Six Types of Betting Every Sports Bettor Must Know

Sports Betting

The world of sports betting can be daunting for a newcomer, thanks to the terminology the best online sportsbooks use to describe the different wagers you can use. With Super Bowl LVII less than a month away, gambling advertising will ramp up on television, radio, and the internet, and you may be tempted to grab a sign-up offer and place a bet but are greeted with several bet types you can make. What do they mean, and which should you choose?

Before we delve into the various bet types, you need to know how American betting odds work. American odds are shown as a three-digit number with a plus or minus sign. The favorites to win have a minus figure, while the underdogs have a plus sign. The number next to the favorite tells you how much you need to bet to win $100, while the number next to the underdog shows you how much you will win for a $100 bet. It’s a great system and much easier to understand than our European cousins’ way of displaying odds!


Moneyline bets are the most popular bet type globally. You predict whether an individual or team will win or lose. Guess correctly, and you win the bet, get it wrong, and the bookmaker takes your money. Some sports, such as soccer, have a third option of a game ending in a tie. Moneyline bets are usually available for every sporting event, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, tennis, and motorsport. You name it; there will be a moneyline bet for it somewhere.

Points Spread

Point spread betting is known as handicap betting outside of the United States. They look the same as a moneyline bet but have an additional plus or minus sign. That extra sign is how many points the team must win by for you to win your bet.

For example, The Buffalo Bills play the Miami Dolphins, and the sportsbook believes the Bills are a substantial favorite to win, so they put -13 on the Bills and +13 on the Dolphins. Essentially, the Dolphins start the game with an imaginary 13-point lead. If you bet on the Dolphins to cause an upset and they lose the game by less than 13 points, you still win the bet!



Over/Under bets are popular in basketball and football, and see you betting on the total number of points scored during the game. The sportsbook may set the line at 220 points in the Chicago Bulls versus Miami Heat game. You predict if there will be fewer or more points scored. It doesn’t matter which team scores the points so long as the total, in this example, is over or under 220.


Parlays, sometimes called accumulators, are a riskier type of bet that can yield some incredible results. Parlays see you combine multiple wagers into a single bet, and all those wagers have to win for your parlay to pay out. The odds massively increase as you add more wagers, or legs, but the risk of one of those legs losing also increases.

Some sportsbooks allow same-game parlays where you bet on multiple markets in the same game. For example, Kansas City Chiefs will win, Patrick Mahomes will throw for more than 250 yards, and the Chiefs will win by at least seven points.


Futures bets are typically placed before a sport’s season starts but can often be placed at any time. Futures bets take place long into the future, such as who will win the Stanley Cup or the English Premier League title. Remember, your bet is locked up until the season finishes.

Prop Bets

Prop bets, or proposition bets, are not aimed at predicting the final score or outcome but rather something that will or will not happen during a game. For example, a football player rushing for 100 yards or a basketball player scoring a specific number of three-pointers. Be aware that it is prohibited to make prop bets in college sports games in some states.

Fun bets that have nothing to do with the sporting event also come under prop bets. The Super Bowl is full of them and usually includes markets such as how long the national anthem will take and what color Gatorade the winning team pours over their head coach!