If you’re more of a low-bankroll player who likes to be more conservative with betting, you should know about the concept of an if bet.
If bets (which include if action bets, if win bets, and reverse if action bets) are a great alternative to straight bets and parlays.
This kind of betting is universally available through sportsbooks, and although it might seem complicated at first, it’s actually fairly simple once you get to grips with how it works.
This is your complete guide to if bets. We will be answering the question, ‘what is an if bet?’ and explaining the different kinds of if bets, as well as rules and strategies for this form of betting.
What Is An If Bet?
An if bet is a bet that connects a minimum of two bets together into one stake.
The difference between placing several straight bets and placing an if bet is that with the latter, the stake is applied conditionally to the different selections.
When you place an if bet, the result of the first selection decides whether your other bets will be placed.
For instance, should you want to bet on two games in the form of an if bet, you would need your first bet to win in order for your second bet to go ahead.
Say you put $110 on the first game, in the hopes of winning $100. If the team you bet on does win, your second bet will be placed at the same vig.
In the event that bet is successful, you win $100 on each game, which totals $200. However, if the second bet doesn’t win, the amount you bet on it ($110) is subtracted from your winnings for the first bet ($100).
This would mean that you only lose $10.
The Different Kinds Of If Bets
Here’s where things start to get a little more complex.
There are actually several types of If Bets you can play, and one kind may be a better choice for you than the others, depending on your financial situation, betting style, and how you feel about the games you’re betting on.
‘If Win Only’
The most straightforward type is the If Win Only bet. The rules for this kind of bet specify that the subsequent bets after the first one only continue in the case of a win.
This means that only a win (not a draw or cancellation) allows for further selections to be played.
With an If Win Only bet, there are several possible outcomes you need to consider. Of course, you could win both the first and second bet, which would be the ideal situation.
However, you could also win the first bet and lose the next, or lose the first, in which case, the second bet does not go ahead.
Even if you win the first selection, if subsequent selections do not result in a win, you will go on to lose.
Let’s say you bet $110 on a team, and they win, resulting in $100 being returned to you plus the stake of $110. That means you have $210 after your first bet.
However, if you then bet $110 on the second selection, and they lose, you lose both profit legs, which means you end up with a loss of $10.
An ‘If Action’ bet is similar to an ‘If Win’ bet. However, in an If Win Only bet, the subsequent selections cannot continue in the event of a tie, or if the game is postponed.
An ‘If Action’ bet allows for the second selection to be played instead of the first in these situations.
So, should your first bet is a draw, your second selection will be treated as the first. The bet simply rolls over, and while you won’t win anything on the first selection, you won’t lose anything, either.
Many people prefer this kind of If Bet because to many players, it doesn’t seem fair that a draw or cancellation would be treated as a loss.
If you’re struggling to order your selections because you can’t decide which bet is most likely to win, you should place a ‘reverse if’ bet.
A Reverse If bet combines all possible outcomes within your selections. This means that a Reverse If’ bet involves double stakes (if you bet $50, the stake will be $100).
Basically, one Reverse If bet is equal to two If Bets, with the aim of being able to cover more combinations of wins and losses.
Say you play a $50 reverse bet, resulting in a $100 stake. If one of your games results in a win in your favor, you still get some of your money back, as opposed to none at all if you just played a single ‘if win’ bet.
If you have 3 selections in your Reverse If bet, you will essentially be getting 6 bets. 4 selections are equal to 12 bets, while 5 are equal to 20.
Should you chain 6 selections in a Reverse If bet, this is equal to 30 bets. Typically, you would be limited to 7 If Bets, and 7 Reverse If Bets would equal 42 If Bets in total.
Now, obviously, you’ll be sacrificing potential returns in the event you choose to place a Reverse If bet, but the overall risk is lower, which is what makes it an appealing choice.
As an example, let’s say you bet $50 on Team A and Team B as a Reverse If Bet.
You have 2 possible If Bets Here: Team A followed by Team B, or Team B followed by Team A. In this example, each win in either scenario would get you $47.
In this case, if both teams you bet on lose, your losses will total $100. However, if both win, you win 4 x $47, which equals $188.
Where things get slightly more complicated here is if one team wins while the other loses. In this situation, you still get your $47 from the win, but you lose your automatic $50 stake in the second bet.
Your stake on the losing team from the second If Bet will also be lost, meaning that in this case, you’re down $53.
How To Enter Your Selections For If Bets
Entering your selections carefully for if bets is really important if you’re placing an ‘If Win’ bet or an ‘If Action’ bet. That’s because your success hinges on the first bet winning.
If your first bet doesn’t come through, then your second bet won’t be placed, and it’s all over.
Regardless of the kind of If Bet you’ve chosen, you will be able to choose the order of your bets.
You should always put the bet you feel most confident about first because this gives you a bigger chance of winning both (or all) bets.
