If Bets Explained

If Bets Explained

Punters can engage in many different betting options when wagering on sports. One of the betting forms that allow punters to land big wins with minimized risk while wagering on multiple selections is the if bet option.

This guide sports betting guide explores if bets and what it means for punters. We will cover the following areas of the betting option:

  • What is an if bet
  • How to use if bets in sports betting
  • What sports do if bets apply to
  • Types of if bets
  • Pros and cons of if bets

How to Use If Bets in Sports Betting

So, what is an if bet? An if bet is a combination bet that links two or more straight bets to each other similar to parlays. The only difference is that if bets tend to be conditional-like bets, where each betting stage depends on an accurate prediction of the previous stage.

An if bet essentially follows an if-then sequence. You make multiple selections in the if-then bets and stake whatever wager amount you want. If your first selection wins, you win the bet, and the original wager amount is automatically staked on the second bet. If that selection also wins, you win the bet, and the original wager amount is again staked on the third bet. It will continue until one selection loses or till you win the entire sequence. However, if the first selection loses right from the start, you will lose the stake, and the additional selections will get canceled.

If bet in the NBA, soccer, hockey, football, and other sports is quite useful for punters with limited bankroll as it reduces the need for bigger stakes and limits risk. For example, a punter is down to the last $120 in their betting account. Instead of placing $60 each on 2 separate selections, he can stake the whole $120 on the 2 games within an if bet. This way, the punter increases the potential profit and reduces their risk.

Example of If Bets

Now let’s look at what a typical if win-only bet with a 3-selection wager on the NBA market would look like. We will examine three possible scenarios (when all wins, when the first two wins, and when only the first wins) for the selections and the results.

  • Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics (Over 185.5) -110
  • Los Angeles Lakers (-3.5) -110
  • Golden State Warriors (Moneyline) -130
  Bulls vs. Celtics (O 185.5) -110 Lakers (-3.5) -110 Warriors Moneyline -130 Total
Risk/win $110/$100 $110/$100 $110/$84.62 $110/$284.62
Scenario 1 (Result) Win Win ($100) Win ($84.62)
+($100) +($100) +($84.62) $284.62
Scenario 2 (Result) Win Win Lose
+($100) +($100) -($110) $90
Scenario 3 (Result) Lose No action
-($110) (-$110)

In the first scenario, the three selections were accurate, resulting in a maximum profit of $284.62. On the other hand, only the first two selections won in the second scenario. It resulted in losing the $110 stake, but the first two wins helped accumulate $90 in profit. In the third scenario, the first selection was a loss, resulting in a losing bet right from the start.

Rules of If Win Bets

Here are some of the basic rules every punter needs to take note of when engaging in if betting:

  • Number of bets: An if bet typically consists of at least two combinations. This bet can include up to six or seven selections depending on the sportsbook.
  • Timely Placement: You must place your if bet before the start of the earliest event in the series, just like any typical pre-match bet.
  • Order of Events: You don’t necessarily have to place your sportsbook if bets in the order of the events’ start times. You are free to choose which should come first within the sequence.
  • Bet amount: All the selections in an if-bet market typically uses the bet amount of the first bet. While the odds and payout on each selection may differ, the stake amount remains the same. 

If you ever ask “What are the best nearest bookies to me?” simply trust

Ranking and Sequence of Selection in If Betting

As explained, whether or not a selection in your if bet would get action is dependent on the outcome of the initial bet, starting from the first bet. That is why the sequence of your selections in an if bet (also known as ranking) is important. A sequence that is not in your favor will hurt you and drop your chances of being profitable.

For instance, let’s take the example above. In the third scenario, the wagers on the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden States Warriors won. These outcomes are useless to the bet since the first selection was lost. In this scenario, if the wager had the second and third selections in the first and second positions and the first bet in the third, the wager would have earned some profits with the first two.

So, when making your if bets win or push, make sure to rank them in order of most likely to win to less likely. Doing so will improve your winning chances.

Draw in an If Bet

Now that you understand the rules of engagement of an if bet, let’s talk about what happens when there is a draw in an if bet. One important thing to note is that not all sportsbooks handle tie-in if bets the same way. So, when a draw happens in an if bet, one of two things can happen, depending on the sportsbook.

