Basic Bet Types: 1X2s
1X2 markets are the most common punters bet on and are the simplest way for a player to understand the cost of a bet. Take the 2012/13 Premier League opening week game between Everton (4.250), draw (3.790) and Manchester United (1.917) as an example.
If you staked £10 on Everton to win at Goodison Park, you would win £42.50 - although that would include your initial £10 stake. Therefore your profit would be £32.50. You would win nothing if the result ended in a defeat or draw for Everton.
A £10 bet on the draw would have returned you £37.90 (£27.90 profit and your £10 stake); while the same bet on United to win would see you pocket £19.17 (£9.17 profit).
Once you are familiar with 1X2s the next step to understand how the value in 1X2 odds varies across bookmakers, thus impacting potential winnings.
Basic Bet Types: Handicaps
Betting on the handicap is valuable when one team is heavily favoured over their opponents. To counter the perceived bias in ability, bookmakers offer a handicap to level the playing field.
The handicap is factored into the final score to determine the game’s outcome for the purpose of the bet (which might be different from the actual result).
For example, the handicap for the 2012/13 Premier League opening week game between Everton and Manchester United is (+0.5, 2.020) for Everton and (-0.5, 1.917) for Man Utd.
If the result was 1-0 to United, bets on Man Utd would win as the 0.5 handicap is not enough to change the outcome. This is often called covering the handicap.
If the result was a 1-1 draw, however, bets on Everton would win, as the 0.5 handicap added to their score is enough to tip match in their favour.
The handicap can also differ by appearing as a split, such as +0.5 & +1 or -0.5 & -1. This takes your stake and effectively places two handicap bets - one at each option. Therefore you can win both bets, just one, or lose both.
Advanced bettors will understand the relationship between 1X2 and handicap odds and how to decide which option offers better value.
Basic Bet Types: Totals
Totals bets are another basic bet type, and a popular alternative to 1X2’s and handicap bets. The focus is not on finding the winner of a particular event, but predicting the outcome of game variables e.g. total goals/runs/points or any other easily quantifiable variable.
Bookmakers offer the option for punters to bet on whether the total goals/points will be either OVER or UNDER their assessment of the game.
For Everton and Manchester United, the total goal mark is set at Over 2.5 (2.080) and Under 2.5 (1.909).
If you bet £10 on the game to be over 2.5 goals and the result was 2-1 (a total of three goals) you would make a return of £20.80 (£10.80 profit), while you would have won nothing had you bet on the goals total to be under 2.5.