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Online Bookmaker Betting Types in the UK

To be successful in gambling online in 2022, you first have to understand the different bet types you can make. Here we'll take you through each of the betting types so you understand the odds you stand to gain and how to maximise your winnings with a betting strategy. Once you're familiar with the different bets on offer you'll be all set to start wagering your GBP at any of today's top bookmakers online or on mobile in the UK.

In this guide for real money betting types in the UK, we'll teach you:

  • What the difference is between a single, line and each way bet.
  • Which bets have the best odds and stand to win you the most money
  • What it means to spread your bets and how to do it successfully

Why Are There Different Types Of Online Bets?

The world of online bookmaking exists for just one thing - to make money. And it's not just the bettors themselves who stand to take home a piece of the pie. The bookies behind the operations are also in it for the real money gains too.

Which is precisely why so many different betting types exist. After all, how dull would it be if there was only one bet and just one set of odds on offer? The appeal of betting on sports, horse racing or even the outcome of popular British TV shows is placing a bet that brings you the best return. Part of making that happen is knowing precisely which bet, and which odds, to take. They don't call it gambling for nothing.

Learn How Online Betting Odds Work

A Quick Look At Each Bet Type

Keen to tell your each way from your accumulator? This quick overview will help you to distinguish between the different types of bets you can make at online bookies in the United Kingdom.

  • Single Bet - Exactly as it sounds on paper. A single bet is a bet where you stake money on just one outcome. Examples include which horse you think will cross the line first, or which football club will lift the Premier League trophy in 2022.

    Example of a Single Bet
    A bookies is offering odds of 4/1 on Andy Murray beating Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final. You put down a £2 stake. If Murray wins, you get back £10 (£8 profit + your £2 stake).
  • Each Way Bet - In this bet you win if you correctly guess first place, and/or the top 3 finishers. In horse racing,for example, placing an each way bet means you'll get paid out, even if the horse you select finishes in second or third place.

    Example of an Each Way Bet
    You put an each way bet of £1 on the finisher of the Grand National. Your stake is £2 (£1 for the win and £1 for the place). The odds are 16/1. Your horse finishes second. You get back your £1 place stake plus the each way odds (usually 1/5 of the advertised odds). You get a £21.20 return of which £19.20 is profit.
  • Line Bet - A line bet involves two teams facing off against one another where one is widely regarded to be the clear favourite of the two. To make things more interesting, the bookmaker sets a points handicap on the stronger team, essentially making the chances of either team being successful more equal. Some UK bookmaking sites also allow bettors to pick their own line bet too.

    Example of a Line Bet
    Chelsea is playing Crystal Palace in the Premier League. The bookie regards Chelsea as the clear favourite. The line bet on Chelsea is 3 points. That means that if you bet on Chelsea to win, they have to beat Crystal Palace by more than 3 goals.
  • Spread Bet - Spread betting is a little different from the previous 3 betting types we've explained because this way of betting doesn't use fixed odds. In fact spread betting is a little like playing the stock market. You work on a unit price that can rise and fall. Your job is to correctly know when to buy and when to sell.

    Example of a Spread Bet
    Man U and Man City are facing off against each other in the FA Cup. The bookie predicts the outcome will be a 2-1 win for Man U. If you think Man U will score more than 2 goals in the game, then you'd buy. If you think they'll score less, you sell. Spread betting is all about seeing the bookies prediction for the event outcome, deciding if you agree or disagree, then acting accordingly.
  • In Play Betting - In play betting is when the odds are updated in real time. It means rather than all bets needing to be in before the start of, say, a Premier League meet between2 home rivals, bookies and exchanges will actually take bets as the game is in full swing. The odds will constantly refresh, based on activity in the game like if one team scores or a player gets sent off.

    An example of In-Play betting
    You're watching England take on New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup. You think England will score the next try. An online exchange is offering 6/1 odds on that happening. You place a £5 wager. If England score the next try you make £35 (£30 profit + your £5 stake).
  • Parlay Bet (see accumulator) - A parlay is essentially another type of accumulator bet. Parlay is the common name for Accumulator in America. In a parlay, just like in an accumulator, you're looking for all the selections you make to be successful. If just one of those selections fails then your whole bet goes under.
  • Fixed Odds Bet - Quite often when you place a bet in a land based bookie or online bookmaker you'll be asked if you want to take the fixed odds. This is because the odds can, and frequently do, change. Right up until the start of a race or match. And sometimes even during a game .
    Taking fixed odds however means that even if the odds on the bet you placed suddenly shoot up, you'll only get paid out on the odds you accepted at the time you placed your bet. On the flip side, if the odds worsen you've secured a better payout if your selection comes good by locking in the odds when they were higher.

