Types of Sports Bets

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One of the first revelations anyone new to sports betting has is that you can bet on a lot more than the winner of a game. This typically engages a rush of excitement quickly followed by an even bigger rush of confusion. New bettors are excited at how expansive their new landscape is, but then quickly realize that they have no idea what they are doing. This usually results in new bettors running from the book with their tails between their legs because they’re lost and not sure how to proceed.

Thankfully, we’re here to help untuck your tail, clear up the confusion, and send you back to the sportsbook radiating with confidence. Whether you’re brand new to betting or just someone looking for a refresher course, you’re in good hands. We’re going to take the time to walk you through every type of sports bet that is available to you. We’ll tell you how the bets work, tips and strategies you need to know for each, and how you can utilize them in your sports betting strategy.

We’ll then walk you through some additional need-to-know tips and strategies to help you utilize this new information properly. Ideally, when you get done with this guide, you’ll have full command of the different types of sports bets at your disposal. You’ll know how they work, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and most importantly when and how to use each type.

If you’re ready to get started, grab a pen and paper, buckle up, and let’s get to learning!

Types of Sports Bets

When most people first get started in sports betting, they usually think it’s only about picking the winner of a game. Most of them don’t realize that that is only a small portion of the betting options you have. Nowadays, thanks to the growth of the industry, you can bet on pretty much any aspect of a game or sport that is measurable. This betting flexibility is not only awesome from an entertainment standpoint, but it provides a lot of great opportunities for you to make more money with all of your predictions.

To help get you started, we’ve compiled a list below of all of the types of sports bets that you need to know. Take the time to read through each of these guides and make sure you fully understand each bet type that is available to you. Whether you choose to use all of these or not, it’s important to know what exists in case you run into some knowledge that can make you some money with a bet type you don’t normally make.

Betting Flexibility - Why Different Bets Are Important

We mentioned the term “betting flexibility” once already, but we really haven’t gotten into what it means and how it affects your sports betting strategy. In the old days, your only option was betting on the winner of the game. This meant that if you had knowledge or a prediction that did not directly affect who the game winner would be, it was worthless.

If you had a prediction that a certain player was going to do well but you weren’t sure how it would affect the final score, it was worthless. If you knew the game was going to be super high-scoring but had no idea who the eventual winner would be, it was worthless. Sports betting in the old days lacked flexibility. It was a rigid system where picking winners was your only option.

This all changed, though, as technology and the internet helped the sports betting industry to grow and evolve. You now have the ability to bet on pretty much anything that can be measured during a game, match, fight, or season. While this obviously adds a new layer of fun and excitement to betting, it also adds new money-making opportunities.

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For Example:

Let’s say that you believe that a game is going to be exceptionally high-scoring, but you have no idea who is going to win the game. In the past, that information did you no good. Today, though, you could bet the over on a game and cash in on your prediction. What about if you think that a certain player is going to have a big game, but you don’t know if the team will win? Again, in the old days, this was worthless. Today, though, you could place a prop bet on that certain player to have a big game.

If it’s football, that might be on how many touchdowns, catches, yards, or completions they have.

If it’s basketball, it might be how many points they have. These prop bets exist now in almost every sport that wagering is offered on.

This flexibility not only ups the fun factor for recreational bettors but increases the avenues you can take as a serious sports bettor to make more money with your knowledge and predictions.

Complexity Does Not Equal Profitability

One of the worst things that you can do is start making new bets just because you feel like you have to. Here’s something you have to know: the complexity of the bet type has nothing to do with the likelihood that you’re going to win the bet. In fact, the more complex the bet is, the less likely someone is to win it based on the fact that more people aren’t going to understand what they are betting.  Regarding the odds, though, it will not be different.

You do not receive super-secret special odds when you make a more complex sports bet. You can be a successful professional sports bettor and never touch anything but a simple moneyline bet or a spread bet. In fact, a large chunk of professional gamblers do just this. Instead of focusing on using complex bet types, they focus on making great picks with the simplest of bet types. The money from those simple bets is just as real as the money you get from an overcomplicated sports bet.

The point we are trying to make is that you don’t have to use all the different bet types just because they are available. If you have an instance where you need to use them, go for it. Or, if you just happen to need them constantly for your particular betting strategy, that’s okay, too. As long as you aren’t forcing different bet types just to mix things up or because you think it does something special for you.

