How to Bet on Football - Betting Markets Explained
The beautiful game is the most popular sport on the planet, a statistic that’s not about to change any time soon. If you’re a betting fan, this is good and bad news…good because it means you’ll have no shortage of betting options but bad because the bookies will have a huge amount of data to base their offers and odds on!
A love of football is a good start and following the game as a fan will give you a great head-start. However, if you want to beat the bookies and start to rake in those wins, you’ll need to do your homework too. Bookies have a complex array of algorithms, expertise and data but that doesn’t mean that you can’t win - as they say, football is a funny old game and anything can happen!
You’ll have the choice of sticking with the league(s) that you usually watch as well as betting on many other leagues from around the world. The more you know about a particular league and players, the less research you’ll have to do so you might want to start with the Premier League, Champions League, or FA Cup. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bet on other leagues though - some offer great opportunities. For example, the Swedish Allsvenskan is a high-scoring league with weaker defences, similarly to the MLS in the USA.
Being willing to bet on other leagues not only offers different opportunities, it also means you can play all year round. When the British leagues and European tournaments such as the Champions League stop you’ll find there are plenty of others in the world which are still playing between May and August, such as the Japanese J-League and Serie A in Brazil.
Preparing to Place a Bet on Football
So you’ve decided you want to bet on the football, but aren’t sure how to get started. This section will run through the prep you need to do to have the best chance of winning.
If you’ve got a match in mind, check out the following before putting your hand in your pocket:
- The recent form for both teams (most importantly, the last 5 games)
- Head-to-head results for both home and away fixtures
- The ref scheduled to take charge and their history with the teams
- Any injuries
- Results between the two managers during their career.
It might sound like a lot of information to research but all the details can easily be found online and will put you in the driving seat to take up a winning position. It’s also another reason why loving football will help because you won’t find it a chore to read about the subject!
Guide to Football Betting Markets
There are many different types of bet you can place, but whatever you decide to bet on you’ll need to know the different strategies you can adopt. Some popular markets for football betting are as follows:
1x2 Match Betting - With this market you bet on either team to win or the draw. There are 3 possible outcomes in this market. If the teams are evenly matched, the odds will be similar for each team to win and slightly bigger for the draw. If one team is a hot favourite and is playing at home, you will find that the home team is a very short price and the away team is a much longer price. We have seen teams as high as 20-1 to win games in the Premier League
BTTS Yes/No - Both Teams To Score is a market that is growing in popularity for football punters. It has 2 outcomes, BTTS yes or BTTS no. You simply need to decide if you think both teams will score in the game, if you do then you select yes. If you don’t think both teams will score, then select no. The odds are normally quite short, making them great for adding to accumulators. If you want the full lowdown for this market, check out our BTTS tips page.
Over/Under Goals - With the under over goals market you place a bet on whether the number of goals will be over or under a certain number. The markets are as follows:
- over/under 0.5 goals
- over/under 1.5 goals
- over/under 2.5 goals
- over/under 3.5 goals
- over/under 4.5 goals
- over/under 5.5 goals
- over/under 6.5 goals
- over/under 7.5 goals
- over/under 8.5 goals
If you are new to the under/over goals markets, you may be wondering why the increments are set at .5 goals. The answer is pretty simple and it’s to make sure there can only be 2 outcomes. If it were set to a round number, for example under/over 1 goal there are 3 potential outcomes for the market; under 1 goal, over 1 goal and exactly 1 goal in the game. With 0.5 goal increments there are only 2 outcomes, over or under the defined number.
It’s also worth noting that if you are backing under 0.5 goals then this is the same as placing a bet on the correct score being 0-0, so if you think that this will be the outcome, check the correct score market 0-0 to see which one has the bigger odds. In the vast majority of cases, the odds will be the same, but sometimes they are different. If they are, pick the market with the greatest odds.
First, Last, Anytime Goalscorer Betting
Have you spotted a player that’s hit a rich vein of goalscoring form? Or do you fancy one of your defenders nodding one in from a corner? If you’ve got a feeling about who is going to be on the scoresheet, then the goalscorer markets are certainly one to have a look at. With the goalscorer markets it’s broken down into the following.
- First goalscorer - who will score first in the game
- Last goalscorer - who will score last in the game
- Anytime goalscorer - who will score anytime in the game.
With goalscorer markets remember that own goals don’t count. So if your defender scores a worldy at the wrong end, unfortunately that won’t count.
You will find that there are plenty of ongoing betting offers for existing customers that relate to the goalscorer betting markets. Betfred run their double delight hat-trick heaven promotion for selected games, where if you bet on the first goalscorer and they go on to score a second goal you get double odds and if they get a hattrick, you get treble odds on your winning bet.
- Paddy Power run money back as a free bet if certain players score, or if a certain team wins on goalscorer markets for certain promotional games.
- Boylesports run double winnings on first, second and last goalscorer markets if a penalty is scored in selected games.
- 888sport run a goalscorer promotion on selected games where you get your money back if the game ends in a draw.
Correct Score Betting
If you want bigger odds on your football bet then it’s worth taking a look at the correct score market. With correct score betting you place a bet on what you think the score will be after 90 minutes (plus injury time). It’s important to remember that if you are betting on a game that could go to extra time and penalties, these goals will not count. You are betting on the score during normal time.
