What Are The Different Ways to Bet?

What is a parlay?

A parlay is a group of individual bets combined to make one bet. Because it is a combination of bets, the fewest number of outcomes one can try and predict in one parlay wager is two. In the parlay, it is actually one wager predicting a series of outcomes, and because it is only one amount being wagered, the greater the number of outcomes being predicted, the greater the odds one is given if this is done correctly.

What odds are given for winning a parlay?

Below is a table of odds and payoffs for parlay wagering.

Parlay payoffs are the following (This does not include Money Line Bets): 























In looking at the table, we can see that if a bettor chooses and correctly picks 4 separate wagers on the same ticket they are rewarded with a payout of ten times their money. However, if they were to lose any of the four games they would lose the entire wager. As you can see, while a parlay is a riskier bet, the rewards can be extremely high if one is able to pick them correctly. 

What are some common questions regarding parlays?

As is the case with any type of wager, there are a few rules we need to remember when placing a parlay bet. Firstly, if one of the games involved in the parlay bet is a push or no action then the parlay is automatically reduced to the next lowest total number of games. For example, if someone bets a four-team parlay and one of the segments is a push, it automatically becomes a three-team parlay. If it is a two-team parlay and one of the segments is a push, then it becomes a straight bet. 

While most casinos, sports books, and online sportsbooks will allow different types of wagers to be parlayed (for example: a point spread bet and an over/under) they usually will not allow a point spread and money line bet on the same game to be parlayed. They will also usually not allow bets of different durations to be parlayed. For example, they usually will not let someone parlay a bet on a game with a halftime wager on the same game or any game for that matter. Most casinos and sports books allow parlays on halves. While the sportsbooks won’t let bettors combine halves with full game bets they will allow parlays of several halftime wagers. 

Most casinos and sports books will allow parlays of games in more than one sport. For example, one can include a wager on a football game with a wager on a basketball game in the same parlay bet. However, certain sports may be restricted from inclusion in parlays. These rules can vary from place to place so be sure to check before trying to place a truly exotic wager.

What is a parlay card?

While most casinos and online sports books have limits on the number of teams one may use in a parlay bet (discussed earlier), they often allow customers to expand these limits by giving them the option of using a parlay card

A parlay card is usually a physical piece of paper in brick-and-mortar casinos or a designated list at online sportsbooks that lists all of the games and their point spreads with each team assigned a number. Of course, there are a few differences besides the number of teams allowed that differentiate the parlay card from the regular parlay. 

What is the difference between a parlay card and a parlay?

The first difference you will notice is that there are no half-point spreads on the parlay card; it is done this way intentionally. While in a parlay bet if there is a push the parlay is just reduced by one team, on parlay cards ties lose. Because of this addition to the rules, point spreads are rounded either up or down depending on how the casino or sports book sees fit. Some casinos now also offer parlay cards where ties win and just reduce the payout odds to a number they see fit. Another difference is that the odds may be different from those listed on the board. As we discussed, since the odds on the board adjust as wagers are placed and the parlay card is a physical piece of paper the parlay card doesn’t have the ability to change as easily and I have yet to see a casino or sports book yet who prints an entire new set of parlay cards every time a line changes, it would just be a lot of work. Another difference between the parlay and parlay card is that usually the casino, sports book, or online sportsbook will allow smaller wagers than the minimums set for parlays. The smaller minimum is a nice thing as it allows more of the casual gambler or those willing to risk a small amount with a chance to hit it big.

As with any type of betting, different sports books allow different types of bets and have different offerings. When it comes to parlay cards some online sportsbooks also offer a competition style where the bettor competes with other bettors and if no one has a set minimum number of winners the pot is rolled over and added to the next week. It is always best to evaluate sportsbooks and if a parlay card is what you want to play, find the one with the best parlay cards. You can find our sportsbook reviews and information here. 

As with other bets, the odds will vary by online sportsbook as well so be sure to see where you are going to find the best odds on the sides and totals you want to bet. You can use this live odds comparison as a tool to assist you in finding the best odds. 


Above you see a sample of what a parlay card may look like at a physical casino. While like most things we discuss in these writings, the actual display or formatting may differ, but the essential information and usage are the same. While the parlay card in the above example only goes up to 10 team parlays, most parlay cards offer the ability to parlay many more teams.

What is a prop bet?

Prop bets are wagers on things which may or may not happen within the game but aren’t necessarily relevant to the outcome of the game being played.

What are some examples of what would be considered a prop bet? 

