If you want to bet on volleyball, you can, but since its popularity is nothing like the major sports, there’s only so many different types of bets available. Considering this game was invented in 1895, it has done well to hang around and grow, as there are now several major volleyball events that take place throughout the year.
Volleyball matches are played in “sets”. To win the entire match, it is whoever is first to winning 3 sets, so the most sets you can have in a match is 5. To win a set, you must be the first team to score at least 25 points, and you have to win each set by at least 2 points. So if the score is tied 24-24, you already know the winner will need to record at least 26 points.
Determining the winner of each set will take as long as it is needed. It is similar to baseball in this regard since there is no clock involved. If a 5th and decisive set is needed, you now only need a minimum of 15 points, as the win by 2 rule remains intact.
Types of Volleyball Bets
The available bets for volleyball are like the main ones you see for all the major sports. However, the variety does not go beyond that.
This bet pertains simply to who you think will win the match. This is also known as the “moneyline”. The sportsbook will present a line with a favorite and an underdog for the match. If you bet the favorite, you will win less money than you bet. If you bet the underdog or bet opposite of the public, then you will win more. Here’s an example of what a line looks like:
Team 1 -150
Team 2 +130
The team’s line that starts with the “-“symbol is the favorite, and the “+”symbol is for the underdog. The -150 means for every $15 you wager, you will win $10. The +130 means for every $10 you wager, you will win $13.
Betting Volleyball Spreads
The “spread” is the line the sportsbook puts out showing how many points they think the favorite will win by. The line would look like this:
Team 1, -9.5
Team 2, +9.5
This line pertains to the outcome of the entire match. If you bet on Team 1, they must not only win the match, but they must have also accumulated at least 10 more total points from all the sets combined, than team 2. If you bet on Team 2, that means if they win then of course you win your bet, but even if can lose the match, if their combined number of points from all the sets is less than 10 fewer than their opponent, you still win. The payouts for both of these bets will be -110. You will notice that is a better payout for taking the favorite, since winning the game by at least 10 points is harder than winning it by any score. Same as -110 is a lesser payout for taking the underdog, since being able to lose the game by as many as 9 points and still be a winner is easier than having to win the game altogether. Suppose this is what the outcome of the match looked like:
Team 1 – 25
Team 2 – 21
Team 1 – 25
Team 2 – 23
Team 1 – 20
Team 2 – 25
Team 1 – 25
Team 2 – 22
As you can see, Team 1 put up a grand total of 95 points, and Team 2 put up 91. That means even though Team 1 won the game, betting them with the spread at -9.5 would have been a loser because you are theoretically deducting 9.5 from their total score when betting the spread. On the surface, you might wonder why would you ever want to take the favorite since this outcome is more difficult to achieve than the underdog. But it all depends on what you think of the matchup. If you really think the favorite will perhaps dominate the other team, then taking them on the spread will make you the most money. In this example, taking Team 2 on the spread and Team 1 on the moneyline were the 2 optimal plays. If only one could predict the future.
Betting Individual Sets
If you’re not sure which team will win the entire match, but you like a certain team’s chances in a particular set, the sportsbook will offer lines for each individual set. If you really like Team 1 in the second set, then you can place your bet on that exclusively.
The over/under, also known as the total, is the amount of points that will be scored by both teams combined. This bet has nothing to do with who will win. It is only in regards to the points that are scored. If the sportsbook presents a line of 195, you can bet on whether or not you think the total score will be higher or lower than that number. The payouts will open at -110 for each side, and of it comes in at exactly 195, this is known as a “push”. Nobody wins or loses, and your original bet is returned to you.