Different Types of Sports Bets

All individual betting options in sportsbook lines can be combined with each other, thus forming different types of bets. Straight bets, parlays and systems are the most common types of bets. We will tell you more about each of them. Including what they are and what rules the sportsbooks usually set for them.


Straight Bet (Singles)

The straight bet is the most common type of bet among sports bettors. This is simply a single bet selection, placed on the estimated outcome of only one event. The player selects a bet with certain odds, makes a wager and, if the choice is successful, will receive a payout.

The winnings from the straight bet is determined by the amount staked and the odds on the selection. 

Above: a straight wager on the Philadelphia Eagles moneyline against Washington 

Take for example, in a game between the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins you decide to bet $1000 on a Patriots win. The sportsbook has accompanied this option with a factor of +100.

If the Patriots end up winning the game, you will receive a payout of $2000. If the Dolphins win, then your bet is lost.

The advantage to this type of bet is considered to be its simplicity and relative reliability, because unlike other types of bets, it is only necessary to predict one outcome in a single game. The disadvantage of the straight bet is that there will likely be lower odds when compared to the parlay or system bets.

Parlay Betting (Express)

The parlay bet (express bet), is a combination of single bets; it includes at least two separate outcomes predicted by the player. Sports bettors like parlay bets primarily for the high odds, as when calculating the total parlay odds all of the included selections (legs) odds are multiplied. 

Let’s say, for your express, you include three separate selections: 

  • Barcelona +100 win in Barcelona vs Real Madrid
  • Arsenal’s +100 win in Arsenal vs Tottenham
  • Juventus +100 win in Juventus vs AC Milan

The total odds for this parlay would be +700 or 8.0(200/100x200/100x200/100 = 8). If every event in this express bet is successful, you will get a win at the odds of eight (the stake will be multiplied by eight).

However, if even one leg in the parlay loses, the entire parlay bet will be lost. This explains why this type of bet, while exciting, is much more difficult to win than a straight bet. 

Obviously, with each event added to the parlay, the overall betting odds are increased, however, the likelihood that all selected events will be successful is reduced.

A lot of novice players create parlay bets from a large number of events with very low odds; it seems almost certain that they will all win, and the overall odds are quite enticing. However, low odds are not a guarantee of winning and clear favorites can lose as well. And more often than not this will signify a novice bettor to a sportsbook, someone who has not yet learned a full analysis of the events.

Accordingly, compiling huge express trains in the vast majority of cases is a quick path to numerous and regular losses. Parlay bets can be used in a variety of game strategies. For example, one of the rather popular betting strategies in soccer is called '27 Express'.

It is designed to make a parlay from bets on exact scores in several matches.

It is believed that 27 express trains cover all of the most likely variants of actual scores, and even if 26 express trains should lose with only one winning, that one will justify the entire system as the odds on the exact score bet are very high separately and even higher in parlays. 

Which type of bet is better: straight or parlay betting?

There is no definite answer to this question. Of course, a parlay with more legs will have higher odds, and if you do not make a mistake with any of your predicted outcomes, the winnings will also be much larger than the same outcomes in an ordinary bet, or separately. Straight bets are certainly safer options though. 

Round-Robin Betting (System Bets)

What does a round robin bet look like? This type of bet may appeal to those who are worried that one of the events in the parlay “will not hit” and because of this will lose the entire parlay bet.

First, we can check out what the round robin meaning is:

A round robin bet is a combination of parlays of a given size from a predetermined number of events. Each combination in the system is calculated as a separate express.

*Round Robin betting on Sugarhouse Sportsbook

You bet on a few events included in the express and specify the dimension of the round robin (for example, play 2 out of 3, 3 out of 4, etc.). If all of the events you chose win, you will win with multiplied (by special formula) odds.

The overall odds here are much lower than in the parlay.

However, if one or more bets lose, you still have the chance to stay in the plus or at least return part of the bet. Depending on the type of system and the number of legs that make up the parlay, the number of combinations required will change.

So, if we put 2/3 (2 out of 3) into the system, we will have to use only three combinations of parlays.

If we choose a system, for example, 3/8 (three out of eight), the required number of combinations will already be 56, and the total amount of the bet should be much higher.

Other Types of Bets

Sports betting is certainly not limited to these three main types of bets, however. The biggest online sportsbooks will have plenty of different categories to choose from. These include new categories as well as combinations of various types of bets.

For most sports, especially for team sports, these types of bets will be available for each game. In America, games in the top four leagues (NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA) have similar bet types outside of the main three above.

Take a look at three other types of bets you will likely be seeing on sportsbooks:

  • Futures Bets: These are usually the only bets available during a league's offseason. Futures bets are long-term bets available for things like which team will win next season's championship or for individual player awards. 
  • Prop Bets: Especially popular in the NFL, prop bets are wagers on anything that does not help to determine the final score. This type of bet has the widest range of options, and will likely contain the wildest bets you have seen. 
  • Period Betting: There won't likely be any new types of bets in this category. Period bets are the same as regular wagers but only for a certain time frame in the game. For example, an over/under bet but only for the second quarter of an NFL game. 

Another type of sports betting that has gained immense popularity as of late has been live betting. Nearly every online sportsbook will have a seperate section for live betting. The bet types here will be the same as pre-match betting, however, here you can bet on them while a game is being played.

 Types of Horse Racing and Auto Racing Bets

Naturally, the types of horse and auto racing bets available will be quite different from the ones you would find for traditional sporting events. In fact, types of horse bets are so unique that they can even different from auto racing bets. 

While we cover this in much greater detail in another article, let's go through some of the differences.

Types of Horse Bets

Horse racing bets are unique, fun to wager and range from simple to very advanced. There are horse races in the United States nearly year-round for betting, including famous races such as the Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes). 

Some of the most difficult wagers in the world of sports betting can be found on the horses. 

More simple to understand horse racing bets are on the winner of the race, place and show. In addition, picking the winners of consecutive races can also be easy to grasp. 

There are plenty of others that get more complicated as they go. The hardest to win of all the types of horse bets is considered to be the superfecta. This type of horse racing bet requires the player to correctly guess the first four finishers of a race, in the correct order. 

Types of Auto Racing Bets

Auto racing bets, unlike horse racing bets, will be included on most online sportsbooks without a seperate section. Auto races cover many different racing series like NASCAR and Formula 1, among others. 

The types of auto racing bets can vary, but will generally stay the same between different companies. 

For straight bets, a wager on the winner of the race is by far the most common. Futures or long-term bets also play a major role in auto racing. Betting on which driver will win a certain race or how many victories they will have in the upcoming season are also popular.

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