Betting Reverses at Online Sportsbooks
The main reason why the majority of sports bettors turn to online sportsbooks such as Vice is variety. Along with straight bets on the side using pointspreads, total lines and moneylines, the online books offer an entire lineup of exotic wagers to make things more interesting.
One of the best exotic bets for money management is the ‘If Bet’ because it puts a limit on your losses. Betting a ‘Reverse’ can be thought of as two if bets with action both ways.
Let’s use the example of a three-team NFL if bet. You like Atlanta in the early games. You add Seattle in a late afternoon start with Minnesota your third play in the night game.
If Atlanta wins/covers, there is action on the Seattle game. If the Falcons lose, there is no action on the rest of that if bet.
If the Falcons and Seahawks are winners, there is action on the Minnesota game. If Seattle loses, the if bet is done.
Making this same three-team play a reverse bet keeps action going each way. If Atlanta loses the early game, you still have action on the Vikings in the opposite way. As opposed to using an if bet as a money management technique, you are using the reverse bet as a hedge.
However, you are also doubling your risk with reverses. One popular technique for betting reverses is to use half the stake you would normally risk on the if bet. For example, instead of betting $100 on the original if bet, wager $50 on the reverse.
If you lose on the Falcons and the Vikings, your net loss (-$110) remains the same. Even if you win the first game (+50) and the second game (+50) while losing the night game (-110), you still lose money on this reverse since you actually bet the Minnesota game twice.
Using the same scenario betting just the original if bet, you would have won $200 on the first two games while losing $110 on the third.
Playing a two-team reverse will produce a higher return than an if bet or straight bet on each game if you go on to win both. Using the same $50 wager, the if bet would return $100 and so would the straight bet on each game. The reverse would pay $200 since you played the two games each way.
The problem with this scenario is actually winning both games. This is why the pros stick to straight bets. A pro wants to win all three games but they know that winning two of three is a much stronger possibility. At that rate, they are still making money on their action.
As mentioned, the if bet is a money management tool. You should always place your strongest play in the leadoff position. The second pick would have the second-most confidence followed by a third strong play if you have one. Three games is a reasonable limit for exotics such as if bets, reverses and parlays.
Any pick you are betting actual money on should be a strong play. Nobody bets to lose but the probability of winning all three games remains rather low. This tends to devalue a reverse as a viable betting strategy.