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Pros and Cons of If-Bets

Getting into punting and trying to figure out which wagers are worth placing and which should be avoided?  Your first bets will probably be typical straight bets, but over time you will learn there are numerous other types of wagers available: teasers, parlays, progressive parlays, future bets, and many more.  I have discussed these different types of bets before, but I figured our readers could use some additional guidance in selecting wagers to place. 


So I have been writing a series on pros and cons of various types of wagers.  In this article, I will focus on if-bets.  But you may want to catch up on the other articles in the series before reading on.  They are:


What Is an If-Bet?

An “if-bet” is a type of wager I have discussed in detail in the article, Types of Bets: If-Bets.  But I want to briefly outline it here to lay the groundwork for a discussion of advantages and disadvantages.

An “if-bet” is a series of bets placed in a linear chronological order.  In this sense, it is similar to a parlay or a teaser.  But each selection relies on the previous one succeeding in order to trigger the next. 

So if you have an if-bet on selections A, B, and C, you will only be entered into your bet on selection B if your wager on selection A wins, and so on.  Partial payouts are allowed, so if you win A and B but lose C, you will get the payouts on A and B.  Read more about if-bets here (link to: Types of Bets: If-Bets).


Pros of If-Bets

You may wonder what the point of an if-bet is.  While it has some commonalities with a parlay or teaser, in many ways it is more closely related to a straight bet.  You are not putting yourself in a position where you can only cash out if the entire string of selections wins—it is more like you are just taking two straight bets on a single ticket and hoping that the first enables you to participate in the second.  There is not going to be the same massive payout you would get on a parlay because the risk is simply not as great. 

So why do this instead of just placing two separate straight bets?  It has to do with funds.  Say you do not have a lot of bankroll one day, but you know you want to wager on two different selections.  Instead of having to front the cash for two separate wagers, the if-bet allows you to front the cash for just one.

So say for example that you want to place two £50 bets, but you only have £50 to bet with right now.  You could place it on an if-bet on the two selections.  If the first selection wins, you will be entered automatically into the second.  You do of course also need the money for the vig. 


Cons of If-Bets

If-bets are generally quite sensible.  There are four possible outcomes:

1.  Both selections win.  In this case, you only fronted half as much as you would with a couple of straight bets, and you win the payouts on both selections- pretty sweet deal.

2.  The first selection wins and the second loses.  In this case, you win the payout on the first selection, but you lose the second selection.  In essence, your loss wipes out your win, leaving you almost at breakeven - but you do lose the spread.

3.  Both selections lose.  You lose - but that would have happened anyway if you placed two straight bets.

4.  The first selection loses and the second wins.  This is the bummer - if you lose the initial selection, you never get entered into the second one, so you end up forfeiting the whole if-bet.


You can see how the only situation where an if-bet could really play against you (versus two separate straight bets) is the fourth one.  It would be pretty lame to get dealt out of a winning proposition because you lost another selection. 


On the other hand, what would have happened if you had stuck with straight bets?  That probably depends on your funds.  If you had the funds, you probably would have placed separate bets on each selection, in which case you would have won the second one.  But if you only really had the funds for one wager, after losing the first, you likely would have sat out the second anyway - so you would have the same results as you would have with the if-bet. 


So basically, if-bets usually are a smart move if you are strapped for cash, but if you have the money to front two wagers separately, there are times when you may want to stick with straight bets.


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Gambling on the Internet

A few things to consider when gambling online:

  • Take advantage of first deposit bonuses
  • Have a budget and stick to it
  • Don't lose more than you can afford
  • When drunk, don't bet!
  • Don't chase losses
  • Bet on markets you know well
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