What is a Reverse Bet?

Evelyn Balyton

Evelyn Balyton

In virtually every sport out there, punters can now place a type of bet known as reverse bets on different reverse betting sites. This means that you can make reverse football bets, as well as on basketball or horse racing. These bets are a little like IF wagers, where you can place bets with more than one team on your ticket. In this article, we’ll explain what is a reverse bet.

Reverse Bets Explained

Reverse bet explained

A reverse bet is a wager that can be made at sportsbooks. It is similar to a parlay bet; however, it consists of a box of IF bets where actions can go in both reversed or forward order. They’re not extremely popular as most bettors aren’t even aware of them.

The main reason for this is that the bets can be somewhat confusing if you don't know what you're doing.

Football reverse betting can be quite fun and make a lot of sense if you understand what they are, however.

A reverse bet is simply two IF bets, so it makes good sense to start learning what an IF bet is before answering: “What is a reverse bet?”

An IF bet, like a parlay, is a wager on two or maybe more teams. The contrast between a parlay and an IF bet is that, with a parlay, you must win all of your games or else your entire bet is lost, whereas with an IF bet you can get some cashback if you win the first selection.

It’ll be easier to grasp an IF bet if it is considered a ‘sequential’ bet. If you place a three-game IF bet and the very first game (Type A) wins, then your wager on the next second game (Type B) is still live. If your Type A wager loses, your bets on the Type B and Type C (third) games are void. Your wager on the Type C game is effective if the Type B game wins. If the bet on the Type C game loses, your bet is over, but the winnings from the first bet are yours to keep.

Hence, for an IF bet, the number of your selections – which may be up to six depending on the bookmaker – will not count if the first selected team doesn’t win.

How Reverse Bet Works

An action reverse bet consists of two double-game IF bets that are mutually exclusive. People familiar with horse racing betting will recognise that a reverse bet is just a group of an IF bet.

For a reverse bet in football – say you prefer Club A in one game and Club B in the other – simply place an IF bet on A and then B. You will then be unlucky if A lost, even if B went on to win.

However, an action reverse bet goes two ways; it multiplies your IF bet by your initial stake. Instead of following the sequential process of the IF bet, it follows a forward and backward order.

This means that rather than staking, for instance, £110 on two IF bet selections, the reverse bet will split the stake, placing the stake on the first and second selection exclusively.

Hence, a reverse bet with two options is two IF bets. One with Club A as the first choice and Club B as the second, and another with Club B as the first choice and Club A as the second. So, if you stake a £55 reverse bet, you’ll be putting down a total of $110 – £55 on one side and £55 on the other.

Football Reverse Betting

Football reverse betting

A startling 40% of all bets made by gamblers in the UK are placed on football, making it one of the most popular sports to wager on. A reverse bet in football removes the problem of losing your bet if either of your selections loses.

Like the double bet that opens up the possibility of betting on two outcomes of the same game, with a precondition, you are betting on a game with three different outcomes, like football, and with the limitation of losing your bet if one of your selections loses. Reverse betting sites are conditioned to eradicate that limitation.

Here is an action reverse bet example:

If we place a reverse football bet based on a spread:

  • Real Madrid -4 vs Barcelona +4
  • Liverpool -3 vs Chelsea +3

If we decide to place a bet on the two favourites on football reverse betting sites, i.e. Real Madrid and Liverpool, staking £110 and making Real Madrid the first selection and Liverpool the second selection, the possible outcomes are as follows:

  • Both teams win
  • Both teams lose
  • One teams wins and another team loses

If Real Madrid and Liverpool win:

You triumph in both contests. The maximum payout is received for both reverses. You are essentially placing a 4x wager to win £50 when you reverse for £55. If both legs are successful, you will win £200.

If Real Madrid and Liverpool lose:

When both teams lose, you essentially lose the bet and your wager is all gone.

If Real Madrid wins and Liverpool loses

Real Madrid covers the spread, but Liverpool loses. You were victorious on one leg but lost on the other. Since you have a reverse bet, there are two versions, one with Real Madrid listed first and the other with Liverpool listed first.

The one in which Real Madrid is listed first wins, whereas the one in which Liverpool is listed first loses. So you lose the first £55 wager and gain £50 on the second leg of the reverse bet, minus £5. In a traditional IF bet, the outcome is determined by whichever team you listed first, which can be a difficult pill to swallow.

The only time there is indeed a difference between the dynamics of a reversal and an IF wager is when you wager 1-1. If the first specified bet loses, then you lose all the £110 with an ‘IF’ bet. You lose only £10 if the first team (team A) wins and the second team (team B) loses. If team A loses, you will immediately lose £55 on one of the reverse bets. If only team B wins, one part of your reverse bet will be active.

After gambling £55 and losing the £5, you will gain £50. With the £55 you lost on the first leg of your reverse bet, you’ve lost £60 in total. When winning both sides of the bet, the reverse bet does not save us money or increase our profit potential. It simply means that we won’t have to worry so much about the team listed first.

Order of Selection

The structure of reverse betting is comparable to that of action reverse betting, with no variation in the selection process. An action reverse bet can be made out of any reverse bet. As a result, the outcome of the first wager will decide the outcome of the next. The second bet will automatically take action if the first one wins, pushes, or is delayed, cancelled, or abandoned. Furthermore, if the first bet loses, any succeeding bets will be active too.

Based on the number of selections, the following table indicates how many IF bets are found in a reverse bet. It’s worth noting that the number of IF bets grows exponentially as the number of selections grows. When making reverse bets, keep this in mind because your stakes will also increase exponentially.                                                

Order of Selection
Number of elections Number of IF bets
3 6
4 12
5 20
6 30

These bets are preferable to parlays because they can provide a profit even if players do not win every time. While placing two single wagers carries a lower risk than placing an IF bet, this is not the case with parlays and other variations because it gives you a second chance to win.


Now that we’ve got reverse bets explained, you can see why they are less risky than IF bets. However, because of the reduced payout, it is not a very popular sort of wager. They don’t provide the same level of profit as parlays. Nonetheless, if you want to make reverse bets, there are still several reverse betting sites you can get signed up on, including basketball and football reverse betting sites.