What is an if bet, if win only bets? PPH settings [If bets explained]

August 12, 2021


An If Bet appeals to the more conservative, low bankroll player.

This article will explain how do if bets work and provide detail on the different types of If Bets (ifi win bets, if action bets, reverse if action bets) available to players, whilst providing first-hand insight into the rules and strategies commonly used. We will also mention the settings available to local agents which are using PPHSportsbook.net’s pay per head sportsbook to manager their player sheet and how they can use them to control their if bets action.

How do if bets work?

Diagram of what is an if betTo the beginner player, if win only bets can appear quite complicated, but they are simple. One key difference between an "if bet" compared to multiple straight bets is how the stake is applied to the different selections and the conditions in which these apply.

Let’s answer the question "what is an if bet?.” An If Bet is one stake bet on multiple selections, with the result of the first bet determining whether or not the subsequent bets are placed.

For example, imagine there are two games that catch your interest. Buccaneers vs Chiefs and Eagles vs Rams. You decide to take the lines of Tampa Bay -5 -110 and Eagles +1.5 -110.

You lay $110 to win $100 on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the first leg of your if win only bet. If your first pick is a win, then the second pick (Eagles +1.5) is automatically played at the corresponding vig. So that would be Eagles risking $110 to win $100.

If your second leg (the Eagles ticket) wins, then you profit $200 ($100 for each of the legs of the if win only bet). If the Eagles don’t cover the spread you end up losing $10.

The math for this as the following:

First "if bet" leg: Buccaneers -5 -110Second "if bet" leg: Eagles +1.5 -110
Risk: $110Risk: $110
To win: $100To win: $100
Ticket wins => Profit = $100Tickets losses. Profit = -$110
Payout: (+$100) + (-$110) = -$10


Ordering Selections Correctly

Since the second selection will not happen if the first selection loses, in order to understand how do if bets work is important to keep an eye on the order in which you enter your selections. Because of this the player can choose the ordering of all legs in any type of if bet (if win only bets, if action bets, reverse if bets, etc). The start time of the event does not actually matter though.

If a player has a lot of confidence in a certain pick, they should put that selection first. That way, if it wins, they get a return and with that, the second (or subsequent) picks in the "if bet" will carry on.

If the player was to put the selection they felt less confident in first, and it went on to lose, then the entire bet is deemed a loss.

This logic also applies to If Bets with more than two selections. The more likely events (in the eyes of the player) should be placed in the first selections and get less and less likely as they go on. From a bookmaker’s perspective, it is a good idea to limit the number of selections allowed in a if bet, if win bet, if action bets, or reverse if bets.

Disabling if-bets on pphsportsbook.net pay per head sportsbook platform

Agents using PPHSportsbook.net's pay per head platform to run their sportsbook business, can disable if-bets altogether if they so choose. Simply select the player for which you want to disable this type of bet and toggle the setting off.

If bets explained: Types of If Bets

What is an if bet: “If Win Only Bets”

An If Win Only Bet is the simplest type of If Bet and refers to the examples found earlier in the article. The difference here is that subsequent selections within the if win only bet carry on “only” if the first selection “wins”. If the game is a push (postponed, cancelled, tie, etc) the entire “if win only bet” is cancelled and money gets back to the player’s account.

Let’s look at another example:

The player could place a $110 If Win Only Bet on the LA Lakers and the New York Knicks to win their respective games in the NBA. The player chooses the LA Lakers at -5.5 -110 as the first selection, and they go on to win. The New York Knicks are underdogs on the spread at +4.5 (-110) and they go on to lose. The customer has a negative return of -$10 (explained below):

  1. $110 on the Lakers -5.5 at -110 ($100 returned to player +$110 stake. Totaling $210
  2. Now the second leg of the if bet kicks in. Risking $110 on the New York Knicks at +4.5 -110. The player losses this leg losing the $110
  3. Initial state: -$110 + Profit leg #1: $210 + Profit leg #2: -$110
  4. Total: -$10
Set if-bets maximum teams allowed

Usually if-bets allow up to 7 teams. You can decide and set the maximum number of teams your players are able to include on an if-bet.

What is an if bet: “If Action Bets”

Another variant of an If Bet is an “If action bet”. Whereas in a If Win Only bet the first selection must win, the if action bet allows the second leg of the ticket to take place if the first pick is a tie (push) or considered “no action” (e.g.: game postponed).

The ‘no-action’ outcome does not result in a win or a loss for that selection, the stake simply rolls onto the next selection. For example, the player could choose to place an If Action Bet on the Chicago Bulls to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers (first leg of the if-action bet) and the Detroit Pistons to beat the Indiana Pacers (second leg). If the Bulls vs Cavaliers game is postponed, then the original stake would roll over onto the Pistons/Pacers game.