If you are betting on more than two games as an if bet, you should order your selections with the most likely to win first, and the rest continuing in order of likelihood from most to least likely.
Bear in mind that the number of games you can bet on as an if bet is likely to be limited to some degree because it doesn’t benefit bookmakers to allow for unlimited if bets.
If you choose to place a ‘Reverse If’ bet, the order of selection doesn’t really matter, but the consequence of this is that your returns will not be as high as they could be.
Placing If Bets: Pros And Cons
If you don’t have a large bankroll to play with, or you simply prefer to play conservatively, If Bets will be a good option for you. You can essentially place multiple bets for the price of one.
With that being said, the profit margin for If Only bets is lower than if you placed two bets separately.
Essentially, you don’t need to spend as much, but you won’t get as much of a reward, even if everything works out in your favor.
If you’re feeling really confident in both of your bets, it’s a good idea to place them separately rather than as an If Bet because you’ll have a chance of better winnings.
However, most people who decide to place If Bets are doing so because they are not comfortable betting the amount of money required for two straight bets.
Therefore, the main drawback of placing If Bets isn’t really a drawback for most players who choose this option.
If your usual style of play is conservative, but you have the bankroll to place two straight bets and find yourself feeling immensely confident about both bets in your sequence, you may want to consider placing two straight bets.
However, if your bankroll is limited, placing two straight bets simply may not be an option for you, in which case, placing an If Bet is a no-brainer.
Rules And Regulations Of If Bets
There are some basic rules you should be aware of before placing an ‘If Bet’. They are as follows:
- You can chain a maximum of seven selections when placing an If Bet
- The first selection always counts in ‘If Win’ bets, with the exception of no-action or push outcomes
- You can’t place an If Bet once your first selection has already started
- Any additional selections you add to your first selection have to use the initial stake
- You don’t need to order your selections in alignment with the timing of the events
- The Best Strategies for If Bets
A Note On If Bet Strategies
In the past, you would likely have been able to place correlated If Bets, but this is not as common these days because most bookmakers don’t allow it.
This is because, in some cases where events influence one another, you can tell the likelihood of the second selection based on the likelihood of the first.
Obviously, allowing for this kind of betting does not benefit bookmakers, so it makes sense that they have clamped down on correlated bets, although it used to be an effective strategy.
If you are a sportsbook agent yourself, we highly recommend not allowing correlated bets as If Bets.
Since players tend to use If Bets as a form of bankroll management, they will be looking for ways to use the If Bet mechanism to their advantage.
By not allowing correlated bets as If Bets, you will be ensuring that the only advantage If Bets provide is allowing for two bets for the price of one.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does An If Bet Differ From A Parlay?
An If Bet differs from a parlay because, even though both kinds of bets involve betting on several teams on a single ticket, you need to correctly bet on all games on your ticket to win a parlay.
This is not the case with If Bets, because depending on the order in which you arrange your bets, and what kind of If Bet you choose to play, you can still get at least some of your money back if you’re not right on all counts.
Are If Bets Worth It?
Whether or not placing an If Bet is worth it for you ultimately depends on how you prefer to play and what your bankroll looks like.
If your bankroll is not very limited, and you don’t have a particularly conservative style of play, you may be better off placing straight bets on your chosen events, especially if you feel confident in them.
That’s because, although you’ll be placing more money on the events, you may also be rewarded with more winnings.
However, if you don’t have a lot of money to play with, or you feel more confident about one bet than the other, it just makes sense to place an If Bet.
Even though you won’t get as much money out of it, you may still get some winnings while not putting as much money on the events.
Why Do Bookmakers Allow If Bets?
Since these bets allow players to essentially place two bets for a single stake, you might be wondering how this kind of betting benefits bookmakers.
Most people who place them do so because they would not feel comfortable placing straight bets on the same events.
Therefore, If Bets allow bookmakers to make more money than they would if they only allowed straight bets, especially since the chances of winning tend to be smaller.
Are If Bets Common In Sports Betting?
They are actually quite rare in sports betting, for a number of reasons.
Advanced bettors don’t tend to use them because they will usually feel more confident in their playing strategy, meaning it doesn’t make sense to go for the option that yields fewer winnings.
They are more likely to stick with a parlay, for example, which allows the bettor to win big in exchange for a higher risk.
On the other side of the coin, people who are relatively new to betting don’t typically understand how If Bets work.
Because of this, they are considered to be relatively rare, but there is definitely a time and place to use them.
If Bets are a good way to bet if you have a conservative style of play or limited funds to play with.
Most If Bets are ‘If Win Only’, which means you only win if both your first and second bet result in a win.
However, you can also opt for a ‘Reverse If Bet’, which covers multiple potential sequences, providing lower risk and lower reward.
There are times when it will make more sense to place multiple bets as straight bets, but should you feel more confident in one bet than the other and want to play for lower stakes, If Bets can be useful.