The first is that the draw will be considered a losing bet, and no action would occur on the other succeeding selections, as we have explained earlier. The other thing that can happen is for the tied bet to be treated as if it never occurred (no win and no loss) and for the subsequent selections to remain active. The original stake will carry over to the succeeding selection, creating an if-win or tie betting system. This scenario led to the availability of the if action bet type, as we will see later in this guide.

Types of If Bets

There are 2 major forms of if bet in sports betting: the if-win-only bet and the if-action bet. These 2 betting types are similar except for one small detail – the possibility of a tie in the game or a canceled match. Now, let’s get into it.

If Win Only Bet

The if-win-only sports betting option is the most common form of if bet and is what we have explained in the example above. The betting option involves a series of multiple bets linked and ranked together in a single wager that starts from the first bet. Every bet in the series must win for the next ranking bet to get action. If any selection in the if-win-only betting series should lose, tie, or get canceled, you will lose the succeeding bets. Losing the very first bet means losing the entire wager, but losing the second or any other selection will see you walk away with some profit or, at the very least, minimize your loss.

If Action Bet

As mentioned, the occurrence of a canceled or postponed game or a draw in an if bet can influence the bet outcome, and this is where the if action bet comes in. Unlike the if bet, this bet type makes room for the possibility of a draw or a canceled game and does not let it affect the action of the next game in the series. So, the next bet will become active if the previous game ends in a win, a tie or is canceled (considered no action). The tie (push) or no action will result in neither a win nor a loss for the bet. However, if any of the selections in the if-action bet/ if-win or tie bet loses, all additional bets in the series will not become active and, as such, loses.

What Sports Do If Bets Apply to?

Now that you understand the if bet meaning, its rules, and how it works, let’s talk about the sports it applies to. The good news is that the if bet betting strategy applies to many sports, from soccer to basketball, baseball, hockey, football, and many others. Many sportsbooks also make if bets available to punters for boxing and UFC fights, giving punters a chance to maximize their wagers with minimal risks.

That said, it is important to note that the availability of if-win sports betting on a sport or even on a sportsbook may vary as not all bookmakers offer it. This betting option is not as widely available as other options as it maximizes punters’ winning chances while limiting their risk.

If Bets in Soccer

Soccer is undoubtedly the most popular sport worldwide. As such, most betting options in the sports betting industry are available for this sport, and if-win-only betting is no exception. Punters can use if bets effectively in soccer for their betting activities. Depending on the sportsbook, you will find if bets available across all the major and popular soccer leagues.

Naturally, the if-betting system here works like any typical if-win or tie or if-win-only bet market. The first soccer selection in your wager has to win before the second selection is activated, and so on. An experienced punter with adequate knowledge of soccer and its current state can use this betting option to maximize their chance of walking away with a sizable profit.

If Bets in NBA

Another great market punters can find online is the if bets in the NBA. Basketball is a great sport that is also popular worldwide and open to a wide range of sports betting markets. Many bookmakers offer if bets in the NBA alongside some of the other major basketball leagues worldwide.

The if-win or tie or if-win-only betting system in basketball works like the stock market. You rank your selections, and the outcome of one selection will determine if action will occur on the next.

If Bets for UFC

Fights like boxing and the UFC in mixed martial arts are also included in if bets. Like any other form of sports, there is no sure way to predict what will happen in every UFC fight accurately. When they bet on UFC, the if betting system can help punters to minimize their risk while maximizing their winning chances. The if bets in UFC also work like the if-betting market we have explained, except that it involves UFC fights.

If Bet Alternatives

Many of the major attractions of sports betting to sports fans no doubt lies in the availability of a wide range of betting markets. From moneyline bets to 1×2 bets, over/under bets, handicaps, and so much more, a punter can place wagers on many aspects of sports. There are also many forms to which punters can place their bets for maximum profits. So, aside from if-bet sports betting, there are quite a few alternatives that you can enjoy online.

Let’s look at a few of them, highlighting the similarities and differences with if bets.

Difference Between Action Reverse and If Bets

One major alternative betting option similar to the if bet is the if reverse bet, also known as an action reverse bet. The action reverse bet essentially builds on the if betting system as it works both ways. It covers the action in both forward and reverse. It means that you are placing two wagers; the second will go in the reverse order.

