Reverse Betting

NFL Wagers: Reverse Betting

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

Reverse betting is a variation of an “if” wager. In an “if” wager, you bet a certain amount with two teams on your ticket. If the first team wins, an equal amount is placed on the second game. But if the first game loses, you will have no action on the other game. A “reverse” allows you to make what essentially amounts to two “if bets.”

If you make one “if” bet and the result of the first game is a loss, it’s all over. So let’s say you make a $110 “if” bet. The first team loses and your bet is finished. You lost $110. Instead of making an “if” bet, make a “reverse. It’s two separate “if” bets. Rather than bet $110 on an “if” bet, make a reverse for $55 x 2.

In an “if” bet, you would take, for example, the Pittsburgh Steelers -5.5 and over 45 in the Chargers-Raiders game. If the first one wins, you have action on the second game. But if the first one loses, you’re out of luck. A reverse is essentially two “if” bets. You make a reverse with the same teams, just in opposite order for $55. Just tell the book you want to make a reverse and give them the two teams you want to bet, and the order of the games is unimportant.


Betting a $55 reverse instead of a $110 “if” bet makes it so you don’t have to worry about going 1-1 and losing your entire bet. Betting a reverse costs the same as an “if” bet. When making a reverse for $55, you are basically making two bets so it ends up costing the same $110. Let’s look at the different scenarios.

Example: You make a reverse on Pittsburgh -5.5 and over 45 in the Chargers-Raiders game.

Scenario 1: You win both games. The Steelers cover the spread and the Chargers-Raiders game goes over 45. Both reverses win the maximum amount. In a reverse for $55, you are basically betting 4 times to win $50. You therefore win $200, which is the same amount you would have won if you had made a $110 “if” bet, so there is no difference here.

Scenario 2: Pittsburgh covers the spread, but the Chargers-Raiders game goes under. You are 1-1. You have a reverse, one with Pittsburgh first and one with the Chargers-Raiders over 45 first. The one with Pittsburgh first wins, and the second part of the reverse is a loser. So you lose the first $55 bet and win $50, minus a $5 vig on the second leg of the reverse. In a regular “if” bet, whether or not you made any money would depend on which team you put first. If it was the one of the two bets of yours that lost, the whole bet would have been a loser.

Scenario 3: You lose both games. The bet is obviously a loser, just like if you had made an “if” bet.

In other words, when the games split is when there is a difference between an “if” bet and a reverse wager. In an “if” bet, you lose the whole $110 if the first team loses. If the first team wins and the second team loses, you lose $10. If Team A is a loser, you will lose $55 on one of the reverses right off the bat. If only team B wins, then only one part of your reverse will have any action. In other words, you will win $50 after betting $55 for a loss of $5. Combine that with the $55 you lost on the first leg of your reverse bet and that comes out to a grand loss of $60. So the reverse doesn’t really save us any money nor does it make it any more profitable when we win both games. What it does is allow us to not worry about happenstance like which team to put first.