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Introduction to Straight Bets: One of the Easiest Bets in Sports Betting



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You are probably wondering what is a straight bet if you are here. Well, straight betting is one of the easiest bets that you can make in sports betting. With the results generally simply depending on the win or loss of the team you are supporting, the absence of any specific strategies makes it one of the best bets. This is especially so if you are a newbie in the sports betting arena. So, let’s find out what a straight bet is in detail so you can enjoy it fully, whether you are just starting out or are an experienced market wizard. Here, you can find out everything from the three kinds of straight bets and the sports that you can make a straight bet on, along with similar simple alternatives you can go for.

What is a Straight Bet?

At its core, a straight bet is one of the simplest and most direct bets in sports betting. It involves simply predicting the outcomes of the game. Since no conditions or major calculations are involved, it is considered the best way to foray into the world of sports betting for amateurs and newbies. What makes it even more versatile is the fact that there are three different types of straight bets you can place. This adds variety to the way you get involved with sports betting, which makes it considerably interesting despite the very easy process.

In addition to the betting process being simple, the calculation of payouts is also incredibly easy in this method. However, you do need to keep in mind that the payout calculation method differs for each type of straight bet that you can place.

Components of a Straight Bet

Just like any other betting method, a straight bet also has 3 major components that make it easy for you to understand the rules and process. These three components are wager, odds, and stake, and here is what they mean in a straight bet:


A wager simply refers to the amount that the bettor has spent on a single game bet. The amount of money that you decide to risk for your bet depends entirely on you, and you can definitely choose to place a higher wager for a certain win or a lower wager if you are not sure. However, do keep in mind that your winnings depend on the wager amount. So, a smaller wager amount will mean a smaller betting stake, while a more substantial wager implies a similarly large betting stake.


Odds refer to the chances either team has of winning in that specific market. Usually, odds are presented in either the American, Decimal, or Fractional formats. Regardless of their format, they present the true winning potential of each team. So, when you place your bet, considering these odds is crucial to ensure that you do end up betting for the team more likely to win.


The stake in a bet is the total amount that is involved in every bet. This includes the initial wager made by you along with the potential winnings in the event your chosen team or player wins. This total stake value is crucial for calculating the total payout for your bet.

Three Kinds of Straight Bets

The three kinds of straight bets are moneyline straight bet, points spread straight bet, and totals straight bet. Here, we delve deep into each type, telling you all about the patterns associated with each kind.

Moneyline Straight Bet

The moneyline straight bet is the easiest of the three kinds, one that only involves choosing the winner among the 2 opponents. At the beginning of the game, all you need to do is predict which team you think will win the game. If the player or team you chose has won the game, then you win the game bet and the winnings associated with that. There are no complicated or additional rules involved, which makes it the easiest straight bet option. However, you do need to have a good grasp of identifying the odds provided by the sportsbook to choose the wager and place your bet. The odds are presented in the American positive/negative format and this is how you can decipher them:

  • Positive (+) Odds: Positive odds tell you how much additional winnings you will get in case your chosen team wins the market. This is a very direct and easy-to-understand calculation, as you simply need to add up your wager and the positive odds to calculate your total winnings. For example, if you have placed a $100 wager on a team with +200 odds in the game, then you will win the $200 and get your $100 wager back for a total of $300 in the event that the team wins. This makes it a very lucrative option and is usually reserved for the underdogs in the game.
  • Negative (-) Odds: Unlike positive odds, negative odds are reserved for the favorites in the game, referring to the team that is obviously more likely to win. In the case of negative odds, the winnings are limited to $100. However, the negative odds tell you how much you need to wager in order to win the $100. For example, if a game shows a -200 odd for a team to win, then it means that you need to wager $200 in order to win $100 on the bet. If you do so, then you will win your $200 back along with the extra $100 winnings for a total of $300 in the event your chosen team wins. The higher risk makes this more suitable for favorites in a game.

Points Spread Straight Bet

While the moneyline straight bet plays on the difference between the skills of the 2 teams, the points spread straight bet aims to bridge this gap by evening the playing field as much as possible. However, the most striking aspect of this type is that there is no necessity for your chosen team to win in order for you to win the game bet.

