Guide to Football (Soccer) Betting

Football is the most popular sport in the world. An estimated 3.5 billion people enjoy football worldwide, or about half the world’s population! And of course, a ton of these fans love to bet on football.

Are you a football fan who wants to bet on your favorite club but don’t understand betting odds? Do you need some tips to get started betting on the world’s game? Then this is the article is for you. We’ll go over basics, and help you get started in the exciting online football betting market.

Understanding Football Betting Odds

Depending on your country and football association of choice, the kind of odds your online bookie or local bookmaker may provide can vary. Mainly, football odds are offered to Western Europeans in either fractional or decimal format. Though bettors can choose their odds type, it is useful to understand both all the most popular betting formats.

Fractional Odds

Used by London’s High Street of bookmakers such as William Hill and Bet365, fractional odds are the preferred odds of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Fractional odds are popular because they are fairly easy to understand.

The denominator is the number on right, and that represents the amount bet. The number on the left is the numerator, and that represents the amount the wager will yield. Here is an example of some fractional odds on an EPL fixture:

Manchester United 10/14 v Chelsea 3/1

In this example, Manchester United is the favorite and Chelsea is the underdog.

If a punter wanted to win €100 on Man U, he would have to bet €140 to win €100. When using fractional odds, the original wager is counted back into the stake, so your bet would look like this:

Manchester United €140 returns €240

Since your original wager is counted as part of your winnings, your net profit would be €100.

If you wagered €100 on the underdog Chelsea, your bet slip would look something like this:

Chelsea €100 returns €400

At 3/1, your bet would return €400 – your original stake plus your profit of €300.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are the most commonly used odds in the world. Also called European odds, these are the preferred odds of punters in mainland Europe. These odds are also easy to calculate.

You simply multiply your stake against the decimal odds to calculate your winnings. Here is another example.

Manchester City 1.6 v Sunderland 2.5

A €100 wager on Manchester City would look like this:

€100 x 1.6 = €160

Your original wager of €100 is returned to you plus your potential profit of €60.

€100 x 2.5 = €250

This would be the potential amount won on the underdog Sunderland. It accounts for your original €100 wager and an additional €150 in potential profits.

Types of Football Wagers

Now that you have a basic understanding of the football odds, we’ll go over some of the basic and more advanced types of betting options available to football bettors.

It is pertinent to note that to those unfamiliar to football betting, that all wagers (unless otherwise specified) are for 90 minutes of play plus injury time. Extra time and penalty shoot outs are not counted as goals for the total or sides.

Sides

This is simply backing one team to beat the other. Place a wager and back the team you think will win the match.

Totals

Most football totals have odds of 2.5 goals and will allow bettors to choose under 2.5 goals or over 2.5 goals.  There can be no ties if the total is at 2.5 and once again, all wagers are decided in 90 minutes of play plus injury time.

Futures

These types of bets will allow you wager on upcoming events in each league. These wagers can be bet months in advance or throughout the season. The odds will change over the course of a season of play.

Future bets allow you to bet on who wins a particular league, which teams may face relegation, who may win domestic cup competitions and other possible outcomes.

Proposition Bets

These are unique types of bets on each match that are virtually limitless. Just a few examples are, wagering the number of corner kicks, which player scores the first goal or the number of substitutions. For larger matches such as the UEFA Champions League final, the oddsmakers will have a nearly unlimited list of bets.

Bet Types

The following bet types are a few of the most common types of bets in online betting. Read on to learn more about each bet type.

Single

A straight bet on one side or total, the most common type of bet.

Multiples and Accumulators

These are basically the same as an American parlay bet. A Double is a wager made up of two bets. Both bets must win for you to collect your winnings. A Treble is the same type of bet with the same rules, but involves three wagers.

Wagers with four more or more bets are called Accumulators. Again, all wagers must win or the bet loses.

Live Betting

Live betting has grown leaps and bounds over the past decade. It allows bettors to bet in real time with live updated odds. Most large bookmakers offering football betting now offer live betting.  The odds and bet types are the same but are updated on-the-fly.

The World’s Top Football Leagues

There are probably a hundred or more football leagues across the world with various levels of competition. In this section, we’ll go over the top football leagues across the world and their notable competitions.

English Premier League

The EPL is debatably the most popular league in the entire world, in all sports. It is regularly broadcasted to 600 million people in over 180 countries. Even regular season fixtures between Manchester United and Chelsea beat the American Super Bowl’s audience exponentially.

Their most notable domestic cup is the Football Association Cup (FA Cup), which is the oldest football competition in the world. The league has a three team promotion and relegation with the Football League Championship.

Spanish Primera

The Spanish Primera Division is top flight league in Spain. Often referred to as “La Liga” by English speakers, it boasts some of the world’s best players. The top clubs over the past 50 years have been Real Madrid and Barcelona, both with amazing talent.

Their top domestic cup is the Copa Del Rey, whose championship has also been dominated by Real Madrid and Barcelona. La Liga has a three team promotion and relegation with the Segunda Division.

The UEFA Champions League

Europe’s top club football competition is a year round tournament featuring the top club teams in Europe from the previous year. Beginning in mid-July with qualifying rounds and a play-off round, it moves to a group stage and then a final knockout round. The champion is crowned each May in a single game championship match at a neutral site.

Online Football Betting Tips

Football betting is a complex hobby and entire books could be written about betting strategy. However, the following tips will help you get started. Read these tips and do your own research to get off to a strong start.

Know Your League

As mentioned previously, there are literally dozens of football associations across the world that are available for online wagering. Familiarity with the top leagues is a must for football punters. Even lesser known leagues, are worth learning about if you are going to be wagering on them. Knowledge of the managers, local derbies, and team tactics are key factors no matter what league you are betting on.

Team Form

When evaluating a match, it is vital to know how each club has been playing lately, how they play on the road and at home, etc. Check their history against their opponents in head to head matchups and how they are playing on the road and at home. Do they have any extra motivation against their opponent? Are they looking ahead to a significant derby match in a few days?

Team News

This should go without saying, but it is essential to check out the current affairs of each club to look for betting opportunities. Check for injuries, suspensions, or reports of a player falling out with his manager or dissension in the locker room. Clubs will react differently to different situations. It is up to you to figure out how current situations translate into the line.

Find the Best Price

As with any form of sports betting, line shopping is critical. Finding the best line at a reputable online bookmaker is crucial to maintaining your edge against the oddsmakers. Betting exchanges are an excellent option to get the best price and since you are facing a network of your peers, certain odds may be available that are not available elsewhere. It also presents plenty of middling and scalping opportunities, giving you a chance to lock in a profit before kickoff.

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