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Exploring Different Types of Sports Bets: From Moneyline to Parlays

Exploring Different Types of Sports Bets: From Moneyline to Parlays

Sports betting is an exciting world with a vast array of wagering options. Whether you’re cheering from the stands or watching from home, understanding the different ways to bet can make your sports experience more thrilling and potentially more profitable.

Let’s break down the various sports bets you can place, from the simple Moneyline betting to the more complex Parlays bet.

Why Know the Different Types of Sports Betting?

Knowledge is power in the world of betting. Being familiar with the different bet types allows you to tailor your betting strategy to your strengths, manage risks effectively, and capitalise on the best opportunities.

Moreover, understanding the nuances of each bet can help you enjoy the betting process more and potentially lead to more successful outcomes.

  • Strategic Advantage: Just as a chess player anticipates his opponent’s moves, a bettor with a deep understanding of bet types can strategise more effectively. Knowing when to place a Moneyline bet versus a Parlay can be the difference between a small win and a jackpot.
  • Risk Management: It’s about balancing the scales, much like a Maasai warrior balances bravery and wisdom. Different sports bets come with different levels of risk and reward. By understanding these, you can manage your bankroll as carefully as a Kenyan farmer manages his crops during the dry season.
  • Enhanced Enjoyment: Let’s face it, winning is delightful. But so is the thrill of the game. Knowing the bets adds a layer of excitement, much like the anticipation of a perfectly grilled suya skewer. It’s not just about the outcome – it’s about the ride.
  • Cultural Connection: Across Africa, betting is not just a pastime – it’s a way to connect with the games that reflect the continent’s heart. Understanding the sports bets allows fans to engage with the sports they love on a deeper level, from the dusty soccer fields of rural villages to the grand stadiums of bustling cities.
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The Main Types of Bets

Moneyline Betting

Moneyline betting is the most straightforward type of wager in betting. It involves picking the winner of a game without any point spread. It’s a popular choice for beginners.

The odds are presented in positive or negative numbers, indicating the amount you must bet to win $100 or the amount you would win on a $100 bet, respectively.

For example, if Al Ahly is playing Zamalek in the Egyptian Premier League, a Moneyline bet would be on either team to win outright. The odds might look something like this:

  • Al Ahly: -150 (bet 150 to win 100)
  • Zamalek: +130 (bet 100 to win 130)

Spread and Over/Under Betting

Spread or Handicap Bets

Spread betting, also known as handicap betting, levels the playing field between two unevenly matched teams. The favourite is given a handicap that they must overcome for a bet on them to win. Conversely, the underdog is given a points advantage that they can lose within for a bet on them to succeed.

Picture the Springboks playing against the Namibian rugby team with a spread like this:

  • Springboks: -20.5
  • Namibia: +20.5

To cover the spread, the Springboks would need to win by 21 points or more, while Namibia could lose by up to 20 points and still ‘win’ the bet.

Over/Under or Totals Bets

Totals betting, or Over/Under betting, is a wager on whether the combined score of both teams in a game will be over or under a specified number set by the bookmaker. This type of bet is not concerned with who wins the game but rather the overall scoring.

tournament table example over under in betting

Combination and Multiple Bets

Combination and multiple bets allow you to combine several selections into one wager. This can increase the potential payout but also comes with a higher risk, as all selections must be correct for the bet to win.

  • Doubles
  • Trebles
  • Accumulators


Parlays bet is a single bet that links together two or more individual wagers for a high payout. Parlay bets are the high-stakes, high-reward bets of the betting world, akin to investing in a startup that could become the next big thing or fizzle out.

They involve combining two or more picks into one bet. If you parlay a bet on the Ivory Coast to win in football, South Africa in cricket, and Eliud Kipchoge to win his next marathon, all three must come true for you to win.

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How to calculate winnings at Parlays

Calculating winnings for parlays may seem complex, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you understand your potential earnings from a parlay bet:

  1. Convert Odds to Decimal Form: If your odds are in the American format, convert them to decimal for easier multiplication. You can do this by dividing the odds by 100 and adding 1 for positive odds or dividing 100 by the odds and adding 1 for negative odds. For example, +150 becomes 2.50, and -150 becomes 1.67.
  2. Multiply the Decimal Odds: Multiply the decimal odds of all selections in your parlay. This gives you the ‘total odds’ for your parlay. For instance, if you have four bets with odds of 2.00, 1.50, 1.75, and 1.60, your calculation would be 2.00 x 1.50 x 1.75 x 1.60 = 8.40 as the total odds.
  3. Multiply the Total Odds by Your Stake: Take the total odds and multiply them by the amount of money you’ve staked. If you bet $10, then it’s 8.40 x $10 = $84.
  4. Subtract Your Initial Stake: To find out the profit, subtract your initial stake from the total return. So, $84 (total return) – $10 (your stake) = $74 profit.
  5. Consider Each-Way Parlays: If you’re placing an each-way parlay, you’ll need to calculate the win and place parts of the bet separately and then add them together.

