What Is An If Bet? If Betting Tips And Strategies

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New bettors prefer to stick to easy bets. And this is indeed the way to go as you start. With time, however, trying out different, more involving bets can be very rewarding. 

One of the betting types you have perhaps seen in your betting endeavors is the ‘if’ bet. For bettors looking to diversify from the usual money line, spread bets, and totals, if bets are a fun option to try.

What Are If Bets?

Suppose bets are considered advanced wagers and can be a bit complex. This notwithstanding, you shouldn’t have any problem with them once you understand how to handle them. 

If you are good with parlays, if bets are pretty similar to parlays, in that you make multiple selections. 

Unlike parlays, if bets are placed conditionally and in stages. Every step depends on picking the correct outcome of the previous stage. So, your first game must-win for the second bet to be eligible. Then the second bet has to win for the third one. 

When your first game wins, you get a payout minus an amount equal to your stake. This is placed on your second bet. When this wins, you get paid minus an amount equivalent to your initial stake. This goes to the third bet. 

If a game in this chain loses, you lose your wager, and the rest of the selections are canceled. 

The number of selections you can have on a single bet varies with different bookmarkers, but they typically range from 2 to 8. 

What Sports Do If Bets Apply To?

If bets are available to virtually all major team sports available in betting. 

As such, you can place if bets on basketball, baseball, football, hockey, and some college varieties. In addition, you can get these betting options on any sport where you can bet on an outright winner. 

Types Of If Bets

You have two options with if bets. These are:

  • If win
  • If action

If Win

An if-win bet is an excellent option for bankroll management. For this option, you wager a fixed stake, and the same amount is placed on the next game should the first one win. 

Example: You place an $11 if-win bet on the Bears and the Giants at a standard -110 odds:

  • You win $10 if the Bears win, and your stake is carried forward for another $11 (initial stake) wager on the Giants
  • Should the Giants also win, you get another $10 (totaling your wins to $20), and a total of $31 of you include your wager
  • if the Giants lose, you walk away minus $1 overall because you had won $10 on the Bears
  • Should your first game with the Bears lose, you lose your $11 stake, and the if bet is canceled

In an if-bet, a game must win for the chain to continue. If there is a loss or a tie, the action stops there. 

If Action

In an if-action bet, a win, a tie, or a game cancellation or postponement allows you to proceed to the next game.  

A tie (push) or a postponement/ cancellation (no action) will not result in a win or loss in that particular game, but your initial stake will be available for placement in the next event on your ticket. 

How To Use If Bets

There aren’t many scenarios where if bets are recommended. However, if your bankroll is rapidly shrinking and you’re quickly coming up short, if bets can be a lifesaver. 

In our previous example, with the Bears and the Giants, you would need $22 to bet on both teams individually, at $11 a team. 

Supposing your bankroll was running low, you only have $11 in your account. You wouldn’t be able to bet $11 on the Bears and another $11 on the Giants. An if bet allows you to wager $11 on both without actually having $22 at hand. 

Nonetheless, going about it this way will not improve your odds. 

Pros and Cons Of If Bets

Should you try if bets? Here are some pros and cons of this betting type. 


  • Higher payouts than straight-line bets
  • You can use a single wager for multiple matches 
  • You get to keep a percentage of the payout even when some selections fail


× They become very risky past three selections

×   Beginners often find if bets to be too complicated

Where Can You Place If Bets?

Numerous betting sites offer if bets. 

If you want to try them out, check that your preferred betting site offers them and the terms provided. For instance, some sites will inhibit you from picking two correlated wagers on one game. For example, you can only pick a team to win on moneyline or point spread, not both. 

Rev-Up Your Game Today!

If you have always tiptoed around if bets, you don’t have to anymore. 

You now have an idea of what they are and how they work. It might be time to try them out and see what they yield. 


Dan Weiner

Hailing from Atlanta and attending college at the University of Texas, Dan is passionate about sports, particularly college football and soccer. He's a diehard Atlanta pro sports and Texas Longhorns fan. He likes every sport and will watch anything and everything the weirder the better. He joined Betsperts after an 11 year career in television production at ESPN.

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