You see, a lot of sports bettors get wrapped up in the “looking and sounding cool” side of sports betting. They think that walking the walk and more importantly talking the talk will somehow make them more likely to win. They seem to get a rise from spouting off the complex and tricky bets that they’ve decided to make. They discuss crazy parlay bets and wild props strung together in a way that confuses anyone listening. Confusing their audience makes them feel like they are smarter and a cut above everyone else.

The problem, though, is that only makes you look cool for so long. Eventually, if you’re not winning, you’re going to have to confess that you don’t have any idea what you’re doing. People who truly understand sports betting are not impressed by the people that can talk the talk, but more by those who can show winning results. If all you make are moneyline bets and you are crushing, you’re going to be a superstar in our book.

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In reality, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you. All that matters is that you’re making smart bets and winning.

Make Sure You Fully Understand Things Before You Bet

For those of you that do choose to utilize this betting flexibility, it is imperative that you fully understand the different bets that you are making. The worst thing that you can do is make a bet that you aren’t completely sure how it works. Additionally, you need to check with the betting sites you are wagering with to make sure they don’t have any special rules that you aren’t aware of. This is usually more for the prop bets, parlays, teasers, and pleasers. 99.9% of sportsbooks in the world are going to treat moneyline bets, spread bets, and totals bets the exact same. The other bets will usually be treated the same, but we have seen some instances where things were different specifically when it came to how they treated ties.

Just as we advise you never to bet on a team that you aren’t an expert on, you shouldn’t be placing bet types that you don’t fully understand. This is like a surgeon doing surgery with tools that they don’t know how to use. It’s dangerous, and it’s going to cause problems. Luckily, you won’t kill anyone by incorrectly using bet types, but you will most likely put your bankroll on life support.

It doesn’t take you long to get acclimated to the different types of sports bets available to you. There really aren’t that many, and most of them aren’t that complex. We’ve provided all the information and resources you need in the sections above. You just need to take the time and put in the effort to advance your sports betting career. A good foundation of knowledge is the key to being successful in the industry.

How to Choose the Right Bet Type: Predictions Before Bets

The age-old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, has plagued intellectual thinkers for years. The not-so-old question of which comes first, the bet or the prediction, is one that shouldn’t be plaguing anyone after you get done reading this section. You see, many sports bettors plan their bets out starting with the bet type. They’ll usually say something to the effect of, “All right. I’m probably going to bet the spread on this next game… Not sure which side I’m going to take yet… Need to do some research first.”

The problem with this is that it can lead you to make the wrong type of bet and you can miss out on some other bet types that might be profitable. Your better course of action is to predict everything you can about the game, including the score, the chance of winning, how the game flow will go, and which players will excel. Once you have all of this information, then you should be looking at what types of sports bets you should be making. You may find that the original type of bet you wanted to make is not optimal for the predictions you have.

The Wrap-Up

By now, you should feel much more confident about stepping into (or logging into) a sportsbook to place some bets. Remember, betting flexibility can help your bottom line immensely as long as you utilize it properly. If you’re content keeping it simple and sticking to one or two bet types that you like, awesome. If you’re someone who likes to mix things up and has a lot of predictions that require that flexibility, awesome.

The takeaway is that we want you to choose the bet types that work best for you. Find the strategy that gives you the biggest edge and the best chance to turn a consistent profit. Remember, you can always bookmark this page if you want in case you want to get into some other types of sports bets down the road. Whatever you do, make sure that you fully understand the bets you are making and what you need to accomplish for those bets to pay off. There is nothing worse than making a bet with great information and losing because you accidentally made the wrong type of bet.

Jim Beviglia
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About Jim Beviglia
Jim Beviglia has been a gambling writer at LegitGamblingSites.com since 2018. During that time, he’s written just about every type of article related to gambling, including reviews of betting sites, guides to popular casino games, betting tips on both casino and sports betting, sports and casino blog posts, and game picks. In addition to online gambling, one of Jim’s other major interests is music. He has been doing freelance work for various music sites and magazines for two decades. Among his outlets past and present are American Songwriter, VinylMePlease, Treble, and The Bluegrass Situation. Jim has also written five books on music that were published by Rowman & Littlefield.