On the if side, your first bet would need to win for action to occur on the second selection, then your second one must win for the third to get action, and so on. And then, with the reverse bet, a punter would have another secondary wager going in reverse. It means the fourth bet must win for the third to get action, the third must win for the second to get action, and so on. The fastest way to understand how this sports betting if bets and reverse wagers differ from each other is through an example.

Let`s say you want to place an action reverse bet on an NHL night, and you decide to choose three different selections:

  • Los Angeles Kings
  • Arizona Coyotes
  • Pittsburgh Penguins

The first bet here would look like a typical sportsbook if bets. If the Los Angeles Kings wins, the action you win the wager, and the second bet on the Arizona Coyotes activate. Then, the Coyotes will also need to win for you to activate the final third bet on the Pittsburgh Penguins. If all three teams win, you will clear the entire bet and walk away with the maximum profit.

Now, if reverse bets are involved, a punter reverses the flow. The second secondary reverse action bet would start with the final selection, which in the example is the Pittsburgh Penguins. This team would need to win for the bet on the Coyotes to activate, and Coyotes would need to win to activate the bet on the Kings. Naturally, if the first option loses, the second will not activate.

Feature Action Reverse Bet If Bet
Conditional bet? Yes Yes
All bets must win No No
Odds Typically lower than if bets Typically higher than action reverse bets
Risk Higher Lower

If Bets vs. Parlay

One mistake many beginners tend to make when they see if win bets explained is to think it is the same as parlay bets. However, while they are quite similar, an if bet differs greatly from a parlay bet. As explained, an if bet links multiple selections, and you would see action on the next ranking bet if the previous one wins. If bets collect winnings up to the first losing prediction or collect all winning predictions. On the other hand, a parlay bet combines multiple straight bets into one wager, where all selections have to win. Here, you lose the entire parlay if one or more selections loses.

For example, let’s say that a punter places an if bet and a parlay bet separately on Manchester United, Arsenal, and Liverpool to win in their match against their opponent on an EPL game day. Now, after the games, Manchester United and Arsenal won their games while Liverpool lost. In the if bets win or push or if-win-only wager, you would profit from the first 2 positive outcomes and lose your stake on the third negative outcome. However, on the parlay bet, you would lose the entire wager without making a profit because all three selections have to win for your bet to succeed.

Ultimately, the parlay bet is more of an “all or nothing” wager where you must accurately predict all outcomes to win. Whereas an if bet, especially the if-win or tie bet, leaves room for error. You have a higher chance of walking with some profits with this betting option than with a parlay bet.

Parlay bets offer higher odds and bigger potential wins due to the risk involved.

Feature If Bet Parlay
Conditional bet? Yes No
All bets must win No Yes
Odds Typically lower than parlays Typically higher than if bets
Risk Lower than parlays Higher than if bets

If bets vs. Round Robins

Round robin betting is another alternative that is quite similar to if bets as they both combine multiple bets into a single wager. However, they are distinctively different from each other. As explained, an if-win-only or if-win or tie bet is a conditional bet that only allows the second bet in the wager to get action if the first bet wins.

On the other hand, a round-robin bet is a type of multiple bet where punters place wagers on a series of smaller parlays. For instance, let’s say that a punter wants to place a round-robin bet on the example above, including a win on Chelsea’s game, resulting in four selections.

Such a bet would open up the possibility for the punter to wager on the following parlays – six doubles, four trebles, and one entire parlay:

  1. Manchester United & Arsenal
  2. Manchester United & Liverpool
  3. Manchester United & Chelsea
  4. Arsenal & Liverpool
  5. Arsenal & Chelsea
  6. Liverpool & Chelsea
  7. Manchester United, Arsenal, & Liverpool
  8. Manchester United, Arsenal, & Chelsea
  9. Manchester United, Liverpool & Chelsea
  10. Arsenal, Liverpool & Chelsea
  11. All four teams (i.e., Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, & Chelsea)

You should note that unlike in if sports betting, where a single stake accounts for all the selections, you will need to stake an amount on each of the smaller parlays you want in robin betting. It would help if you won each parlay combination to win your round-robin bet. The more combinations you win, the more profit you get.

