If and Reverse Bets

Parlays are very popular amongst bettors, yet it is quite surprising that not many know too much about how if and reverse bets work. If you are a bettor that loves the idea of winning but still wants to get some extra cushion on your ticket, then wagering on if bets and reverse bets should be highly considered. In this guide, we will be looking at if bets and reverse bets extensively, shedding light on core areas that will help you understand the mechanics around if and reverse bets.

What are If Bets and Reverse Bets?

If bets are a special kind of parlays that offers the bettor some cushion on their ticket. In that, all bets in the bet slip don’t have to come through, but the first bet should come through to be entitled to some payout. Going forward, we will be looking at the if and reverse bets individually to better understand them.

How If Bets Work?

When you wager a two-team parlay, what happens when the first team in the ticket or bets lip loses? You will lose your bet. However, this is not the case with if bets.

Now, you have to understand if the bet isn’t so complicated when you see it from the angle that the validity of a bet slip is dependent on meeting up with a specific condition. The condition is simply the “if.” The condition states that for a two-team parlay, for instance, the second game is only placed under the condition that the first game comes through.

Example of If Bet

So let’s say there are two bets in your ticket: Team A to win Team B and Team C to win Team D. If team A and Team C win, the profit from the Team A bet is rolled over and staked on the Team C. This will give you a complete payout that’s inclusive of the winnings from the two games.

On the other hand, if team A loses, which is the first game on the ticket; there will be no action on Team C. It simply means you will more or less be entitled to no payout.

Lastly, if Team A wins and Team C loses, what happens? The answer is simple. Only the winnings for Team A will be calculated. The second bet will be a loss since it loses.

Just so we are clear, If bets don’t have to only include just two games. How if bet works are simply like a series of individual bets linked together. It is such that the possibility of the latter being staked is dependent on the former winning. So wherever the action stops, or at whatever point in the series a team loses, the winning will be calculated.

However, the important thing to note about if the bet is that the first game is key. In summary, it is that game that decides the fate of the others. That means you have to make sure the team that comes first on your ticket is very reliable.

Pros and Cons of If Bets


  • All your actions in a bet don’t have to come through to get some returns, so long as they meet the requirements.
  • It doesn’t involve that much staking power.
  • It has relatively good winning potential.


  • If the first game doesn’t win, the whole bet action is null and void
  • It can be tricky for a newbie

What are Reverse Bets?

Reverse bets are double action if bets go in different directions. This is a safer alternative to if bets. Basically in this type of bet, the possibility of the ticket coming through is stretched by compounding it with double if combinations. So, it’s only in rare cases that the bettor will not get some returns at least.

Example of a Reverse Bet

Like we have highlighted above, the reverse bets like the name implies, just involves reverse action of if bets. So for example, you wager Team A to Win Team B and Team C to win Team D. If Team A were to lose while Team B wins, you would have no returns if you were playing an if bet. This is simply because Team A to win is the first selection and based on the “if” condition, the first team wins.

On the other hand, the reverse bet is saying you will behave two tickets in one. What this means is that for the first wager, the first pick will be Team A, while for the second it will be reversed, and the first selection will be Team C. So whatever direction the games go, so long as one team out of the two teams selected wins, you will get some returns.

It would suffice to add that for a reverse bet, your stake would be double what you would wager on an if bet since you are wagering two if bets that are going in different directions. So if you place $100 on an if bet, you would be expected to stake $200 on a reverse bet. What this implies is that for a reverse bet that’s like a two-team parlay, you would be wagering $50 per action.

The image below shows the number of if bets in a reverse bet containing selections more than two

number of if bets in a reverse bet containing selections more than two example

Reverse betting odds and payouts

Like we have highlighted above, reverse bets consist of combinations of if bets. When you look at the image above, you would see that the higher the number of selections, the higher the number of if bets. This puts into perspective how large the payout could be, especially for a bet slip that contains six selections.

However, what you should have in mind is the fact that the number of if combinations on a reverse bet determines the stake. So, the stake for a reverse bet containing three selections would be way lower than what you’d stake for a bet containing six selections.

