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A Quick Guide to the Types of Sports Bets

If you’ve never placed a sports bet before, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Aside from the numerous different sports, there are also tons of different betting options, and a different lingo to learn. In this article, we’ll run down the basics.

The Win Bet

This is the mainstay of any sports bet. It’s the simple prediction of who the winning team or athlete will be. The traditional win bet simply requires that you select who you believe will win a game, match or event, and decide how much to wager on it based on the odds. It’s popular because it’s easy to understand and this type of bet can be used for just about any sport that an online sportsbook offers.

Point Spreads

Getting slightly more complex now is the point spreads wager. It’s very common in the United States for sports like football and basketball and effectively has you wager that the team you select will either win or lose by at least a specific number of points. For example, betting that a team will have a +10 points spread means they will win by at least 10 points. These bets will often offer better potential winnings as there is more risk involved. You might also see half points used in point spreads, and that’s just to avoid a ‘draw’.


This type of bet goes by two names, but it means the same thing. Totals and Over-Under bets are the same thing. The wager here is on the total number of goals or points that will be scored in a sports game. In cricket, this might be total runs scored by both teams and in basketball the total number of points scored by both teams. You might, for example, wager that the total number of points scored in a game will be over 50 or similarly the total number of points scored will be under 50. It’s that simple. The more unlikely your bet’s outcome, the higher the odds will be, and the more you stand to potentially win.

Handicap Bets

Handicap bets are similar to point spreads with a slight difference. Here you’re betting on a winner but with an applied handicap. For example, if you bet on a team to win with a handicap of +1, the 1 extra goal would be applied to the final score and that would be the score your bet will use. For example, if at the end of the game two teams are tied at 1:1 and your bet is for a team to win with a handicap of +1, your bet would be a win. Of course, you’re going to get a much smaller payout for that win, but the risk is less. Similarly, you can take a handicap bet on a negative handicap to increase the pay-out of a successful bet.

Prop Bets

Prop bets are a special category of wagers which tend to be quite sport-specific and refer to very specific events happening. People placing wagers on soccer love the prop bet category because there are so many options for prop bets – like who the first player will be to score a goal or if there will be a penalty awarded in the match. There are almost infinite possibilities of prop bets and their odds are generally quite high, making them attractive for the risk-takers.
Now you have a basic understanding of the different types of bets, go ahead and try it out for yourself, responsibly, of course.


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