2-Way Betting Guide

For Beginner

You will come across many different types of bets on your betting journey and it is our aim to unravel any confusion that you may find along the way. The two-way bet is perhaps one of the simplest forms of betting as it only requires you to pick a winner without thinking about any other outcomes. Read on as we explain what this means in basic terms with a few real-life examples to give you a full understanding of how to make a two-way bet.

What is a two-way bet?

This bet gives you two possible outcomes on a sporting event by removing the Tie/Draw option. A perfect example of how to get this two-way bet explained would be with a tennis match, as you can only ever have one winner. Your betting options would be to bet on Player A or Player B, in other words, it is a two-way bet. These types of bets are widely available across moneylines, game totals and point spreads. You will also find two-way betting options for futures and player/team props as well.

The two-way bet is extremely common and it provides you with a great way of simplifying your bet selections. The two-way bet usually takes you through to the very final whistle which includes any overtime to ensure that there is one winner. To give you some comparison, three-way bets are usually only offered up to the end of normal time. 

Let us show you two examples on an NFL game to help explain exactly what we mean:

Two-Way Bet (including overtime)

  • Kansas City Chiefs to win
  • Miami Dolphins to win

Three-Way Bet (regulation time only)

  • Kansas City Chiefs to win
  • Tie
  • Miami Dolphins to win

Betting on the big three

Head to any major sportsbook and you will find the big three betting options on all the top sports. Let’s take a top-level NBA game between the New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards for our example. See below for an outline of your basic betting options on such a game:

EventMoneylinePoint SpreadTotal Points
New York Knicks-133-1.5Over 220.5
Washington Wizards+1101.5Under 220.5

As you can see, you have two betting options for each of the moneyline, point spread and total point bets in the example above. Either team needs to win outright for the moneyline bet and New York Knicks would need to win by at least two points or more for the point spread bet, otherwise, a bet on the Washington Wizards would win even if they lost by a point after full time. A draw or win for the Wizards would also seal a profit on your bet. The total points bet would be a winner if there were at least 221 points scored in total across both teams, otherwise, 220 points or below would result in a losing bet. 

It’s all fairly straightforward to understand, but there are some special situations to be aware of.

Chances of a refund?

Yes, you can get a refund on two-way bets but only when the event you are betting on includes the possibility of a tie. In betting terms, a tie results in a “push”. Take a preseason or regular-season NFL game, for example, you still have two moneyline betting options to choose from, but if the game ended in a tie then you would be refunded with your initial bet stake - this refund is what is known as a “push”.

Prop bets with two-way odds

Betting on props is a fun way to add excitement to a game and player props is usually the most popular form of this type of bet. For example, betting on a player to score over or under a number of points in a basketball game with the use of half-points allows the punter to guarantee either a winning or losing bet. The inclusion of the 20.5 points instead of exactly 20 points takes away the possibility of a push.

The importance of betting with half points:

  • Over/Under 20.5 Points - guaranteed win or lose with no tie because you can’t score half a point.
  • Over/Under 20 Points - a push is possible as a player can score exactly 20 points and so neither over nor under would be correct.

Other two-way bet examples include betting on how many total passing yards an NFL quarterback will make or how many goals a player will score in an NHL game. You can find many prop bets like this when you click into each event and find the full list of betting options available to you.

Variations on the two-way bet

This type of bet is a popular choice for many punters due to the safety net it brings surrounding the removal of any tie scenario. Soccer provides this type of bet with the Draw No Bet option being a popular choice. As most standard soccer bets are defined within the regular 90 minutes of play, then a draw is a possibility and your stake would then be refunded.

Double Chance bets are again very similar but this time you combine two selections into one bet. The tie result is combined with either the home team or away team winning, so this would look like “Home Win & Tie” or “Away Win & Tie”. The third option is to bet on either team to win with a tie resulting in a losing bet.

Let’s talk two-way betting odds

Understanding the difference between odds when betting on two-way bets and three-way bets is important if you want to build the best possible betting strategy. In summary, removing the tie option reduces the odds of either team or player winning, however, you get the benefit of a push and your stake being refunded if there is a tie. 

Reminder: 

If you back a player or team to win on a three-way bet and it ends in a tie then you lose the bet and your stake.

Two-way bets offer lower odds but there is less risk when you consider the push option. Let’s take a soccer example to show you how the odds differ for both a two-way and a three-way bet.

Two-Way Odds (Draw no Bet market)

  • LA Galaxy to win / +240
  • Los Angeles FC to win / +105

Three-Way Odds (1x2 market)

  • LA Galaxy to win / +130
  • Tie / +200
  • Los Angeles FC to win / -175

Technically, winning a two-way bet should be based on a 50:50 chance but in sport, there are many variables that you need to factor in, such as ranking, form, injuries, etc. Don’t expect a straight +100 if there is no favorite or underdog in the event because sportsbooks need to make their profit at the end of the day. You can expect around -118 as a rule of thumb for two even teams or players. But as we said, this can swing wildly depending on the variables and the sportsbook.

Two-Way Bets & Reducing Your Risk

Using the two-way market is a brilliant way for beginners to start betting as it reduces the overall risk down to just two options. The push rule also makes for a useful backstop if the game does happen to end up in a tie, and so you will have the chance to bet with that stake again. Just always be sure to check the rules and find out if the bet is based on regulation time or overtime as well. You can find quick and easy access to these bets at all our recommended sportsbooks, so come and study the markets and pick your next two-way bet today.