Five Best Types of Betting on Sports Explained

Samu-Ville Lampiranta
By Samu-Ville Lampiranta
Sports & Casino Expert
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Updated Jan 8, 2023
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Read time 10 min

The wide variety of betting markets can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to betting. There are hundreds of different types of betting games available, so how do you choose the best sport betting type?

Check out some of the most common types of sports betting before you put your money on the line. 

Different Types of Betting 

Available betting markets depend on the specific sport. The more popular the sport, league, or tournament you are betting on, the more markets will be available. For example, English Premier League matches will offer a ton of choices, but if you bet on the Polish first division or something which many consider as a niche business, you might only find a couple of betting markets. 

Here are some of the most common betting markets you’ll find on virtually any betting site. We advise you to start from the basics and move on to the more detailed markets once you feel confident enough.

Match Betting 

Match betting can be divided into two types: moneyline bets and 1X2 bets. These two bet types are not mutually exclusive, so in many cases, you find both markets for the same match. Moneyline odds tend to be lower than those of 1X2 bets, but you are more likely to win.

Moneyline bets are about the ultimate winner of the match once potential overtime, penalty shootout, or similar tactics are over. In some sports, like tennis, for example, there is no possibility for a tie, so the moneyline choice is the only option when you bet on the winner. 

When making a 1X2 bet, you can either bet on the home win, a tie, or an away win. These bets only take the regular time into account, so the result is a tie, even if the other team wins the match in overtime. 

Parlays 

To put it simply, a parlay bet is one where multiple outcomes are combined. All of the parts of the bet need to be correct for the ticket to be a winner. Parlays are sometimes called combi bets or accumulator bets. 

The most common type of parlay bet is one where you combine two or more results, either moneyline or 1X2. The odds will be better than with single bets, but the risk is also higher: if even one prediction is wrong, the whole bet will be a losing one. 

Some betting sites use the term ‘parlay bet’ for bets that combine several elements of the same match. When betting on soccer, that might mean that you predict the result of the match, the number of corner kicks, and the first goal scorer. If you get all of that right, you’ll win the bet. 

Over/Under 

Over/under is one of the most common types of sports betting. You can find these bets for nearly any sport. But but the exact bet type depends on the sport, meaning over or under what you are betting on. 

The most common way of placing these bets is betting over or under a set amount of goals or points scored in a match. You can also place over/under bets about any other strategy that might happen during the match: touchdowns. passes, cards, penalties, and the list goes on and on. 

The beauty of these bets is that it doesn’t matter who wins the match. If you bet that there will be more than five goals in an ice hockey match, it doesn’t make a difference if the score is 5-1, 3-3, 2-4, or something else. As long as it’s more than five, you’re golden. 

Prop Bets 

The term “prop bets” is short for proposition bets. These are similar to over/under bets in the sense that the final result of the match doesn’t matter. Prop bets are based on the occurrence of something in the match. This means there are lots of different types of bets on offer. 

If you are betting on an NFL match, some examples of potential prop bets are:

  • Whether a selected player passes or rushes over a given amount of yards
  • Whether a team scores over 20 points

Prop bets often come in the form of over/under bets. But given the massive variety of potential markets, there are other possibilities too.   

Prop bets can be especially fun if you have a favorite player in team sports, as you can bet on their performance. Most sportsbooks offer at least some prop bets for all the major leagues, like the NFL, NBA, NHL, English Premier League, and Champions League.

Different Odds Formats 

There are several types of betting games, but there are also several types of odds formats. Many sites let you choose the format that is shown, but that’s not always the case. That’s why it’s good to know the basics of decimal, fractional, and American odds. 

Decimal odds are common in Europe and on European sportsbooks. Decimal odds show a number, such as 2.5, and to get the winning amount you simply multiply your stake by the odds. If the odds are 2.5 and you bet $100, your payout will be $250. Whatever the odds, the logic stays the same. 

Fractional odds are a bit different. You can see figures like 9/2, 15/2, or basically any fraction. This means that in the first case, for every $2 you bet, you win $9. In the second alternative, you’d win $15 for every $2 you bet. 

As the name suggests, American odds are common in the US and Canada. The idea is to show how much you’d win with a $100 bet (the plus odds) or how much you would need to stake to win $100 (the minus odds).  

Let’s say you’re betting on a tennis match and Player A has odds of +600 and Player B -800. This means if you bet $100 on Player A, you will win $600 on top of your stake, so the total payout will be $700. If you choose to bet on Player B, you’d need to bet $800 to win $100, so your total payout would amount to $900. 

Knowing the Sport Is Key 

Betting sites offer thousands of opportunities every day, but the key to successful betting is knowing what you are doing. It is advisable to only bet on sports you know, unless, of course, you are feeling adventurous and want to try something new.  If you do, we recommend you start with very small stakes. 

When you have chosen a sport, choosing the types of betting games or markets also depends on your playing style. Would you rather take a more cautious approach and bet with lower odds, or take a bigger risk for a bigger potential gain? Whatever style you prefer, there are plenty of different types of sports betting markets available, and you will be spoiled for choice when picking the right site to get in on the action. 

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Samu-Ville Lampiranta
Samu-Ville Lampiranta
Sports & Casino Expert

Samu-Ville knows the ins and outs of online gambling having worked in the industry since 2013 in various roles from customer support agent to content writer and manager. He knows how to look at casinos and sports betting sites from both sides of the fence, and uses his experience to give his articles a unique view from the inside.