When you think about sports betting, you probably think about fixed-odds wagering as it is the most popular type of betting available. However, that isn’t the only option, and there are plenty of other possibilities that make sports betting unpredictable and exciting. Throughout the past few decades, betting has become mainstream and one of the preferred activities for millions worldwide. As things keep changing, there are now numerous betting sites with free bets for you to enjoy and various bet types to choose from. If you don’t have much experience, the terminology might seem a bit overwhelming, but we’re here to help. As this article unravels, we will go through the most common bet types and their main characteristics.

Standard Bets

We will start this guide by going through the standard bets. Standard bets can be divided into several categories: Single bets, place bets, win bets, each-way bets, accumulator bets, and totals.

Single Bets

As the name suggests, a single bet is the one with a single stake. Out of all the different types of bets, single bets are the easiest to understand. If you’re placing a single bet, you’re actually betting on a single outcome of a specific event. If, for example, you place a bet on a football team to win the match and it beats the opponent, your bet wins, and so do you. On the other hand, if your favourite loses the game, the bookie keeps the winnings, and you lose your bet. Simple as that. Even though single bets are easiest to understand and place, it is always recommended to check the betting odds and compare bookmakers to ensure you have found the best odds. Single bets are among the most common types of bets and usually have higher minimum bet requirements than multiple ones, ranging between £0.50 and £1.

Double Bets

If you want to increase your potential winnings, you’ll need to combine a couple of games through accumulator bets. The simplest choice would be a double bet that is essentially a combination of two single bets where you need to pick the winner in both games. It reduces your odds but increases the reward.

Win Bets

Win bets are also quite simple. These bets are most popular in horse racing, but can also be found in other sports. A win bet is a single bet that provides a return only if your favourite wins and places first in an event.

Place Bets

Place bets are a bit complicated. With a place bet, you’re wagering on a specific team or an individual to finish the championship in a predetermined position. This type of bet requires you to select a team to finish in a specific position. Place bets offer more flexibility compared to win bets, but they also need more planning. Let’s say you’re about to bet on a horse race: Instead of just having to guess which horse will win the match, place bets require you to select a horse that will finish in a certain position. If your selected horse finishes in the right place (first or second), your bet wins. If, however, it fails to do so, your bet loses, and the bookie keeps the winnings. Due to their nature, place bets are only available if there are more than five contestants in a race.

Show Bets

Next on our bet types list are show bets, a traditional form very similar to place bets. The only actual difference between the two is that show bets cover the top three positions, unlike place bets that only cover the first two. So, if you’re placing a show bet on a particular horse, he needs to finish in one of the top three positions for you to win the bet. Show bets have significantly lower odds as you have better chances of winning.

Each-Way Bets

Each-way bets are a combination of win and place bets that usually require two stakes. They are one of the most popular horse-racing bet types but can also be placed on other sports as long as bookies offer them. An each-way bet consists of a win bet on your favourite to win the event and a place bet on it to finish in a certain position. That is why an each-way bet of £5 requires a stake of £10, £5 for the win and £5 for the place. If your favourite wins, you get back both the win and the place bet, but if it only places in a designated position, you get just the place bet back.

Accumulator Bets

Accumulator (ACCA) bets are also known as parlay bets or multiple bets. Acca bets comprise several selections, and all of them need to realise for the bet to win. Of course, since the likelihood of this is much lower, an accumulator bet pays much higher. It’s one of the riskiest types of sports betting there are. If just one of your selections fails, your accumulator bet loses. Accumulator bets are common in most sports.

Totals or Over/Under Betting

This type of betting is available in practically all sports. The idea is that the bookmaker sets a line for the total number of goals or points to be scored in the game. Punters can then choose whether they want to bet if the total score will be lower or higher than that. If you choose to go with this type of bet and decide to bet on the score higher than the set line, you will be backing the over. On the other hand, if you bet on the lower score, you will be backing the under.

Complex Bets

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are plenty of different options for sports betting. If you’re feeling confident enough to try some more complex bets, here’s what you should know:

Forecast Bets

A forecast bet is the one where you need to choose multiple selections and their finishing order. These types of bets are most common in horse or greyhound racing but can also be found elsewhere. As one of the popular sports betting types, forecast betting can also be found in football. Let’s say you’re betting on Chelsea to win the Premier League and Liverpool to come in second. If the league finishes in that order, your bet will win. If not, good luck the next time. Forecast bets can be straight, reversed, and combination.

