Parlay Sports Betting: If Bets & Revers Bets

Complex Sports Parlays: Understanding If Bets and Reverse Bets

Complex sports parlays, How If Bets and Revers Bets workSome sports betting options are simple. Straight up bets are the easiest. “I bet $5 this team will beat that team.” Couldn’t be easier, right? Then there are some more complicated types of wagers that serious punters thrive on. If Bets and Reverse Bets are certainly among them.

In general, parlays aren’t the types of wagers I’m attracted to. The more contests you pick, the longer the odds become of winning. Of course, the payout gets higher too, which is one reason some people like them. But if bets and reverse bets are a bit different. They allow parlay punters to hedge their bets, in a manner, making them less risky.

Understanding If Bets and Reverse Bets

As I said, these can seem like pretty complex sports parlays. But once you understand the concept, they aren’t so difficult at all. If you’re like most sports betting enthusiasts, you’ll either love them or hate them.

Because these are essentially parlays with extenuating circumstances that govern their profitability, you need to be familiar with basic parlay bets first. You can learn more about how to bet on parlays here:

How to Bet on Futures, Parlays & Teasers

How If Bets Work

An If Bet could be called a protected parlay. Or, you could call it a straight up bet on one team, which rolls over to the next team if it wins, and the next again if that one wins, etc. Most online sportsbooks allow punters to select between 2 and 6 picks.

In order to collect any pay out, you just need the first selection to be correct. If that selection wins, you get the payout, and the original stake rolls over to the next pick. If the second selection is also correct, your profit increases, and again, the parlay continues. The bet remains active until one of your picks loses, or until all bets come in correct. If, however, the first selection loses, it’s all over—the wager is lost.

For example, let’s say you place a $100 if bet on three hockey games. You choose the Maple Leaves, Canucks and Penguins to win, in that order. We’ll assume each pays even money, to make things simple, but of course, that won’t always be the case (see Understanding Sports Odds for more information).

Here are the possible scenarios…

  • The Maple Leaves lose. Your wager is lost and the bet is over. Or…

  • The Maple Leaves win. You receive $100—an equal amount to your stake—and the bet continues. Then…

    • The Canucks lose. Your initial $100 stake is lost, but you keep the first $100 payout. You’ve broken even, and the bet is over. Or…

    • The Canucks win. You receive another $100 payout, and the initial stake is placed on the next game. The parlay continues. Then…

      • The Penguins lose. Your initial $100 stake is lost, but you keep the $200 payout for the first two games. You’re up $100, and the bet is over. Or…

      • The Penguins win. You receive another $100 payout, plus your original stake back, and the bet is complete. Your profit is $300.

How Reverse Bets Work

A Reverse Bet is simply a compilation of If Bets that set the picks in all possible orders. Using the same example as above, a $100 reverse bet on these three teams would look like this:

Maple Leaves – Canucks – Penguins

Maple Leaves – Penguins – Canucks

Canucks – Maple Leaves – Penguins

Canucks – Penguins – Maple Leaves

Penguins – Maple Leaves – Cancuks

Penguins – Canucks – Maple Leaves

In this way, if just one of your selections is correct, you’re guaranteed to receive at least $200. If two teams win, your receive $600. And if all three teams win, you get $1,800, plus your initial stake back.

However—and this is a BIG however—your initial stake is multiplied by the number of bets being placed. In this case, there are six total bets, for a total stake of $600 ($100 each).

This means that, at even-money odds, two of your selections must be correct just to break even. A profit is only made if all three are correct. If one is correct, you lose $400; if none correct, you lose $600.

To have a decent chance of being profitable, reverse bets are generally made on underdog teams with long odds and high payouts for a win. If the odds are long enough, you can actually make a profit on just one team’s unlikely success.

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