Head to head (H2H) betting involves betting on one participant versus another in a sporting event with multiple participants, like golf or auto racing.
It can be a fun and lucrative way to bet on events with large fields without having to pick the event winner. In other words, a bet on a head to head matchup is only a bet on who will win that matchup, not the event as a whole.
Pick one golfer, driver, or the like, to finish ahead of another and you are head-to-head betting.
Read on to learn everything there is to know about head to head betting in Michigan, including the sports where it is most popular, how to calculate the payouts for head-to-head bets, and when you should avoid head-to-head betting.
What is head-to-head betting?
Head to head wagering is about betting on one participant to finish ahead of another in a sporting event with multiple participants.
A PGA golf tournament might have 100 golfers. With head to head betting, you pick one golfer to do better than another. A NASCAR race might start with 40 drivers. With head-to-head betting, you pick one driver to finish ahead of another.
It doesn’t matter who wins the tournament or the race. It only matters who wins the matchup.
The specific matchups are posted at Michigan sportsbooks, and you book these head-to-head bets at moneyline odds.
One participant will be favored to finish ahead of the other and have the odds expressed as a negative number, indicating how much you must bet to win $100 plus your bet back. The other participant will be an underdog, and the odds will be expressed in one of two ways. The first is as a positive number, indicating how much you stand to win, plus your bet back, for every $100 you bet. The other is as a smaller negative number than the favorite, indicating how much you must bet to stand to win $100 plus your bet back
Michigan sportsbooks may also post head-to-head matchups for team sports.
These team to team bets work the same way as head to head bets. The big difference is team-to-team bets involve betting on one team to finish ahead of another in a multi-team tournament or an entire season.
For example, you might bet on Michigan to finish ahead of Michigan State in the Big Ten basketball tournament, or the Detroit Pistons to finish ahead of the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Eastern Conference Central Division.
Like head to head bets, actually winning matters very little. Finishing ahead of the other team in the matchup is what really counts.
Head-to-head betting tips
Head-to-head betting can be a fun way to get a little more skin in the game when it comes to big-field events.
However, there are times when the reward for a head to head bet simply isn’t worth the risk. This happens when one participant is a huge favorite over another.
For example, at the end of June 2020, Bryson Dechambeau was the number No. 11 ranked golfer in the world and threatening to break into the top ten coming off three top-ten finishes in the month, including the Charles Schwab Challenge, RBC Heritage, and Travelers Championship events.
In the meantime, 2012 and 2014 Masters winner Bubba Watson was ranked 46th in the world and heading in the wrong direction, having just missed the cut at the Travelers Championship a week earlier.
Looking at the head to head matchups for the Rocket Mortgage Classic teeing off at Detroit Golf Club you might find Dechambeau a -185 favorite over Watson at +150.
Considering you’d have to risk a whopping $185 to win just $100 on Dechambeau, the reward in this matchup is hardly worth the risk. Dechambeau could be headed for a bad week after three good ones in a row, and Watson has proven he’s more than capable of stringing together four rounds of great golf even though his results have been on a downswing lately. In other words, anything can happen.
Head-to-head betting is about weighing the reward against the risk. When the odds get too big, the rewards are hardly worth it. You have to bet big to make any real profits of heavy moneyline favorites and in head-to-head matchups, it usually isn’t worth the risk.
Which sports offer H2H betting opportunities?
Head to head betting opportunities can be found in all kinds of sports.
Although, head-to-head betting generally revolves around individual sports with a large field of participants. This mainly includes sports like golf and auto racing, where H2H betting is about wagering on one individual participant versus another in events with multiple participants.
Here’s a look at the sports where you’re likely to find head to head betting markets in Michigan.
NASCAR head-to-head betting
Most NASCAR races start with anywhere from 40 to 60 drivers, and you can bet on one driver to finish ahead of another with head-to-head NASCAR betting at Michigan sportsbooks.
You’ll find a big variety of head to head NASCAR matchups posted at Michigan sportsbooks ahead of most NASCAR events.
One driver will be favored over the other in every matchup. The favorite’s odds will be expressed as a negative number, and it indicates how much you have to bet to win $100 plus your bet back. The underdog’s odds will be expressed as either a positive number indicating how much you stand to win for every $100 you bet, or a smaller negative number than the favorite indicating how much you have to bet to stand to win $100 plus your bet back.
Take a look at all the NASCAR matchups posted at Michigan sportsbooks, pick one driver to finish ahead of another, and bet on that driver at the currently posted moneyline odds. If that driver finishes ahead of the other driver in that matchup, you win.
The big advantage of head-to-head NASCAR betting over standard moneyline NASCAR betting is that it doesn’t matter who wins the race, just who wins the matchup. In other words, the driver you bet on doesn’t have to win the race, just beat the other driver.
The disadvantage is you will miss out on the big odds standard moneyline NASCAR betting offers. With a big field starting most NASCAR races, no driver is a favorite. That means most standard moneyline NASCAR win bets pay even bigger than head to head underdogs.
Head-to-head golf betting
Most PGA Tour events start with up to 100 golfers, and you can bet on one to finish better than another with head to head PGA Tour betting at Michigan sportsbooks.
You’ll find a big variety of PGA Tour matchups posted at Michigan sportsbooks ahead of most PGA Tour events.
