Popular betting markets & bet types in online sports betting – overview and explanation

Bets can be placed on a wide variety of things. But which betting market offers the highest potential? Which are suitable for beginners, and which should only be used by seasoned professionals?

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In the following we offer you a detailed overview of the most popular types of bets and betting markets:

Double Chance

For all sports where a draw is possible, there is a double chance betting offer, usually represented as 1x, x2 or 12. With 1x you bet that the home team will either win or draw, with x2 you bet that the away team will not lose the match and with 12 you bet that there will be no draw.

This type of bet increases the probability of winning.  Assuming that the probability of a home win is 40% and that of a draw 30%, this results in a winning chance of 70%. On the other hand, this also reduces the odds. In this example, the odds would be 1.42 (from which the bookmakers subtract a few percent).

In the 2021/2021 season, there were 210 times the result 1x (68.6%), 177 times x2 (57.8%) and 225 times 12 (73.5%) in 306 matches.

Three-way bet

The three-way bet is the most classic of all betting forms in sports with a draw, such as football. Here you bet on the outcome of the match: home win (1), draw (X) or away win (2). There are also different variations, for example in connection with a handicap, i.e. a goal or point advantage.

Result bet

In football, a result bet is placed on the possible final result of a match, such as 1:0, 2:1, 1:1. The more probable the result, the lower the odds. In the 2021/2022 season, for example, the most frequent result in the German Bundesliga was a 1-1 draw (40 times), followed by a 2-1 home win (30 times) and a 0-1 away win (20). Thus, 13.7% of all matches ended in a 1-1 draw, which is the basis for calculating the odds.

Another factor is the teams involved. In the same season 20/21, for example, the most frequent result for FC Bayern Munich was a 1:2 defeat (15.8%), on a par with a 4:0 win (also 15.8%). 

This type of bet also exists in other sports, for example ice hockey. In tennis or volleyball, the result bet refers to set wins or match wins.

Handicap betting

Handicap betting is one of the most popular forms of betting and is offered in almost all sports. A distinction is made between the three-way handicap and the two-way handicap, which also includes the so-called Asian handicap.

In a handicap bet, teams receive a goal or point advantage that is added to the probability of winning. In individual sports such as tennis, this can take the form of a set or point advantage.

Example: You bet on a home win with a handicap of -1. In this case, the host team must win by a two-goal margin, say 3:1. However, if they only win by a one-goal margin (2:1), this is considered a draw because the hosts have one goal deducted from the final score. If the match ends 1-1, the away team is the winner of this handicap bet.

There is no draw in the two-way handicap. The most common handicap in this case is -0.5: a team has half a goal subtracted from the final result, so any kind of win will do, or the +0.5, a team has half a goal added to the final result, so at least a draw is required.

If you bet on the home team to win -1, you need one win with a two-goal lead. If only one goal is scored, the stake is returned. If you bet on the away team +1, you win the bet as soon as at least a draw is achieved; if you lose by one goal, the stake is returned. Similarly for all other goal or points bets.

In the special case of the Asian Handicap, there are further variants. For example, a bet on a -0.75 win means that half of the stake is calculated with the -0.5 handicap, the other half with -1. In the case of a win with a one-goal lead, only the -0.5 win is considered a win, the other half of the stake is returned. Other handicaps are 0 (refund of stake in case of a draw), -0.25, -1.25, -1.5, -1.75 etc.

Long-term bet

Patience is required for long-term bets. Here you bet on the upcoming football world champion, the winner of a tennis tournament or who will be the best goal scorer of a season. Normally, you wait until a winner has been determined. On betting exchanges such as Betfair, however, there is a brisk trade in long-term bets, as these odds often change depending on the news situation. For example, if a tennis star is unable to play in a tournament due to injury or retires early, this will have a direct impact on the odds of other players.

Live betting

The possibility of betting on possible outcomes even during a match has become standard. The betting odds are constantly updated by the betting providers until the final whistle or match ball. If you are sometimes still not sure which team to bet on, you can sit back and watch who makes a better (or worse) impression or react to unexpected developments, such as a red card or the injury of an important player.

In Asian Handicap live betting, the bet always starts at 0:0, no matter what the current score is. If the score is 2:0 for the home team and you bet on the away team -0.5, it is enough if your team scores more goals than the other team from the time the bet is placed. Even if the match ends 3:2 for the home team, the bet is successful.

Over/Under bets

No matter what ball sport, there is no winner without goals or points. But how many will there be in the end? For this, betting shops offer a predicted number. For football, this is traditionally the question of more than two or less than three goals and is referred to as Over/Under 2.5. In games with very offensive teams or an expected significant difference in quality, this figure can go up; when two defensive specialists meet, it goes down.

In ice hockey, it is usually over/under 5.5 goals; in sports such as basketball or handball, the bookmakers use the past match results of the respective teams to determine an expected average. In tennis, you can bet on the number of total games or sets.  

Pre-match betting

This is the classic form of betting. With pre-match betting, you place your bets before the match starts and just wait for the final whistle. Pre-match bets are often published two weeks in advance for the bigger bets. 

Special bet

Special bets are picks on specific events that may occur during a match. For example, you can bet on who will win the toss, which player will score the first or last goal of the match and whether it will be a header or even a bicycle kick, which player will receive a caution or be sent off, whether there will be a penalty kick or whether a game deficit can still be turned into a win.

There are no limits to the creativity of the leading betting providers when it comes to selecting their special bets. The more important the competition or the respective match is, the crazier special bets are offered.

Betting on corners

This is a specific bet in football, whereby betting on corners has now developed into a very extensive offer. The most common form offered is the bet on the number of corners expected. This is calculated based on the respective total number of corners in the previous matches of both teams. As with the over/under bet, you bet on over or under. However, you can also bet on the exact number of corners or which of the two teams will be awarded more corners. Handicaps are also offered. 

Betting on cards

Similar to corner betting, betting on cards is based on the number of yellow or red cards shown in the match. Usually, bets are placed on the total number of cards (over/under) or on which of the two teams will receive more cards. However, special bets are also offered on cards to determine the leg of the game of the first card or which player will receive a caution.

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