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Betting To Risk vs Betting To Win

Why do you bet on sports? Most people would say that they bet to win. After all, they are in it to make a profit and hopefully build a career as a professional bettor. However, others are willing to “bet to risk.”

How do these two types of betting work? What are the differences between bet to win vs bet to risk? Here are the things you need to know.

Betting to Win Explained

Bet to win

When you bet to win, you wager a pre-determined amount based on the odds of the game, with the main intention of handicapping the bookies and maximizing your potential profits. Most of the time, if you are betting to win, this would also mean that you are going to wager more money in order to secure the highest potential earnings.

To better understand how betting to win works, take for example an NFL game with a favorite moneyline odds of -150. If you are betting to win, your most likely move on this is to wager $150 on the favorites so that if they win, you get to have your wager back plus a $100 profit. On the other hand, losing would of course mean losing your $150 wagered.

Take for example betting on the Super Bowl 2022. Currently, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the biggest favorite by the sportsbooks, with an odds of -500. This means betting $100 on them would yield a profit of $500. For people who bet to win, taking this pick might seem like a no-brainer, as the potential profits look very enticing.

The potential for higher rewards is one of the reasons why betting to win is the route that most punters, especially newbies, go for. After all, most people bet on sports in hopes of making money out of winning bets and getting rich. People who are also after making the most money in the shortest time or in as few bets as possible also often bet to win.

Since bettors who get to win also have a pre-determined amount they are willing to wager, they often find odds and lines that can fit into their “budget” and go for it.

Those who prefer to bet to win consider the potential profits more than any other factors.

Betting to Risk Explained

Bet to risk

Betting to risk is a little different as it is focused more on controlling the risk well rather than making sure that every bet is as profitable as it can be.

Those who do this often describe betting to risk as a better choice for a long-term profit in sports betting. What makes betting to risk different is that punters who do so do not wager their money based on the odds given by the bookies – they can bet a bigger amount to make a bigger profit, or they can also bet a smaller amount to make a smaller profit but with lesser risks.

Take for example an odds for a favorite at -110, and $10 to bet. Those who bet to win will have to bet a dollar more at $11 – since those who bet to win always try to handicap the bookies by putting the vig into consideration.

On the other hand, if a punter bets to risk, they would bet $10 even if the potential profit would only be at $9.09. Still, for those who bet to risk, this would mean they lose a dollar less should they lose the bet.

In simpler terms, betting to risk can be easily explained to newbies as the principle in betting wherein you do not rely on what potential profit the odds tell you. Also, those who bet to risk do not fret over the potential amount they potentially lose just because, say, they are betting only $90 in an odds of -110 rather than a full $10 for the rounder profit.

Thus, for punters who bet to risk, evaluating the risk and managing it is more important than making sure that you get the most profit out of a wager. This is a means of improving a bettor’s ROI and minimizing the losses instead of getting rich from a lucky wager.

Betting to Risk Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of betting to risk.


One of the major pros of betting to risk is that you are in control of the amount you wager, no matter how the odds and lines are. This essentially means that you are able to make the most out of your bankroll for a longer time.

Betting to risk also yields longer profits in the long run, as it is more focused on managing risks rather than going all out or focusing on getting more profits for a shorter time.

Take for example three games you want to bet on. Consider the Cubs, Red Sox, and Yankees as your choices for a -115 moneyline bet. Since you bet to risk, you only placed $100 on each. Should they all lose, you only lose $350 as opposed to if you bet to win.

This is why the “betting to risk” approach good bankroll management as it helps you mitigate losses, even if it would mean smaller potential profit per bet. After all, an effectively managed bankroll is always better than a good win rate.


As mentioned already, betting to risk means you get to have lesser profit potential per bet. This can be tricky – betting on the underdogs often promise better profit yield if won, but might also mean a considerable amount of loss if the bet is not won.

Take for example a game with the Cubs with underdog odds of +150. If you bet to risk $100 and won, you get you hundred bucks back pus $150 in profit. That sounds all good, but if you bet to win in an underdog situation, the amount you’d have to wager to get at least $100 profit is lower. Thus, in this case, some may say that betting to risk is not an optimal choice.

Betting to Win Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of betting to risk.


Betting to win in an underdog match is often a good route to take for higher payouts. Take once more the example of a Cubs game with them as the underdog at +150 odds. If you want to make a profit of $100, you’d only have to dish out $66.67 in your wager. If you bet $66.67 each on games for Cubs, Red Sox, and Mets at +150 odds for all of them, you only risk losing almost $200 for the three bets, but stand to make $300 should you win.


Betting to win gets more and more dangerous in the long run, as it also opens the door for huge losses to you. If betting to win in an underdog pick seems like a good choice, going the same route for a favorite may not sound just as good. Consistently backing the underdogs is one of the reasons why bettors often lose.

Take three baseball bets, for example. Consider that the Cubs, Red Sox, and Yankees are all at -150 moneyline. If you bet to win $100 for each one, that would mean a wager of $450 overall. If they all lose, you lose all $450.

Although you may hear experienced punters and industry “experts” claiming that betting to risk is the best way to wager in any sport, it all boils down to your personal preference and how you wish to roll with your money.

Regardless of your preference between bet to win vs bet to risk, always keep proper and efficient bankroll management in mind. Remember that your bankroll is the life and soul of your gambling “career,” which means how you manage it is the key to how long you can stay on the game or how fast you will go bankrupt.

This article was published on July 5, 2022, and last updated on June 30, 2022.

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