What is an if bet: “Reverse If Bet”

Reverse if bets explained infographic

Finally, a Reverse If Bet eliminates the complication of choosing the order of selections by offering a combination of all possible outcomes on a series of selections.

For example, a player places a Reverse If Bet on two NBA teams to win. The first leg will have the Boston Celtics as the first selection, whilst the second leg would have the Toronto Raptors as the first selection.

Double stakes are required (in case of a 2-game reverse-"if bet"), so a $50 Reverse If Bet totals a $100 stake. The player is essentially betting on two "if bet"s. The aim of this is to cover more scenarios. Let’s look at an example to drive the point home:

  • Bet #1 Celtics +3 -110 $50 to win $45.45
    • => If win –Then: Toronto -4 -110 $50 to win $45.45
  • And the reverse...
  • Bet #2 Toronto -4 -110 $50 to win $45.45
    • => If win – Then: Celtics +3 -110 $50 to win $45.45

Let’s consider the possible outcomes for the previous example:

  • Both of your picks lose. You then end up losing $100
  • If you hit both picks, then you make $45 x4 = ~$182
  • If one of your picks wins but the other loses you win $45.45 (from the winning pick), but the $50 stake you automatically put into the second leg of the first "if bet" is lost.
  • In regards the second "if bet" (the one with Toronto as the first pick), you also lost the $50 stake here.
    • Giving us a total of: +$45 + -$50 + -$50 = -$55

If one selection loses, then only the bet that considers that team the second selection would result in action, IF the other selection wins.

This also means the more selections the player chooses, the more outcomes are available, resulting in multiplied stakes:

Number of SelectionsNumber of If Bets

There are two important settings available to agents using PPHSportsbook.net’s pay per head sportsbook platform.

The first one allows you to control whether you want to allow or disallow action-reverses with more than 2 selections (usually called “birdcages”).

The second setting you should consider is to limit the number of underdogs to allow. Since underdogs pay more they are considered an added exposure you should consider when running your book using the pay per head sportsbook service.

Action Reverse Payperhead Sportsbook settings

Enabling action-reverses with more than 2 selections ("birdcages") and choosing the number of underdogs to allow is just a click away

If bets explained: If Bet Rules

Here are some key rules to understand about If Bets:

  • They can contain up to seven selections.
  • The bet must be placed before the start of the first selection.
  • The order of the selections does not have to coincide with the time the events occur, they just need to be specified by the player.
  • Additional selections in the If Bet use the original stake.
  • On “if-win-bets”, the first selection is always valid, unless there is a push or no-action outcome.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of placing If Bets?

“If bets" are ideal for players that want to limit their betting amount and play conservatively or have a small bank-roll to begin with.

This type of bet allows you to place two bets when you only have the money for one.This is great for those players who keep a close eye on their bankroll.

Players should consider that placing two separate straight bets provides a higher profit margin. So if they are confident in their selections it’s advisable to place as many bets as possible. Therefore stay away from the "if bet" and place multiple straight bets instead.

Remember that an "if bet" is not a parlay and as such, it’s payout is much lower.

Finally, it is common that sportsbooks limit the amount of selections allowed in the different types of if bets (if win only bet, action if bet, and reverse if bets). You may want to talk with your local sportsbook agent if you want to increase that limit.

What Are If Bets: If Betting Strategies

Historically, sports betting bookmakers have allowed correlated If Bets to be placed, although this is becoming rarer as they learn more about player behaviour. For example, a NFL team to beat a -10 spread and then Total Points to be over 38.5. The two betting markets are correlated, meaning the second selection is very likely if the team is able to cover the spread. As a sportsbook agent, it’s important to make sure you’re not offering these types of bets on markets that influence each other (correlated selections are, by default, disabled when you start using PPHSportsbook.net as your pay per head sportsbook service).

Understand that "if bets" are used by players to manage their bankroll. That is the biggest advantage they provide. For example, imagine a player has a deposit restriction on his account and wants to place a ticket on both Monday Night Football and today’s (say, Sunday) game. The "if bet" would allow him to place such action on both games using the "if bet" mechanism discussed in the previous paragraphs.

Other than those particular situations, the "if bet" type of bet doesn’t provide much added benefit.


After this explanation on the topic of if bets and how they work you should have a solid understanding of them.

"if bets" are not a commonly used type of bet, but it’s important to understand how and why players use this type of bet and what settings are available for the local sportsbook to limit or completely disable this type of bet.