What is Head to Head Bet? 

A head-to-head (two-way bet) bet offers two possible outcomes of the game. For this bet type, the punters are betting on the match's outcome - win or lose. As with 1x2 bets, two-way bets do not differ in perceived quality between teams or players, unlike Asian handicaps or totals.

This head-to-head bet is for matches where there are more than two competitors, and the achievements of the others are irrelevant. Bookmakers always offer two potential markets for head-to-head bets, and bettors can bet on one team or player's victory over another. That's why two-way chances are among the simplest.

Therefore, if you love football, you should be familiar with this type of bet. When betting two ways on a football match and ending in a draw, you will get your stake back. While the odds will be less generous than in traditional three-way markets, at least the punters won't lose their bet if the game ends in a tie.

In a nutshell, this bet type resembles a standard bet on a team-based sport. However, instead of choosing which team will win, you select a pair of individual athletes with the best record.

Example: Let's say you want to bet on a tennis match between Fabio Fognini (£1.65) and Gael Monfils (£2.25). Odds are set for both sides, and the punters will then decide which player will win with no potential for a third result.

Detailed Example for Head to Head bet

If you are familiar with the theoretical side of head-to-head bets, here are some practical examples to make it easier for you to visualize this type of bet. 

Next, we'll answer your questions about how two-way bets work in real life. Below are the possible scenarios during head-to-head bets with two different outcomes.

If You Win Your Head-to-head bets 

North Melbourne Kangaroos (-550) vs. GWS Giants (+475) in the AFL rugby match is coming up, and you want to bet £100 on GWS Giants. 

Everything went as expected, and the GWS Giants celebrated the victory with a final score of 140: 66 even though they were judged to be weaker in this match. 

In the end, you were finally able to celebrate the win with a profit of £475.

If You Lose Your Head to Head bet

If you are excited about the tennis match going on between Fabio Fognini (-130) vs. Gael Monfils (+110) and you believe Fabio Fognini will do the miracle, then you decide to bet £100.

 However, Gael Monfils won, and the result is not as expected; you cannot get any winnings.

Calculating head-to-head bet payouts

Calculate Your Payout for A Back Bet 

Bettors can calculate the payout for a head-to-head market bet in two steps.

Let's say you believe Stefanos Tsitsipas will beat Novak Djokovic in the French Open final with a bet of £100 at odds of 6.50.

  • Step 1: Calculate profit excluding commission:

Odds x Bet = Profit

So the profit calculated in the above example match would be 6.50 x 100 = £650. Therefore, if Tsitsipas wins the bet, you will receive £650, including the chance with a £550 profit.

However, betting brokers do not add profits to the odds, so you have to subtract the commission from the profit.

  • Step 2: Calculate profit with the commission.

Assuming the commission return offered by the exchange is 2%, the formula is as follows:

[(Bet x (Odd -1)] x Commission Rate

Following the above example: [(100 x (6.50 -1)] x 2% = £11

So you will be charged a commission of £11, which means a profit of £639 and a profit of £539.

If Djokovic wins overall, you lose your bet and lose £100 of your chance.

Finally, once you know how betting margins are calculated, you will understand the margins between bookmakers and brokers to find out where they will provide the best value odds.

Calculate Your Payout for A Lay Bet 

Unlike bookmakers when betting on head-to-head markets, you can also set the outcome. 

For example, let's say you place Novak Djokovic against Stefanos Tsitsipas with a bet of £100 at odds of 1.65. Similarly, there are two steps for a lay bet to calculate the payout for a reverse bet.

Step 1: Calculate profit excluding commission

Bet amount = Profit

Therefore, if the game ends in favor of Tsitsipas, you will win with a profit of £100 (before commissions).

Step 2: Calculate profit with the commission

To calculate fixed bet profit with exchange commission included. For example, if the exchange offers a 2% commission, you can apply the following calculation:

Bet x 0.98 = Profit

Following the example above, you can apply: 100 x 0.98 = £98. Hence with a £2 commission, the profit would be £98.

For this example, if Novak Djokovic wins overall, your liability will be deducted, resulting in a £65 loss.

Usual Sports for Placing A Head-To-Head Bet

Horse racing is the most popular sport for head-to-head bets. However, there are still some sports that are suitable for this type of bet. You can also place two-way bets on football markets with offers in NFL, MLB, NS, NBA, and NHL events. When you regularly win every night, you will have a chance to land potential profits to increase your bet.

Moreover, many sports have attractive odds and can generate special payouts, from football events like English Premier League, Basketball, Baseball, Rugby, Horse Racing, Hockey, etc. You can always compare odds with different bookmakers or brokers and choose the best ones.

Here are some examples of famous tournaments for head-to-head betting that you can refer to.


It is challenging to predict the outcome when betting on NASCAR. However, head-to-head matches do present punters with potential money-making opportunities. Therefore, it would be best to find a good rider with a good record at the current track and then try to find a competitor to pit against a weaker rider.

Example: Some sportsbooks will match racers scheduled to compete in a race and list the odds for both sides.

  • Anthony Alfredo -125
  • Josh Bilicki +115

You can choose from which of these two drivers you think will end up being the best. Since Alfredo and Bilicki are both top drivers in NASCAR, the odds are pretty tight.


As with NASCAR, it is difficult to predict the winner in golf. However, head-to-head matches will make it easier for you to bet.

In head-to-head golf games, see how the course is and find a golfer that's right for the course. Then take a look at the history to see how they did there, and you can pick a golfer with a better record than the competition.

Example: Head-to-head bets on golf games open up more opportunities to predict what will happen on a smaller scale.

PGA tournament coming up between

  • Jon Rahm -130
  • Dustin Johnson +120

When the top golf experts in the match are matched in head-to-head pairs, the odds are tight. The farther the distance between the participating golfers, the more comprehensive the set of odds will be.


Almost all tennis betting is considered two-way. If you choose to bet on tennis, pay attention to the playing surface of the match. Also, it would be best if you always looked at the history between the two players.

Example: You are interested in the upcoming ATP tournament between

  • Novak Djokovic -240
  • Casper Ruud +200

As the tournament progresses, the action on the field becomes tighter and more competitive, as do the odds offered by the sportsbooks. However, regardless of the scoreboard, you need to consider the playing surface and any head-to-head history.

Some Strategies on head-to-head betting

Head-to-head bets are potentially lucrative, helping to increase engagement and increase the enjoyment of participating in events. However, sometimes you will make unnecessary mistakes. Therefore, improve your payouts and strategies to avoid making mistakes.

First of all, don't change the unit size as it will lead to severe mistakes. You should not double down and risk too much even when you feel confident. On the other hand, you also should not chase losses and try to win them back.

Moreover, another mistake many punters often make is following the trend. For example, when you see a team on a four-win streak, you might be tempted to bet on it. Conversely, if a team is leading by 40 points but has a three-game losing streak, you automatically disqualify them, which is usually a fatal error.

Final Words

Head-to-head bets are uncomplicated bets that every punter must go through at least once. While it's not hugely profitable, it can offer potential profits in the long run. All you need to do is select a possible team or individual! Therefore, if you already understand the basic concepts and the strategies we have recommended, you can improve your two-way bets. Good luck!

Published: 20 November 2021 10:53