Spread Bets

Spread bets have non-fixed odds, and they are mainly connected to financial betting, but can also be found in sports. In spread betting, you get rewarded based on the accuracy of your predictions (i.e., predicting trends), not a specific outcome, but the loss won’t always equal your stake, as it would in a fixed-odds bet. With these types of sports bets, poor predictions or bad luck can cost you much more. Due to this, most fixed-odds bookies do not offer spread betting; you might have to look for a specific online sportsbook for this type of betting.

Handicap Bets

As its name suggests, handicap betting provides an advantage or disadvantage to specific contestants to alter the chances of winning. It’s usually used when one of the contestants is a clear favourite, and the bookies are trying to even the odds and make a bet less predictable and more exciting. Handicap betting was first introduced in horse racing when horses would carry additional weight to even out the playing field. As one of the most exciting types of sports betting, handicap betting can be applied by age, weight, breed, form, and more.

Futures Bets

Futures bets are in some way similar to forecast bets as they involve the prediction of long-term results. A futures bet is a type of wager on something that’s going to happen in the future, and it’s usually based on more than the outcome of just one individual game. You can bet on the team you think will win the championship, on the player you think will be the MVP of the season, and pretty much any other outcome that will take place in the future.

Prop Bets/Specials

Now that you know the basics of sports betting, let’s check into one unusual category – prop bets. Prop bets or specials are wagers on some aspects of sports that don’t affect the final score directly. With prop bets, punters have numerous possibilities. They can wager on:

  • The first player to score a goal
  • The first team to score a goal
  • The time of a first corner
  • The time of the first score

Banker Bets

Banker bets aren’t that common among bookmakers, but you can come across them from time to time. They allow you to set one or more selections from your accumulator bet to be your bankers. But what exactly does that mean? As we had all the other bet types explained, let’s also check how banker bets work. The “banker” in a multiple bet is the selection that’s most likely to win. Besides the banker, you also need to pick other selections. As this is a bet package, the number of selections you predict to win defines the number of bets you need to place.

Live Bets

Live betting is also known as in-game betting, and it’s one of the most exciting forms of wagering. Live betting allows punters to place wagers on sports events after the action has started. Live bets are one of the most common football bet types and are extremely popular among bettors. The odds are changing as the game evolves, which is excellent for those who enjoy the flexibility and wish to have more options while betting.

Bottom Line

We hope this article has shed some light on sports betting and all its forms and helped you understand how different bets work. Now that you know the basics, feel free to dive into this captivating world full of possibilities and find your own winning strategy.


What are the most common bets?

The most common and most popular bet types are the win or moneyline bets. The win bet is a UK term, while punters from the US like to call it a moneyline bet. These are the most straightforward single bets as you are supposed to bet on who you think will win the event. Depending on a sport, there are only a few outcomes with win bets, making them the easiest to understand. All you have to do is pick a winning side and enjoy the triumph.

What sport is the most profitable to bet on?

We might have to dig deeper to answer this question as there isn’t just a straightforward answer. There are multiple bet types, and bettors will most likely answer this question differently. Generally speaking, football is the biggest and the most popular global sport. There are various leagues and championships to bet on, including FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, Africa cup of Nations, the Olympics, and many others.

What sports are the best to bet on?

We don’t have a straightforward answer to this question as it mainly depends on your personal preferences. Football and baseball are some of the most lucrative sports to bet on due to the variety of betting options. Another significant novelty when it comes to betting options is esports, one of the fastest-growing betting markets in the industry. In 2021, the global eSports market revenue surpassed $1.08 billion and is expected to grow to an astonishing $1.62 billion in 2024.

What is the most unpredictable sport to bet on?

There are probably different opinions on this subject, but we would say golf and baseball are the most unpredictable sports to bet on. Golf betting includes multiple factors punters need to consider, such as weather, player injuries, course difficulty, and more. When it comes to baseball, things can also get complicated. The Major League Baseball (MLB) consists of 162 games, and although it offers a great variety of bet types, it’s challenging to figure out.