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The world of sports betting is vast and endless, with various different markets for various different sports. It really is its own universe, so understanding it inside and out increases your chances of winning money.
Finding different sports and different markets to wager on allows you to find your comfort zone as a bettor. Perhaps you are a simple bettor and prefer the popular markets such as moneyline, point spread or total. Others prefer to dive deeper such as a soccer BTS or a UFC distance finish.
Let’s break down the different types of betting markets associated with various sports. Check out the various RYP pools that offer selections relating to these markets such as prop contests or standard Pick’Em leagues!
Popular Sports Betting Types
There are three common sports betting markets, but there are other popular ones outside of the big three. The big three, as mentioned, includes the moneyline, the point spread and the total. Other popular markets include props, futures and parlays.
The moneyline is quite simple, as a bettor is simply picking which side will win the event. This market is typically expensive, but a popular market to play for those who fancy the underdog. The moneyline is expensive for favorite bettors, but anyone looking at an underdog play should go to the moneyline market first. It presents the best value for underdog selections.
Spread betting is the most popular of the three main markets, because it evens the playing field both in the game and in your wallet. In this market, a bettor is wagering on whether or not their selection will win by a given amount of points.
For example, if the Raiders are -3.5-point favorites over the Texans then the Raiders must win by four points or more in order for Raiders bettors to win. If the Texans lose by three points or less, or win the game outright, the Raiders bettors lose.
This is another popular underdog market to play, but the value isn’t as sparkling as the moneyline value presents. Most spreads see a moneyline at -110 both ways. It would be easier for the Texans to cover +3.5-point than it would be to win the game outright, that’s why the spread isn’t as valuable as the moneyline market.
The third popular market in sports betting is the point total market, also known as the Over/Under. This is because bettors are wagering on whether the game at hand will go Over or Under a certain amount of combined points.
If the point total is 47.5 for the Raiders vs. Texans, an Over bettor will need 48 combined points between both teams in order to win. An Under bettor would need the game to see 47 combined points or less in order to win.
The futures market is fun to explore, and recommended if planning to wager throughout a long period of time. In the futures market, bettors select a winner for an outcome that won’t have a result until down the road – hence the name ‘futures market’.
These markets should be tackled early in order to hedge bets throughout the season or event. Let’s take Wimbledon as an example. If you take a futures wager on Novak Djokovic to win the event, you can then bet on the valuable underdog who faces Djokovic in single matches throughout.
March Madness is another event to take advantage of in the futures market. If a bettor wagers on a top seed before the event begins (the earlier the better), the bettor can then wager against the favorite by taking it’s underdog opponent each round.
Prop betting is a very fun market that is growing exponentially. This is a great market for DFS experts and fantasy sports players to gamble in, essentially wagering on player performances in a game.
Prop bets can range from ‘Who will score a touchdown?’ to ‘Who will hit a home run?’. This market also presents wonderful value and has the opportunity for bettors to win before the game’s result.
Although very fun and thrilling, parlays are recommended for nobody. Why? Well for starters, they’re incredibly difficult to hit. Sure, you can get lucky and hit a big parlay – but odds are you will only lose that money on more parlay losses.
Parlays are various individual bets combined into one big bet. The more bets that are added to a parlay, the more a bettor can win. However, the more bets added to a parlay also means the more difficult it is to win.
Instead of betting on the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers three separate times, a bettor can parlay all three teams into one bet to see an increase in winnings and decrease in spending. However, if one of the three teams loses then the entire bet misses.
This is what makes parlays so difficult. A bettor might see that it only costs $1 to win back $98 if eight teams win. Even if seven teams win and one team loses, the entire wager is a miss. Sportsbooks often use parlay losses to pay off winning tickets, and the entire market is known as ‘fool’s gold’ to the books.
Different Bets for Different Sports
There are various markets for various sports, as mentioned earlier. Soccer has markets available UFC doesn’t, and vice versa. Let’s go through the different markets to highlight based on sport.
Football Betting (NFL and College)
This is known as ‘American Football’ in many betting markets, but commonly referred to as simply ‘Football’ in America. The NFL and College Football markets are among the most popular in America, as 90% of Americans wager on the NFL.
For football, the most popular market is the point spread. Other than the reasons stated above, the other reason the spread is popular in football is because of the scoring system at play. Teams can score two points, six points, seven points, eight points and three points on any given moment.
With so many options to score points with, playing the spread acts as a fishing nets to cover as many points as possible when betting. The point total is also a popular market in the NFL and College Football, particularly in college football as home field advantage becomes a bigger factor than it does in the NFL. Places like Clemson, LSU and Alabama are some of the loudest venues in the sport and often makes it difficult for opponents to play in.
Basketball Betting (NBA and College)
Much like football, the NBA and College Basketball’s most popular betting markets are the spread and point totals. The spread is a bit tougher to hit on with NBA betting, while college basketball actually is a sport to consider with moneyline underdogs.
It’s very difficult to win on the road in college hoops, but finding a home underdog or a mid-major that is mis-valued is recommended for college basketball. Although the spread and point total is popular in college hoops, the underdog moneyline is worth looking into.
