Simple bets. What bets should you pick, if you're a beginner

Keeping it simple can be a smart way to approach sports betting. If you don’t know how to swim are you going to jump straight in the deep end? Probably not. The same goes for betting, if you are a beginner to sports betting then the complicated, multi-faceted bets and strategies are probably not the best way to get going.

Simple Outcomes

The most simple form of sports betting is picking the outcome of an event. This can apply to a tournament or an individual event such as tennis or a football match. A simple choice of staking money against the most probable outcome is an easy way to start betting.

You place one single stake on a single outcome, say Liverpool to win the English Premier League, or South Africa to beat New Zealand in rugby betting on the World Cup Final. Simple outcomes are a great gateway into betting.

As a beginner, a sportsbook can look a little overwhelming with odds everywhere, and different types of bets like multi’s and handicaps and accumulators being touted. All the more complicated bets have their place in wagering, but still, so does the simple outright pick.

A Numbers Game

The most common type of bet played is an outright one. That can be picking a horse to win a race or a team to win a football match. There are differences of course. A football match has three potential outcomes a home win, a draw or an away win. A tennis match, in contrast, has two outcomes, Player A or Player B to win (i.e. there’s no draw).

A horse race may have eight runners. A Formula One race has 24 cars on the starting grid. The more options there are to pick from in a market, the more complicated making the pick becomes.

Think of a big PGA Golf Tournament. It’s common for over 100 players to be taking part, so picking the one player out of that to win in golf betting, is far more difficult than picking one fighter to win a boxing match.

Odds and Choices

This is where the fun and challenge of sports betting comes into play, however. A favourite in a football match may be at 1.33 odds as an example. The favourite for a horse race may be 5.00 odds. 

Two favourites, vastly different balances of risk and reward. That is because the horse race is more unpredictable as it has more possible outcomes (again in the example of an eight-horse race) compared to a football match.

But at the core, odds aside, there is the simple notion of picking a winner. Variables do not come into it. If you back Liverpool to beat Manchester United in a simple outright, then it doesn’t matter about anything like how many goals are scored in the match, who scores first, which players scores and so on. It’s just simply, the result.

Simple statistics 

Of course, that doesn’t mean just betting blindly. All bets should be covered by some sort of statistical reasoning. There is a ton of skill involved in making simple picks in sports betting. Think about the amount of time that is spent by a punter in picking out a horse from a race.

There are a lot of factors like form, jockey and handicaps to be weighed up. The same with a rugby match, statistics have to be studied in order to create a scenario where you can spot value. That may be in an underdog pulling off an upset victory at home against a stronger team. 

Statistics are crucial for spotting even the most simple of sports betting values. Statistics can be kept simple as well. If you see a fixture where a top-six side are taking on a team who are in the relegation zone in the Premier League, even if you don’t know anything else, you can make a basic assumption from that very basic statistic about who is the more likely to win.

Then you can build on that a little bit and study the recent results of both teams and then the results of the respective teams home and away. So basic statistics can lead to nice simple picks and for some punters, they may never go beyond simple outright picks for their betting.

Simple bets upgraded

There is so much in betting that you can do with just the simple outright selection. You can build accumulators. You can build doubles, trebles, Lucky 15s and so on when there is a working knowledge of those types of bets.

But at the core of them, they can all be built from simple bets.

Not Too Complicated


Even some of the more complicated-looking bets don’t have to be made complicated. Think of an over/under 2.5 goals option on a football match. That can be studied with a quick glance at statistics for a given game. Studying averages, the percentage of games that a team player that finishes over or under the goal line, is a simple approach.


Handicap may look complicated but is a great progression from simple outright bets. They don’t have to be complicated. If a favourite is a little value in a match outright, backing them to cover a handicap of -1 for example, leaves you expecting the same outcome of the favourite winning, but adding in a condition that they win by more than a one-goal margin. Or you could back an underdog to not lose by more than one goal (+1 handicap).

Each Way

Remember the aforementioned golf tournament which may have over 100 players or a horse race which has 14 runners? The each-way bet is a fantastic and simple way to cover longer-priced selections. An each-way consist of two parts, a Win part and a Place part. It means that if a horse was to finish second or third (or however many designated places there are), the Place part of the bet would win and you would collect a fraction of the original odds.

Simple betting is enjoyable

Beginners are going to be best served by keeping it simple to start with. This will help to get a very good grounding in sports betting. It affords the chance to start building an understanding of odds, probability and statistics. Plus of course, more often than not, simple is fun.

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