Sports Betting Explained – Types of Sports Wagers

Curious about the types of sports bet? Check out William Hill’s guide to sports betting, which covers all the need-to-know topics and terms. Learn about all popular types of bets, including parlays, teaser bets, prop bets, and all the need to know terminology for betting on sports.

Sports Betting with William Hill

Betting with William Hill gives sports lovers a great opportunity to bring themselves even closer to the action. When you bet on the game you go beyond watching, and become deeply invested in the outcome – regardless of your affiliations to the team. This gives you a chance (and an excuse) to watch so much more than your favorite team, keep up with league-wide action, and follow all the players, match-ups, and trends.


  • Point Spread : How to Read a Point Spread

    The most popular sports bets are based on the point spread. The point spread represents the margin of points in which the favored team must win the game by to “cover the spread.” Bets on the point spread are usually offered at 11 to 10 odds.  For example, a player must bet $11 to win $10 for a total payout of $21 or $110 to win $100.

  • Money Line Bet

    What is a money line bet? The money line represents the odds of a team winning the game outright without the use of the point spread. The money line is expressed as a 3-digit number. For example -150 means a player must bet $150 for every $100 he wishes to win, $15 for every $10 and multiples thereof.

So what kind of bets can I place?

There are many different kinds of wagers that we at William Hill offer our customers. Let’s jump right in.

Parlays : What is Parlay Bet?

A parlay is a single wager that involves betting on two or more teams to win. While this is obviously more difficult than picking just one winning team correctly, winning a parlay results in much higher payouts than individual team bets, especially when betting on the underdog.

It should be noted that winning a parlay is also possible if one of your games are cancelled or postponed. Therefore, if you bet on three baseball games and one is rained out, you can still win a two-game parlay by winning your two other games.

At William Hill, we allow parlays that consist of up to twelve teams.

Parlay Payouts

Parlay payouts are fixed at the time the bet is placed.
Regardless of any odds changes, the bet won’t be altered whether the lines change for or against the bettor.

Most Common Types of Parlays

Round Robin

A Round Robin bet is when a player places multiple parlay bets at the same time. This is similar to a horse bettor betting boxes for an exacta or trifecta bet in a race.

When placing a Round Robin, you may select anywhere from 3 to 8 teams or totals. From here, you will then select how many teams or totals you would like to tie together for the Round Robin.

For example, a bettor may select eight teams and totals for a Round Robin and tie the parlays to as many three-team combinations as possible. In a Round Robin, your number of parlays will be based on how many combinations of teams you have. Assuming someone plays four teams, they will have 14 different parlays if they choose two teams. If they choose to make three-team parlays they will have 42 different parlay tickets.

Teaser Bets

A Teaser is similar to a traditional parlay, where the bettor can select multiple teams or totals. In a Teaser however, there are no moneylines allowed.

Unlike a parlay, you may move the point spread or total plus or minus a certain number of points. The additional points on the spread or total make these bets easier to win since the team has less of a spread to cover, therefore they pay out less than a traditional parlay.

Teaser bets can change the point spreads or totals anywhere from six to ten points. Each portion of the teaser must use the same number of points, however those portions of the teaser may go in different directions.

Very similar to a traditional parlay, the more teams involved with the Teaser, the more substantial the payout.

Straight Bets : What is a Straight Bet?

A straight bet is the most commonly placed type of bet. In a straight bet, all you must do to win is place a bet on the team that covers their side of the spread.

For example, if you were looking to bet on the Jets with a +3 point spread, this means you can win your bet if the Jets win, tie or even if they lose by two points. This is because they covered the spread by losing by only two. It is considered a push (money back) if they were to lose by exactly three points. It is important to note that lines are often included with half points, so in this case, a +3.5 spread. Doing so means that all bets will result in either a win or a loss.

Future Betting

A Futures bet is when you place any bet in which a winner won’t be determined until the distant future. Bets that can be considered a Future are things like who will win the championship before the season starts, who will join what team in the offseason, who will win the division or conference, and so on.

Betting on races and golf or tennis tournaments are considered a Future as well.

Prop Bets – What are Prop Bets?

A Prop bet (or proposition bet) is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, and is already a fan favorite around the world.

When placing a prop bet, like a Futures bet, you are betting on the odds of specific events occurring in the future. The difference is, in a Prop bet, unlike a Futures bet, you are betting on the performance of a particular player or occurrence.

For example, a bettor can place a Prop bet that a quarterback will pass for over 300 yards. You can also place a Prop bet that this player will pass for over 300 yards and win the game.

Another type of Prop bet is unrelated to stats, and bettors can wager on things like who will win the MVP award at the end of the season, where in the draft will a player will be drafted, whether a team will make the playoffs, and if the Super Bowl coin toss will land on heads or tails.

At William Hill, we are always looking for new ways to improve, and we take our customers’ feedback very seriously. So if you have any suggestions for a Prop bet, be sure to email or tweet us and as long as local gaming rules allow it we’ll be sure to add it to our offering!

What to expect when You Start Betting

Once you’re ready to place a bet, it’s important to know what you’re looking at.

When viewing a game, each matchup will offer six straight bet markets: two money lines, two spreads, the over and the under.

While the spread can change drastically based on each individual game, typically you won’t see basketball and football spreads above the high teens, and in baseball the favorite usually has a spread of -1.5.

You will also see moneyline bets- which is when you bet on a team to win a game, regardless of the spread. The one exception is soccer, where we offer a three way moneyline, where you can also bet on a tie (or draw). Moneyline wagers are also considered a Futures bet.