Many kinds of prop bets are offered and the bigger the game the larger the amount of the assortment of prop bets. A prop bet can be based on something as arbitrary as who is going to win the coin toss to what player will score the first touchdown of the game. It can be how many yards a particular player will run or receive for; these are usually in an over/under format or they can be done on several levels as number ranges. Each different type of prop bet is handled differently. Usually, on the over/under or in the case of a scenario like will a particular player accomplish a certain feat or won’t they, odds are assigned to each side based on perceived probability. In the case of what player will score the first touchdown, there are odds assigned to about 8-10 different players (about 5 from each team) and the rest of the remaining players are usually grouped into one heading called the field. Once again just like all other types of wagers and betting lines, the lines adjust as the wagers come in but once a wager is placed it is locked into whatever the odds were at the time the wager was placed. There is really no limit as to what sportsbooks, casinos, and online sportsbooks can take wagers on when it comes to prop bets and it’s usually fun to at least take a look at what is being offered.

Prop bets being offered can vary widely from book to book. For a larger event like the Super Bowl, the World Cup, or the Olympics there can be literally hundreds of offerings, some of which have nothing to do with the actual game. For example: You can bet on how long it will take to sing the National Anthem during the Super Bowl. If you enjoy prop bets you’ll want to look through the offerings at many sportsbooks and you can find a guide to the best and most reputable online sportsbooks here.

A quick recap of prop bets

Example 1:

The team that will win the coin toss will be:

Alaska State     -110

Wyoming Tech -110

At this point in this reading the above example should appear very straightforward to you. In a nutshell, you are just picking who you feel will win the coin toss to begin the game.

Example 2:

Who will score the first touchdown of the game between Alaska State and Wyoming Tech?

M. Jagger 5-1

K. Richards 9-1

C. Watts 14-1

B . Wyman 12-1

R. Wood 7-2

Field 8-1

The above example just lists a few players playing in a game (an actual game may have many more players listed) and a field option for those players not listed. To the right of their names, we see odds that correlate to that specific player being the one who accomplishes the feat described, which in our example is scoring the first touchdown of the game.

What is a reverse bet?

A reverse bet is similar to a money line bet, however, the team which is the underdog now has to win by a certain number of points, or a team that is the favorite only has to not lose by more than a certain number of points. In essence, the point spread has been inverted or reversed. 

How are the odds and payouts determined in a reverse bet?

Because of the reversal of favorites and underdogs, each side has payout odds attached to them, which are the odds of them being able to complete this new feat. Usually, if a favored team is now getting points the odds will be like a money line bet where a bettor has to lay more money than they will win in order to place the wager. For example, if Alaska State were really 6-point favorites and are now getting 4 points, you may have to bet $25 to win $10 (these odds are referred to by sports books as -250) if betting the reverse. Conversely, if Wyoming Tech are 6-point underdogs and they now had to win by 4 points to win the wager you may only have to risk $10 to win $25 (these odds would be referred to by sports books as +250). While many casinos, sports books, and online sportsbooks offer several levels of reverse wagering, many casinos, sports books, and online sports books do not accept or offer reverse wagering at all. As with any type of wager, it’s always best to ask or check the site if you are uncertain.

I really like betting reverses and some of my biggest winners have come betting this way as well as reverse parlays. As I noted earlier, only some of the online sportsbooks will allow these wagers so I always look to our sports book reviews to inform me which book would be best to place this wager with and who will not allow me to do it. Of course, if it means opening a new sports betting account I look for the best signup offers and bonuses as well.

What is a team total?

A team total bet is similar to an over/under bet, which is explained here, with the exception that the wager only applies to one of the teams participating in the game. The bettor must declare which team the wager applies to at the time they are making the bet. For example, let’s say that the team total for Alaska State for a particular game is 27. If the bettor wants to place a team total bet on Alaska State, they are betting that Alaska State, and only Alaska State, is going to score more or less than 27 points. If someone were thinking that Alaska State would score more than 27 points in the game they would wager on the team total for Alaska State being over; if they thought it was going to be less they would bet that the team total for Alaska State would be under. 

Like all sports betting, I like to shop for the best odds using a live comparison of the latest online sportsbooks odds. While odds can change at any time, not all sportsbooks have the same odds and lines on the same games and getting the best available odds can be vital to winning or losing a bet. Here is where I go to get the latest odds from all of the best online sportsbooks as well as offers they currently have if I don’t already have an account with them. 

How is the team total wager graded?

Because of the similarities to the over/under wager, the team total wager is graded in a similar fashion. Of course, this bet only applies to the points scored by one team, in our example Alaska State, regardless of whether they win or lose and regardless of how many points their opponent scores. As with other types of wagering, the same rules apply regarding pushes and we see half points sometimes listed in the team total amount. 

What is a money line wager?

