Sports Betting: the basics

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For first timers sports betting can be an overwhelming experience.

Lots of numbers, odds, point spreads and numerous betting options, how do you know if you are making the best possible bet?

This articles aims to get you ready for the world of sports betting in no time by explaining the different types of bets along with sports betting odds and the differences between betting on different sports.

The different types of bets

One of the first things to learn about sports betting is the different types of bets that a person can place. Some of the most common types are listed and explained below:

 Number of outcomesTotal bets placedDifferent types of bets
A simple bet11 1
A double bet211 combined bet
Forecast2+1one single wager predicting the race outcome
A treble bet311 combined bet
A Trixie bet343 doubles and a treble
Patent373 singles, 3 doubles and a treble
Accumulator411 combined bet
Fourfold411 combined bet
A Yankee bet4116 doubles, 4 trebles, fourfold accumulator
Lucky 154154 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and a four-fold accumulator
Canadian52610 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-fold's and a five-fold accumulator
Lucky 315315 singles, 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds and a five-fold accumulator
A Heinz65715 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and 1 six-fold accumulator

A simple, double and treble bet

A simple bet is a straight forward normal bet

where one team is favoured over the other to win. This is illustrated with the use of minus and plus signs.

Favourites are indicated by a minus sign (-) and the underdog by a plus sign (+) followed by the spread/bet amount.

Sometimes there is no spread on a game which the bookmakers have deemed to be even money.

A double bet on the other hand is when players bet on two winners from two different events. Both choices must win for the bettor to gain a return.

A treble bet is a bet on three selections which means that the bettor needs to win three events to gain a return.

A yankee bet

A yankee bet is a little bit more complicated then the normal straight forward bets as they are full cover bets consisting of multiple bets.

A yankee bet is actually 11 bets on 4 different sections. The bet consists of 6 doubles, 4 trebles and a forthfold accumulator.

The yankee is rumoured to be named after an American soldier that placed a small bet in the UK and due to the multiple roll-over mechanics at work won back hundreds of thousands.

A heinz bet

Heinz ketchup A heinz is even more complicated, consisting of 57 bets including 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and 1 six-fold accumulator.

The bet is named after the heinz ketchup 57 varieties slogan.

Each selection picked on these two different types of bets have the same effect on returns.

A trixie bet

A trixie bet belongs to the same betting category as a yankee and a heinz.

The trixie bet is made up of 3 doubles and a treble.

The main advantage of the trixie bet is that even if one selection fails to win you can still make a return as any two winning choices is enough to generate a return from the trixie.


A wager on three selections consisting of 7 separate bets: 3 singles, 3 doubles and a treble. It is equivalent to a Trixie plus 3 singles.

However,one winning selection will guarantee a return with a patent bet.

Lucky 15

lucky 15A lucky bet is one of the largest selection bets. It consists of 15 bets: 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and a four-fold accumulator.

It is called lucky because it is often the target of bookmaker bonuses and the 15 comes from the the amount of bets.

Each of the 4 selections has the same effect on returns.


This type of bet combines four or more selections into a single wager that gains a return only when all parts win.

The advantage of an accumulator is that winnings are much higher because of the increased risk.

Lucky 31

Similar to the lucky 15 this bet consists of 31 bets of 5 singles, 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds and a five-fold accumulator.

All winners, one loser and one winner are the scenarios which most bookmakers apply a bonus to which is why it is called “lucky.”


This is a wager on 5 selections consisting of 26 bets: 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-fold's and a five-fold accumulator.

The Canadian, also known as a super yankee, is a bet where all bets have an equal weight on determining the return from the wager.


A fourfold is sometimes known as a fourfold accumulator.

This consists of one combined bet on four selections in different events. All four selections must be successful to have a return.


Forecasts are a type of wager that require bettors to place bets on a single event in the correct finishing order of the event and normally apply to horse and dog racing.

For example if you bet on a horse race, you predict the forecast for the race, X horse will come first, Y horse will come second, Z horse will come third.Only after all 3 horses place in the same order you predicted will you gain a return.

Pool Betting

Pool betting is a different method of betting whereby the amount won is based on the amount of people who take part in the bet.

Also known as office betting or sports lottery it consists of every person paying a fixed price into a pool (pot) and then making a selection on the outcome on a certain sporting event.

The pool is then evenly divided among the participants who choose the correct winner.

While this is mostly an informal type of betting most online operators do offer odds for pool betting.

Understanding sports betting odds

Understand betting odds might seem like a complicated procedure however it is very simple.

American bookmakers use a unique form of betting odds named Moneyline or American odds, whereas in Europe they use decimal odds (1.60) and in Great Britain and Ireland fractional odds (4/5)

What are Moneyline odds?

American or Moneyline odds are based using a stake $100 and by using a plus or a minus sign to illustrate a positive or negative outcome, for example +100 or – 120.

These pluses and minuses also indicate which team is the favourite to win and which team is the underdog.

The favourites to win have minus signs and the underdogs have pluses. This way bettors have to wager more money if they want to win a return by betting on the favourites.

 Rewarding higher risk

Risk and RewardAs mentioned before if you bet on the favourites to win you have to wager more money. This is because betting odds favour and reward the higher risk team/person.

Therefore, the odds for the underdogs might look very profitable but there is a high risk you will not win a return and therefore lose your starting bet.

On the other hand, the odds for the favourites might be very small and not bring in a high return but you have a better chance of winning.

How to calculate your expected return

Calculating your winnings is easier then it sounds.

Furthermore, by calculating your winnings before you place your bet you can notice a value bet.

To calculate your winnings you do not need a mathematical equation, you just need to remember the following:

Positive odds: The fee or odds indicate the net gain we can achieve if we bet 100 units.

For example, imagine that the fee is +150.

If you bet € 100 and win the bet, the amount that you would get would be $150.

Negative odds:

If the odds are negative this indicates the amount a bettor most risk to make $100.

For example, if thee fee is -200 then you earn $100 for every $200 wagered.

Want to learn more about betting odds? Read our article on Moneyline!

Betting on specific sports

Along with the different types of wagers available to bettors, there are also differences between betting on different sports.

Every different sports book has its own set of rules, although there are general rules that all sports books must follow.

The main differences between the different sport are listed below:


The winners and losers are based on the final score, provided that the game has gone at least 55 minutes.

If a game is suspended after 55 minutes and not resumed the same day, then regardless of whether the game is completed at a later date, the score when the game is halted will determine the betting results.


For baseball, only the statistics provided by the official score provider or the official website of the relevant competition is used to settle wagers.

Horse and Dog racing

One of the betting differences between horse/dog racing compared to other sports is there are specific bets only associated with racing.

As mention above a forecast bet generally only applies to racing sports as you must select the first 2 or 3 horses or dogs home to win.

Reverse and combination forecast bets also only apply to these sports.


For all sporting events similar to swimming and cycling bets are based on the result that is published immediately after the race. No results overturned later via protests, doping tests, or other means are taken into account.


soccer One of the main differences between betting on soccer and other sports is that if a match does not start as scheduled, and does not start the same day (local time of the match site) then wagers on the match will have no action and be refunded.


In rugby, like the majority of other sports the winners and losers are determined by the final score which include overtime.

However, normally in the event of a draw the moneyline wagers on either of the teams are only rewarded half of the quoted price because of the draw.

Tennis/ Badminton

In the event of a match starting but not being completed for any reason, all bets on the outcome of tennis and badminton matches are void.

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