Single-Game Sports Betting

What you should know about single-game sports betting.

Key Points

– Single-game sports betting has its advantages.

– Single-game sports betting is relatively new in some parts of the world.

Single-Game Sports Betting

For most sports bettors, single-game sports betting has been a thing for quite some time. For others, it may be relatively new. 

In Canada, for example, bettors could not wager on the CFL Grey Cup championship by itself. They were unable to place a single-game bet on the point spread, for example. They could, however, bet the game as part of a parlay depending upon where they lived. Certain provinces in Canada did allow some parlay betting.

With the rise of sports betting in general, more single-game sports betting options are available in more parts of the world. There are some advantages to placing one bet on an event as opposed to a parlay, which is multiple bets tied together in a single bet.

Here’s a look at why bettors prefer single bets as well as the advantages and disadvantages.

Why One Bet

Most bettors, at least smart bettors, realize that it is much easier to win a single bet than it is to win multiple bets. In single-game sports betting, bettors have a 50/50 chance of winning their bet. They either win or lose.

That’s not the same with a multiple bet parlay. Take a simple example, a basic two-bet parlay. You do not have the same 50/50 chance of winning your parlay bet. There are four potential outcomes.

  1. Team A wins, Team B wins
  2. Team A wins, Team B loses
  3. Team A loses, Team B wins
  4. Team A loses, Team B loses

Only one of those outcomes means that you win your parlay bet. That means you have a 25 percent chance of winning this multiple bet parlay. Those chances of winning dwindle with each additional bet added. 


Advantages of Single-Game Sports Betting

In examining why bettors like single bets, we have identified a few of the advantages of single-game sports betting. 

A single bet is easier to understand. A less experienced bettor can understand one bet. If it’s a moneyline bet, it’s even easier. You bet on a team to win. The only thing that may take some time to get used to is understanding how moneyline odds work. But the basic premise is simple. Bet on a team and the team wins, you win.

Another advantage in placing a lone wager on a game is that you give yourself a better chance of winning. Now, sports bettors everywhere will tell you (at least they should) that picking one game is hard enough. Adding more games to a parlay makes picking winners difficult.

With single-game sports betting, you either are right and win or you are wrong and lose. That’s pretty straightforward for even the greenest of young bettors.

You can also find great odds on single-game bets. Whether you are betting NFL 2nd half totals or the game itself, let’s say you like a certain team on the moneyline. The odds are -107. After you learn more about odds and how they work, you know that this team is the betting favorite. You also know you have to wager $107 to win $100. 

Over time, you learn to find safe bets. Sometimes, you may bet on a +105 underdog. What you will find are lower odds on single bets. Depending upon your overall betting strategy that might be a good thing.

Cons of Single Bets

When you combine a pair of bets into a parlay, your chances of hitting it are just one in four or 25 percent. Because it is a more difficult bet to win, sportsbooks are willing to give you more favorable odds and pay you more if you win.

You like the Steelers as a +3 underdog and the Vikings as a -6 favorite. You put the two wagers together. If they were bet individually, you would most likely get -110 odds on both bets. That means you have to bet $110 to win $100. 

If you bet both games individually and won, you would net $200 in winnings. However, if you tie the two bets together in a parlay, you will get +260 odds. That means you only have to wager $100 and you’ll win $260 as a result.

Of course, the trade off is that the parlay is harder to win. 

Your Strategy

To win at single-game sports betting, there are some easy steps you can take to have more success. The first is to have a money management strategy.

Too many bettors simply throw money at betting with a disregard for where that money fits into their budget. Take an amount you are comfortable losing each month. That is your bankroll.

Then, you wager between 1 and 5 percent of your bankroll on all bets. If you have $100, that means you are betting between $1 and $5. You don’t go out and place a $50 just because you think it’s a sure thing. Managing your money will keep you in the game longer and give you a chance at success.

The other big part of any winning betting strategies is simply to do the research. You can’t just bet on favorite teams or bet blindly on teams because “you have a feeling.” Put some time and effort into making a strong betting decision.