Do you know that 46% of Americans have made at least one sports bet in 2023? If you are also keen to join the exciting wagering world, you need to understand the types of sports bets that are popular in the US and realize their features.

Therefore, based on my knowledge, I have created this detailed review where I uncover the hallmarks of top-rated sports bets. Keep in mind that wager types are also called “markets,” and I will use both terms in the guide. Sit down more comfortably and go into the detailed betting world together with me.

Most Popular Types of Sports Bets

What are the different types of sports bets? It is the first question that may arise for sports enthusiasts. There are 15+ various market options, and you may discover most of them in the review below.

Money Line Bets

Money line stakes give you an opportunity to wager on who will become a winner in the sports competition. The bookmaker determines underdogs and favorites, and you need to make your choice, considering its predictions. Bear in mind that if you wager on the underdog and it wins, you will get more money than you would on the favorite. 

Do you still find it daunting? I have prepared an example for you. Just imagine that in the match between the Nuggets and the Lakers, the Lakers are underdogs +105 on the money line. In contrast, the Nuggets are favored at -145. So, you need to bet $100 on the Lakers to win $105, while you should wager $145 on the Nuggets to win $100.

Point Spread

The next top-rated wagering type is a point spread. When you choose this stake, you bet on a team’s margin rather than the outcome. As usual, the favorite has a minus symbol (-), and the underdog is designated by a plus sign (+). 

Wait, I will explain it with an example: if the team is priced at -6.5, it must win by more than 7 points. Alternatively, the opposing team might be priced at +6.5, meaning that it needs to lose the game by fewer than 6 points.

Parlay Bets

If I want to try to win more, I frequently prefer a Parlay bet. This wager type includes several stakes in one. For instance, I can create a bet that consists of several wagers, like Boston Red Sox Moneyline (-155), Los Angeles Dodgers Moneyline (-215), and Milwaukee Bucks +4.5 (-110). In this case, all my predictions must come true to receive my winning. Even if one stake does not win, I lose all funds. Still, if all stakes are successful, I will get a considerable payout.


The next type of bet is teasers. Since these stakes are similar to parlays, it may perplex newcomers in the betting field. Do not worry; I will explain the difference to you. The teaser is used only for point spreads and is designed to have the same winning amount as a regular single bet. This stake may “tease” the spread of several games by a few points in the sports enthusiast’s favor.

Let’s see an example of spreads for two football games, and I will tell you how they can be adjusted in the case of the use of a teaser bet:

  • Chiefs (vs. Dolphins): Original spread -8, New spread -2
  • Eagles (vs. 49ers); Original spread +3.5, New spread +9.5

If the Eagles lost to the 49ers 30-24, a new 9.5-point spread would cover it. Accordingly, the bookmaker indicates the Chiefs as an 8-point favorite against the Dolphins. If they win 28-24, you will get to cover the new 2-point spread.

Over/Under (Totals)

If you are looking for the best types of sports bets to make with low risk, totals will be a great choice. This market is frequently named Over/Under and allows you to predict the approximate number of points scored in a particular match. 

Namely, let’s imagine the chosen bookmaker indicates the total points in the football game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles as 35.5. So if both teams score a total amount of 30 points, the winning stake will be Under. In contrast, if the total amount is 36, the Over wager will bring a victory.

I like these stakes as I do not need to analyze a lot and can decide only on the total number of points for a particular game. Beyond that, I may not concentrate on the potential winning team and its background.

Live Betting

Honestly speaking, I cannot imagine my life without live betting. Why? As I can make wagers in real time, changing my predictions. It means that I can follow the match progress and consider what stake option will be the most profitable in the specific case.

Additionally, I can follow the odds changing, depending on the events in the game, and win more. Besides, if my first choice does not get success, live betting enables me to make several other wagers and try to win again.

Points Betting

When it comes to more volatile types of sports betting, I can confidently highlight point wagers. In the case of the point spread, you can win the same amount despite how much the team covers the spread. I can describe stakes pricing as a process where the number of units you win or lose is equal to how many points you got from the final spread result.

Here’s an example: you wager $10 on the Baltimore Ravens to win by more than 2.5 points against the Miami Dolphins. If the Ravens win by 10 points, you will get $72, as you receive $10 for each point. The spread was off by 7.5 units. Likewise, if the Baltimore Ravens lose by 20 points, you will lose $225.

