I’m always looking for ideas for fun, friendly bets. I spend a lot of time working on sports betting and handicapping, and sometimes I want to take a break but still get a little action on a game.
I try to relax by watching a game with a friend or group of friends. But when I get together with friends, they often want to place a few dollars on something. And I’m happy to join in the fun.
My friends aren’t serious sports gamblers like me, so we’re always looking for ways to make friendly bets that don’t rely on handicapping or skill. Here are seven ideas we’ve used for fun, friendly bets.
This is a sequel to my recent post about good, fun bets to make with friends.
1 – MLB Firsts
Baseball is my favorite sport. But the games are slow, and it’s easy to get bored. So over the years, I’ve come up with a lot of different ways to keep a baseball game interesting when I’m watching it with my friends.
We usually make many different bets throughout the game, keep track of wins and losses on each wager, and then settle up at the end. We agree on a small amount for each bet, usually $1 or $5 on each wager, so nobody loses too much money on a single game.
Here’s a list of things you can bet on during a MLB game:
- Which team scores first
- Which team gets the first hit
- Which team hits the first home run
- Which team strikes out first
- Which team gets the first walk
- Which team makes the first error
As you can imagine, these are just a few of the things you can bet on in a MLB game. But MLB is set up differently than the NFL or NBA, so you can use a simple method to keep the bets fair.
How to Keep Baseball Bets Fair
The road team always bats first in MLB, so when you bet on things like which team is going to score first or get the first hit, the road team has an advantage.
To keep things fair, my friends and I usually agree that the home team has an opportunity to balance the score on any wager. You can do this in two different ways.
The first way is to reset to the next inning if both the road team and home team meet the goal. For example, if you bet on who gets the first hit, if the road team and home team both get a hit in the first inning, the bet carries over to the next inning.
The second way to keep things fair is to change the bet from which team gets the first hit to which team gets the most hits in the first inning. So when both teams have the same number of hits in the first inning, the bet is resolved in the first whole inning where one team has more hits than the other.
2 – NFL Firsts
NFL games are the most popular amongst my friends. And I handicap a lot of football games, so I watch a lot of games. When I’m watching NFL games, I’m looking for information to help me handicap future games, but I also enjoy making some friendly bets with friends when we watch games together.
One of the easiest ways to make friendly bets is to bet on which team is going to do something first. For example, NFL games have a coin toss at the beginning of the game, so each team has the same odds of getting the ball first.
Unlike baseball games, you don’t have to worry about keeping things fair. Nobody has an advantage if you make your bets before the coin toss.
- Which team scores first
- Which team gets the first touchdown
- Which team kicks the first field goal
- Which team throws the first interception
- Which team fumbles the ball first
- Which team commits the first penalty
Just like when you’re watching MLB games, you can bet on all kinds of things when you’re watching an NFL game. This list is just a starting point to get your ideas flowing.
You can also bet on individual players during games. For example, you can bet on which quarterback throws the most yards in the first quarter or which running back will have the most yards in the first half. You could come up with at least 100 different ways to bet on NFL games with friends.
All of the things you can bet on in NF games also work well in NCAA football games.
3 – NBA Firsts
After reading the first two sections in this post, you’ve probably got some ideas about how to bet on NBA games with friends. Of course, I didn’t make a section just for NHL games or soccer games, but you can also use the same ideas to come up with wagers for those sports.
Here are some ideas for betting on NBA games:
- Which team wins the opening tip-off
- Which team scores first
- Which team commits the first foul
- Which team gets the first rebound
- Which team makes the first three-point shot
- Which team gets the first offensive rebound
- Which team gets the first block
- Which team gets the first steal
Once you build up your ideas for betting on NBA games with friends, you can use the same ideas for betting on NCAA basketball games, WNBA games, or women’s NCAA basketball games.
4 – Sports Futures Are Great Ideas for Fun, Friendly Bets
At the beginning of every major sports season, I get together with a group of friends. And we all make future bets. We pick teams and players based on which teams and which players are going to win the most and win awards.
To keep things fair, we run each category using a serpentine draft, and the person who picks first in the first category picks last in the next category, etc.
For example, before the NFL season, we draft for the following categories:
- Team that wins the Super Bowl
- Team with the most regular-season wins
- AFC MVP
- NFC MVP
- AFC player of the year
- NFL player of the year
- AFC defensive rookie of the year
- NFC defensive player of the year
- AFC offensive player of the year
- NFC offensive player of the year
- Rushing leader
- Touchdown passing leader
Everyone puts the same amount of money in, and the money is split evenly on all of the categories. Depending on how many people you have that want to participate, each person usually picks multiple teams and players in each draft.
5 – Coin Flip Using Point Spreads Are Also Good Ideas for Fun, Friendly Bets
A fun way to bet on sporting events that’s fair for everyone is flipping a coin to use the point spread on a game. You pick a game to bet on with a friend and flip a coin to see which side of the game you get.
The person that ends up with the underdog gets the points on the game, and the person with the favorite gives the points.
Or you can flip a coin, and the person who wins the coin flip gets to pick the team they want. But, of course, you still use the point spread, so the bet is fair.
6 – Which Team Wins the First Quarter, Inning, or Half?
In addition to the first bets listed in the first three sections, you can make bets on which team wins the first inning in a MLB game, the first quarter or half in an NFL game, or the first half in an NBA game.
These bets take longer to resolve, so if you only want to make a few wagers during a game, these fit the bill.
Just be careful when one team is much better than the other. When this is the case, the bets aren’t always fair.
7 – Who Wins the Coin Toss in an NFL or NCAA Football Game?
Here’s a simple bet you can make for fun that only takes a minute:
Before an NFL or NCAA football game starts bet on which team is going to win the coin toss.
The coin toss is a true 50/50 wager, so each person has the same odds of winning. And on a busy day, like a Saturday on college football, games are starting every hour or so all day. So you can make coin toss bets on every game you watch.
Conclusion – Ideas for Fun, Friendly Bets
Whether you bet on the first thing to happen in a MLB game, NFL game, or NBA game, as long as each person has the same chance to win, you can enjoy a lot of action without things turning serious. When the fun is more important than winning, you have plenty of options for small wagers.
The seven ideas for fun, friendly bets listed in this post aren’t the only ways to enjoy a game with friends. These ideas are just a place to start. Use your imagination, and you can come up with dozens of other bets to help you enjoy sporting events.