Types of Bets: Part 1

Twitter: @GGirlSports

 Welcome to the next part of our introduction to sports betting! Here at BallisLife, our goal is to provide you with accurate and knowledgeable information when it comes to betting. If you are new, or experienced, the goal is to explain sports betting to the best of our ability with integrity and purpose.
In the last article, we broke down the act of sports betting, the legality, types of sports books, bank roll management, units, and bet slips. In case you missed it, Click here to read our Introduction to Betting.

In this article, we will break down the types of bets you can make. Stay tuned for more articles pertaining to the basics of betting.

Types of Bets

Since the legalization of sports betting in 2018, the unique bets that a someone can make has increased. For example, depending on what state and sports book, there are bets made daily on players, situations, games, drafts, and so forth. It’s important to reiterate the importance of wagering your funds within a legal sports book in your state. Below we will discuss MoneyLine, Totals(over/under), Point Spread, Parlays, and futures. We will keep this information very basic, and keep in mind there are many beginners reading this. 

Moneyline Bet

A Moneyline bet is one of the most common forms of bests and is known as a straight bet. The money line simply means you are betting on a team to win a basketball game and the outcome of a particular game. In addition, this is one of the easiest bets to place, and is great for beginners. You will typically see the odds more spread out than any other bet since it is strictly on a certain team winning. For example, if you bet on Connecticut Sun Money Line, you are wagering money on them to win the game. Here is an example of a Money line bet, provided to you by DraftKings sports book interface.

*Odds Courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook*


For example, the Connecticut Sun money line is +170 and the New York Liberty money line is -200. In this case, the Liberty are the favored team, and the Connecticut Sun are considered the underdog. In this case. The (-) always means the favored team, while (+) indicates the underdog. For the underdog, it means how much you need to wager to earn $100. If you bet on the favored team, it simply means how much of a profit you would make if you wagered $100. In most cases, $100 is the base amount considered.

If $100 is wagered on the favored team, the New York Liberty, the total payout would be $150. Therefore, you would profit $50 on a $100 wager. In another words, you would need to risk $100 to win $50, or $200 to win $100. For example,  


If $100 is wagered on the underdog team, the Connecticut Sun, the payout would be $270. In this case, you would profit 170 on a $170 wager. In this case, you would need to wager around $59-$60 to profit $100.

Point Spread

Like the Money line, the point spread is another example of a straight bet. Furthermore, a point spread bet means how much a particular team has to win or lose by.  Unlike the Money line, this bet is more confusing and complex. Let's break it down below.

Let's take a look at the Connecticut Sun and the New York Liberty game tonight. You can see the Money line on the right, the total in the middle, and the point spread in the left-hand column.  Here, the book says New York Liberty -5 (-105) and Connecticut Sun +5 (-115).  In another words, Connecticut +5 is the underdog, and New York is the favored team.  

In this case, the New York Liberty will 'cover the spread' if they win by more than 5 points.  In order for this to happen, the Liberty need to win the game, and win the game by 5 points or more. For example, if the New York Liberty win 88-82 against the Sun, that means they beat the Sun by more than 5 points.  

Since the Connecticut Sun are underdogs, this is simply meaning the Sun would have to win the game or lose within a 5-point margin.  For example, if the Connecticut lose the game 90-88, they covered a 5-point margin, and therefore cover the spread. 


One of my personal favorites, futures betting is a bet wagered based on a long-term outcome.  For example, these sorts of bets include future NBA Champions, MVP, division winners, rookie of the year, offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year, conference winners, and so forth. For example, let's take a look at the upcoming 2023-2024 NBA Season.

Here, you can bet on outcomes days, weeks, to months in advance. For example, the picture on the left gives the future odds for next year's NBA Championship.  The picture on the right gives the future odds for the 2023-2024 NBA MVP, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player, and so forth.  It's important to note these odds will drastically change as the season progresses.  Although future bets come with a higher risk, there is the possibility of a very lucrative outcome. In addition, future bets give you the advantage the bet on multiple scenarios with that may have higher odds. 


Parlays is when you take individual bets and group them together. Each individual bet is known as a "leg" and all legs must hit for the actual parlay to cash out. Parlays usually have higher odds, depending on how many legs you include, and have the ability to have some serious, lucrative outcomes.  Here is an example of two different 3-leg parlays:

On the left-hand side, I've included all the favored odds, including New York Liberty Money Line, Minnesota Linx -3, and Dallas Wings Money Line.  As you can see, if you bundle these individual legs add up to odds of +359.  

On the right-hand side, I've included all the underdogs, including Connecticut Sun Money line, Seattle Storm +3, and Phoenix Mercury Money Line. Given all these are the higher (+) odds, the bundled parlay odds are +1137. 

In order for either parlay to be profitable, all scenarios and each leg must hitThe more legs you add, the riskier, and more profitable the outcome can be.  Most of the time, you can bundle the money line, point spreads, totals, and props. Wagers from the same game cannot be including in the same parlay, such as Connecticut Sun Money Line, and Connecticut Sun +5. In future articles, we will cover same game parlays, and round robins. 

Under/Over (Totals)

Totals are another simple way to bet and are great for beginners. This type of bet is also known as the “Over/Under.” In this case, you are strictly wagering on the final score of a game. In another words, you are betting if a game will be over or under a certain number of points. For example, let’s use the Connecticut Sun and the New York Liberty game tonight. The Over/Under for total game points is currently at 166.5. This means you can bet if the game will total OVER 166.5 points or UNDER 166.5 points.  You will also notice the line will typically sit at -110 and can move.  In addition, you can also live bet, which we will explain later on. 

For example, if the Connecticut Sun and the New York Liberty finish the game exactly at 166.5 points, it is considered a 'PUSH.' Let's say the final score will be 82-86, the total would be 168, indicating the OVER.

Stay tuned for more Betting Advice and information, Click here for more NBA betting strategies.

For More NBA Betting Info & Game Predictions, Follow us at @BallislifeBets.

Sara Jane is a full-time content creator, focusing on both college basketball, the NBA, NFL, and writer of Ballislife.com. Don’t forget to follow her on Twitter/YouTube/Kick/Twitch/Instagram: @GGirlSports. She is also on PIKKIT Sports: @GGirl.


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