Your average sports bettor may not even be aware of if-bets and reverses, but I’m going to do my best to change that by explaining what they are and why they are beneficial. These bets are similar to parlays in that they involve making multiple selection on a single ticket, however they are different in that you do not have to win every side in order to get a return. Keep reading to find out more and why I like betting if-bets and reverses.
How an If-Bet Works
An if-bet combines two or more wagers in which the result of each wager determines whether the remainder of the wager(s) is placed. If the first side of your if-bet loses, you lose your wager and the remainder of the bet is cancelled.
However, if your first side wins, you get paid out, but the initial wager is rolled over and placed on the second wager in the if-bet. If the second side wins, you get paid out again, with the initial wager getting rolled over until you lose or run out of sides.
The number of sides allowed in an if-bet varies, but most top online sportsbooks allow 2-6 sides with the basic concept of an if-bet the same. If your if-bet includes 2 sides, the second side only comes into play if the first one wins. If your if-bet includes 6 sides, the sixth side only comes into play if the first five win.
Lets look at an example of placing an if-bet with two point spreads in the NFL. You are placing a $110 if-bet on the Rams -6 and Giants +3:
1PM: Giants +3
4PM: Chargers +6
It’s important to add that you can order if-bets any way you choose, as game times do not determine the order. For purposes of this bet, we are putting Rams -6 first, followed by Giants +3.
There are four possible outcomes to this bet, with the results being:
Rams cover and the Giants do not: In this scenario, the Rams win and you win $100, but the $110 wager got rolled over into the Giants. Because the Giants lost, you do not get your initial $110 back. – Lose $10
Both teams cover: the Rams cover and you win $100. Giants cover and you win $100. – Win $200
Neither team covers: the Rams don’t cover and remainder of bet is cancelled. – Lose $110
Giants cover but the Rams do not: the bet is cancelled because the Rams, your first side, lost cancelling the bet. – Lose $110
The reason I like betting if-bets is because unlike parlays, you can still get a return on your investment without getting every side of your wager correct. Basically they are lower risk than a parlay, but always remember how important the first side of your if-bet is, because if it loses, the entire if-bet is cancelled.
How a Reverse Bet Works
Now take everything we just learned about if-bets, and how order will affect the outcome, and add in the ability of an if-bet to work in every direction. A reverse bet is basically the combination of every possible if-bet on any number of sides you choose (2-6). Placing a reverse bet will get rid of the possibility of losing because of the order of your sides in an if-bet.
In the 3rd outcome above in example of an if-bet, when the Rams lost and the Giants won, because we had the Rams first, the entire bet was cancelled. If we placed a reverse wager, you would have at least won part of your wager back, helping your bottom-line.
Of course this “insurance” doesn’t come without a price. When placing a reverse bet, your wager is multiplied by the number of if-bets your bet includes. The above example includes two if-bets, so a $110 wager would put $55 on each side. It’s important to note that the number of if-bets multiply exponentially when placing a reverse bet, meaning 3 sides will have 6 if-bets, while 6 sides of a reverse bet will have 30 if-bets.
As you can see, if-bets and reverses really are not that complicated. An if-bet is a wager with 2-6 sides that are ordered and need the first to win to move on to the next, and so on. While a reverse bet is an if-bet in every direction. Playing if-bets and reverses will help get you a little money back in your pocket if your entire “parlay” doesn’t hit.
I consider if-bets and reverses a kind of insurance, where you pay a little extra money to help minimize risk. Don’t be afraid to play around with if-bets and reverses when you log into your online sportsbook. Go check them out, see how much you have to pay for a 2 side reverse, or what a 6-side if-bet will pay. You may be pleasantly surprised.