Pros and Cons of Reverse bets


  • Reverse bet allows you to cover all bases. This helps in such a way that there is a rare chance that you would record a loss.
  • Your risks are more controlled. For a bet that gives you that much cushion, you stand very little to lose. This is something the smartest bettors look out for.
  • The payouts are very rewarding. Considering how much stakes are required for reverse bets, it is only expected that the payout would be that high. For a reverse bet with selections of above six, the winnings or payouts can be very astronomical, especially when 80% of the if bets come through.


  • For a newbie, this option might be too complicated to understand. They should learn the terrains of betting before giving it a go.

Tips and Strategies

  • For a newbie, it is advisable to refrain from this kind of bet, most especially the reverse bets. This is because it can be a little too complicated to understand and requires some level of experience to navigate through it rightly. For a newbie that wants to understand how reverse bets work in real-time, it is advisable to try with bonus funds or funds they are willing to let go. So if by chance it doesn’t go through, not much is lost.
  • If you are wagering on if bets, you want to make sure that the teams you are stacking in your ticket are very reliable, especially the one that’s first to play. Because as we have so far explained, the moment the first team loses, there will be no action on that ticket and you stand to gain nothing. It is advisable to take precautions as you make your selections.
  • Do background checks on the form of the team, fitness of the players, and most likely the head to head of both teams playing. Having insights on those things will make your bet from an informed perspective. Remember that win bets are team-specific, so whatever factor that could affect the team’s performance before should be considered before making your selections.
  • Start small and work your way up. If you are just starting with reverse and if bets, it is safer you start by staking small. The moment you have familiarized yourself with the terrains of if and reverse betting, you can then explore with higher stakes.
  • If you are a bettor that wants to cut your losses by a great margin, then you will do better with reverse bets, since they offer a level of cushion that’s almost unimaginable.


Reverse and If bets are a variety of accumulators that assures a great deal of cushion. Even though they are not as popular as regular parlays or accumulators, they are largely explored by bettors that have been in the game for long and know the essence of calculated betting. They are not perfect but they prove to give bettors one thing they love to edge.


Between Reverse bets and Parlays, which has the highest payout?

If you have been following our guides and paid attention to this guide, you will know parlays would give a much higher payout. For reverse bets, the stakes are split between a couple of if combinations. For parlays, the odds of the games selected are calculated and multiplied by the stake. So, it makes sense why the parlays would yield a higher payout.

What happens when the first game in an if bet loses?

It is very simple. As soon as the first game in an if bet loses, there will be no action recorded for that ticket. Hence, no returns will be paid out.

Which is safer to play between if and reverse bets?

Reverse bets are safer to play. A reverse bet contains a combination of if bets. So whatever direction the bet goes, the bettor could still be entitled to some payout so long as all the selections in the ticket didn’t lose. If bets are quite tougher, there is only one direction that the ticket is expected to go. It is like a chain reaction. The moment one bet in that chain loses, the other bets preceding it gets no action.

Are if and reverse bets available for all sports?

Not really. These types of bets are only available for major team sports. For a sport where a team can be wagered on to win, you most likely be able to include them in your if or reverse bet. Essentially, you are most likely allowed to apply if or reverse bets on top sports like basketball, hockey, and football.

When is it advisable to use if or reverse bets?

There is one main scenario where you are advised to explore if and reverse bets. If you are a full-time bettor that has experienced a long streak of losses and your bankroll is almost reaching its barest minimum, the best thing to do at that point is to strategize and explore options that allow you to cut losses. And what better option is there than wagering on reverse bets?

Are if and reverse bets offered by all sportsbooks?

For an option this exciting, it is a valid concern to be inquisitive about whether it is available on all sportsbooks, considering how limiting some sportsbooks can be. With if and reverse bets, you don’t have to stress too much, they are a staple on just about every good sportsbook out there.

If bets or parlay, which is better?

None is particularly better. We can assess both from different perspectives and see that they do have their individual perks. So when considering which is better, it is based on individual preferences and the bettors goal. A bettor whose goal is to win massively without minding the risks would consider parlays a better option. On the other hand, a bettor that is all about playing it safe and assuring some level of cushion, despite having a goal to win, would consider the if bet a better option. As earlier mentioned, it mainly depends on the bettor and their specific goals or intentions for betting.

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