Football is the most betted-on sport in the world for a variety of reasons. First up, it is the most commonly played sport globally, with upwards of 250 million players (both professional and amateur) playing the Beautiful Game across more than 200 countries.
FIFA, the sport’s global governing body, is home to 211 member nations, each of which having their own national leagues operating under its jurisdiction. What does that mean? Well, as far as betting on football is concerned, you are served with an a la carte menu of tournaments, leagues and matches to bet on, which means you have a near interrupted footballing calendar.
What makes football even more attractive for punters is that almost everybody has an opinion on it. Yes, bookmakers are banking on their opinion being more accurate than your own, but the social element of football bringing people together makes it a much more appealing betting proposition to the general public, which ultimately results in football being the most common sport for punters to place bets. Placing bets and watching matches with friends is all part of the experience - so much so that the relationship between football and betting is like hand and glove.
In this guide, we will be taking a look at the wide range of markets, as well as looking at when are the best times to be betting on football, while also giving you our ten golden rules for betting on football. So sit back, strap yourself in, and prepare to soak everything in, in the Betting.com guide to betting on football.
Odds and Markets for Betting on football
In this section, we’re going to dive into some of the most popular markets when betting on football. As you will see, the vast majority of the football betting markets are relatively straightforward, which should make your first forays into the betting on football world a stress-free experience:
Match Result: Nice and easy, who will win the match? Your options are, of course, the home team, the draw or the away team. This football betting market is often the most appealing for accumulator bets, but if the value is right, there are opportunities to cash in if you’re willing to stake big portions of your bankroll.
Correct Score: Again, a pretty straightforward one, this time where you predict the correct final score. We’d only recommend this if you’re feeling particularly lucky, as the volatility of football can often make predicting a scoreline extremely difficult.
Half-time/Full-time: Sometimes known as the Double Result market, this is where punters predict the result of the game at half-time, as well as full-time. For example, you may think that Team A is likely to comfortably beat Team B. Now, in order to enhance your odds, you would bet on Team A to be leading at half-time and at the end of the match.
An example would be for an international between Turkey and Italy. The Italians are priced up at 1/2 to win the game, which is nothing to shout about. However, if you have a particular feeling that the Blues will come out on top in a comfortable fashion, then a bet on the Italy/Italy Half-time/Full-time market would give you a much more valuable 7/5 bet.
Over and Unders markets: These bets are traditionally reserved for in-game events such as cards, goals and corners, and represent a fun way for bettors to follow a game. An example would be a bet on there to be more than 10 corners in a game. Bookmakers offer the option to bet on a binary result in that market (Over or under 10.5 corners) or they alternatively can give you odds on three outcomes (Under 10, Over 10, or Exactly 10). The latter options provides slightly more value should your bet win, but there is a risk of excruciating frustration if your over ten corners bet finishes up on exactly ten. You don’t know real pain until that happens…
First goal scorer: A fun football betting market if there is a striker bang in form. In this market, you are simply betting on the first goal scorer in the match. Usually, if an own goal is scored first, then the bet is rolled over to the next goal. Odds are usually pretty appetizing in this market, even when backing a favourite. A similar bet, but one that provides slightly less value, is the anytime goal scorer market, which is simply betting on a player to score at any point during the 90 minutes.
Double Chance: This gives you two bites of the metaphorical cherry. Let’s say you think there is a good chance that an underdog will come away from a game against a heavy favourite with a result, whether that be a victory or a draw. You can back both of these outcomes in the Double Chance market. The dangling carrot when it comes to placing this bet is that despite the loss in value from backing two outcomes in an event that has three potential results, you are still often left with a bet of decent potential returns.
Same-game accumulators: Another way for punters to enhance the match-watching experience is to combine several bets in the same match into one easy to follow accumulator. An example of this would be to combine bets in the Match Result, First goalscorer and Overs/Unders football betting markets. A combination of these bets can easily take an accumulator to upwards of 30/1 (providing on the selections, of course) and the end product is a great bet for those of you who are thinking of betting on football with friends.
Both teams to score: This is another common bet to place when putting together an accumulator bet. Here, you are simply betting on both sides to score a goal during the course of the 90 minutes (you can also bet that neither or one of the teams fail to find the back of the net). The run of the mill odds for this tend to be something in the region of between 4/5 (1.8) to 1/2 (1.5) which don’t look hugely appetizing if you were looking for a big single bet, but the odds can quickly multiply when you put together a handful of selections. If you’re looking for a simple, fun way to have an accumulator on a Saturday afternoon, then a Both Teams to Score acca is usually the way to go, as it doesn’t require a huge deal of thought or research beforehand.
Handicaps and Asian handicaps: These are the slightly more advanced football betting markets for the seasoned punters, but they have great value attached to them if you are able to spot an opportunity to cash in.
Now, let’s say that you reckon Team A (yes, them again) are going to hand out a bit of a thrashing to Team B (I’m starting to feel sorry for those guys). Team A, at odds of 1/4 (1.25) represent pretty poor value, however, we are able to squeeze more value out of the bet by essentially betting on them to win, even when the other side is given a theoretical goal head start.
Using the 1/4 example, which, in the next screenshot, is Brazil for their upcoming game against Venezuela…
As you can see, a bet on Brazil to win, despite a -2 deficit (meaning Venezuela theoretically begin the game 2-0 up) gives us a much more appealing bet of 2/1 (3.0).
You also have the Asian handicaps, which eliminates the draw from your bet. Using our Latin American example, if the game was to finish 2-2, your stake would be refunded. However, this is reflected in slightly worsened odds on the win, but it does give you a layer of protection on your bets.