Your Betting Guide to 3-Way Bets

For Beginner

Place 3-way bets with confidence. Our experts explain what the bet means with real-life examples and odds for a complete understanding.

3-Way Betting Guide

Many sporting events culminate with a winner and a loser, this makes the two-way moneyline bet such a popular choice for punters, but what about the events that have a possibility of ending in a tie? This is when the three way money line betting market comes into play and we are here to explain all in our 3-way betting guide.

The 3-way bet explained

In simple terms, a three way bet gives you three different outcomes to bet on and these are based on each of the teams or players to win as well as the tie. Let’s get the basics out of the way first and make sure that you are clear on the facts surrounding the odds on three-way bets and how they differ from 2-way bets.

Why do the odds change with 3-way bets?

The additional outcome, which is the tie, will increase the odds because you now have two ways to lose and only one way to win. Let’s take you through an example of each of the 3-way and 2-way bets to explain how these odds stack up. Soccer is by far the biggest market for 3-way bets, so let’s put the USA up against Brazil: 

Three-Way Bet:

  • USA to win +350
  • Tie +250
  • Brazil to win -125 

Two-Way Bet:

  • USA to win +225
  • Brazil to win -300

As you can see, the odds are more profitable with the 3-way bet, but of course, you have to deal with the possibility of the extra result. It is up to you to determine the risk versus reward and how confident you are in your bet selection.

Other sports with 3-way moneylines

Not every sport is suited to the 3-way moneyline and this comes down to the nature of the game and how many goals or points are being scored. For example, a basketball game will naturally have a high point total from both teams and the more points there are on the board, the less likely it will be for the game to end in a tie. Compare this to a soccer or ice hockey game and the number of goals is a lot smaller, therefore, making the possibility of a tie much more likely.

Soccer is the most popular 3-way moneyline bet, but ice hockey will also provide many opportunities to put your money on a 3-way bet. This is based on the duration of regulation time and even though a winner will be decided at the end, you can still put money on a tie before the teams go into overtime and/or a shootout. 

Let’s get this 3-way bet explained with an example and make all the bet rules clear for you:

San Jose Sharks vs Los Angeles Kings (60 Minutes Betting/Regulation Betting)

  • San Jose Sharks to win +125
  • Tie +333
  • Los Angeles Kings to win +140

So, here we have a game between the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings and it is fairly even in terms of who will win, with the Sharks just edging it. The betting market description is what you need to be looking at here. It will differ from sportsbook to sportsbook but it should state the period when this particular bet is going to be determined. 

In this case, we have “60 minutes” or “regulation” and this shows that the bet will base its result after the end of the regulation time (60 minutes). If you bet on a Tie, but San Jose Sharks go on to win the game in overtime then you bet will still be considered a winner because only regulation time matters in this instance.

Adjusting the markets

Online sportsbooks have the ability to offer you just about anything and everything when it comes to betting markets. This means that you can still find 3-way bets on events that must have a winner such as basketball and tennis. 

Let’s take tennis as our next example. A tennis match will always result in a winner and loser and this is the main betting market that you will find when searching for upcoming tennis tournaments. However, click into each individual match and you will find many other betting markets available.

For example, the number of games being played in any of the individual sets is a popular betting option that offers three selections, see below for a real-life example:

Kristyna Pliskova v Katie Boulter - How Many Games Played In The 1st Set?

  • 8 or less
  • 9 or 10
  • 11 or more

Other 3-way bet examples

In-play golf markets often provide quick three-way bets on a hole-by-hole basis, such as betting on which one of two players will score the lowest on the next hole. There is every chance that both players will score the same and so that also brings the tie option into the equation - Player A, Player B or Tie. 

As you can see, you can find many instances where the 3-way bet comes into play. Online sportsbooks are always looking to offer these markets whether in-play or as pre-match selections, it just takes some searching to find the right bet for you.

Typical odds

You will find longer odds when looking at 3-way bets and it comes down to risk versus reward when deciding whether you should put your money down on one of the three selections. The odds can swing a bit, depending on if there is a clear favorite or underdog. 

The odds displayed above on the Sharks vs Kings ice hockey game is a good marker for typical odds, but on the flip side, you can find a big contrast in odds when big soccer teams are expected to win comfortably, such as the example below:

Portugal vs Azerbaijan

  • Portugal to win -4000
  • Tie +1200
  • Azerbaijan to win +6600

Making the most of 3-way moneylines

The 3-way moneyline bet can be profitable but only if you have put the research in beforehand and you have a good feeling that a team or player will win in regulation time. In these situations, you will find bigger odds and therefore you will reap bigger profits. One important piece of advice would be to always read the betting rules and understand how your bet will be decided.

Remember, even if the team or player you backed won the match through overtime or a shootout, you would still lose your bet because the game was a tie after regulation time. It’s a simple rule to remember but a trap that many beginners fall into. So, now that you know how to make a three-way bet and you understand what to look out for, why not come and join one of our recommended sportsbooks and try your luck on a three-way moneyline today?