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DunkOrThree > Betting Guide > Quarter Betting Explained: Understanding Quarter Wagers in Sports Betting

Quarter Betting Explained: Understanding Quarter Wagers in Sports Betting

Publish Date:20.02.2024
Fact checked by: Emily Carter

A quarter bet is explained best as a wager on a single period of the game, rather than on the game as a whole. For example, instead of betting on the Lakers to win the game, you can bet on them just to win the first quarter.

However, you’re not limited only to moneyline bets and other simple wagers. Basically, any straight bet that is available for the whole game is also available for each quarter on most sportsbooks. This includes everything from totals and points spreads to player pros and more.

How do quarter bets work – A brief overview

Feel like the whole game is too close to call? Or perhaps you’ve noticed that the Boston Celtics have the best Q1 margin record in the NBA this season? What if I told you that there was a basketball betting format that could help you with this?

Rather than having to bet on the game as a whole, or even as a half, many US online betting sites now allow you to break it down into quarters. Generally speaking, most straight betting markets are available for this.

For example, you can bet Celtics to beat the spread in the first quarter only, or wager on the total points to be over the projected amount in Q3. Additionally, you can also find two and three-way bets for each quarter on some sportsbooks, as I’ll explain in more detail below.

Quarter bet explained – Pros and cons

Before we take a deeper dive into the world of quarter bets, here is a quick summary of the main advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages
  • Offers an alternative to betting on the whole game
  • Most single-game bet types also apply to quarter-betting
  • Often longer odds and larger potential payouts
  • Easy to understand
Disadvantages
  • Some quarter bets can be riskier than whole game wagers

How do quarter bets work in action?

You’ll be glad to hear that there are no hidden complications to consider here. To put it simply, quarter bets are exactly the same as straight wagers, only that you are betting on the outcome for a specific quarter (first, second, third, or fourth) rather than the game as a whole.

For an NBA game, the three basic betting lines are still the most popular for quarter betting:

  • Moneyline – Betting on which team will win the quarter.
  • Points spread – A  handicap is given to the favorite and an advantage to the underdog. You can bet on either team to beat the spread for a specific quarter.
  • Totals (over/under) – A wager on the total points scored by both teams combined being over or under a certain amount by the end of the quarter.

Moneyline quarter bet explained

For moneyline bets, the favorites and underdogs will usually be the same for each quarter as they are for the whole game and the odds won’t be much different. There are exceptions – for example, some teams tend to start slow and build into the game. In this case, they might be favorites overall, but underdogs for the first quarter.

Additionally, you also have some teams who tend to dip in the middle (like the Mavericks) but bookend poor second and third quarters with strong starts and finishes. Therefore you might find teams like this at a longer price for the middle two quarters.

How do quarter bets work for the points spread and totals?

While quarter betting on the moneyline looks very similar to single-game betting, the points spread and over/under lines are slightly different. Generally speaking, however, it’s easy to follow, as the spread and over/under will usually be roughly divided by four for each quarter.

Example – Full game line for LA Lakers vs Detroit Pistons:

First, here’s a real-life example of an NBA betting line between the Lakers and the Pistons:

MoneylineSpreadOver/under
Pistons+425+10.5O 241.5
Lakers-575-10.5U 241.5

Example – Q1 betting line

Now, here’s how the first-quarter betting line looks for the same game:

MoneylineSpreadOver/under
Pistons+425+2.5O 60.5
Lakers-575-2.5U 60.5

As you can see, the moneyline is the same, and the spread and over/under markets have been (roughly) divided by four. For tips on quarter, half-time, and full-game totals, check out my basketball predictions for under-over today right here at DunkorThree.com.

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What is a first-quarter three-way bet?

A three-way quarter bet is the same as a moneyline quarter bet, only with a third option – a tie – thrown into the mix. Tied games are impossible in the NBA, as games go into overtime, however, teams can put up the same number of points in a single quarter.

Of course, the probability of a tied quarter is still very low. As a result, the tie option in a third quarter three-way bet will usually have very long odds.

Team to win each quarter bet explained

If I’m going to be really nit-picky, this technically isn’t a quarter bet, as it doesn’t involve betting on the outcome for a single quarter of the game. Instead, this is a wager on one team to win all four quarters.

For example, a Lakers to win each quarter bet might look like this:

Lakers to win each quarter
Yes+1100
No-850

As you can see, the odds are extremely long on the “yes” market, even though the Lakers were strong favorites on the moneyline and the spread in my earlier example. This is because a team rarely wins all four quarters, so the implied probability for this bet type is usually less than 10%.

How do Quarter bets work – The payouts

For your quarter bet to pay out, you just have to make a correct prediction for the quarter that your bet applies to. For example, if you have taken the Lakers to beat the -2.5 spread in the first quarter then they are beating the Pistons 29 – 23 at the end of Q1, your bet will pay out.

It doesn’t matter if they go on to lose or fail to beat the spread in any other quarter or the end of the game. For tips and tricks to help you win quarter bets and more, check out my NBA betting strategy guide here.

Quarter bet explained – Conclusion

In summary, quarter bets are pretty straightforward to understand, as they are effectively just mini versions of straight bets. What you are doing is fragmenting the game here, and betting on single quarters as opposed to the whole game.

Many of the top betting sites in the US now offer a diverse range of quarter betting markets for the NBA, NFL, and other sports. To find your ideal sites, check out my and my colleagues’ reviews right here at Dunkorthree.

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Quarter bet explained – Conclusion

❓ How do quarter bets work?

Quarter bets work by wagering on the outcome of a single quarter as opposed to the whole game. For instance, you might bet on the Bulls to win the third quarter or have the points total be over 31.5 in Q1. What are props bets that you can use on each quarter? Find out here at Dunkorthree.com.

🤔 What is the win each quarter bet?

This bet involves backing a team to win every quarter of the game, not just the game as a whole. Because this is a rare occurrence, the odds are long and the implied probability is very low.

🤷‍♀️ What sports work with quarter betting?

You can only find quarter betting markets for sports where matches are split into four periods. The NBA and NFL are the two most obvious examples.

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