In the world of online sports betting and casino gaming, there are many strategies to employ to gain an edge on the house. These betting strategies run the gamut, and there are ranking systems to help evaluate the competition to help sports bettors make better decisions and find value bets to cash winning betting slips. Today, at MyTopSportsbooks, we will define the if bet and reverse bet as a strategy for sports betting and how a sports bettor can use these two devices to their best advantage to pick winners and build up their bankroll.

A how-to Guide to If Bets and Reverse Bets

Many sports bettors will tell you if and reverse bets are advanced betting strategies that are complex and difficult to apply if you don’t understand what is behind them. For those who are just entering the world of sports betting, if bets and reverse bets might be intimidating, but they offer useful insights to help the novice bettor. Making an if bet or reverse bet is similar to betting on a parlay because you make multiple bet selections with a lower risk. Like a round-robin bet, you can bet multiple games, miss one or two, and still come up with a winning ticket. This strategy represents a viable option for sports bettors who don’t have access to a big bankroll and want to mitigate the risk of losing everything on one bet.

How If Bets Work

An if bet is a combination of two or more wagers, and the result of each bet determines whether or not the bet is placed. Sounds very complicated, doesn’t it? But in essence, not so much. It is a progression; you make your bet on your first wager – you choose the amount to bet – and if you lose, your bets going forward are not placed.

Should you win the first bet, your winnings minus the initial stake are returned to you, with the initial stake placed on your next bet in line. If your second bet is a winner, the winnings minus the initial stake are returned to you. The initial stake is then placed on your third bet. If you lose the second bet, your third bet is cancelled. Depending on the bookmaker or sportsbook, you can make multiple bets of two to six wagers, but the principle never changes. You only move on with winning bets; all future bets are off once you lose.

How If Bets Work

An If Bet Example

Here we will use an NFL betting example, the most popular sports betting forum in the US. We look at two games, one with an early start and the second with a later start. Up first is the Buffalo Bills against the New York Jets in a divisional matchup. Buffalo is listed at -7, -110, and the Jets at +7, -110. We see the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the New England Patriots in game two. The Chiefs are -7, -110, and the Steelers are listed at +7, -110. Now, you look at the value and take the favorite type of bet (Bills and Chiefs), wagering $110 for a $100 return.

There are four possible outcomes for this bet. The Bills cover, and the Chiefs don’t. Both teams cover, or neither team covers the spread. The Bills don’t cover, and the Chiefs cover the spread. The scenarios that come into play are listed below.

Bills Cover, Chiefs Don’t

You win $100 on the Bills bet ($200 total for the win) and lose $110 on the Chiefs (your initial stake is rolled over to the second bet). On the loss (Chiefs), your total loss is $10 because you won on the first bet ($100).

Both Teams Cover

You win $100 on the Bills and $100 on the Chiefs. Your total profit is $200, and you get the initial bet back, meaning you have a total of $310 returned to your account.

Neither Team Covers

If the Bills fail to cover, you are out your initial wager of $110. The second bet on the Chiefs – who also fail to cover – is irrelevant because you lost on the front end of the bet you made.

Bills Don’t Cover, But The Chiefs Do

Your future bet is cancelled when the Bills fail to cover the spread, and you are out the original stake of $110. It doesn’t matter if the Chiefs covered; losing the first bet cancelled the second bet you made.

The Order of Your Bets Matters

As we saw above, you must win your first selection to be alive for the second selection. In scenario IV, your first bet didn’t cover, but the second bet would have paid if not for selecting the wrong outcome. It doesn’t matter what time the game is played; the bet comes down to the order in which it was set. You could have bet the Chiefs first – and won – bet the Bills second and lost. If you had placed the bet in that order, you would only be down $10 instead of $110, betting on the Bills as the first selection. The payout is calculated on completed games in the order in which they were bet, not the time the game was played.

The Order of Your Bets Matters

How Reverse Bets Work

We talked about the order of your bet selections above and what the reverse bet does is take the selection bet losses out of the equation. Reverse bets are combination bets that work in a variety of ways for all possible outcomes as a betting strategy. If we go back to our example – Bills/Chiefs – you lost on the Bills, but the Chiefs covered. In that scenario, you lost your entire stake due to a selection error. If you placed a reverse bet – it is like insurance – on the Bills and Chiefs, you wouldn’t be out your stake.

One team won and one lost; your reverse bet reversed the order of your selections, so the loss doesn’t sting as badly, losing $10 instead of $110. Here’s how the wagering works: you take team A and team B on a reverse bet. You bet $55 on a reverse bet, and it works out to $110 – $55 on one if bet and $55 on the other if bet. See the table for an idea of selections and the number of bets available. You can make similar bets on the NBA using the point spread at many betting sites and win if your teams win. MLB betting on the Moneyline or the run line can be an if win if you get your selections correct.

Also, betting options on college football or the NHL on a point spread bet, or puck line can be part of your betting strategy. If you want to reverse order bet and place the second game first, your reverse wager won’t be affected by start times. All you have to do to win reverse bets is pick the winners.

Selections If Bets Available
3 6
4 12
4 20
6 30


If and reverse bets can be useful tools if you are willing to sacrifice some profits for lower risk, they are a great alternative to parlays when looking for value in the bets you place.


Frank Lorenzo
Frank Lorenzo
MTS Co-Founder
Geoff Johnson
Geoff Johnson
MTS Co-Founder