Sports Betting at Online Bookmakers
With online bookmakers offering so many different bet types it can all get quite confusing when you first start sports betting. Without fully understanding what each bet actually entails, not only could it end up costing you money, it could also hinder your chances of winning bets!
Hopefully all of the sports betting options below that most bookmakers offer will help you if you're just starting out with sports betting. It might even be useful leaving this page open whilst looking at the markets your bookmaker offers before you hit that 'Place Bet' button.
Popular Sports Bets
We've compiled a list of some of the most popular types of sports bets that bookmakers offer their members. Check out the detailed descriptions below and bet in confidence.
This is the simplest - and most popular - of all sports bets. Your selection has to come first for your bet to be successful. Say for example you placed £10 to win on Hedgehunter to win the Grand National at 2/1 against. That means your basic stake is simply £10.
The odds that are offered on the horse, in this case 2/1, reflect the chance that the online bookmakers think it has of winning. They are predicting that for every three times the race is run it will win one of them - a 33.3% chance.
A simple example that explains the way odds work is the toss of a coin. There is obviously a 50% chance of it landing on heads and a 50% chance of it being tails - presuming of course that we are discounting the possibility it lands on its side!
This is effectively a 1/1 chance which is known as even money. So going back to our 2/1 against example, let's imagine that we have placed £5 to win.
If Hedgehunter were to win you would win two times your stake and your stake is returned by the online bookmaker as your bet is a winner. That equates to 2 x £10 + £10 = £30. If Hedgehunter were to get beaten you lose your £10 stake.
Each Way Bets
This type of sports bet is effectively a split stake bet between win only and place only. It means that you can still get a return even if your selection does not win. Let's pretend you placed £10 each-way on Hedgehunter to win at Cheltenham at 12/1.
The first thing to realise is that your stake is now £20 with £10 on the horse winning and £10 on the horse getting a place. Check out our horse racing bets page for more info.
If Hedgehunter came first, your winnings would be £120 (£10 stake x 12) and your stake would be returned too. As well as that the place section of the bet is also successful (though there is no differential between the horse coming first, second or third).
The fraction of the odds varies from race to race depending on how many runners there are and whether or not it is a handicap. For simplicity's sake let us imagine that in this case the place terms are a quarter the odds for first, second or third.
Therefore in addition to Hedgehunter's £130 for a win, we get a further £40 from the online bookmaker for being placed (a quarter of 12 multiplied by the £10 stake plus the original stake).
If Hedgehunter came either second or third the win section of this bet would lose but you would still get £40 back thanks to the place bet coming up trumps.
Handicap bets are a very common form of betting these days, especially when it comes to sports betting on rugby and football. The online bookmakers attempt to give the perceived weaker selection a start that effectively should make the two selection level.
So, to use a rugby example, if France are playing Wales in a Six Nations match at Twickenham the Welsh may be 'awarded' a 20 points start on the handicap by the online bookmakers.
If you felt the Welsh had been underestimated and would win the match or lose by less than 20 points you would back them on the handicap. The prices available would generally be around 5/6 each team with 14/1 or 16/1 offered on the tie (if France beat Wales by 20 pts).
However if you felt confident that the Welsh would actually win the match you may simply want to back them on the odds without a handicap.
That means you wouldn't get the 20 point start but the price would be more attractive - they may be 5/1 against to win the game with France favourites at around 1/7. The draw would again be around the 14/1/16/1 mark.
Correct Score Betting
This involves predicting what the actual score of a match or series will be and is most commonly used in football. The odds are dependent on the actual match odds between the two teams.
For example in the English Premier League if Manchester United were quoted at 1-3 to beat Sunderland at home, would be in the region of 6/1 to win the game 1-0.
In contrast, Derby, 7/2 to beat Manchester United at home, would be around 8/1 to win 1-0. Derby are perceived as having a much smaller chance of gaining the home win than Manchester United and therefore their odds to win 1-0, or indeed by any score, are greater.
Double Result Betting
This involves predicting the outcome of a match at both half-time and full-time. Again most commonly used when betting on football matches at online bookmakers.
For example, if Arsenal play West Ham at home, three of the possible nine double-result bets are Arsenal-Arsenal 11/8, Draw-Arsenal 4/1 and Arsenal-West Ham 28/1.
Backing Arsenal-Arsenal means you want the Gunners to be winning at both half-time and full-time. This is a popular alternative to simply backing an outright Arsenal victory which would be odds-on.
Obviously the risk is greater as if Arsenal are not winning at the interval then the bet is lost regardless of whether they win the match, say 5-1.
If you fancy Arsenal to start slowly but come on strong in the second half you would back Draw-Arsenal. And if you think Arsenal will make a fast start but then collapse in the second half then you would back Arsenal-West Ham. Obviously the likelihood of this is much less.
First/Last Scorer Betting
This is an online sports bet on which player will score the first (or last) goal/try in a game. The online bookmakers normally quote any player they expect to take part in the match with the odds related to their ability to find the net.
These bets are highly popular, especially in live matches. It is worth remembering that if your chosen player has been left out of the team or is on the bench when the first goal goes in then bets will be refunded on that player. Odds are also available for players to score anytime.
First Scorer/Correct Score Doubles
As the name implies this bet combines the first scorer (of a football match) with the correct score. Often known as a 'scorecast' amongst some online bookmakers and FS/CSD at others.
This works on exactly the same principle for both rugby union and league matches. The bookmakers offer prices on how many points one of the teams will win by.
So let's say for example that in a particular Super League game St Helens are playing Widnes with St Helens rated around the 10 points favourites on the handicap.
Even the best bookmakers split the various possible winning margins into sections - so St Helens to win by 1-5 points, 6-10 points, 11-15 points and so on up to around 46-50 points. The bands offered for Widnes will probably only go up to around 21-25 points.
With St Helens the 10 points favourites it will come as no surprise that the shortest priced bands in this case are St Helens to win by 6-10 points (around a 5/1 chance) and St Helens to win by 11-15 points (around a 9/2 chance).
A price is also offered on the draw (i.e. if the two teams finish level) of around 16/1.