This is another sport in which the underdog moneyline is worth a look, because of the amount of games played (162 to be exact). MLB schedules feature teams playing in a series, anywhere from two to four games. It’s very difficult for any team to win three or four consecutive games against the same team – therefore the ‘underdog is due to win’.
MLB bettors love underdogs because they are likely to hit once out of every three attempts, and the profit (for most) comes with one every four attempts. The run total is also a popular market to play as the sport can be very telling of offense or defense.
Team’s pitchers, hitting lineups, ballpark dimensions and even weather can all be used to determine the run total outcome in a game.
Golf betting is often like picking a needle out of a haystack, as trying to select one winner out of 140 options can be difficult. If picking a winner in a golf tournament, you will typically get four-digit odds value but it’s unlikely to actually hit.
Golf offers various other markets to choose from that other sports don’t have. The head-to-head market is very popular for golf bettors, and used a lot in autosport betting too. In head-to-head betting, a bettor is simply picking one golfer to finish an event in better position than another.
So instead of picking one golfer to beat 140 others, a bettor can pick a golfer to beat just one other golfer. Bettors can also do this in Group Betting, where you are selecting one golfer to beat three others. Group markets offer more value than head-to-head betting because your golfer has to beat three instead of one.
Finishing position markets are also popular in golf, as they are autosports. A bettor is picking a golfer to finish within a certain position when the event ends. This can range from Top 3, Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, Top 30 and Top 40.
Hockey Betting (NHL)
Hockey betting is pretty similar to baseball, where the spread is almost always 1.5-points both ways and the total market is usually a single-digit. The spread, also known as the puck line, is probably the most popular market for hockey bettors looking to wager on the favorites.
Goalie stats are popularly used for total bettors however, along with certain venue statistics. If a bettor notices that only 4.7 goals are scored per game in PPG Paints Arena, then they might elect to go UNDER 6.5 total goals in the game. If a bettor notices the Penguins are using a backup goalie, then they might elect to take the OVER instead.
As mentioned above, a popular market in soccer not offered in many other sports is the BTS market. What is the BTS market? Both Teams to Score. In soccer, bettors often wager on whether the match will see the BTS hit or fail. If a bettor wagers on Yes then both teams need to score in order to win the bet.
The total market is also 2.5 almost always, as some high-scoring clubs might see goal total set at 3.5 instead. This is another popular soccer market but the goal total is always measured at 2.5 goals.
This sport is very similar to golf, in which you can either pick a needle in a haystack or explore other markets. Much like golf, autosports offers head-to-head markets and different forms of group betting.
Bettors can wager on drivers to win group markets just like golf, or they can move to the team instead. In NASCAR, a bettor can wager on which Ford driver will finish with the best position. In F1, a bettor can wager on which team will finish with the best position.
Props are also fun to test in autosports, such as ‘Will the safety car appear?’ or ‘Which driver will retire first?’. NASCAR does present the best opportunity to live bet in sports though, beginning with the Manufacturer market.
Before the race begins, it’s recommended to wager on a winning manufacturer. This can be Ford, Chevrolet or Toyota. Any of the three will do, but try to pick the one with the most drivers (usually Ford). Once you have Ford locked in, watch the race and stay on your computer.
If you notice with 50 laps remaining that four of the top six drivers are Ford drivers, live bet on the other two. This is a great hedging strategy and if played right can see a massive profit. It’s the best way to get value on all the leading drivers late in a NASCAR race.
Tennis can be confusing for many to wager on, but it’s quite simple. Bettors can wager on the total numbers of games played in a match, or even the number of sets played (always 2.5 unless a men’s major).
The spread is where it can get confusing so let’s go through a quick example.
Let’s say Roger Fereder is a -3.5-point favorite against Rafa Nadal. If Federer wins the first two sets 6-4, 6-4 then he covers -3.5. This is because he won each set by two games, which equals four. If Federer wins the first set 6-4 but the second set 7-6 in a tiebreaker, he would NOT cover the -3.5. He won the first set by two games but only won the second set by one game, putting him at three.
FAQ About Types of Bets
Do All Sports Have the Same Bets?
No. As mentioned above, various sports have various markets to wager on. Each is unique, although moneylines, spread and totals are popular among almost every sport available to wager on.
Which Is the Easiest Bet To Start With?
The moneyline is the easiest bet to begin with, as it’s simple to follow who will win a game outright. It also allows a bettor to understand the cost and reward of moneyline odds and prices.
Which Bets Have Higher Risk?
All bets are high risks, as successful handicappers are considered to cap out around 50%. The biggest risk, however, is the parlay. Although thrilling and exciting, it’s difficult to hit and often misleading with its ‘fool’s gold’ reputation.
Can I Have Many Accounts and Bets in Different Sportsbooks?
Yes and it’s highly recommended. As a sports bettor you are the customer. As a customer you want to find the best price available for you to shop on. If a bettor sees the Chiefs are -150 favorites with one sportsbook but -120 with another, it only makes sense for the bettor to try and get the -120 deal instead.