One bet you may encounter at legal online sportsbooks — particularly for popular sports — is a four-way winning margin bet.
You may decide to go with a winning margin wager for a few reasons, but the idea is to increase the potential payout for a winning bet. The catch is that with more options to choose from, your bet is less likely to win.
Below learn the basics of four-way winning margin bets with examples using California-based teams, get tips on this particular bet and sign up for Fliff, the only legal way to wager on sports in California.
4-way winning margin bets explained
With a point spread bet, sportsbooks will release a specific number for you to place money on. If a team is a five-point underdog, you can bet whether the underdog will perform better or worse than the spread number.
With a 4-way winning margin bet, you’ll have four outcomes to choose from for the final score—double the standard options of a point spread bet.
It gets a little more complex with a winning margin wager, as sportsbooks will provide a range of numbers for you to bet on. For example, the options could include a team winning by one to 10 points or by 11 or more, and you could make the same bets for the opponent.
The sportsbook odds will reflect the likelihood of all four outcomes occurring.
Examples of winning margin bets
Now that we have the basics of four-way winning margin betting down, here are some examples of what you might see on a top California betting app:
Basketball winning margin bets
In this scenario, let’s say it’s the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers are 1.5-point favorites on the point spread, but you want to increase your potential payout by making a bet on the winning margin. Here is what a four-way winning margin bet could look like:
- Los Angeles Lakers 1-10 (+185)
- Sacramento Kings 1-10 (+200)
- Los Angeles Lakers 11+ (+360)
- Sacramento Kings 11+ (+430)
With the points spread showing the Lakers to be 1.5-point favorites, the most likely scenario would be the Lakers to win by one to 10 points, which is what the odds show. The reason to pick that option instead of taking the point spread bet is because of the increase in odds due to the additional options for you to bet on.
If you bet on the Lakers to cover the 1.5-point spread with the standard -110 odds, a $110 wager would return $100 in profit if correct. A $100 bet on the Lakers team at +185 odds, meanwhile, would offer a potential $185 return. As you would imagine, the Kings winning this game by 11 or more points is unlikely, which is why you would get +430 odds on such an outcome.
Baseball winning margin bets
The winning margin range in a baseball game will be significantly smaller due to the overall lower scoring in the sport compared to basketball. Here’s what this bet could look like in a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, with the Dodgers odds showing them as slight favorites.
- Dodgers by 1-3 runs (+135)
- Giants by 1-3 runs (+200)
- Dodgers by 4+ runs (+390)
- Giants by 4+ runs (+500)
If you have researched the matchup and think it is worth the risk to bet on the Giants to pull off the upset with a blowout victory, placing $100 on the Giants to win by four or more runs at +500 odds would result in a $500 profit if you ended up winning.
Quarters/halftime winning margin bets
The examples so far have involved betting on the full game, but some sportsbooks may offer winning margin bets on halves and quarters. Before a game starts, there could be odds available for what the winning margin will be at halftime or for the first or third quarter, depending on the sport.
Live betting on the winning margin
Thanks to live betting, you do not even necessarily have to get your winning margin bets in prior to the start of a game, as you can pull out a phone and bet via a sportsbook app from wherever you are while the game is going on — providing you are in a state where sports betting is legal. The odds will move to reflect what is happening in the game, and you could have a number of betting options when it comes to betting on the winning margin.
Other variations of winning margin bets
Additionally, there are a number of winning margin bets outside of the four-way option. Examples include three-way, seven-way, 12-way, etc. winning margin bets, which are just like the four-way option with a different number of things you can bet on.
There could also be options where sportsbooks offer odds on the exact winning margin. For example, if you decided to bet on the Lakers by four, they would need to win by exactly four points for your bet to win. While that may seem like fun, such bets are tough to win, so exercise caution.
Key numbers in winning margin bets
Depending on the sport, key numbers can be an important concept in sports betting. The idea is based on historical data that shows how often a game in a particular sport will end with a certain margin of victory.
This is most important for betting on football. Because of how scoring works, margins of three, six, seven, and 10 points are most common. If you make a winning margin bet on the NFL, keep those numbers in mind.
Line shopping for winning margin bets
While many sportsbooks will offer odds that are similar, they won’t always be exactly the same. If there’s a bet you want to place, and one sportsbook gives it odds of +185 and another has it at +195, you would take the book offering +195 odds to give yourself more profit if the bet wins.
This may seem like a small thing, but the key to sports betting is identifying small edges you have over the sportsbooks, and this is one way to do so.
Is winning margin betting a good strategy?
It is possible you could occasionally find some value in a winning margin 4 way bet, but this type of betting is generally not conducive to winning consistently.
Getting more than 50% of your bets correct is tough enough if you are picking between two outcomes. Adding more choices just makes it even more difficult. Sportsbooks understand this, which is why they are comfortable releasing winning margin odds for a variety of sports.
However, it is your money, so if you have done your homework and think you have a good idea of how a game will play out, feel free to occasionally pull the trigger for a chance at a higher payout with a winning margin bet. Just understand the potential limitations this strategy has long-term.
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