parlay betting strategy example

Advantages and Disadvantages of Parlays Betting

+ Higher Payouts: Parlays offer the chance for a larger payout from a smaller wager. If all your bets come through, the cumulative winnings can be significant.

+ Excitement Factor: There’s an undeniable thrill in watching multiple games and knowing they all contribute to a potential windfall.

+ Flexibility: You can mix different sports and bet types in a parlay. This allows for a diverse betting experience.

+ Low Risk for High Reward: You can bet a relatively small amount with the potential to win big, which can be appealing if you’re not willing to risk large sums of money.

– Higher Risk of Losing: Since every leg of the parlay must win for the bet to pay out, the risk is compounded. It’s a domino effect: if one bet falls, the entire parlay crumbles.

– Complexity: Calculating the odds and potential payouts can be more complex than with straight bets. It requires a good understanding of how odds work and how they combine.

– Temptation to Overreach: The potential for a big payout can tempt bettors to make more risky selections than they normally would or to add too many legs to their parlay in pursuit of a larger win.

– Value Considerations: While the payouts are higher, the actual value of a parlay bet may be lower in the long run. The odds of winning decrease exponentially with each added leg, making it a less profitable bet over time if not managed wisely.

Teasers and Pleasers

Teasers and pleasers are types of bets that allow you to adjust the point spread in a parlay for a reduced payout (teaser) or increased payout (pleaser). The difference between Teasers and Pleasers bets is that the teaser bet gives you a better chance to win each leg of your parlay, while pleasers increase the difficulty.

System Bets

System bets are a more advanced form of betting that allows for some leeway in terms of one or more selections failing. They can be complex, but tips for Systematic Sports Betting include understanding the permutations and how they affect your potential returns.

Specific Bets

Specific bets are wagers on particular outcomes within an event, such as the first player to score or the number of yellow cards in a game. These require a good understanding of the event specifics.

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Prop Bets (betting on specific events in sports)

Proposition bets, or prop bets, are wagers made on the occurrence or non-occurrence of certain events during a game that may not directly affect the game’s outcome. These can range from betting on the performance of individual players to specific events happening in the game.

Futures (bets on future events)

Futures in sports betting are long-term bets that can be placed on outcomes such as which team will win the championship at the end of the season or who will be awarded MVP. These bets are settled in the future, hence the name.

Here’s a quick look at how futures work:

  • Long-Term Predictions: Instead of betting on the next game, you’re betting on who will win the Premier Soccer League at the end of the season or which team will lift the Rugby World Cup trophy. It’s like predicting which city will host the next African Cup of Nations – a decision that’s made well in advance.
  • Odds Fluctuation: The odds for futures bets can change dramatically as the season progresses. Injuries, transfers, and streaks of form can all affect the potential outcome.
  • Value: One of the appeals of futures betting is the potential for high value. Placing a bet on an underdog at the start of the season can result in significant winnings if they pull off an upset.

For example, if you’re betting on the African Cup of Nations before the qualifiers have even finished, you might get long odds on a team like Senegal or Nigeria. If your chosen team makes it to the finals, those odds could provide a substantial payout.

Live or In-Play Bets

Live betting, also known as in-play betting, is when you place bets on a game that is currently in progress. The odds change in real time to reflect the action as it unfolds, offering a dynamic and exciting betting experience.

Betting on Specific Sports

Ready to up your betting game? It’s all about getting the inside track on each sport, leagues, and tournaments. Like, in tennis, if you know a player totally rocks on clay courts, that’s golden info for placing your bets. Or in racing, if a driver’s got a rep for acing a certain track, you’ve got something to go on. Tailor your bets to what happens in the game, not just the score, and you could have more fun and maybe even a bigger win.

Football Betting

Types of football betting include match betting, correct score, first goal scorer, and accumulators, among others. Each type requires different strategies and understanding of the game.

Betting on Basketball, Hockey, Baseball, etc.

Each sport has its unique betting options. For instance, advanced Basketball Betting Strategies might involve betting on quarters or halves, while hockey betting could focus on the puck line.

