Different Types Of Bet
Let’s define some of the most common types of bet.
Straight bet – A bet where you choose a single team or individual to win an event in which only two are competing, i.e. one wins, the other loses, like in a tennis match. In other sports, such as football, there is also a third option, the draw.
The winners of straight bets are paid at a fixed amount, determined at the time the bet is made.
Straight bets may be made as soon as the odds are announced by the bookmaker, typically not more than a week or a few days prior to the event.
Ante post bet – Similar to a straight bet, but it is placed well in advance of an event, e.g. a bet that Novak Djokovic will win the US Open, made some weeks beforehand. Ante post bets are usually often made at long odds because of the wide field of competitors.
Over/Under - A bet on whether the final score of a game will be more than (over) or less than (under) a proposed total. For example, a bet that the score in a football match will be Over 2.5 goals or Under 2.5 goals.
The ‘0.5’ aspect of the goal totals is to avoid descriptions which are more cumbersome or open to confusion, such as “3 goals or more”.
Doubles, trebles, etc. - While single bets are on only one sporting game or match, they can be combined. In a ‘double’, two single bets are combined, and the bet pays out only if both win. In a ‘treble’, three bets must win, etc. The odds (and profit) will be higher, but so is the risk. Sometimes called a combo bet, or a parlay in the US.
Accumulator bet – Similar to a double or treble, but where the return from the first bet becomes the stake in the second, and the return from the second bet becomes the stake in the third, etc.
Different types of accumulator bet have exotic names:
In a Trixie, three selections are chosen across 3 different events and then all combinations of doubles and trebles are bet, so three doubles and one treble. You need to win any two events to get a return.
A Yankee is the same as a Trixie but with four selections: six doubles, four trebles and one 4-way accumulator. You need two selections to win to get a return.
A variation on the Yankee is a Super Yankee, which is the same as a Yankee but with five selections: 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five 4-way accumulators and a 5-way accumulator.
There are some heart-breaking stories of what might have been with accumulator bets. In December 2013, an American Football fan bet $5 on a ‘silver seven’ accumulator bet, requiring seven games to be won. In one of the games, the Pittsburgh Steelers would have beaten the Miami Dolphins except that one of their touchdowns was disallowed because the Steelers’ player Antonio Brown had stepped an inch or two over the line when scoring. That over-step cost Pittsburgh the game, and cost the bettor his $100,000 accumulator win.
However there are some uplifting examples of big wins too. The late financier Sir James Goldsmith won £8,000 in 1949 (aged 16) on a £10 accumulator bet at Lewes races. With such a fortune, he dropped out of school and began his career, whereby he ended up a billionaire.
Arbitrage - This involves placing bets at two different bookmakers and exploiting their different odds. The idea is to make a profit whatever the result.
Say Roger Federer is playing Rafa Nadal. If Bookie A has odds on Federer winning of 2.1, and Bookie B has odds of 2.25 on Nadal, then if you bet £25.86 on Federer and £24.14 on Nadal, you would win £4.31 whatever the result, whoever wins. (There are calculators available online to tell you how much to bet on each result.)
If this sounds too good to be true - why not do this every time? - the problem with arbitrage is that the opportunities are few and far between. Bookmakers monitor each other's odds, and try to keep them in line.
Dutching - Two or more bets on the same event, to try to guarantee a winner. Dutching is often used in horse racing where either one of two horses is likely to win. Bettors will back both to win, with stakes calculated so that if either does win there is an overall profit.
OUR TOP TIP
Multiple bets such as doubles, trebles, etc., are very popular with bettors because of the prospect of big profits. Professional bettors tend to steer clear of them, because of the low chance of winning. Our view is that multiples should form part of the bettor's toolkit.
If you believe that an upset is likely, and you can get good odds on the result the bookies do not expect, then this is the ideal set-up for a multiple bet. Add in a couple of (ahem) ‘certainties’, and you have a good-looking multiple.