Before you start betting on football, it pays to know what kind of bets you can make and the best strategies for making the most of your bets. There’s a lot of choices when it comes to football betting, so you’ll want to do your research if you want to be successful.
In this guide, we’ll explain how you can have more fun while placing bets on football and tips and tricks for success.
How Does Football Betting Work?
Every week, there are thousands of football matches taking place all over the world. Bookmakers will offer odds on the likelihood of specific match outcomes and occurrences, such as the number of goals scored, corners won, red and yellow cards displayed, and individual goal scorers.
A variety of bookies will have unique deals and competitive odds in order to provide you with the greatest bet possible.
When you make a winning bet, you’ll be paid back your original stake plus the rewards from the odds.
Payouts are usually instant after the event’s outcome is confirmed, meaning you can take your winnings or place another bet.
The first thing to understand about sports betting is that in sports, and especially with football, nothing is guaranteed. Sports betting is one of the most popular forms of gambling because research can give you an advantage. However, due to the nature of football and how unpredictable it can be, all of your research and careful planning can be undone by the bounce of a ball. Surprise results are always possible, and it’s what makes the sport so exciting to bet on. For this reason, it’s important to manage your risk as well as doing the right research into the best markets and matches to bet on.
Bookmakers offer a range of different bets, and some of the biggest events offer hundreds of different types, also known as markets. Some of the most popular types of football bets include:
Match Bet - A match bet is the most common type of bet and one that’s available on every single event. It’s simply a bet on what you think the end result of the match will be after the regulated 90 minutes of play. There are three options to bet on here. You can bet that either the home team or the away team will win, or you can bet on a draw. Match bets are always paid out after 90 minutes, which is something to remember if the game is a tournament fixture that includes extra time or penalties.
Correct Score - The correct score is, as the name suggests, a bet on what you think the final score of the match will be. This is a much harder bet to predict, as football matches can have a huge variety of different scores, but the potential payouts are also much better than many other markets.
Asian Handicap - Handicap bets apply a handicap to one of the teams, meaning that this team will then start the game with a goal deficit. Asian Handicaps remove draws from the equation, and whichever team you pick will need to overcome the goal deficit or avoid losing by that margin. For example, a game between Manchester United and Burnley might give a -1.5 handicap to Manchester United and a +1.5 goal advantage to Burnley. If you pick Burnley, they have to avoid losing by more than 1.5 goals. On the other hand, if you pick Manchester United, they would need to win by more than 1.5 goals for your bet to be successful.
Bet Builder/Same Game Multi - Bet builders, also known as same game multi bets, are fairly new compared to other types of football bets. They’ve recently started to become much more popular online and allow bettors to choose multiple markets on the same game and combine them in a single bet. Much like an accumulator, these bets can provide massive payouts if you’re lucky enough.
Goalscorer - Goalscorer bets consist of a few different types of bet, including anytime goalscorer and first-time goalscorer. You’re picking the player who you think will score at some point in the game or the one you believe will score first in the match.
Half-Time/Full-Time - This bet allows you to bet on both the half time result and the full-time result. For example, you can bet that the game will be a draw at half-time but that the home team will be the winner at full time. Some sites also allow you to bet on half time/ full-time scores as well.
Double Chance - A double chance bet is a bet on two of the three possible outcomes of the game. So instead of just betting on the home side to win, you can bet on the home side to win or for the game to end in a draw.
Scorecast - A scorecast bet combines the correct score market with a goal scorer market. For example, you can bet on Leicester City to win 2-1 and Jamie Vardy to score at any time. Scorecast odds are much higher than regular correct score bets because there are two separate outcomes.
Accumulator - Accumulator bets combine multiple selections across multiple games into one bet. For example, you could bet on the outcome of every Champions League game happening that night, picking Real Madrid, Chelsea and Bayern Munich all to win. The more selections you add, the higher the odds will be, but every one of your selections needs to be right for your bet to payout.
Over/Under - Over/under bets are a bet on the total number of goals in a match. You can choose either under or over a particular number. For example, if you think a game is going to be low scoring, you’ll go with under 2.5 goals.
