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what is a single bet

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A single bet is just one, solitary wager to win on an outcome in a sports event. It’s as simple as that. We’re going to fully explore what is a single bet in this article, so you’ll know how they work and how to calculate potential winnings. We’ll even throw in some single betting tips!

What is a Win Single Bet?

what is a single bet

A single bet is just a solitary wager. If it is successful, you’ll receive winnings. Should it be unsuccessful, you’ll lose your stake and better luck next time.

With a double, two bets have to be successful for you to win, while for a treble, three bets have to win. Accas have four or even more selections. There’s nothing else riding on a single bet meaning that the result of the event that you’ve bet on, is all that you have to worry about.

It’s really the simplest type of bet that there is and we’re going to show you exactly how a single bet works.

How to Work Out a Single Bet

When it comes to working out a single bet, it really couldn’t be easier. A losing single bet doesn’t require working out whatsoever, you simply sacrifice your stake. Hopefully you will win though and then it’s just a case of multiplying the original stake by the betting odds and then adding the winnings to your returned stake.

So let’s take a look at what potential returns you’d see from a number of single bets, using the same unit stake, at different odds. For this example, we’ll keep the stake at £10.

Odds Winnings Calculation Return (Winnings + Initial Stake)
1/2 (1.5) £10 x 1/2 (1.5) = £5 £15
4/5 (1.8) £10 x 4/5 (1.8) = £8 £18
1/1 (2.0) £10 x 1/1 (2.0) = £10 £20
6/4 (2.5) £10 x 6/4 (2.5) = £15 £25
2/1 (3.0) £10 x 2/1 (3.0) = £20 £30
3/1 (4.0) £10 x 3/1 (4.0) = £30 £40
7/2 (4.5) £10 x 7/2 (4.5) = £35 £45
5/1 (6.0) £10 x 5/1 (6.0) = £50 £60
10/1 (11.0) £10 x 10/1 (11.0) = £100 £110

As you can see, it is pretty simple from a mathematical perspective and you may well be able to calculate your potential winnings, in your head. The beauty of a single bet is that it is dependent on just one result from a single event and is therefore far less complicated than other types of bets like multiples.

What is a Single Bet on Football?

Though you may well have heard of football accas being very popular, a lot of punters still place single bets on the beautiful game. The market that gets backed most often is the match result and if you click on any game being covered by a bookie, that is the first market that you will see. Over/under goals markets are also popular, when you bet on whether there will be more or less goals than a certain stated amount, such as 1.5, or 2.5 goals.

There are all sorts of football markets available at sports betting sites, especially big ones in competitions like the Premier League or Champions League. Many concern the actions of individual players. You can bet on a player to score at any time in a match, or the first goal, which has bigger odds. Basically, if there is something that happens at least fairly commonly in football matches, there’s a good chance that a bookmaker will allow you to place a single bet on it.

What is a Single Bet in Horse Racing?

Though punters will place doubles, trebles and accumulator bets on horse racing, it is fair to say that the single bet remains king. That’s because even favourites in horse races tend to be available at fairly big odds. There’s often lots of runners in a race, so picking out a winner can be tough. Therefore, picking out two, three, four or more winners is really tough and is something that many serious bettors look to avoid.

Because it is difficult to pick out a winner in a horse race and there are big odds, many punters like to place each way bets on horse racing. We’ll explain how each way betting works in the next section, but it’s basically half a single win bet and half a single place bet. With a packed schedule of race meetings taking place across the world, every day, you’ll never far away from your next opportunity to place a single bet on horse racing.

What is an Each Way Single Bet?

As we said previously, an each way bet is essentially split into two halves. One part of the bet is for your selection to win. The other part of the bet is for your selection to place.

So, if you placed an each way bet on a horse race, you are betting on the horse to both win and place. Horse races have different place terms, based on how many runners there are.

Let’s give you an example where there are eight runners, which would typically see a top three finish count as a place under the Tattersalls Committee Rules on Betting, with place terms of 1/5 of the original odds.

You put a £10 each way bet on a horse at 10/1. That bet will cost you £20, as it’s £10 going on the win part of the bet and £10 on the horse to place.

If the horse finishes in second or third, it has placed, but not won. The win part of the bet will therefore be a loser, but the place will return 1/5 of your 10/1 odds. So 1/5 x 10/1 = 2/1. Your place bet of £10 wins at 2/1, returning £30 in total (£10 stake + £20 winnings). Having bet £20 on your each way bet in the first place, that gives you a £10 profit.

Should the horse win, then both parts of your each way bet will be successful. So that would be £30 for the place bet and a return of £110 for your win bet (£10 x 10/1 = £100 winnings + £10 stake).

Pros & Cons of the Win Single Bet

Now you know what is a single bet, you may be wondering what the advantages and disadvantages of such bet types are. Here are the pros and cons as we see them:

  • Only dependent on single outcomes
  • Easy to calculate potential winnings
  • More realistic to pick out a single winner than multiple ones
  • Simplest form of bet Each way betting combines a win single with a place bet
  • Odds may not be big enough to generate much winnings
  • If separate single bets win you’ll wish you’d placed an acca

Single Bet Calculator

As we said earlier, single bets are relatively straightforward and can often be worked out in your head. That’s not always the case however, particularly if you chose a random stake amount that includes not just pounds, but also a few stray pence.

In that sort of scenario, a single bet calculator might be a useful tool. Just enter the stake and odds of your single bet and you’ll be instantly presented with your potential winnings.

Effective Single Betting Strategy

We’ve been considering some single bet strategy tips, that should help your profitability.

Research, Research, Research

Before you place a single bet, make sure that you do plenty of research on the event in question. Find out any news that impact the outcome, which could range from the conditions in horse racing, to injuries in football, or the weather in cricket. Look into past form and thoroughly scan the stats, which may result in obvious single bet opportunities becoming apparent.

Stake Should Reflect Odds

When placing a single bet, it is important to get your staking plan right. If you’re taking a punt on an outsider at 50/1 (51.0), you only need to place a small stake, as the odds are doing most of the heavy lifting. On the other hand, if you want to back a dead cert at 1/10 (1.10), there’s not much point risking £10 to only win £1. You might as well either go much bigger with your single bet stake, or thrown a few similarly priced bets together as an acca.

Don’t Be Greedy

If you’ve been successful with a single bet, there is a temptation to place at least some of your winnings on another wager. Only carry on betting if you have a good reason to do so. If you have a genuine hunch on another event, then go for it, but don’t just place another bet for the sake of it. Similarly, if your single bet loses, resist the temptation to try and win back your lost stake, through another bet.


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Dan Fitch
Dan Fitch
Dan Fitch

A writer and editor for some of the top names in the gambling industry for nearly 20 years, Dan also works as a freelance sports journalist for publications and websites such as ESPN, FourFourTwo and LiveScore.