How to Choose the Right Type of Bet

Analyse Your Interests and Knowledge

When figuring out how to bet on sports, it’s crucial to align your betting choices with your passions and expertise. If you’re a die-hard football fan with a wealth of knowledge about the African Cup of Nations, use that to your advantage in more nuanced bets like props or futures. Your familiarity with the teams and players can give you an edge.

Consider Risks and Potential Winnings

Evaluate the risk versus the potential reward. While bets like parlays offer high payouts, they also come with a high level of risk. It’s essential to balance your betting portfolio with safer bets and the occasional long shot.

The Importance of Variety in Betting

Diversifying your betting types can help manage risk and keep the betting experience fresh. Don’t shy away from trying different bets, as this can also help you find the most profitable niches.

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New and Experienced Sports Bettors: What to Choose?

Choosing the right type of bet is like selecting the right attire for an occasion. Some bets are better suited for newbies, while others are for the more experienced punters.

For Newbies

  • Moneyline Betting: This is the starting block, perfect for those dipping their toes in the betting pool. It’s straightforward – you pick the winner, and that’s it. No need to worry about points or scores, just the final outcome.
  • Over/Under or Totals Bets: These bets are also newbie-friendly because they don’t require intricate knowledge of the teams or players.

For Experienced Punters

  • Spread or Handicap Bets: These require a bit more knowledge and are good for those who understand the nuances of the sport and the teams playing.
  • Parlays: These are for the daring, those who can predict multiple outcomes correctly. High risk, but with a potentially high reward.
  • Teasers and Pleasers: These are complex bets that allow adjustments to point spreads, requiring a good grasp of strategy and odds.
  • System Bets: With a bit of a safety net, these are good for punters who have a bit more experience and want to spread their risk across multiple bets.
  • Prop Bets: These are fun and often based on individual player performances or specific game scenarios. They require a deeper knowledge of the sport and its players.
  • Futures: These are for the visionaries, those who can foresee outcomes way before the season ends.
  • Live or In-Play Bets: Suited for those who can make quick decisions and can read the game as it unfolds.

Summarizing and Recommendations

As we round up our exploration of the diverse world of betting, it’s important to remember that betting should always be about enjoyment first and foremost. Whether you’re in the bustling streets of Lagos or the shadow of Table Mountain, the principles of successful betting remain the same. Here are some summarising thoughts and recommendations to guide you on your betting journey:

  • Start Simple: If you’re new to the betting scene, stick to simpler bets like the Moneyline or Totals. They’re the jollof rice and ugali of betting – staples that never disappoint and are easy to get right.
  • Educate Yourself: Knowledge is power, or as they say in Swahili, “Elimu ni ufunguo wa maisha” (Education is the key to life). The more you understand the sports and the types of bets, the better your chances of making successful wagers.
  • Manage Your Bankroll: Treat your betting budget with the same respect you’d treat your business capital. Only bet what you can afford to lose, and avoid the temptation to chase losses.
  • Shop for Odds: Different bookmakers have different odds. Take the time to shop around for the best lines, much like you would for the best prices on fabric at the market.
  • Stay Disciplined: The most successful bettors are those who can maintain discipline, not letting emotions dictate their bets.
  • Diversify Your Bets: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Spread your bets to manage risk, much like a farmer diversifies his crops to protect against a bad season.
  • Keep Records: Track your bets to see what’s working and what isn’t. It’s like a business keeping records of what sells best – it helps you make more informed decisions in the future.
  • Enjoy the Experience: Remember, betting should add to the fun of the game, not detract from it. Whether you win or lose, the joy of the game should always be the main event.
  • Stay Updated: Sports and betting landscapes change. Stay updated on player form, team news, and other dynamics that could affect the outcome of your bets. It’s like staying informed about the weather before planning a day out.
  • Use Resources: Take advantage of betting guides, expert analysis, and prediction tools. They can provide valuable insights, much like a seasoned guide can enhance your safari experience.
  • Bet Responsibly: Lastly, always bet responsibly. The fun of betting should never outweigh the responsibilities of daily life.

As you venture into the world of sports betting, take these recommendations or read our ultimate guide to sports betting as instruction. The world of sports betting is vast and varied, with opportunities for both the cautious and the bold. Whether you’re wagering on the next AFCON champion or the outcome of a local derby, the key is to stay informed, stay disciplined, and enjoy the ride.

Happy betting, and may the odds be ever in your favour!

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