Middle Bets

The middle bets allow you to wager on both positive and negative results. Let’s look at an example: you want to bet on the Detroit Lions in a Sunday match against the Miami Dolphins. On Wednesday, the Lions open bookmaker lines as an +8 point favorite. So, you bet on the Lions with a -8 spread. By Saturday, the Detroit Lions have become even stronger favorites thanks to wagering spread shifts; now you bet on +10 on the Dolphins. So we have:

  • Stake 1: -135 at $100 = $174
  • Stake 2: +145 at $100 = $245

In this case, both wagers can win, but both stakes may lose as well. If only Stake 1 wins, you will lose $26. Still, if Stake 2 is the only winner, you may receive $45. Alternatively, if you get the middle, and if both stakes are successful, you will earn $219.

Futures Bets

When I want to bet on the future outcome of a particular championship or other sports event, I opt for future wagers. These types of sports bets can be made on winning a league championship (for example, FIFA), the total number of wins a player or a team gets within the season, etc. For instance, I like to predict what NHL (The National Hockey League) team will become a winner in the Stanley Cup, what player will score more, etc.

So, summing up, if you seek a way to bet at the beginning of the sports season when the odds are high, futures will be an excellent choice. You may follow the selected sports competition with more interest and make more stakes depending on the development of events and match results. Thus, you will get more chances of winning.

Prop Bets

Commonly, a proposition stake (or a prop) is a wager that does not depend on the final game outcome and enables you to use your intuition. I can divide these types of bets in sports into two options. The first one is a player prop, and the second type is a game prop. 

When it comes to the player prop, you can try to predict the number of passing yards of a football quarterback or if the basketball player has a double-double. Speaking about the game props, here, you can predict the event that may happen in the match. For example, you may bet on the first team that you think will score 10 points. Besides, I periodically bet on which team will score in the game first.

Full Cover Bets

A full cover bet is a wager type where you can combine several types of sports bets in a single one. Nonetheless, don’t confuse it with parlay wagers since all possible winning combinations will be paid in a full cover bet. 

So, let’s look at an example. You make three wagers as a full cover bet, deeming that Columbus Crew SC will win in the match against Los Angeles Football Club and Seattle Sounders FC will outplay Sporting Kansas City (KS). Also, you believe that the Philadelphia Union will win against FC Cincinnati. If at least one of your predictions comes true, you will grab a payout according to the chosen odds.

If Bets and Reverse Bets

These types of bets in sports are considered two more difficult to understand. But, in fact, I like both of them and will explain their features. So, the “if bet” is a mix of two or more stakes, where the outcome depends on each wager result. What do I mean? Basically, you need to make multiple bets on whatever event you want. Then, you place the first stake on your first choice. If the first prediction does not come true, you lose the bet, and the rest of the stakes are canceled.

Likewise, if your first stake wins, you receive the payout, but an amount equal to your initial wager is deducted. Then, this sum is placed again to your second choice. If the second bet wins as well, you claim the payout minus the original stake, which is wagered on the third choice. Still, if the second choice loses, the rest of the stake is canceled. As I have noted, each bookmaker offers various numbers of choices, but it is traditionally between two and six. 

Describing reverse bets, I may say that these wagers are “if stakes” that operate in all possible directions. In fact, they are a mix of each of the possible wagers on any given number of choices, and as such, they exclude the possibility of losing out on returns thanks to the order of choices.

All reverse wagers have a double action: the remaining stakes in the sequence will be placed if the preceding stake is a win, is canceled for any reason, or is a “push.” I like these bets as I am still able to minimize my exposure to losses while increasing the possible combinations that will produce winning stakes.

Differences in Bet Types Per Sport

Now, you have understood all types of bets in sports and can try to predict the match outcome. Nevertheless, I should note that some wager options may be unsuitable for particular sports. I give a glimpse of this aspect in my review below. 

NBA Bets

The National Basketball Association (NBA) games are a great choice for bettors who want to try all stake options. Namely, newcomers may start with over/under bets, point spreads, money lines, or teasers. Besides more traditional options, you can benefit from prop wagers or combine several stakes into parlays. As for me, I like to bet in real-time, watch the game, and change my predictions.

NHL Bets

In my opinion, hockey is a strategic sport where the odds are frequently close-ish to even. Therefore, I prefer to bet on the money line in NHL games. In most cases, money lines are well-paying and allow me to win more. In addition to money lines, I also may select props and live bets while wagering on NHL competitions.

NFL Bets

From my personal standpoint, American football is the most top-rated sport, and it enables you to make plenty of types of sports bets. I believe that NFL games are a great choice for props, teasers, totals, point spreads, and, of course, live betting. The one thing I should note is that I rarely bet on money lines, as it is difficult to predict the winner and make the right choice.

