“IF” Bets and Reverses

I mentioned last week, that if your book offers “if/reverses,” you can play those instead of parlays. Some of you may not know how to bet an “if/reverse.” A full explanation and comparison of “if” bets, “if/reverses,” and parlays follows, along with the situations in which each is best..

An “if” bet is exactly what it sounds like. You bet Team A and IF it wins then you place an equal amount on Team B. A parlay with two games going off at different times is a type of “if” bet in which you bet on the first team, and if it wins you bet double on the second team. With a true “if” bet, instead of betting double on the second team, you bet an equal amount on the second team.

You can avoid two calls to the bookmaker and lock in the current line on a later game by telling your bookmaker you want to make an “if” bet. “If” bets can also be made on two games kicking off at the same time. The bookmaker will wait until the first game is over. If the first game wins, he will put an equal amount on the second game even though it has already been played.

Although an “if” bet is actually two straight bets at normal vig, you cannot decide later that you no longer want the second bet. Once you make an “if” bet, the second bet cannot be cancelled, even if the second game has not gone off yet. If the first game wins, you will have action on the second game. For that reason, there is less control over an “if” bet than over two straight bets. When the two games you bet overlap in time, however, the only way to bet one only if another wins is by placing an “if” bet. Of course, when two games overlap in time, cancellation of the second game bet is not an issue. It should be noted, that when the two games start at different times, most books will not allow you to fill in the second game later. You must designate both teams when you make the bet.

You can make an “if” bet by saying to the bookmaker, “I want to make an ‘if’ bet,” and then, “Give me Team A IF Team B for \$100.” Giving your bookmaker that instruction would be the same as betting \$110 to win \$100 on Team A, and then, only if Team A wins, betting another \$110 to win \$100 on Team B.

If the first team in the “if” bet loses, there is no bet on the second team. No matter whether the second team wins of loses, your total loss on the “if” bet would be \$110 when you lose on the first team. If the first team wins, however, you would have a bet of \$110 to win \$100 going on the second team. In that case, if the second team loses, your total loss would be just the \$10 of vig on the split of the two teams. If both games win, you would win \$100 on Team A and \$100 on Team B, for a total win of \$200. Thus, the maximum loss on an “if” would be \$110, and the maximum win would be \$200. This is balanced by the disadvantage of losing the full \$110, instead of just \$10 of vig, every time the teams split with the first team in the bet losing.

As you can see, it matters a great deal which game you put first in an “if” bet. If you put the loser first in a split, then you lose your full bet. If you split but the loser is the second team in the bet, then you only lose the vig.

Bettors soon discovered that the way to avoid the uncertainty caused by the order of wins and loses is to make two “if” bets putting each team first. Instead of betting \$110 on ” Team A if Team B,” you would bet just \$55 on ” Team A if Team B.” and then make a second “if” bet reversing the order of the teams for another \$55. The second bet would put Team B first and Team A second. This type of double bet, reversing the order of the same two teams, is called an “if/reverse” or sometimes just a “reverse.”

A “reverse” is two separate “if” bets:

Team A if Team B for \$55 to win \$50; and

Team B if Team A for \$55 to win \$50.

You don’t need to state both bets. You merely tell the clerk you want to bet a “reverse,” the two teams, and the amount.

If both teams win, the result would be the same as if you played a single “if” bet for \$100. You win \$50 on Team A in the first “if bet, and then \$50 on Team B, for a total win of \$100. In the second “if” bet, you win \$50 on Team B, and then \$50 on Team A, for a total win of \$100. The two “if” bets together result in a total win of \$200 when both teams win.

If both teams lose, the result would also be the same as if you played a single “if” bet for \$100. Team A’s loss would cost you \$55 in the first “if” combination, and nothing would go onto Team B. In the second combination, Team B’s loss would cost you \$55 and nothing would go onto to Team A. You would lose \$55 on each of the bets for a total maximum loss of \$110 whenever both teams lose.

The difference occurs when the teams split. Instead of losing \$110 when the first team loses and the second wins, and \$10 when the first team wins but the second loses, in the reverse you will lose \$60 on a split no matter which team wins and which loses. It works out this way. If Team A loses you will lose \$55 on the first combination, and have nothing going on the winning Team B. In the second combination, you will win \$50 on Team B, and have action on Team A for a \$55 loss, resulting in a net loss on the second combination of \$5 vig. The loss of \$55 on the first “if” bet and \$5 on the second “if” bet gives you a combined loss of \$60 on the “reverse.” When Team B loses, you will lose the \$5 vig on the first combination and the \$55 on the second combination for the same \$60 on the split..

We have accomplished this smaller loss of \$60 instead of \$110 when the first team loses with no decrease in the win when both teams win. In both the single \$110 “if” bet and the two reversed “if” bets for \$55, the win is \$200 when both teams cover the spread. The bookmakers would never put themselves at that sort of disadvantage, however. The gain of \$50 whenever Team A loses is fully offset by the extra \$50 loss (\$60 instead of \$10) whenever Team B is the loser. Thus, the “ufabet” doesn’t actually save us any money, but it does have the advantage of making the risk more predictable, and avoiding the worry as to which team to put first in the “if” bet.