One golfer will be favored over the other in every matchup. The favorite’s odds will be expressed as a negative number. This indicates how much you have to bet to stand to win $100, plus your bet back. The underdog’s odds will be expressed as either a positive number indicating how much you stand to win for every $100 you bet, or a smaller negative number than the favorite, indicating how much you have to bet to stand to win $100 plus your bet back.
Browse through the PGA Tour matchups posted at Michigan sportsbooks, pick one golfer to finish ahead of another, and bet on that golfer at the currently posted moneyline odds. If that golfer finishes ahead of the other golfer in that matchup, you win.
The big advantage of the head-to-head PGA Tour betting over standard moneyline PGA Tour win betting is that it doesn’t matter who wins the tournament, just who wins the matchup. The golfer you bet on doesn’t have to win on Sunday, just end up ahead of the other golfer on the final leaderboard.
The disadvantage is you will miss out on the rather large odds standard moneyline PGA Tour win betting offers. PGA Tour events start with big enough fields that no golfer can be considered the odds on favorite to win. That means most standard PGA Tour win bets offer big payouts. Head-to-heads do not.
Head-to-head tennis betting
The large-field tournament structure of ATP Tour, WTA Tour, and Grand Slam tennis events means you can bet on one player to finish ahead of another, even if they never play each other.
You should find a variety of matchups posted at Michigan sportsbooks ahead of most big tennis tournaments. One player will be favored over the other in every matchup.
The moneyline works the same as it does in NASCAR. The favorite is expressed as a negative number and the underdog, a positive number.
Browse through a tournament’s matchups at an online sportsbook, pick one player to finish ahead of another, and bet on that player at the currently posted moneyline odds. If that player beats the other player in that matchup or goes deeper into the tournament, you win.
The big advantages head-to-head tennis betting has over standard moneyline tennis betting are obvious. The player you bet on doesn’t have to win the tournament, just the matchup. Plus, it doesn’t matter if they play or not, your player just needs to go deeper for you to get paid.
Of course, most standard win bets offer bigger payouts. The fields are big enough in most tournaments to ensure even the top seeds are betting underdogs to win it all. Head-to-head betting doesn’t allow you to take advantage of this.
Some of the head to head betting crosses over into the world of prop betting. You’ll find this most often with pro team sports like the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL.
Prop betting almost always surrounds wagering on whether a player or team will achieve a certain statistical milestone or not.
Head-to-head props might involve wagering on whether one player or another will achieve that statistical milestone first. Or, whether one player can beat another in a specific statistical category in a game or throughout the entire season.
Head-to-head props include a bet on:
- A specific NFL QB throwing for more yards/touchdowns than another
- A specific NBA player having more points/rebounds/assists/blocks than another
- One MLB player having more hits/home runs/runs/stolen bases than another
- One NHL player having more goals/assists/penalty minutes than another
Calculating potential head-to-head payouts
Calculating how much you stand to win from any head to head bet will be easy with the top sports betting apps in Michigan.
You’ll just click on the player you like in any matchup posted and a bet slip will be instantly created. Fill in the amount you wish to wager and the potential payout will be instantly displayed.
For now, you can calculate how much you stand to win from any head to head bet by doing a little simple math, as long as you can find the currently posted odds.
Just divide 100 by the currently posted moneyline odds. Then, multiply that number by your bet. Finally, add your bet and you’ll be looking at the total potential payout if you win.
For example, let’s say there’s a Bryson Dechambeau vs. Webb Simpson matchup posted on DraftKings Sportsbook App for the PGA Tour’s 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit on the Fourth of July weekend. The posted odds were Dechambeau (-118) vs. Simpson (-106).
If you’re thinking of betting on Dechambeau, divide 100 by -118. That should give you something like -0.85. If you’re thinking of betting $20, multiply -0.85 by $20. That’ll work out to around $16.95. Add $16.95 to your $20 bet and you can see that you’re looking at a total payout of $36.95 if you bet $20 on Dechambeau over Simpson and Dechambeau beats him. Which he did.
Of course, Webb Simpson at -106 will give you the chance at a bigger payday. Divide 100 by -106. That should give you something like -0.94. Multiply -0.94 by $20 and you’ll get $18.86. Add $18.86 to your $20 bet and you can see that you’re looking at a total payout of $38.86 if you bet $20 on Simpson over Dechambeau and Simpson finishes ahead on the final leaderboard.
How to Bet Guides
Key takeaways on H2H betting
If you pick up just one thing from the content above, it should be that head-to-head betting can be a fun way to get a little more skin in the game on sporting events with large starting fields, like NASCAR races and PGA Tour events.
Head-to-head betting allows you to bet on one participant versus another in a sporting event with multiple participants. The best part is you don’t have to pick a winner of the event to get paid, just the winner of that specific matchup.
Yes, the odds on one golfer or race car driver beating another are much lower than the odds on that same golfer or race car driver beating the entire field. However, multiple head-to-head payouts can add up fast, making it worthwhile to consider betting on a variety of matchups for most events.
Head-to-head betting isn’t limited to just NASCAR races and PGA Tour events either. You can bet on a variety of head-to-head matchups and head to head props for other sports at Michigan sportsbooks.
Add it up and head-to-head betting will most likely be one of the most popular ways to bet on all kinds of sports at Michigan sportsbooks.