Single Bets Explained

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What is a Single Bet?

A straight bet on an event's outcome with returns determined based on the amount staked and the odds offered.

Betting Slip

A single bet wins or loses depending on the outcome of the backed event. The person placing the bet must decide the amount they wish to stake. The higher the stake, the higher the potential winnings. If the selection loses, the bookmaker keeps the stake and returns nothing to the punter. If the selection wins, the stake is multiplied by the odds (fractions) to determine the profit, and both profit and stake are returned to the customer. Bookmakers offer higher odds on selections they believe are less likely to win. The higher the odds offered, the greater the winnings when the selection does win. The basic strategy is to place bets on selections you think are more likely to happen than the odds suggest. These are often described as "Value" bets.

A single bet can be modified into an each-way bet, to mitigate some risk by generating a return if the selection only finishes in a placing position See here for a full explanation.

Accepted anywhere that takes bets. Across all sports and countries, this is the one bet you can always rely on being available.

Single Examples

These are straightforward to work out, but a single bet calculator may come in handy for speed and avoiding human error.

The football match result below is used in the winning and losing examples:

Home TeamScoreAway Team
Norwich3 - 1Sunderland


Assuming a unit stake of £2 on Norwich to win at odds 2/1 the winnings would break down as follows:

  • Returns = £2 * (2/1 + 1) = £6
  • Profit = Returns - Stake = £4


Assuming a unit stake of £5 on Sunderland to win, the returns would break down as follows:

  • The bet of Sunderland to win has lost, therefore this bet returns £0
  • Profit/Loss = Returns - Stake = -£5

How To Place A Single Bet with Bet365

  1. Select the sport you want to bet on. For this example, we have selected football.
Bet365 Single Bet - Sports Menu
Sports menu options - Taken 29/04/2024

2. Make your selection and then enter the stake you are willing to place. Then, press the place bet section to complete the single bet process.

Bet365 Single Bet - Default Bet Selection
Default Bet Selection Screen - Taken 29/04/2024

Reasons for making a Single Bet:

Now that we have explained a Single bet, we will consider why you would place one.

  • Confidence in Outcome: If someone is highly confident in the outcome of a particular event or situation, they might choose to make a single bet. This confidence could stem from thorough research, analysis, or insider knowledge, giving them a strong belief that their chosen outcome will prevail.
  • Risk Management: Single bets can be a way to manage risk, particularly if someone wants to limit their exposure to potential losses. By placing a single bet on a specific outcome, they risk only a set amount of money rather than potentially losing more through multiple bets or complex betting strategies.
  • Simplicity and Focus: Single bets offer simplicity and focus, especially for those who prefer straightforward betting experiences. With a single bet, juggling multiple outcomes or complex betting structures is unnecessary. This simplicity can make betting more enjoyable and less stressful for some individuals.

The simplicity of a single bet makes it accessible to novice and experienced bettors. With just one decision required, there is less complexity involved than multi-bets or accumulator bets, where multiple outcomes must align for the bet to succeed.

This straightforwardness appeals to many bettors who prefer a straightforward and uncomplicated betting experience. Additionally, single bets allow for easy tracking of results and potential returns, as there's no need to monitor multiple events simultaneously.

It also allows better bankroll management, using a unit strategy with single bets. This means you can place a small number of units on a single outcome and minimise your loss exposure. If you go on a successful streak, you can increase the unit size accordingly. At the same time, should a run of bets go against you, you can also decrease your unit size.

Like any betting type, there will always be benefits and drawbacks. With this in mind, we shall look at the plusses and minuses of a Single bet.

  • Flexibility in Wagering Amounts: Single bets offer flexibility in the amount wagered, allowing bettors to stake as much or as little as they desire. Whether someone prefers to bet small amounts for entertainment purposes or more significant sums for potential profits, single bets accommodate a wide range of betting preferences. This flexibility in wagering amounts enables bettors to tailor their bets to their individual risk tolerance and betting objectives.
  • This flexibility allows individuals to tailor their bets to match their personal preferences, financial situation, and risk tolerance. For instance, someone new to betting may feel more comfortable starting with smaller bets until they gain confidence and experience.
  • Quick Resolution and Instant Gratification: Single bets typically have a quick resolution, as they are settled based on the outcome of a single event or match. Unlike bets that span multiple events or games, which may take longer to conclude, single bets provide instant gratification by delivering results shortly after the conclusion of the chosen event.
  • The quick resolution of single bets allows bettors to experience immediate gratification. This instant feedback loop enhances the betting experience, keeping participants engaged and invested in the outcome.
  • Limited Potential Returns: Single bets offer simplicity and reduced risk, but they often come with limited potential returns compared to more complex betting strategies. Since the bet focuses on a single outcome, the odds offered by bookmakers may be lower than those available for multi-bets or accumulator bets involving multiple selections.
  • While this lower risk can appeal to some bettors, especially those who prioritise consistency over high-risk/high-reward scenarios, it can be a drawback for individuals seeking significant profits from their bets. Single bets may not always provide the most lucrative opportunities for those looking to maximise their winnings, especially in highly competitive or unpredictable sporting events where odds are often lower.
  • Less Diversification of Risk: Placing a single bet means that the bettor's stake relies on the outcome of a single event or match. Unlike multi-bets or accumulator bets, which spread risk across multiple selections, single bets offer less risk diversification. If the chosen outcome doesn't materialise, the entire stake is lost.
  • A single bet can leave bettors more vulnerable to unexpected results, upsets, or external factors that may impact the event's outcome. As a result, some individuals may opt for more diversified betting strategies to spread risk across multiple selections and mitigate the potential impact of unforeseen events on their overall betting portfolio.


Single bets offer simplicity and reduced risk, making them accessible and straightforward for novice and experienced bettors. However, their limited potential returns and lack of diversification can be drawbacks for those seeking higher profits and risk mitigation.

Last Update: 29 April 2024

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Also See

Single bet calculator - Use this betting tool to calculate your winnings for a single bet. Handles each way bets, non runners, dead heats and more. Enter the odds, and the summary updates automatically. Working out your winnings couldn't be easier.

What is a double bet? - A popular option for those punters that find themselves with two preferred selections. Both choices must win to generate a return, but when they do, the payout multiplies significantly.

What is a treble bet? - Works the same as a double bet but with 3 selections instead of 2. A riskier wager but with the potential for much higher winnings when it does come off. Visit the page for a football betting example demonstrating both winnings and losing scenarios.

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