lose, or if Hazard scored first and Chelsea only won 2-0, you would lose, but if both came in you would make a lot of money. You could also choose something like Juventus to beat Pescara and under 2.5 goals, or Man City to beat Stoke at half-time and at full-time.
Hedging your bets refers to spreading your stake across a few outcomes to heighten your chances of winning. For instance, if you had £10 and felt Chelsea would beat Sunderland 3-0 but weren’t quite sure, instead of betting the £10 on a 3-0 win, you could put £4 on 3-0, £3 on 2-0 and £3 on 3-1. If any of them came in you would make a profit and probably a better profit than simply backing Chelsea to win outright. You can also hedge your bets on an accumulator by betting on a range of winning combinations within your total selection. Bets like a Yankee and a Goliath are examples of this.
Forecasts and Tricasts
These are common in racing. You can increase the amount you will win by predicting who will finish first and second, which is a forecast, or first-second-third, a tricast. You can also do combination forecasts and tricasts by picking three selections and backing them to come first and second, or first-second-third, in any order, but your stake will have to be spread across six different bets in each instance.
This is a bit like a handicap and is mainly used in US sports. You might see the Dallas Cowboys -3.5 and the New York Giants are +3.5 and similar odds on each outcome. In this case the bookmakers feel the Cowboys are a better team so have given them a handicap. If you choose them, they have to win by four or more points. If you choose the Giants, they can lose by three points and you would still win.
In-play betting has overtaken pre-event betting now as the most popular form of sports betting. All the same rules as above apply, but these bets take place after a match has started, with odds shifting all the time depending on how each team or contestant is playing and the current score.
This is a newer feature that allows you to cash out your bet early for a smaller win. For instance, if you backed Man City and Man Utd to draw, and the score is 1-1 at 75 minutes, but City are looking dangerous, you might decide to cash out your bet early. It is a gamble in itself, as you will not be paid out as much as you would at full-time, but you will be thankful if City or Utd go on to score. You can also cash out an accumulator early. If four selections have won and all hinges on the fifth selection before you make a lot of money, some bookmakers will offer you a reward – not as much as your potential winnings for the five-fold – to cancel the accumulator and cash it out early, before the fifth game has taken place, so as to mitigate their potential losses. Not all bookmakers offer this option.