Wouldn’t it be great to be able to wager on both teams and still come out financially in front no matter which won?
It’s the utopia for bettors on many sports, but unfortunately opportunities to do so with a positive return are rather thin on the ground. Otherwise, how would the bookmakers make any money?
The situation is complicated by the fact that, in many team sports, the win market is ‘three way’ – that is, there are two possible winners or the draw. The addition of that third option prevents us from betting on both teams to win.
Or does it?
There are actually three different ways to bet on both teams to win in many different sports: one is pre-match in a specific market, the second is in-play and the third is via a betting exchange like those provided by Betfair, Smarkets or BetDAQ.
Can you bet on both teams to win? Yes. Can you do so profitably? That’s another matter altogether….
Option 1: Double Chance
Fire up your favourite betting app, head to your chosen sport and select a specific game. You may just find the Double Chance betting market available.
This is a form of cover betting that lets you cover two sides of a three-way market. The options are home win and draw, away win and draw or, and this is where things get interesting, home win and away win.
The latter category enables us to bet on both teams to win in a simple way without complication. It’s only viable in low-scoring sports such as football or ice hockey (you can bet on a tie after 60 minutes), because let’s face it there aren’t many draws in rugby, basketball etc.
As you can see from the screenshot above, the problem with this method of betting on both teams to win is that the odds are prohibitive – it’s very difficult to finish up better off in the long-term when betting on 1/4 chances. In the example above, the two teams are fairly well-matched according to the match result odds. Where there’s a clear favourite, the home-away double chance price can shorten to 1/7 or lower.
As a guide, around 23% of English Premier League games end in a draw – a outcome that would render our ‘both teams to win’ bet a loss. Given the low odds and frequency of draws, it would require plenty of luck for you to even have a small chance of winning any money betting in this way.
Option 2: In-Play
Another method of betting on both teams to win requires you to place two separate wagers.
The first is a pre-match bet on one of the teams to win – typically, this would be the bookies’ favourite or the home team in what is expected to be a close game.
Assuming your backed team scores first, the match result odds will move in their favour accordingly – causing a shift in the Double Chance market, too.
So now, you have two options for your balancing bet in-play: you can simply bet on the team that is now 0-1 behind at longer odds, and that will give you a bet on both teams to win (remember your pre-game wager); or you can take the other two possible outcomes as a Double Chance bet, i.e. if the home team takes the lead, bet on the away-draw double chance.
This is a great way to take advantage of odds movements – which are profound in low-scoring sports like football after a goal goes in – to bet on two or even all three of the possible outcomes in a three-way betting market. However, you will need to accept very low margins here as the bookies’ overround will cut into any returns.
Also, note the elephant in the room with this strategy: if the team you back pre-game doesn’t score first, it will become incredibly difficult for you to salvage your stake from that particular match.
Option 3: Betting Exchanges
One of the beauties of using a betting exchange is that you can ‘lay’ markets, i.e. bet on something not to happen.
Therefore, we can lay the draw in a specific game and, essentially, bet on both teams to win – as depicted in the screenshot below.
As you can see, your liability on the draw (the amount of money you can lose) is around three times as much as the amount you could win if either Brighton or Manchester City prevail in this example. That’s the downside if the game ends in a stalemate.
There’s a mitigating step you can take, which requires you to bet on the draw after a goal has been scored by either team. This will reduce your liability on the draw while ensuring you still do alright should either team win – in the example above, you could back the draw for £1 to lower your losses on the stalemate but still bag £2.25 if either side wins.
If the game ends 0-0, you will lose all of your stake. If you don’t place a balancing bet after a goal goes in, you will lose your stake if the game ends 1-1 or in any other draw scoreline. By placing a small stake on the draw after a goal goes in, you minimise your potential returns.
So can you bet on both teams to win? Yes you can. But is it easy to make it pay? Sadly not.