What Is An If Bet In Sports Betting

How can you get bigger returns on your average bets at reduced risks? After the thrill of placing your first sports bets wears off, the monotony and low returns of straight bets can set in, leaving you yearning for more.

This is where multiple betting options like if bets come in. With it, you can diversify your betting strategy and increase your potential payouts, even on a small wagering amount.

So, what is an if bet in sports betting? I have done justice to this question in this comprehensive guide. You will also learn how to place this multiple bet type properly online and the strategies to maximize your if bets.

🔑 Key Takeaways

  • Find out all the perks of if bets.
  • Try out these strategies to perfect your next if wagers.

Definition of an If Bets

An if bet is a conditional wager that allows you to connect two or more straight bets.

If bets link multiple games together, but only activate one bet at a time. This means each bet in the “if” wager is placed in stages and depends on whether the previous one succeeded.

Similarly to parlay, the outcome of your first selection determines whether the subsequent wagers on your other selected games would be active. However, in this case, you only wager a fixed amount on all legs of the bet. 

If the first selection succeeds, an equal bet amount will be placed on the second match. If you have more than two games in your if bet, the outcome of your second selection will determine the third, and so on.

However, you will lose the bet if the first team on your list doesn’t win. Your if wager stops the moment any games you select lose. Your returns are then calculated based on the winnings of your previous selections. 

How If Bets Work

As stated earlier, the main features of an if bet include:

  • Two or more games
  • Importance of first selection 
  • A fixed bet 

Using a simple example, let’s see how these components work together to form an If wager.


Let’s assume you want to stake clubs in Major League Soccer. So, you select four games happening at different times of the day. Keep in mind that you can place if bets on matches starting at the same or any time.

However, I prefer selecting games with a staggered kick-off time, especially when I feel like watching each match.

So, moving on, here is the list of four games/markets we chose for our if wager:

  1. Los Angeles FC (LAFC) to win vs Seattle Sounders +120 (1:00 PM EST)
  2. Messi to score two goals in the Atlanta United FC vs New York Red Bulls match +200 (3:30 PM ET)
  3. Toronto FC to win vs Chicago Fire SC -110 (6:00 PM)
  4. Over 3.5 goals in the Portland Timbers vs Montreal Impact match +170 (9:00 PM)

As you can see, you can select different markets for your if wager. So, let’s say we decide to stake $20 on this bet. 

Winning Situation with an If Bet:

  • If your first selection, the Los Angeles FC game, wins, you would win $24 plus your original stake of $20 for $44. 
  • Since your first selection was successful, the same stake ($20) will be placed on the second market, Messi scoring two goals in the Atlanta United FC game. If Messi does his thing and gives you a win, you will collect $40 in winnings plus your initial stake of $20, giving you $60 overall.
  • Since your second bet was a win, the initial $20 stake will roll to the third selection.
  • Should Toronto win, your overall payout would be $38.18 ($18.8 winnings plus the $20 bet). 
  • If your wager had contained three selections, the bet would have been completed. But, since it’s a four-game-if wager, the third game winning means the initial $20 stake will be placed on the fourth market.
  • If the Portland Timbers and Montreal Impact game ends with 4 or more games, you will collect $34 in winnings plus the $20 bet, making an overall of $54.

On this If wager, your total winnings would be: $116.8= $24 + $40 + $18.8 + $34. Don’t forget that you still have your $20 wager.

This example is based on you winning all the selections in your bet. However, keep in mind that there are other scenarios that could happen.

Losing Situation with an If Bet:

  • You could win the first bet and lose the second. This means the bets won’t go active on the 3rd and 4th selection; you end up with $18 in winnings, losing $2 of your initial stake.
  • You could win the first and second games and lose the third one; no bet is placed on the fourth match, 
  • You could win the first, second and third selections. 
  • You could lose the first bet; you lose your if wager.

Why Choose If Bets?

From diversifying your wagering strategy to managing your bankroll, there are several reasons why I recommend if bets in sports betting.

  • Bankroll management: If bets can help you manage your bankroll effectively. It allocates a specific bet amount to each selection in your if wager, ensuring you don’t overspend. Also, since subsequent bets are placed based on the outcome of previous ones, you don’t exceed your bankroll.
  • Reduced risk: One thing an if bet has over other bet types, like parlay, is its ability to limit potential losses. As long as your first selection wins, a single loss can not wipe out all your funds. Since you are betting your initial stake alone on each leg of the wager, you will still have some winnings left, even if they are smaller than your original bet.
  • Great for small or average bets: Imagine you are short on funds but still want to place a few bets. You only have $10 and are left with two options if you choose to wager straight bets: either place two separate $5 bets or put everything on a single bet and risk losing it all. However, with if bets, you can place that single $10 on all the games in your selection as long as the first and previous games win.

