Betting Guides

What Is Single Betting?

By Dean Smith

single bet explained

Published: 20:33, 30 May 2023 | Updated: 11:42, 18 December 2023

In a single bet, a punter places a wager on either the outcome of an event or a sports betting market, such as Handicaps or Totals.

It is the simplest and most accessible form of sports betting as it involves no complex calculations.

This page examines the popular single bet and why it is so favoured.

What is a Single Bet?

A single bet is one selection. It’s sometimes called a straight or a win single and is used in many markets. In football, for example, it can be used for markets like Match Winner, Correct Score, or Over/Under.

In horse racing, it’s used to back one runner to win a race. If anything other than your single selection’s outcome happens, the bet loses.

Advantages of Single Bets

Singles can be a low-risk, simple bet, backing just one outcome you win or lose. They are also wonderfully convenient for in-play betting. It’s one quick pick needed instead of crafting a complex wager. 

They also allow for easy control of selections within a strategy. For example, an each-way condition can be added to a single bet for something like horse racing, and while it technically consists of two bets, it’s still a single.

Disadvantages of Single Bets

A downside to a single bet is the potentially lower payouts. For example, if you were to back three match winners at 1/1, 2/1 and 3/1, each with a £1 stake, you would get £6 in profit.

If you combined the picks into a Treble with a £1 stake, your potential profit would be up at £23 instead. So single bets don’t always bring the best odds, but they offset many risks compared to multi bets.

Because the odds on single bets are hard to pull big value from, it can lead punters to incorporate more risk by playing higher stakes.

The Relationship Between Odds & Betting Outcomes

For a basic understanding, the odds represent the probability of an event occurring, as determined by the bookmaker.

The higher the odds, the riskier the bet. A team at 3/1 to win a match indicates that it has a low probability of happening. It’s, therefore, a risky bet, but of course, the potential payout is appealing. 

Conversely, lower odds like 8/11 on a match favourite indicate that the option is more likely to win, so there’s less risk. However, the return on profit isn’t going to be as significant.

Types of Single Bets

A single bet can cover many different markets. Here are some of the more popular ones:

Moneyline/Outright: Picking a player or a team to win a fixture or a tournament.

Points Spread: The selection of a team or player to win by a certain amount of points in a 

match. A stronger team will have a negative spread, the underdog a positive one.

Over/Under: A wager on whether you think the number of goals or points scored in a match will be above or under a set amount.

Outrights: A single bet doesn’t just have to be the winner of a tennis match or a horse race, as it can be on a long-term pick like the Super Bowl winner before the season has even started.

How to Place a Single Bet

Before placing a single bet, find a reputable bookmaker. Look for one that is regulated, offers excellent features like live-streaming and cash-out, and ranks highly for competitive odds.

Sign-up with the bookmaker, make a deposit and then browse the sportsbook for your sport. 

Then find the competition within the sport that you want to bet on, such as the FIFA World Cup within football betting. 

Search for the specific match you are looking for and then the bet option, like Brazil, to beat France. Enter the stake and place the bet. 

If Brazil wins, you win. However, the bet loses if the match ends in a draw or France wins.

Tips for Making Successful Single Bets

Here are some handy tips to try and increase your chances of getting successful single bets:

Research: Use statistical analysis like form and head-to-head records to have a firm reason for making your selection.

Be Patient: Only bet when the odds are correct and align with your research to cut down the risk of overbetting, which is betting for the sake of it because the options are there.

Compare Odds: Search different bookmakers to find the best odds for your pick.

Manage Your Bankroll: Whether it’s a small amount for casual weekend betting or a large sum of money, set a bankroll. Stick to your budget and never chase losses.

Understand Your Bet: Don’t bet on unfamiliar markets or sports. That complicates the process and increases the risk of poor selections.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making Single Bets

Single bets are straightforward, but that doesn’t mean things can’t go awry. Many punters, for example, keep picking overvalued favourites because a team or a player are expected to win. 

That can come at the expense of missing out on better selections for better odds in alternative markets like a handicap or spread. Another novice mistake is betting on the team that they support, which can lead to emotional bets over well-planned ones.

A lack of research is another common mistake. Any form of betting should be based on research first. Look at the data in black and white and understand what it’s telling you. It’s not foolproof, of course, but it strengthens your decision-making.