I’m pretty serious about gambling, but sometimes I’m looking for some good, fun bets I can make with friends. Most of my friends aren’t serious gamblers like me, but they’re often willing to make friendly wagers.
We don’t always bet on sports. But most of my friends are sports fans. So, this post includes seven sporting events that we bet on for fun. You can also come up with many good ways to bet for fun outside of sports. But I’m going to save that list for another post on another day. Hopefully, you can get a few ideas for good, friendly wagers from my list.
1 – Straight up Team Versus Team
The first bet I made in my life was when I was five or six years old. I was a Cowboys fan. And a guy my dad worked with was a Bengals fan. He was a nice guy. But he was always bragging about the Bengals and telling me how bad the Cowboys were.
I don’t remember how much we bet on the game. But it was probably $5 or $10. I didn’t know what a point spread was. And I had no idea who was favored in the game. We made a bet straight up, with me getting the Cowboys. And he got the Bengals.
The funny thing is that I remember the bet. But I don’t remember if I won. It was the first straight-up wager I made.
But it wasn’t the last.
I usually handicap games and bet using point spreads. But I still occasionally make a straight-up wager with one of my friends on a game. I usually know what the spread is. And I make sure I’m not giving up too much value. But the wagers are always small, so I’m doing it for fun.
When I make straight-up sports wagers, it’s usually with one of my friends who’s a big fan of a particular team. For example, one of my friends is a big Atlanta Braves fan. And another is a big Kentucky Wildcats basketball fan. So I know I can always make a bet with one of these friends if I want the team their team is playing.
These are some of my favorite fun bets to make with friends.
2 – Sporting Events Using the Spread Are Fun Bets to Make with Friends
I hate to admit it because it tells how old I’m getting. But when I started betting on sports, buying a particular newspaper was the only way to get the point spread on a game. But, unfortunately, the local paper didn’t print betting spreads. And I didn’t live anywhere close to a place you could legally make bets.
The area where I live has had at least one local bookie for as long as I can remember. But they wouldn’t deal with me when I started gambling because I was too young.
Today I can look up current point spreads in seconds on my phone. And I look at several different spreads from different sportsbooks in minutes.
Because point spreads are so easy to find, one of the best ways to make a friendly bet with a friend is to look up the point spreads for an upcoming game and letting your friend pick whichever team they want.
I almost always let whoever I’m betting with in these situations pick the team because I know that when you use the point spread, the odds are 50/50 to win. And because you’re not using vig, you’re breaking even on these types of wagers in the long run.
3 – Which Team Is Going to Score First
Betting on which team is going to score first works in just about any sport. But it’s not always a fair bet in baseball because the road team always bats first.
One of the neat things about betting on which team is going to score first is that you find out who wins in minutes in some sports. And in other sports, it can take a while to find out if you win.
One team usually scores within the first minute or two in a basketball game. But in hockey, football, or soccer, it can take a long time before someone scores.
When I bet on which team is going to score first on a baseball game, we usually agree that the team that bats second has an opportunity to score in their half of the inning before the bet is resolved. So if the road team scores in the first inning, the bet isn’t won unless the home team doesn’t score in the first. If both teams score in the first inning, the bet carries over to the second inning.
4 – A Basic Total Bet
Point spreads aren’t the only type of line the sportsbooks set. You can make friendly bets using moneylines. But if you’re not going to use point spreads, I recommend making a total bet.
The sportsbooks post lines called totals or over under. The total is the number the sportsbooks think the total score of both teams will add up to at the end of the game. So you can bet on the teams combining for more points than the total or fewer points than the total.
When you make a basic total bet with a friend, you have a 50/50 chance to win. Just like point spread bets, I usually let my friend pick if they want the over or the under. I win a few more of these bets than I lose because my friends almost always take the over, especially when two high-scoring teams are playing.
The sportsbooks set the total much higher in these games. And many games finish under.
5 – Which Team Gets the Ball First?
Here’s a fun bet that gets resolved fast:
You can make this bet right before a game starts and find out who wins in a couple of minutes or less.
Of course, this doesn’t work in some sports. But it works great in football and basketball games. This is because football games have a coin flip to determine who can get the ball first. But some football teams that win the coin flip defer until the second half, so you might want to bet on who wins the coin flip instead of who gets the ball first.
If you’re betting on who gets the ball first on a basketball game, there’s a small percentage of skill involved. This is because basketball games are started with a jump ball. And some players are better than others at winning the toss-up.
But most of the time, when you make a wager on who gets the ball first, you have a 50/50 chance to win. And just like when you make a bet using point spreads when you have a 50/50 chance to win, you break even in the long run.
You can also make bets like this based on a lot of different things in games. Examples include which team is going to score first, which team is going to get the first field goal, or anything else you can think of that is a random result.
6 – Golf Tournament Field Bet
If you want to make a bet that takes a long time to resolve, you can bet on a golf tournament. Golf tournaments almost always last four days, so this bet won’t resolve quickly.
One person picks two or three golfers. And the other person gets everyone else in the field. You might think the person that gets to pick two or three golfers would have an advantage. But this hasn’t been my experience.
If there’s a dominant golfer on tour like Tiger Woods was in his prime, you might let one player have the dominant golfer. And the other person gets everyone else.
Gold tournament field bets are definitely fun bets you can make with friends.
7 – Soccer Over or Under 1.5 or 2.5 Goals
I don’t watch much soccer with my friends. But we’ll watch a soccer game if nothing else is on. Then, of course, we want to make a bet or two on the game to keep us interested.
A simple bet you can make with friends on a soccer match is whether the teams will combine for more or less than 1.5 goals in the match or more or less than 2.5 goals in the match.
I recommend checking the lines at a popular sportsbook before making this bet because some games are expected to be higher scoring than others. The books set lines based on expectation, so it might not be fair to set the total at 1.5 goals in some games.
Conclusion – Fun Bets to Make with Friends
Every fun way to bet listed in this post is easy to understand, so you can involve your friends who don’t gamble a lot. And you don’t have to bet a lot of money to keep things interesting. For example, sometimes I bet $1 or $10 with a friend so we can both have fun without worrying about how much money we might lose.
Some of the easy bets listed in this post only take a few minutes to find out who wins. And others can take hours or even days. I tried to put together a list that had something for everybody. So the next time you’re spending time with friends, break out this list. Make a few friendly wagers.