Draw No Bet - A draw no bet is like the match bet, only it removes the option of betting on a draw. You can only choose the home team or the away team. In the event of a draw, instead of losing your stake, it will be returned to you.
Outright Bets - Outright bets allow you to choose what you think will happen at the end of a competition. For example, you can bet on which team you think will be crowned Bundesliga champions, or you can bet on which player will be the top goalscorer in their league or even on which player will win the Ballon 'D'or.
How to Find Value When Choosing Your Football Bets
While there are no sure things when it comes to betting on football, you can improve your chances of success by looking for value in the odds. Value is how bettors describe the odds of an event that they believe don’t reflect the true probability of the event occurring. For example, if you see that PSG are the heavy favourites to beat Lille, but you believe that Lille actually has a good chance of winning, then you might say there is value in betting against PSG.
Most of the time, the bookies are good at pricing the odds based on the implied probability of each event occurring. However, the odds do change over time as bettors place their bets. In many cases, bookmakers will look to have equal money on both sides of the bet so that no matter what happens, they make money. As a result, fan favourite teams often have their odds inflated by bettors, and you can make good money by looking for teams that are underrated.
Aside from looking for value, as a new bettor, you should be looking at simpler betting markets. Match Bet, goalscorer and over/under goals scored markets, as well as those with lower risk, such as Draw No Bet, will suit less experienced bettors. You should also only gamble on markets you're familiar with, as well as leagues and teams you're familiar with. This way, you can make more informed betting decisions as you have a better chance of knowing which teams are stronger and which players are more likely to make an impact.
Dos and Don’ts of Football Betting
If you want to be able to consistently make a profit betting on football, you’ll do well to remember the following dos and don’ts:
Use your head - Using your head means thinking carefully about each bet. A lot of bettors prefer to bet on their favourite teams or bet against their least favourite teams. Many also automatically assume that the favourite will come out on top. If you want to be successful, you’ll need to think logically and consider the different factors that affect a football match.
Manage your spending - Betting is fun, but it can become a problem if you’re not careful with how much you spend. Anyone who has been betting for long enough will tell you that managing your bankroll (the amount of funds you have to bet) is vital. You should keep your bets to a certain percentage of your bankroll. That way, your bets get larger as your bankroll grows and get smaller as it decreases. By managing your spending, you can bet for longer while spending less.
Do your research - As with using your head, research is important if you want to get an edge in sports betting. You don’t have to spend countless hours studying the game, but you should at least know the quality of certain players and how they affect the overall performance of their teams. You should also pay attention to stats and head to head records, as these can have a big impact on future results.
Use sports betting bonuses - Most sports betting sites offer free bets and matched deposit bonuses to new users, and many offer rewards to their current bettors too. You should look to use these whenever possible as they reduce the risk to your own cash and can be a lot of fun. Just be careful to read the terms and conditions thoroughly.
Be patient - Patience is a virtue, and this is especially true in sports betting. You should be researching and waiting for the odds to move in your favour, and it often pays to wait. You should also avoid betting on too many games at once. Take it slow and steady when you first get started, as there are plenty of games to bet on.
Don’t bet more than you can afford to lose - As well as managing your spending, it’s important to always keep your bets manageable. In some cases, you might be tempted by a bet that you feel is a sure thing, but nothing is ever certain in football, so you should never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Don’t bet on preseason or non-competitive games - Preseason and friendly fixtures are often used by managers to allow their squad to gain fitness, and it’s very difficult to ever predict what will happen or which players will be involved. As a result, betting on these is usually ill-advised.
Don’t get carried away - It’s easy to get carried away if you land a big return on a bet, but you should always bet smart and stick to the same strategy as ever. Likewise, if you’re on a losing streak, it can be very frustrating and result in you losing focus. Always stick to your strategy and take a break if you need to change your mindset.
Don’t bet on leagues or teams you don’t know well - If you want the best results, knowing the teams, players and competition is important. There are thousands of matches happening all the time, but it’s not a good idea to bet on games where you have no clue about either side.