Betting Types Explained

Author Tom Wilson


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Betting Types Explained

Sports and sports betting have gone hand in hand for such a long time that it is almost impossible to think of one without the other. In some places, such as Canada, sports betting is embedded in the culture. For example, even when all gambling was banned in Canada, punters could still bet on horse racing freely and legally.

Over the years, sports betting in the Great White North, mainly thanks to online wagering in sportsbooks, has skyrocketed in terms of revenue and betting options. Speaking of betting options, it must be pointed out that they differ significantly according to the type of sport you are wagering on. Some of the most common types of bets include moneylines, over/under, point spreads, parlays, and others.

These betting types are available for most of the sports popular in Canada, which is why we will describe them in detail in the following paragraphs.

Canadian Betting Odds Format

Before we get down to the different sports bets you can place, we should first address the odds format used in Canadian sportsbooks. All Canadian betting sites rely on the European odds format, also known as the decimal format. This format is represented by straight numbers and their decimals that show the amount one stands to win for every C$1 wagered.

This type of odds format is present not just in Canada and Europe but also in Australia. It showcases the total payout rather than the profit, which means that your wager is already included. For example, if the odds for a home-team win in a match between the Ottawa Redblacks and the Saskatchewan Roughriders are 2.5 and you wagered C$100, the total payout will be C$250, meaning you stand to gain C$150.

Most Common Betting Types

The role of betting options and different types of bets is to showcase all the possible outcomes of games and situations you can place a bet on. Each sports betting market is bound to have its own options, possibly even unique to it, but some types of bets are unavoidable, so let’s focus on them.

Moneyline/Win Bets

Moneyline bets, also called win bets, are the most common type of bet in sports betting. In essence, a moneyline or win bet allows you to place a bet on whoever you think will win the game or contest. These bets are the most common in the NHL, NFL, CFL, NBA and MLB. Let’s illustrate with an example.

Let’s say you want to place a moneyline bet on the Montreal Canadiens in a clash with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the odds on the Montreal team to win are 1.5. If you place a C$100 bet and you end up being right, you will walk away with a C$50 profit. All win bets are settled after the officials declare the end of the game, and any potential overtime will be included.

Over/Under Bets or Totals

As was the case with moneyline, this type of bet has interchangeable names. It is widely known as over/under in Canada, but some sportsbooks might use the American name — totals. In essence, an over/under bet is a wager predicting the number of points in a game. A sportsbook will set the most likely number of points.

The players who then place an over bet believe there will be more points in that game than the sportsbook predicted. On the other hand, those who place an under bet are willing to stake their money on predicting that there won’t be as many points.

Spread Betting

Another frequently seen type of bet is the spread bet, otherwise known as handicap betting. With this bet, it all starts with the Canadian sportsbooks choosing the favourite to win the match and the total number of points they think the team will win the game by. It is up to you, the player, to agree with the sportsbook or not, and place your bet accordingly.

For example, let’s imagine a match between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Toronto Raptors, where the Lakers are deemed as favourites to win the game by a five-point margin. If you agree with the estimate, you will place a bet on the Lakers. If you think the Raptors will emerge victorious or lose by four points or less, you will place a bet on them. In both cases, the point spread needs to be covered for the bet to be settled.

Spread bets are also known as puck line bets in NHL hockey and runline bets in baseball. In the NHL, the oddsmakers usually give a 1.5 advantage to the underdogs, putting the favourites 1.5 behind. The favourites need to win by two or more goals for the puck line bet you place on them to be successful, while the underdogs need to either win or lose by a single goal to cover their line.


Futures bets are easily applicable in all of Canada’s professional sports as they are bets you place on the team or individual athlete you think will win a competition or a tournament. These bets are usually placed before the league or competition takes place, which makes them exceedingly difficult. However, the payouts that can come from choosing the right futures bet are also substantial. Still, don’t forget that these bets are among the riskiest.

Prop Bets

Proposition bets are among the most widely placed bets out there. They are also known as specialty bets, and they relate to pretty much anything. You can bet on when the first touchdown will happen in a football game or how many saves a goalie will have in a hockey game. There’s a diverse range of options, and sportsbooks are usually quite imaginative when it comes to proposition bets or specials.

Parlay Bets

Parlay bets or accumulators are wagers that include multiple bets placed on various events and then seen as a single bet. The catch here is that all of your choices on the betting ticket need to be correct.

If just one selection is wrong, you won’t win a dime. Parlay betting is not something we would recommend to newcomers, but these bets’ payout potential can’t be overlooked. The payouts for these bets are calculated by multiplying all the odds with the amount you wager.

Final Thoughts

Sports betting comes in various shapes and sizes. Still, the betting types presented here count among the most common ones and are featured in all of Canada’s most popular sports, such as hockey, football, basketball, baseball, and others. Whichever bet you choose, make sure never to wager more than you can afford to lose and always gamble responsibly.

Author Tom Wilson

Chief editor and creator, Tom drives the direction of with the goal to provide the best and most honest resource for online gambling enthusiasts in Canada