Feature If Bet Round Robin
Conditional bet? Yes No
All bets must win No No
Odds Typically lower than round robins Typically higher than if bets
Risk Lower than round robins Higher than if bets

Pros and Cons of If Bets

As you might have inferred, the if-betting system, be it sports betting if-win-only or if-win or tie betting, comes with many benefits punters can enjoy. However, this betting option also comes with some downsides. So, now that you can fully define the if bet in betting and know how to use it, let’s explore some of its major pros and cons.

  • Allows punters to minimize risk by spreading it across multiple selections
  • Have the potential to win sizable amounts if all selections win
  • Punters can still get a part of the payout if at least the first selection wins
  • Allows for strategic betting by experienced bettors with knowledge of sports
  • Suitable for punters with small bankrolls
  • It can be complex for beginners to understand compared to straight bets
  • Payouts for if bets are lesser than a parlay with the same selections
  • Less common in sportsbooks today

Are If Bets Worth It?

With if bets explained in our sports betting guide, you can see that this option provides a dynamic approach to sports betting. The betting option allows punters to engage in a conditional combination of selections whose outcome is based on that of prior selection. With the if-betting system, you can wager on at least two sporting event selections and combine them into a single wager with a single stake. But unlike parlays, this option has a smaller potential payout but much-reduced risk. If bet sports betting is also available across various sports, from soccer to basketball, baseball, hockey, mixed martial arts, and many others.

Whether you are an experienced or new punter, if bets can be a great way to maximize your winning chances while limiting your exposure. The key is to get your sequence right, as it can influence the outcome of your wager. The major downside of if bet is that it is less widely available in sportsbooks than other popular options.

Suppose you are in the market for a unique betting option, unlike straight bets, parlays, or round robins, if bet markets might be the one for you. They are quite worthwhile.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What’s an if bet?
    An if bet is a type of conditional wager that links multiple straight bets to each other, and the outcome of any bet determines the placement of the subsequent bet in the sequence. It is similar to a parlay, except that you don’t have to win all selections in an if bet to get a profit.
  • How do if bets work?
    If bets typically work by establishing a sequence of selections in a bet, the subsequent selections will only activate if the previous one wins. The second will activate once the first bet wins; the third will activate if the second one, too, wins. It will continue until a loss or you win the entire selection.
  • What is an if bet and reverse?
    An if bet and reverse is a combination of 2 types of bets: if bets and reverse bets. It typically involves two bets: one in the original if-then sequence and the other in reverse order. It creates 2 sequence potential wins with higher potential payout but with double stakes.
  • What is an if bet in football?
    An if bet in football is typically the same as any other if bet on any other sport. The only difference is that this option focuses on outcomes in football games. In football, punters can place if bets on the money line, point spread, over/under total points, or other football-specific outcomes.
  • What is an if-win or push bet?
    An if-win or push bet is a variation of an if bet that considers the possibility of a tie or canceled bet, resulting in a push. With this option, you don’t lose the bet if a draw occurs or the game gets canceled. Instead, the stake moves to the subsequent bet, which means no win or loss in the initial bet.
  • Does Bovada have if bets?
    As an online sportsbook, Bovada offers a variety of betting options, including if bets. However, it is recommended to check with Bovada directly to confirm the availability of if bets at any time.
  • Can you make if bets in Vegas?
    An if bet is a form of betting available through online bookmakers and is typically available in Las Vegas online sportsbooks. However, the availability of this bet type may vary from one bookmaker to another, so it’s important to check individual sportsbooks to confirm the availability.
  • Is if betting illegal?
    No, if betting is generally not illegal as it is a popular form of betting offered by many online bookmakers. However, the legality of sports betting, including if bets, may vary depending on your jurisdiction since legality varies from place to place. Hence, being familiar with the laws and regulations that guide betting within your locale is important.
  • Are round robins the same as if bets?
    No. Round-robin bets are not the same as if bets. The round-robin bet involves placing wagers on multiple smaller parlays from a selected group of outcomes. With this bet, the more combination you win, the higher the profit. If bets, on the other hand, involve a conditional sequence of selections combined into a single wager. The outcome of one bet here determines the placement of the subsequent one.
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    Jimmy E
    Writer & Tipster

    Jimmy is our on-duty tipster and writer. His favorite sports are cricket, tennis, and basketball. If you’re looking for the best betting tips in the business, Jimmy’s your guy. His tips and events previews are among the most read at BetZillion.

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