More specifically, both teams are assigned handicap points in this type of straight betting. The underdog is given positive points to enhance their level, while the favorite team is given the same number of points but in negatives. But the catch in this type is that if you have chosen the underdog in your wager and they win, then you win the bet. However, you still win the bet if they lose the game but within the specified score difference. Similarly, if you have placed a wager on the favorite, then the team needs to win beyond the points assigned to them in order for you to win the bet.

For example, in a basketball game involving Team A and Team B, Team A has been given handicap points of +12 for being the underdogs, while the favorites Team B have been given -12 handicap points. For this scenario, assume that the game ended with the final scores of 16-24 for Team A-Team B. In the event you placed a bet on Team A, while you would have won the game bet automatically had they won, you win the bet in this case as well. This is because the 8-point difference between the scores is well within the acceptable handicap of 12 points.

However, if you had placed a bet on Team B, then you would have lost the bet despite Team B winning the game because they were not able to overcome the determined handicap of 12 points. In this scenario, you would have won the bet had Team B scored 29 or higher, creating at least a 13-point difference with the underdog team.

Totals Straight Bet

The last type of straight betting is one that will have you rooting for both teams to some extent. In the totals straight bet, you bet on the total cumulative score of the 2 teams to determine a winning bet. In this type, you bet on whether the total scores will go over a specified limit or stay under.

For better understanding, imagine the same basketball game with final scores of 16-24. In this scenario, the total score of the two teams is 40. Accordingly, we will imagine that the bet has been set at 45 points. Considering this scenario, if you bet on the total score to be under the betting score, then you would have won, since 40 is under 45. On the contrary, if you had placed the bet for the score to be over 45 in this game, then you would have lost. Similarly, if the game bet was determined at a total score of 35, and you placed a bet for under, then you would have lost since the score of 40 is over 35.

While the rules in this type of bet are very easy to understand, you need to consider that the bet can be made on any kind of event happening throughout the game. It can be on the scores earned by the teams or take into account the number of 3-pointers or free throws. Similarly, in soccer, the total can be set on the score or other criteria like headers, penalty goals, free kicks, and much more.

Sports That a Straight Bet Can Be Made On

The diversity of straight bets makes it applicable to a huge range of sports. However, you do need to keep in mind that the way the rules of the bet are applied differs for each game. So, here are 4 sports that allow you to place a straight bet:


Horse Racing

Straight bets have an illustrious history in the sport of horse racing. This can be majorly attributed to the fact that in the sports betting industry today, horse racing odds allow you to place your bet across 3 ways. You can either place your bet on the first place, which is called a “win,” the first and second place, called “place,” or the first, second, and third places, called “show.” While the win bet is the most popular, you can expand your winnings by betting on all 3 places.


Basketball is one of the most popular sports when it comes to sports betting. More specifically, NBA games in basketball. This is because the event provides an incredible number of games and markets to bet on. And when making a straight bet, the bets are usually made on which team would get to at least 10 points before the other. The American format is used to determine the odds, with the underdogs considered as positive and the favorite considered as negative.


Among all games involving straight bets, soccer is the game that creates the most confusion. This is because, in the case of a moneyline straight bet, there are 3 outcomes to bet on, rather than 2. This means you can bet on the match ending in a draw as well. Confusion can also arise in the case of points spread straight bet. In the event that the teams playing are very close in their skills, then the handicap awarded can be less than 1 or even in decimals. Accordingly, the payout also changes depending on the outcome.


While tennis may seem not so suitable for a straight bet due to the games being played 1-on-1, it is actually a sport with one of the biggest ranges. In fact, the absence of an entire team opens up the potential for making single bets. One thing to note in tennis betting is that the betting is done on the number of games played. For example, in spread betting, if the handicap points are set at +/-3.5, then this means that either the underdog needs to not lose by 4 or more games, or the favorite wins by 4 or more games. Similarly, in the case of a totals straight bet, the total set number is the cumulative of the games played by both players. So, a game ending in 4-2, 7-5, 3-6, 2-4 will have a total score of 33 by adding up all the games played by both players.


The ease and simplicity of straight bets make it a favored option for all, whether you are a newbie, an experienced sports bettor, or a market wizard. And with the option to choose from 3 different types for such a variety of sports adds to its favorability. So, now that you know not only about the different ways in which straight bets can be placed but also how it is applicable across multiple games, you can confidently foray into the world of sports betting. However, do keep in mind that all bets come with a margin for losses as well. So, as long as you play responsibly, you can minimize the losses and enjoy the thrills associated with sports betting.