MLB Bets

Similar to NHL games, MLB will be an excellent choice for money-line wagers. Furthermore, as the games move slowly, for example, compared with soccer, you can pay attention to live betting. Thus, you may watch the match dynamic and wager.

Tennis Bets

Tennis is a game that occurs by rivalry of a single player or a pair to win. It is not a secret that a money line is the most popular wager from all types of sports bets in tennis. Besides, I occasionally wager on future events, especially if I think I can predict the winner of the Australian Open or other tournaments. Furthermore, I would recommend live betting as the game may take some time, and you can easily decide on the potential winner.

Golf Bets

Honestly speaking, bookmakers do not offer a wide range of wagers on golf. In particular, you will not find points, spreads, money lines, or over/under bets on this game. Therefore, I advise betting on short-time futures. For instance, you may predict the golfer who will win a particular tournament or who will get a place in the top 5 or top 10, etc. Some sportsbooks may provide real-time wagers on golf. It is also a great idea for betting.

Soccer Bets

These types of bets in sports are an excellent option for enthusiasts who like to follow events in real-time. Soccer is always a fast-paced and dynamic game where you can make live stakes, counting on great odds. As an option, you can wager on futures if you want to predict which team will win the particular championship. In contrast, I recommend you avoid moneyline bets, as they frequently have a third outcome: a tie. It substantially decreases your winning likelihood. 


I also follow MMA or Mixed Martial Arts, in particular, the UFC league. In this case, I prefer moneyline wagers and stakes on a total number of fight rounds. The most popular bet is also fighting props, where you need to predict in which way the wrestler will win.

Boxing Bets

Similarly to MMA, moneyline bets in boxing are the most common type. Beyond that, wagering on the number of rounds and winning method are top-rated variants as well. You may also bet on the round when the fight is finished.

Why Should You Try Different Types of Bets?

As you realize, different types of sports bets may bring your winnings. Nonetheless, you should not concentrate only on one or two wager options. Of course, newcomers may start betting with such straightforward options as over/under, money lines, points, and live wagers. As a rule, these stakes have nice odds and will become a great foundation for your future wagering strategies.

Still, I do not recommend limiting yourself only to these wagers. The more bets you try, the more unique experience you will get. On top of that, the larger number of wagers may boost your winning chances. In addition, if you plan to bet on various sports, you simply cannot avoid testing different stake options because your success may depend on it. 

Besides, as far as I know, some bookmakers may offer bonus programs for using certain types of bets. Therefore, you can make your predictions and accumulate extra gifts, such as cashback, free bets, etc.

The Easiest and Hardest Bets to Place

In my opinion, each bettor may independently consider which types of bets in sports are difficult to understand and which ones are easier. It depends on experience, chosen strategy, and sports types. However, I deem that the easiest wagers are over/under bets. They can work in your favor when you have selected a smaller figure as a goal. Besides, you do not need to indicate the correct figure but only the range, which makes this bet a bit easier.

I would also advise looking at moneyline bets, as these wagers are popular among sports enthusiasts and are considered the easiest to understand. As I have noted above, you only need to opt for a team or player that, in your opinion, will win. If your predictions come true, you will get a payout.

Furthermore, you may pay attention to live betting. Real-time wagers allow you to watch the match beginning and decide on the favorite and the outsider. You may also bet at the moment when the odds are most favorable for a bigger win.

When it comes to the hardest bets, for me, it’s point spread. As you need to wager on a team’s margin of victory, you should carefully analyze its previous games and potential results.

How to Choose the Right Bet Type

Keep in mind that there are no versatile types of sports bets that will be suitable for all competitions. So, if you want to pick the most profitable choice for betting on a particular sport, you need to learn all the stakes features. In my review, I have explained how each bet type works. Besides, I may recommend exploring such aspects:

  • Pick bets that are familiar to you. If you do not have experience, you may start with easier wagers (like money lines and totals). Seasoned bettors can wager on more specific types like middle, game spreads, and more.
  • Compare the odds. You need to choose the finest odds to get more profit from the selected stake.
  • Discover the team’s or player’s background. Learning the previous experience of the picked player or team will help you to make the more lucrative choice.


What are the different types of sports bets? It was our first question, and I believe that we have dealt with this topic and explored money line, point spread, teasers, over/under, and other types of bets. As you can see, you may try numerous wagers, depending on your experience and favorite sport. If you are a newbie, start with easier single bets and confidently move on to the parlay or teaser wagers. After all, do not be scared to experiment with various sports bets to get more substantial payouts. I wish you good luck and a nice start of your betting journey!