A money line or straight-up wager is simply betting on a team to win the game or betting that another team will lose the game. Betting on a team to just win or lose is often referred to as taking that team straight up and is often what people think of when they think of betting on a team. While casinos and sports books do accept these types of bets regularly, they aren’t as popular as the point spread bets for reasons you’ll discover quite quickly when you read on further. 

What do you mean by laying odds?

When point spread betting there is a vig or share the house gets and how you have to wager $11 if you plan on winning $10, in straight-up or money line wagering the casinos, sports books, and online sportsbooks take it one step further. If you think the favorite is going to win you will have to lay odds or place a higher amount to win a lesser amount. I know this sounds confusing so I’ll do my best to put it in easier terms. Basically, instead of just risking the $11 to win $10 in a standard point spread wager, a bettor would have to bet sometimes significantly more to win that same $10 if they were betting on a team to just win the game regardless of by how many points. The regular point spread is usually a good indicator of how high the money line may be but I have seen instances where one would have to wager $1,000 to win $10. While most cases aren’t nearly this extreme, the more a team is favored, the more one would have to put out to gain a return.

Conversely, if one decided to bet on an underdog to win a game outright, they would expect to get more back than the original amount of their wager on the money line. For example, if it is perceived that a team is a definitive underdog the payout amounts could be exponential. For example, if a team is an underdog and is 3-1 to win outright (will show as +300 as money lines are always referred to in terms relating to a $100 wager), a $10 wager would win $30 or return $40, the original $10 wagered plus the additional $30 won on the wager. Of course, the closer the game is perceived to be the lower the odds and the lower the payout, but in many cases these payouts can be significant. One has to remember that these underdog bets don’t pay off as often and that’s why it is considered an upset if the team getting the odds wins. But I can assure you that it does happen every day and usually many times over the course of a busy day or a normal week. If you are one who likes big payoffs and taking chances, this is one of the types of opportunities you will have for betting underdogs, and if you pick your spots correctly the rewards can be quite nice. 

Of course, you will always want to check multiple sportsbooks to make sure you are getting the highest payouts on an underdog and are having to lay the lowest odds on a favorite. Getting the best odds on sports bets over time can make the difference between success or failure. We have put together this live betting odds page, the same one I use, to make sure you have a quick reference to show you where you can get the best odds and lines on all of the games. We have also provided easy links and bonuses that you can use to sign up and grab the best odds as well as bonus offers to get you started right. 

How does a point spread work? (Or What Is a Point Spread in Sports Gambling?)

Betting with a point spread is by far the most popular of all bets when it comes to wagering on sports. In its simplest form, betting with a point spread is looking at the two teams who are playing a particular game and the team who is favored to win must win by at least a certain amount of points, this amount of points is referred to as the point spread. Conversely, you can also bet (all wagers are often referred to as action) on the team that is not favored or the underdog in which case the point spread will be added to your team’s total number of points when determining if you won or lost the wager. 

Now before I get involved in some confusing language why don’t we just walk through a fictional example of a game that is going to be played between Alaska State and Wyoming Tech. Let’s just say in this fictional game that Alaska State is favored by 6 points over Wyoming Tech. In this scenario, Alaska State would be considered minus 6 points (-6). This can also be referred to as Alaska State giving points. At the same time, Wyoming Tech would be plus 6 points (+6). This can also be referred to as Wyoming tech getting points

It is important to note at this time that point spreads can be different at different sports books and getting the best odds can make the difference between winning or losing as many wagers can come down to just one point deciding if you won or lost. I use this betting odds comparison page to monitor all of the odds at the various online sportsbooks that are available. If I don’t have an account already opened, this makes it easy for me to open one as well as usually offering me a nice bonus just for depositing. Most successful sports bettors have more than one online sportsbook account so they can always get the best odds.  

How do you determine if you won or lost your point spread sports wager?

Using our same example of Alaska State being favored over Wyoming Tech by 6 points, if Alaska State wins by more than six points they have covered the spread, meaning they won the game by more points than the point spread called for.  If Alaska State wins by less than six points the people who bet on Wyoming Tech would win their wager and those who bet on Alaska State would lose. In this scenario, Wyoming Tech would have lost the game but covered the spread and Alaska State would have won the game but would not have covered the spread.  Of course, if Wyoming Tech wins the game outright and Alaska State loses, the same applies as Alaska State did not win by the required six points and wagers on them would be graded as losers. When a wager is said to be “graded”, it is merely just a reference that the winner and loser of the wager have been determined and the results are final.

What happens if the point spread wager is a tie?

Using our same example of Alaska State favored by 6 points over Wyoming Tech if by chance Alaska State wins by exactly 6 points, then it is considered a tie or what is referred to as a push. When two teams push it is considered a no wager/no action meaning the wager has been canceled and both sides are refunded the entire amount of their original wager. 


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