Correct score odds can range from as low as 5-1 all the way up to 100-1+. When placing your correct score bet the home team’s score is listed first and the away team second. For example, if the fixture is Liverpool v Man City and you bet on the correct score market 2-1 at 10-1 for £10, you are betting that Liverpool will win the game 2-1 and if that is the correct score you will win £100 plus your stake back.
One of the drawbacks of correct score betting is that your bet can lose very quickly. It’s a very precise bet and takes just one goal to ruin your payout. It can also add a great level of excitement to the match. There is no better feeling than a last minute winner to bring home your 50-1 correct score bet.
Asian Handicap Betting
This is where the high rollers tend to place their bets. Tony Bloom, owner and chairman of Brighton Hove Albion has a company called StarLizard that focuses purey on placing Asian handicap bets, predominantly on football. It is thought to be one of the most successful betting syndicates in history.
Asian handicap betting gives either team a handicap or a headstart in the game to try and even up the field. If Manchester City were playing Yeovil town, you might have an Asian handicap market of Man City v Yeovil town - Yeovil Town +4 goals and odds of evens. This means that you are backing Yeovil to win, but they have a 4 goal headstart. If Yeovil were to lose the game 0-2, you would still win the bet because in the handicap market they have effectively won the game 4-2.
You can also get +/- .5 handicap markets and this effectively prevents there being a draw and results in there only being 2 outcomes in much the same way that the 0.5 goal does in the over/under market.
Asian handicap betting is (unsurprisingly) a lot more popular in Asia than the UK, but plenty of UK bookmakers and betting exchanges offer Asian handicap markets for football matches. If you are interested in Asian handicap betting take a look at William Hill, Betfair, Ladbrokes. The Betstars sign up offer occasionally includes Asian handicap markets, so lookout for that promotion.
Football scorecasts are a popular bet on the traditional football coupons. With a scorecast you are placing a bet on one of the following:
- First goalscorer
- Last goalscorer
- Anytime goalscorer
And combining this the correct score. An example of a scorecast bet would be Harry Kane First goal 2-0, 25-1. In this case you are betting on Harry Kane to score first and Tottenham to win 2-0.
With a scorecasts own goals don’t count for the first, last or anytime scorer portion of the bet, but they will count for the correct score element.
Football Wincast Betting
Wincasts have been growing in popularity in recent years, especially with the growth of online betting. They are also normally an accepted wager for free bets as well, so worth having a look at when you are deciding to have a wager.
Football wincast bets are very similar to scorecasts, but instead of predicting the actual score, you are predicting which team will win the game, or if it will be a draw. An example of a wincast would be Harry Kane to score anytime and Tottenham to win 7-2. In this example as long as Harry Kane scores in the game (not an own goal) and Tottenham win the match, your bet is a winning one.
The odds will be lower for wincast bets than scorecasts for the simple reason that a wincast has a greater chance of winning and can be a good option if you want a greater chance of success, albeit at lower odds.
Take a look at the Betway welcome offer, if you are looking at placing a wincast bet, as you can use your free bets on them.
As well as traditional bets placed shortly before the kick-off, there are some other alternatives to consider.
Live In Play Betting
Also known as in-play betting, live betting means you can place bets once the match has started. Not all types of bets are available as a live bet but there’s still a pretty good assortment on offer. In Play betting is a far more fluid market as the bookies adjust and adapt to what’s going on in the match. Therefore, if you see decent odds, it’s a good idea to nab them before everything changes again!
Why wait to place your bet? Most footie fans get a feel for a match after it kicks off. No matter what the stats say, sometimes your gut instinct tells you how a game is going to play out. If you think you can read a match well, In play betting could be for you.
Live betting also allows you to crank up your stake during the match if you’re certain you’re going to bank a good result. Conversely, if your bet goes belly up within the first few minutes you could put another one down so you still have a chance of walking away with a win.
The odds will move constantly during the match, and invariably your opinion might alter during the match too. However, as a general rule if you’re going to bet on an event not happening it’s better to place it early because as time ticks on, the odds will go down. On the opposite end, if you’re betting on something happening during a match, the later you bet the higher odds you’re likely to receive.
Control and self-discipline is particularly key for live betting as it’s easy to blow a whole wad of cash as you get caught up in the excitement of the game. Make sure you set a limit and stick to it, no matter how tempting the play is looking.
Arguably one of the strategies most interesting to the average customer, matched betting offers a way to prevent losses. Yes, that’s right: you don’t have to lose when you bet on the football. It’s legal and it’s a genuine way to place a bet for the best possible outcome.
Put simply, with matched betting you cover both sides of the bet. However, rather than using your own cash, you take advantage of the freebies offered by the bookie. This might be a new customer incentive or a reload deal. Look out for specific deals for tournaments such as UEFA Champions League offers or FA Cup offers, as well as deals which are more generic.
Matched betting is a relatively simple approach that anyone can take advantage of, even those who are new to football betting. It’s a good idea to start with a float of approximately £50; you don’t need to bet big to collect the cash.
As you might expect, bookies aren’t massive fans of matched betting because it leaves them without any profit. Legally you’re in the clear but bookies feel as if they’re losing out and as a result may put restrictions on your account with them. This is known as “gubbing” and there’s not much you can do about it - other than use one of the many other bookmakers around!