    For example:
    You take 10/1 fixed odds on a horse placing first at Aintree. As the race nears the odds change to 8/1. With the fixed odds you stand to gain more return (£110 on a £10 stake). But if you hadn't taken fixed odds at the time you'd only get back £90 - reflective of the revised 8/1 odds.
  • Exchange Betting - Unlike in bookmakers, where the odds are determined by the bookies themselves, in a betting exchange it's the customers who influence and affect the odds. In a betting exchange you bet against your fellow bettors, and no bookmaker is involved whatsoever. Using a betting exchange incurs a small commission, but they typically offer higher odds than at online bookies.

    Example betting at an exchange:
    You're looking to place a bet on Tommy Aaron beating Andy Bea in the PGA. The odds being touted are 2.12 to back Aaron and 2.18 to lay. You can take the advertised back odds immediately or you can hold off and see if they go higher. In exchange betting you want to get the highest odds possible for the outcome you think is going to happen. The flip side is the person you're betting against wants you to take the lowest odds as that way there's more profit in it for them.
  • Accumulator Bet - An accumulator is when you bet on multiple outcomes and each one of them has to happen for you to win any money. For example, you bet on 3 different horse races and which horse you think will cross the line first in each meet. You'd need all3 horses to win for you to win your bet. If just one horse loses then so do you. With an accumulator it's all or nothing.

    Example of an Accumulator (Parlay) Bet
    You place an accumulator bet on the outcome of 3 NFL matches, of which the odds are as follows:
    Dolphins Vs Titans Dolphins 9/2Draw 11/4Titans 8/13
    Giants Vs Chargers Giants 19/10Draw 23/10Chargers 7/5
    Rams Vs Seahawks Rams 1/6Draw 5/1Seahawks 12/1
    You put £10 on Titans, Giants and Rams to win. If they all do, you get back £44.65 profit + your original £10 for a total of £55.65.

3 Tips For Successful Odds Betting

There's no formula for success when it comes to betting in online bookies, but there are a couple of things you can do to minimise your losses and maximise your winnings:


Stick With One Sport

Getting to know one sport intimately can help you make better betting decisions. Otherwise you're just betting blindly and letting the bookie's odds lead you.


Set A Limit

The best way to minimise your losses is to set a daily, weekly or monthly betting limit and stick to it. The most successful online gamblers never bet beyond their means.


Don't Back The Favourite

If a horse or team is the clear favourite to win chances are the odds being offered will be low. Placing a smaller stake on an outside bet can often bring in a bigger return than backing the front runner.

Understanding Betting Odds

Odds determine how much you stand to win if your bet comes in. They're typically displayed in 3 different styles, depending on your country of residence.

  • Fractional - The UK uses fractional odds. Looking at the example of 5/1, this means you have a 1 in 5 chance of your bet being successful. If you do win then you'll receive 5 times your stake and your original stake back in return.
  • Decimal - If these same odds were presented in decimal form (the odds style they use in betting exchanges and in Europe) they would appear as 6.00. Decimal odds show you the total return you can expect to make - if you take the advertised bet.
  • Moneyline - In American online betting they use an odds style known as moneyline. In moneyline odds the favourite is prefixed by a minus (-) and the other team by a plus (+). In the case of the favourite, the odds shown tell you how much you'd have to bet to get $100 in return. The plus (+) odds tell you how much you can expect to profit, should you wager $100 - minus your original stake.

Putting Online Odds To The Test

It's always a good idea, whenever you're new to any type of gambling, to practice first before parting ways with your money. So before you dive in get to know the betting site a little. Make a couple of selections on upcoming races or matches based on the advertised odds, but don't actually wager on them for real. Just see how you do. If you flop on every selection, you know you need a little more practice before you're ready to bet with real cash.

And if you're in any doubt about whether a betting exchange or sports book is legitimate, take a look at our top recommended sites. The websites featured on this list have all been verified for fairness by a member of the OnlineBetting.co.uk team. So you can be 100% confident they're the real deal.