If-Bets & Reverses In Sports Betting

Written by: Joseph Falchetti, Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert
Last updated:
5 minute read

If-bets and reverses are markets that are available at just about every sportsbook. However, they’re not usually that popular and are typically one of the oddsmaker’s least wagered bet types. Some bettors, even those who have bet for a long time may not be aware that they exist. If-bets and reverses are similar to parlays, in that, you’re wagering on several different sides, totals, and moneylines on a single betting ticket. However, the significant difference between an if-bet and a parlay is that for a parlay to win, you need to win all your bets, but with an if-bet, you can regain some of your stake if a selection or leg wins.

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What are If Bets In Sports Betting

An if-bet is similar to making two straight bets, but instead of being able to collect your profits after a single win, you have to wager on at least one other selection. Payouts on if-bets won’t be anywhere near parlay payouts, but keep in mind that you’re giving yourself the chance to win two bets while risking the amount of a single wager. Let’s take a look at the possible outcomes of an if-bet when betting $110 to win $100 (standard -110 odds).

When Both Sports Bets Win

We place a $110 if-bet on two teams. The first selection wins, so our funds are rolled over and wagered on our second selection. That bet wins as well. In this scenario, we profit $200.

First Leg Wins & Second Leg Loses

This outcome is the same as if we won one straight bet and lost another. Since we win our 1st wager, our $110 then goes to the 2nd leg of our bet. In this scenario, we are left with -$10 profit from paying the bookmaker’s vig.

First Leg Loses & Second Leg Wins

Unfortunately, this is a caveat of if-bets. If your first leg loses, the wager is graded as a loss, regardless of the outcome of the second wager. In this scenario, you lose your $100 stake, plus the $10 vig.

When Both Legs Lose In Sports Betting

What are if bets in sports betting?You lose the wager and your $110. There is a reason that if-bets are rarely utilized – they simply don’t have much value. Betting both of these games on two separate straight bets is the +EV decision if you have a capable bankroll. If your bankroll is small and you don’t have enough to place to wagers, an if-bet may be something to consider. However, picking between two bets doesn’t make much sense, especially considering if the first leg loses, the bet is graded as a loss. If-bets truly aren’t a bet type to consider at all. If you’re so low on bankroll that you need to split your last few dollars into two wagers, you probably shouldn’t be betting in the first place.

What Are Reverse Bets In Sports Betting

A reverse bet extremely similar to an if-bet. In the simplest terms, a reverse bet is two if-bets that are tied together but wagered in opposite order. Let’s say we have $110 to bet once again on two -110 priced bets. We like the Arizona Cardinals +7.5 and Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5 on an NFL Sunday. Instead of placing of placing a single if-bet, which opens us up to losing the entire bet if we lose the first leg, we can place a reverse bet.

If we split out $110 in half, we can wager $55 on two if-bets. One will have the Cardinals as our first selection and the Steelers as the second, and the other will have the Steelers first and the Cardinals second. Reverse bets don’t change when it comes to payouts, but instead, protect us from losing our entire stake if our first bet loses. The payouts structure is the same as the above scenarios, except there are two bets to calculate.

Win Reverse Bet – Explained

In a win reverse bet, the initial wagers within the if bets must have action and win. If the first game is graded as no action, the secondary bet is not placed and the bet loses.

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If-Bets & Reverses In Sports Betting – In Conclusion

We’re glad that bookmakers offer if-bets and reverses for the rare situation a player wants to bet them, but they’re simply not much use for this market from a practical perspective. The odds aren’t particularly horrible up front, as we’re betting two straight wagers, but the fact that you can lose your first wager and the bet loses is a huge negative. If you have the proper bankroll to wager both sides of the bet (which you should), there is no reason to place an if-bet or a reverse. In the case that you decide to place one of these wagers, always split your stake into one reverse bet (two if-bets) instead of a single if-bet.

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About the Author

Joseph Falchetti

Joseph Falchetti

Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert

Joe is the author of the majority of sports betting pages on SBS and he serves as a gambling consultant to our content team. He's been mentioned on Forbes.com as a gaming analyst, and his articles have been linked by larger publications, such as the New York Times.

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