In-play is another offering that William Hill provides, which are bets that you are allowed to make after the game has already started. In-play can be found for soccer, tennis, baseball, basketball, football and hockey.

Popular Betting

Betting is a very personal experience, as each bettor has their own level of confidence, expertise, and financial flexibility. So please play responsibly and bet with confidence.

With that said, if you are new to sports betting or want to gain knowledge on trends and methods, it may be helpful to see what and how others bet.

As a starting point, people love to bet on their local teams. In New Jersey, that means the Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Giants, Jets, Eagles, Knicks, Rangers, Devils and everything in between.

Betting on your local teams not only adds value and suspense to the teams you already love to watch, but it also provides you an advantage as you already have a slue of information and networks covering your local teams – providing insights you wouldn’t have as readily as other teams around the country.

Another thing people love to bet is the favorites. Why you might ask? Because they’re supposed to win…and who doesn’t want to bet on a winner. But remember, that’s why it’s called betting. So don’t count out the underdog!

Lastly, a popular trend is betting on popular teams, players and primetime games, or in short teams and sports we already like to watch. People like to bet on things they know…shocking, right…?

The Bizarre

Now that we’ve covered the most popular bets, let’s get into the weird stuff.

People in Europe love to bet on anything and everything they can get their hands on. From Fourth Division English soccer (basically the equivalent to Single A baseball), Esports, Brexit, awards shows, WWE, Britain’s Got Talent, and even the next Prime Minister or US President, there’s nothing that’s off limits!

There’s no Time Like the Present to Bet on Sports

We’re sure you’re feeling like a pro at this point, so trust your knowledge, seize the day, AND GET STARTED!


Action – A sports wager of any kind; a bet.

Added Game – A game not part of the typical menu of wagering offerings, often posted as an accommodation to patrons.

Book – A establishment that accepts bets on the outcome of sporting events.

Buy (Points) – A player pays an additional price (lays more money) to receive a half-point or more in his favor on a pointspread game.

Chalk – The favorite.

Cover – Winning by more than the pointspread.

Dime – A $1,000 sports wager.

Dog – The team perceived to be most likely to lose. Short for underdog.

Favorite – The team considered most likely to win an event.

First-half bet – A bet placed on the score in the  first half of the game only.

Future – Odds that are posted well in advance on the winner of major events, including the Pro Football Championship, the Pro Basketball Championship and the Pro Baseball Championship.

Half-time bet – A bet placed on scoring in the second half of a game only.

Handle – The total amount of bets taken.

Hold – The percentage the house wins.

Juice – The bookmaker’s commission, most commonly the 11 to 10 bettors lay on straight pointspread wagers; also known as “vigorish.”

Laying the points/price – Betting the favorite by giving up points.

Limit – The maximum amount accepted by the house before the odds and/or pointspread are changed.

Line – The current odds or pointspread on a particular event.

Listed pitchers – A baseball bet placed only if both of the pitchers scheduled to start a game actually start. If they don’t, the bet is deemed “No Action” and refunded.

Longshot – A team perceived to be unlikely to win.

Middle – To win both sides of a game; wagering on the underdog at one pointspread and the favorite at a different pointspread and winning both sides. For example, if the player bets the underdog +4 ½ and the favorite -3 ½ and the favorite wins by 4, the player has middled the book and won both bets.

Money line – Odds expressed in terms of money. With money odds, whenever there is a minus (-) the player lays that amount to win $100; where there is a plus (+) the player wins that amount for every $100 wagered.

Nickel – A $500 sports wager.

No action – A wager in which no money is lost or won and the original bet amount is refunded.

Off the board – A game in which no bets are being accepted.

Opening line– The earliest line posted for a particular sporting event.

Over – A sports bet in which the player wagers that the combined point total of two teams will be more than a specified total.

Parlay – A single bet that links together two or more wagers; to win the bet, the player must win all the wagers in the parlay. If the player loses one wager, the player loses the entire bet.  However, if he wins all the wagers in the parlay, the player wins a higher payoff than if the player had placed the bets separately.

Pick or Pick ’em – A game when neither team is favored

Point Spread – The margin of points in which the favored team must win by to “cover the spread.”

Price – The odds or point spread.

Prop (Proposition) Bet – A bet that focuses on the outcome of events within a given game. Props are often offered on marquee games of great interest. These include Sunday and Monday night pro football games, various high-profile college football games, major college bowl games and playoff and championship games. An example of a prop bet is “Which team will score the first touchdown?”

Push – When the contest ends with no winner or loser for wagering purposes; a tie for wagering purposes.

Round Robin – A series of parlays.

Run line – In baseball, a spread used instead of the money line.

Sides – The two teams playing; the underdog and the favorite.

Sportsbook – A physical location that accepts sports bets.

Straight bet – An individual wager on a game or event that will be determined by a pointspread or money line

Straight-up – Winning the game without any regard to the pointspread; a money-line bet.

Take the points – Betting the underdog and receiving its advantage in the pointspread.

Take the price – Betting the underdog and accepting money odds.

Teaser – A type of parlay in which the pointspread or total of each individual play is adjusted. The price of moving the pointspread (teasing) is lower payoff odds on winning wagers.

Tie – A wager in which no money is lost or won because the teams’ scores were equal to the number of points in the given pointspread.

Total – The combined amount of runs, points or goals scored by both teams during the game, including overtime.

Under – The player bets that the total points scored by two teams will be less than a certain figure.

Underdog – The team perceived to be most likely to lose. Also known as the “dog.”

Vigorish – The bookmaker’s commission; also known as juice.

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