When placing a double bet you should know that you cannot bet on two outcomes or betting markets for the same event. Both selections must be from separate games, races or events.
Pros and Cons
- Pro - Better odds. By betting on two outcomes in one bet, you’re creating higher odds. Example: Two singles at odds of 2.00 become a double at odds of 4.00.
- Pro - Less immediate financial risk, more gain. Despite betting on two games, you’re only placing one stake. You’ll also have a higher profit margin, making it a quicker way to make money when winning.
- Con - You’re risking walking away with nothing if one selection losses. Even at odds below even money, one win could wipe out most of the one loss as two singles.
- Con - You’ve doubled up on the (roughly) 5-7% margin already built in to favour the bookmaker, so you’re certainly not getting better value for money in those higher odds.
Whilst some professional bettors may believe in being so strict that they place only singles, utilising a double to achieve greater odds and better returns, all for a relatively low risk still, does make sense and can suit bettors of all kinds. Whilst your chances may dip below a 50/50 shot depending on the odds, it’s still a bet with a fairly good chance of success if used correctly.
To place a double bet you just need to navigate to your sports and betting markets of choice and click both bets to add them to your bet slip. Once they’re there, you’ll see the double option at the bottom of the betslip with odds displayed like in the below example.
Once your treble is in place most bookmakers will display the odds below the double option as shown above, but for those that don’t, it’s just a case of putting your stake into the correct box and the bottom of your bet slip will usually show you your potential returns.
Much like betting on singles which you can read about here, placing a double is a straightforward affair that requires both of your selections to win if you want a return. There are a couple of variations that can be used when placing football bets, such as the draw no bet betting market, where that part of your bet would be deemed void and you would be paid out on single odds for the remaining selection should it win.
Placing each-way horse racing bets is another betting strategy where returns can vary. You cannot afford for either of your horses to lose, but two winners will return a different amount to one winner and one place, or two placed horses. The betting odds are affected by placing horses being paid out at ¼ or ⅕ of the original odds, depending on the bookmakers ruling.
The maths behind a double
When you place a single stake on a double the sum that helps determine your return is below. Let’s bet £10 on our our teams to win at combined betting odds of 223/100 (3.33). The equation is the same as single, but we’re going to slot the odds for our second bet in there after our first odds.
£10 on two teams at 223/100 (3.33) Stake x Betting Odds x Betting Odds = Return 1.80 x 1.85 = 3.33 x £10 = £33.00
Basic table of some implied probability
If we go along with the theory that bookmakers aren’t often far wrong, then their odds are quite a reliable indicator of how a game may play out. That means we can convert those odds from fractional or decimal in to implied probability. Implied probability reflects the supposed likelihood of any given bet winning. The easiest way to work out implied probability is by finding a table like the one below or using an online calculator.
Looking at implied probability really does help you understand how the risk between single bets and a double changes the likelihood of achieving a return. At best odds of 1.80 and 1.85 respectively, you’re betting on outcomes with implied probability of 55.6% and 54.10% each. That means you are betting on two outcomes that in their own right have more chance of winning than losing, and perhaps will win 56 times out of 100 and 54 times out of 100.
When you multiply those together and get odds of 3.33 your chances are cut to exactly 30%. It’s a bit bit harder to assess how true a representation that is when anything other than singles are involved. Betting on singles at best odds of 1.80 and 1.85 consistently will make it hard to make profit from betting if you are only winning around 55% of sports bets, and the implied probability suggests it may not be the best betting strategy.
The temptation of a double is that whilst two winning singles would return £16.50 profit overall on £10 stakes (£8.00 and £8.50), one double would return £23 profit and at the same time you would only be betting one stake of £10 as opposed to two.
Quite often someone will also take two shorter odds selections priced around 1.50. Placing two of these into a double create odds of 2.25. Betting odds of 1.50 means implied probability just over 66%, and that suggests you could be placing a pretty likely winner. So to take literally that your chances at new odds 2.25 has dropped to less than that of a coin flip at 44.44% is perhaps not a true reflection of your chances, as you then get to factor in your own more detailed opinion of that of a tipster which can serve to eliminate many potential losing selections and that’s where profit from sports betting starts to build.
You’ll find that casual sports bettors and professional bettors alike will be quite happy to place doubles. It all comes down to personal preference as a bettor and how much you fuss over the bookmakers margins, or how you perceive the value once you’ve created a double. Even professionals may be happy to overlook those elements and just accept that you can easily pair two shorter odds selections in the same bet and win more often than not.
Doubles are a fantastic tool for increasing betting odds whilst simultaneously reducing your stake. It’s possible to stake one amount, end up with reasonable odds and still have a pretty good chance of winning if you’re grouping together short odds favourites. Whether it’s value or not is up for debate, but if you’re utilising them right you’ll win and make money from sports betting, and that is after all the main aim.