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If Bets

Sports-Betting: If-Bets Explained

By Loot, Sports Handicapper,

“If” bets can be a little confusing, but once you master the concept, they can be used as an alternative to parlays and straight bets in certain cases. They can also be employed when you have a limited bankroll. The word “If” is a key part of this type of wager. You put 2 teams on the same ticket. “If” you win the first bet, you place an equal amount on the second game.

TIP: A good online sportsbook offering If-Bets is 5Dimes.

Don’t be confused with the term “if.” It might make you think the games need to start at different times. “If” bets can be made on games being played at the same time. When the first game is finished, the same amount can be wagered on the second team even though it already started.

In a lot of ways, “if” bets are similar to parlays. In a parlay, you need to win the first game in order for the other games to have action, just like with “if” bets. In a parlay, the money you bet and won is placed on the next game. In “if” bets, you only bet the same amount and not the amount that you won.

While an “if” bet is like making two straight bets, there are differences. If you were to bet on a game normally and it won, you might want to pocket the profit and call it a day. You can’t do that in an “if” bet. You have to stick with your picks. The one upside is that when making a pair of $100 bets, you need to come up with $200 plus the vig. In an if-bet, you just need the initial $100 plus the vig.

A major consideration with “if” bets is that the first team listed is key. You can be 1-1 and not lose the entire bet, but only if that team you list first wins. If it doesn’t, what happens in the second game is irrelevant. That is a major drawback with “if” bets, being that listing a team first is sort of an arbitrary choice and forces you to rank your two picks. To avoid this, play a “reverse,” which we discuss in another article (See Reverse Bets).

Here are the different possibilities:

Both Teams Win: You make a $110 “if” bet with two teams. The first team wins, so you win $100 on your $110 original bet amount. That same amount of $110 is now placed on the 2nd leg of your “if” bet and you win that for another $100. You collect a total of $200 in winnings and receive your $110 back.

First Team Wins, But the Second Team Loses: You place a $110 “if” bet. The first team listed on the bet wins and you collect $100. $110 now gets placed on the 2nd team, which then fails to cover the spread. Your ticket is cashed for $100, making you a loser of the $10 vig.

First Team Loses, But the Second Team Wins: The lousy part of “if” bets. When the first team on your ticket loses, the bet loses, even if the second team wins.

Both Team Lose: You lose the wager.

There’s a few concerns about “if” bets. Generally, we should either have bets that are worthy of betting or not. It’s not always a good idea to have future bets dependent on whether different bets succeed or not. With “if” bets, we can be 1-1 over a 2-game spread and it’s as good as going 0-2. And it all comes down to which team you list first, which is a strange thing to have play such a critical role in our final results. If you like 2 games, forcing to pick which one is better is not how we want to spend our energy. Again, a bet is either worthy or making or we should leave it alone.

If you are strapped for cash, that’s one thing. Or maybe there’s some other thing going on in your life time-wise that makes an “if” bet a good move. Like maybe you see a line you want to bite on, but you’re afraid by the time you get back from an all-day outing that it will have changed. Otherwise, it’s a little dicey and a reverse (two “if” bets) seems like a sounder option.

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