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3-Way Bet Explained

Regular football bettors will be acquainted with the concept of three-way bets (3-way bets) as these apply to sports events that have three possible outcomes. In football terms, league matches end in a home win, an away win, or a draw.

Naturally, they don’t apply only to football; they apply equally to rugby, cricket, and even boxing. They don’t apply to games such as tennis that have only two possible outcomes.   

Some examples of 3-way bets

Let’s dig a little deeper with an example, again using football betting. A few days before the 2019 FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Watford, typical odds for the match were Manchester City 1/4, Draw 6/1, Watford 14/1.

In this 3 way bet you can bet on any of these outcomes. A successful £5 bet on Manchester City will return a profit of £1.25; on a draw a profit of £30, and on Watford a profit of  £70.

What you need to consider is whether you want to take a gamble the underdog wins or even draws the game which would return you a healthy profit or bet on the favourite even though you stand to win very little.

Many 3-way football bets have much closer odds. For instance, a French Ligue 1 game between Bordeaux and Reims has odds of Home (Bordeaux) 11/8, Draw 23/10, Away 23/10. Again, you can bet on any of the three possible results.

Here is an example of a 3-way bet from cricket, this time the County Championship Division One. In the match between Kent and Yorkshire, the odds on offer were Kent 8/1, Draw 17/10, Yorkshire 1/2.


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3-way handicap bets

While with outright 3 way bets you bet on a home win, an away win or a draw starting from a level playing field, in other words from a score of 0-0, three-way handicap bets apply to the same outcomes, but the initial score isn’t 0-0, When one team has a distinct advantage over another, bookmakers often offer three-way handicap bets. To see how this works, let’s look at an example.

Consider a game in which Liverpool is playing away to Huddersfield Town. Even though Huddersfield is playing at home, so will receive some sort of home advantage, and Liverpool might not be starting with its top players, the outcome is something of a no-brainer.

The chances of a win for Huddersfield or even a draw is remote. Liverpool will almost certainly win, and the betting odds reflect this. You won’t make much money betting on Liverpool and, although there are attractive odds for a  Huddersfield win, dedicated Huddersfield fans will be reluctant to bet on their club winning; it’s just throwing money away.

To make betting on this match more attractive, bookmakers offer 3-way handicap bets in which game starts other than 0-0 are offered with different odds. Game starts might be offered at 0:1, 0:2, 0.3, or even 0:4. So if you chose a bet of Huddersfield  +4, then you will win even if Liverpool beat Huddersfield by three goals. If they beat them by four goals, then the game is paid out as a draw.

Handicap three-way bets are certainly another string for the football better’s bow and an exciting way to bet on any game where the sides are mismatched. To make the best of this strategy, you need to consider likely outcomes and the odds that available carefully. Often it isn’t too difficult to beat the bookmaker and discover value bets that maximise your chances of making a profit.

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