Explaining Different Bet Types

When you first log on to an online sportsbook, you might just be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of bet types. Don't worry, we're going to cover all of them and give you examples of each.
Explaining Different Bet Types

One thing we get a lot of questions about is the various bet types and what they are. We hope to take some of the complexity out of the sports betting market for beginners, offering a basic yet thorough understanding of different betting types. 

Whether you’re a novice sports enthusiast or someone looking to explore betting, we’ll walk you through the essentials, using examples to clarify concepts.

Bet Type Description Favorability
Straight Bets Wagering on a single game or event, including point spread and money line bets. Foundation of sports betting, straightforward.
Parlay Bets Combining two or more picks into a single bet; all picks must win for the parlay to pay out. High-risk, high-reward; favored by the house.
Teaser Bets A type of parlay where you can adjust the point spread in your favor, with reduced odds. Offers more control but with lower payouts.
Prop Bets Wagers on specific events within a game, not linked to the final outcome. Adds fun and unpredictability to betting.
Over/Under Bets Betting on whether the total score will be over or under a specified amount. Popular for its simplicity and wide applicability.
Futures Bets Wagers on events that will happen in the future, like championship winners. Long-term bets with potentially high odds.
Live Betting Placing bets on a game as it’s happening, with dynamically changing odds. Offers in-the-moment action and excitement.
Round Robin Bets Creating multiple parlays at once, acting as a safety net for parlay bets. Increases chances to win some money even if one bet loses.

Straight Bets – The Foundation of Sports Betting

Straight bets are the most straightforward and common type of sports bet. In a straight bet, you’re wagering on a single game or event. 

The two primary components of a straight bet are the point spread and the money line.

  • Point Spread. This is the margin of points in which the favored team must win to “cover the spread.” For example, if the Detroit Redwings are favored by 1.5 points over the Colorado Avalanche, they need to win by 2 points or more for you to win the bet.
  • Money Line. This bet involves picking the winner of the game without any point spread. The odds are expressed in terms of money. For instance, if Carolina Hurricanes has odds of -150, you need to bet $150 to win $100.

Parlay Bets – Combining Multiple Bets

Parlay bets are more complex and involve combining two or more picks into one single bet. Sometimes, these are called accumulator bets or simply “accas.” You can choose to incorporate as many bets as you’d like, which could have a massive payout.

The catch is that all your picks must win for the parlay to pay out. 

Parlays can offer high payouts, but they come with increased risk. These are definitely in favor of the house.

  • For example, you could bet on three different games, combining your bets into one parlay. The entire parlay bet is lost if even one team fails to win. However, if all three win their games, it could be a massive payday for you.

Teaser Bets – A Twist on Parlays

Teaser bets are a type of parlay where you can adjust the point spread in your favor. These bets give you a bit more control of the outcoming.

However, this advantage comes at the cost of reduced odds.

  • Suppose you have two teams at -6 points each. In a teaser, you might be able to adjust these spreads to -4 points, increasing your chances of winning, but the payout will be less than a standard parlay.

Prop Bets – Beyond the Game Outcome

Proposition bets, commonly known as prop bets, are wagers made on specific events within a game, not necessarily linked to the final outcome.

  • Examples include betting on which player will score first, the number of touchdowns in a game, or even the coin toss result in a football game. These bets add an element of fun and unpredictability.

Over/Under Bets – Predicting Scores

Over/Under bets involve wagering on whether the total score of a game will be over or under a specified amount. These are typically shown in half-point increments, so there’s no tie.

  • For instance, if the over/under for a game is set at 43.5, you bet on whether the combined score of both teams will be more or less than 43.5. If the combined score after adding up both sides is 43 and you picked the under, then you win.

Futures Bets – Long-Term Predictions

Futures bets are wagers placed on events that will happen in the (distant) future, such as who will win the championship at the season’s end.

These are typically straight bets with very low odds, but that’s because the event is so far out. The closer the event is and the better the picture of who will win, the odds will continue to change.

These bets often have high odds and can provide significant payouts, but they require patience and a good sense of future outcomes.

  • A classic example of a futures bet is betting on the World Series champion before the MLB season even starts. Typically, last year’s WS champion will have the best odds, but that can change throughout the season.

Live Betting – In-the-Moment Action

Live betting, also known as in-game betting, allows you to place bets on a game as it’s happening. The odds change dynamically based on the game’s progress.

These can be just about any type of bet we listed above. However, they’re typically in the form of straight bets or prop bets.

  • One example of a live bet is betting on the result of the next drive in an NFL game. The better the team is playing, the lower the odds. These odds change throughout the course of the game.

Round Robin Bets – Parlay Variations

Round Robin bets are a way to create multiple parlays at once. It’s like a safety net for parlay bets, where you still stand a chance to win some money even if one of your bets loses.

  • For example, if you have three teams, you can create three different two-team parlays within a round-robin.

What Bet Type is for You?

Sports betting can be a fun and exciting experience, but understanding the different types of bets is essential for a rewarding experience. 

Most online sportsbooks, at least the significant sportsbooks, have all of these bet types. So, you should be able to find them just about anywhere.

We always recommend signing up with one of the major sportsbooks, such as DraftKings, FanDuel, or BetMGM, and getting the bonus that comes with signing up for them. This way, you can use your new bonus to place some of these bet types.

Whether it’s the simplicity of straight bets, the high-risk, high-reward nature of parlays, or the fun propositions of prop bets, we’re sure you’ll find something that works for you.


Matt Brown

Head of Sports Betting and DFS

Matt’s love for sports betting and daily fantasy sports, coupled with a deep understanding of football, hockey, and baseball, shapes his innovative thoughts on Hello Rookie. He has a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and a M.S. in Project Management.