Sports Betting 101: The Many Types of Sports Bets

Sports Betting 101: The Many Types of Sports Bets

Are you looking to make a little extra money to put toward your bills? Sports betting is a fun and exciting way to go about it. Since its legalization, about 19% of Americans say they’ve dabbled in the activity.

When you’re first starting out, it’s easy to get confused by all the different types of sports bets that you can try. Many beginners find a lot of success in money-line bets.

If you have a little more experience under your belt, parlay bets make for an interesting challenge. Over/under and spread bets are popular choices as well.

Want to know more about your sports betting options? Keep reading for a complete list.

Money-Line Bets

Out of all the types of bets you can choose from, money-line is the easiest to take part in. All you’re doing is using the NBA computer predictions to guess who you think the winner of the game is going to be.

If your pick wins, you win. How much you get depends on who you bet on. Two terms you need to familiarize yourself with are underdogs and favorites.

Underdogs are represented with a plus sign. They’re the team that is projected to be at a disadvantage.

Favorites are represented with a minus sign. They’re projected to take home the win.

Betting for a winning underdog often comes with a higher payout than betting for a winning favorite.

For example, if the odds on an underdog are +350, you’ll win $350 for every $100 you bet. If the odds on a favorite are -350, you would have to pay $350 to win $100.


Spread betting is about as straightforward as money-line betting, so it’s popular with beginners. Instead of betting on a victor, you’re betting on how many points you think a team will win by.

The concept of underdogs and favorites is still something that you have to pay attention to. Let’s say that you bet on a favorite that’s sitting at a -7 wager. That means for you to collect, that team must win the game by 7 points.

If you’re betting on an underdog with the same odds, they would need to win the game by 7 points or lose by 7 points.


Over/under bets are also known as total bets. Here, you’re betting on the number of points that both teams will score as a whole.

For example, let’s say that the bookkeeper thinks that the combined score of the teams will be 40 points. The winning team brings home 25 points, and the losing team brings home 11 for a total of 36. That means if you bet under, you’re good to go.

Over/under betting is pretty popular because of the fact that betters have a 50/50 chance.

Parlay Bets

Parlay bets are high risk, high reward. You can get a good payout from them, but they can be a bit more complicated than the other betting types discussed above.

They involve betting on the outcome of several games at once. These outcomes are called legs. If you bet on three legs and get them all right, you’ll take home the winnings for all three games.

The best part of parlay bets is that you don’t have to put a lot of money down. You could bet $10 on each leg, and take home hundreds of dollars.

Futures Betting

Futures betting works as the name suggests. You’ll bet on how well you think a team will do in the future.

You may put down a bet that you think a specific team will make it to the Super Bowl. Until you get more accustomed to betting, you can place wagers on smaller events, like which team you believe will win a coin toss.

Prop Bets

Prop bets aren’t based on the winner of the game at all. You’re going to be making bets on small events throughout the game.

You could bet on which team you think will make the first touchdown or who will make it to a specific number of points first.


Teasers are a little similar to parlay bets, in which you’ll be making multiple wagers. The difference is that the lines are teased a little more in the favor of the bettor. That means they’re less risky for you.

How much you can tease the lines by depends on the sports book. In most cases, you can shift up to 6 to 7 points to put yourself in a better position.

The downside of teasers is that they’re really only available for basketball and baseball.

Middle Bets

Middle bets are popular with football games. You’ll make two separate wagers, but not for the same team.

For instance, team 1 opens with a 9-point favorite against team 2. Logic would dictate that you would place a bet on team 1.

As the week goes on, the lines shift to a 13-point favor for team 2. Again, logic would dictate that you would place a second bet.

You now have a chance to win twice, allowing you to double your money. Middle betting is sort of risky, however, because you also have the chance to lose twice.

Types of Sports Bets to Know About

Sports betting is an exciting way for bettors to earn a little extra money every month. It’s also a good way to lose cash.

To make sure you maximize your winnings, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the different types of sports bets. Finding one that matches your skill and comfort level will allow you to develop your strategy.

For more tips that will help you bet on sports, visit the How To section of our blog 5elifestyle.

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