Comparing If Bets to Other Betting Types

In some certain situations, if bets offer you more value and a unique advantage than other betting options.

Let’s start with Parlays. As you know, all the legs of your parlay must win to get a payout. This means a single loss can wipe out all your bet plus your winnings, even if the first selection or other games in the bet win. As such, parlays are more risky and more susceptible to losses. 

In contrast, with if bets, you don’t have to worry about a single loss clearing your bet as long as your first selection wins. Thanks to its fixed bet and conditional nature, an if bet provides protection and flexibility that parlays lack. However, if you desire a bigger payout, you stand a better chance of getting it with parlays than if bets. 

In situations where you have a small bankroll and want to cover multiple markets, you should choose If bets over straights. However, go for straight bets when you are highly confident about your pick since it offers a higher reward.

Unlike futures and prop bets, an if wager offers lower risk and more flexibility. While futures and prop bets lock your funds for an extended period or tie them to specific outcomes, bets automatically adjust your betting approach as circumstances change.

If you want to find out more about all the different types of bets, visit our betting 101 section.

For instance:

  • If a game wins, it places the same bet on the next game.
  • If it loses, it stops.

Every bet type has its own specific benefits. However, when compared to several other bets, you can sum up an if wager strength to:

  • Flexibility
  • Conditional wagers
  • Lesser Risk

Step-by-Step Guide to Placing an If Bet

Placing your first if bet at an online sportsbook is easy. Follow these steps to start making if wagers like a pro.

  1. Sign up or log in: First, log in to your sportsbook account. If you don’t have one, simply find a legitimate sportsbook and create an account.
  2. Select the sports and events you want to bet on. You can place if bets on various sports, including baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, cricket and several others. As I stated earlier, you can also select from a long list of markets like over/under, moneyline, spread, double chance and more. 
  3. Choose If Bet: When selecting your games, the system automatically puts them under the default Straight wager type. You should notice other wager options, including Parlay, If Bet, Reverse and Teaser, in the bet slip. Click on “If Bet.”
  4. Rank your games: You will notice small arrows next to each event. They allow you to list your events in the order you want the wagers to be placed. This part is essential. Ensure you rank your events in order of confidence, starting from the one you are most sure of.
  5. Enter your stake: Input your bet amount and confirm the wager. Review the bet details to check if everything is correct before submitting. 

If Bet Strategies for Success

If you want to maximize your bankroll with if wagers, you need to develop a solid strategy that allows you to manage risks and achieve high returns. Below, find some techniques that can increase your chances of success with if bets.

Choose teams you are sure of: Ensure you research teams you are comfortable with for your bets. You can only achieve a maximum payout from if bets when all or most of your selections win.

This is why it’s vital to select teams that have a high likelihood of winning. Remember, knowledge is power, and in sports betting, it can make a difference between winning and losing. 

Balance risk and returns when selecting your markets: You will agree that some betting markets are more unpredictable and riskier than others, and adjusting your bets accordingly is crucial.

For instance, in soccer, betting on the outright winner of a match is generally less risky than wagering on the correct score or the number of goals scored, which can offer more returns. Weigh the potential returns against each market’s risk before adding it to your wager. 

Start with a confident selection: One crucial fact we have learned about if bets is that the first leg can either make or mar your wager. Rank your teams based on their likelihood of winning.

You should have a strong favorite: Or a team on a hot streak in your first slot. Follow this pattern while filling the other legs of your wager. Save the underdog teams or odds for the last part of your bet.

Limit your number of selections: When it comes to sports betting, it’s not always “the more, the merrier”. Yes, while having several games on your if wager can give you sizable winnings (if they win), they can also increase your risk significantly.

Adding too many odds to your if bet makes it more likely that your bet will lose. To manage the risk associated with this wager, it is essential to limit your bet to 2 and, at most, four selections.

So, Will You Place an If Bet Tonight?

If bets can add extra excitement to your betting experience, especially when you have several games to wager on. To maximize your if wagers, ensure you check the order of your bets and start with more low-risk games.

Now that you know how an if bet works, you can start putting your knowledge into practice via our step-by-step guide shared above. Remember to limit your selections and bet responsibly.

By the way, do you know that there is a strategy you can use to earn on an if wager even if the first team loses? Yes! Check out our detailed guide on reverse bets to learn how.