Forms of betting
First thing you should do before placing a bet is to decide which form of betting you would like to use. There are few options that are offered by the majority of the bookmakers. When it comes to sports betting, the most popular forms seem to be the fixed-odds and spread betting. The Parimutuel is mostly used in betting on horse racing and greyhound racing.
Fixed odds betting
Fixed-odds betting is by far the most popular form of sports betting. The main idea behind this system is that the punter is betting against the odds offered by the bookmaker before the event. When a bet is made, the punter knows exactly how much he can win or lose when he calculates the money he placed on the bet with the odds offered by the bookmaker at that moment. It is worth mentioning that the odds posted on the bookmaker’s website tend to change, sometimes very rapidly. This is mainly caused by the amount of bets placed on one of the outcomes of the event. The bookmakers balance and adjust their odds to make profits, regardless of the result of the sporting event. Nevertheless, the odds that you used in your bet stay the same for you. It also means that you can make more or less money depending on the odds offered at time of placing the bet. Depending on the geographical region, there are three major types of odds: Fractional (British Isles), Decimal (rest of the Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and Moneyline (USA). The most popular types of bets considered to be the part of fixed-odd betting include:
- Win/Draw/Win (1X2) – the most simple kind of bet where you choose the outcome of the event. You could either bet on a draw or a win for the home or away team. Here you must predict the scores on the half time, the full time or both in a single bet.
- Double chance - a safer option where you can pick two outcomes of an event, for example a win or a draw of a particular win or the win of either team in the match.
- Outright – predicting the long-term results of sports events such as the winner of the competition/league/tournament.
- Correct score - the most risky bet in which you have to predict the exact result of the event, including the number of goals/points for both sides and the overall winner of the event.
Parimutuel betting, also known as Tote or Tote betting, is another very popular betting system which differs from the fixed-odds betting in that the odds are not fixed but are calculated after the event/events we made a bet on, happen. Another difference is that, in this type of betting, the punters are making bets against each other, rather than against the bookmaker. First, all the bets are placed in a pool, the more bets are made, the bigger is the pool and the potential winnings.
Then, the bookmaker takes his cut (a commision for organising the betting) and taxes. After the event is finished a mechanical device called totalisator calculates the payout odds for all winning bets. This type of betting is mainly used in betting on racing, especially horse racing. Apart from the bookmakers, each racetrack offers its own parimutuel bets. This type of betting is also rarely used in football as a way of predicting the final standings or match results in a given league. Examples include the football pools in the UK and Totos in continental Europe).
Spread betting is an increasingly popular form of betting where the focus is more on the accuracy than the simple two-way (home win/away win) or three-way (home win/draw/away win) prediction of the outcome of the event, just like in the case of fixed odds or parimutuel betting. Based on the quality or recent performances of the teams or players as well as many other factors, the bookmaker create a ‘spread', which can be explained as an advantage for the weaker team expressed in the form of points or goals (depending on the discipline) with which the underdog would, theoretically, have the same chances of winning as the favourite. Similarly, there are also spreads for the number of goals/points that either the favourite will score or the underdog will concede. The punter’s job is to decide whether the particular outcome offered by the bookmaker will be over or under the ‘spread’. This type of betting is getting more popular among both punters and bookmakers every year. The most renowned spread bets include:
- Asian Handicaps - special variation of football spread betting in which there is no draw option. Here, the teams or players are ‘handicapped’ (given advantage or disadvantage) depending on their recent performances and quality. Depending on the spread offered by the bookmaker, the better team must win with greater number of goals or the weaker team must not lose with a lot of goals. Read this article if you want to know more about the asian handicaps.
- Over / Under - also known as total bets, are type of bets in which you have to predict whether the number of goals/points/rebounds/corners/penalty cards in the game will be higher or lower than the number provided by the bookmaker. The bookmaker's aim is to offer such number, that the chances of guessing it right are roughly about 50%.
- Financial spread betting - a non sport type of betting. As a truly worldwide phenomenon, spread betting is increasingly gaining popularity outside the sports context as it allows to speculate on the movement of stocks and shares without using a stockbroker, which means you don't have to pay commission or fees. In practice, a spread betting company makes a spread around the live, underlying market price (for instance, financial market, or property market) and you can place a bet on the market rising (a buy order) or falling (a sell order).