Football Betting / How to Bet on Football

One of the sports that is most commonly associated with “sports betting” is that of betting on football. The sport is not only the biggest in the UK, but also the biggest in the world. It makes sense that bookmakers target football probably more than other sports for this exact reason.

Betting on any sport is going to be hard to make money on, but with just a little bit of knowledge and research invested into your bets, we can guarantee that you can be a better-informed punter, which in turn should lead you to a more profitable punter as well.

Types of Football Bets

If you’ve spent any time searching through the biggest bookmakers in the world then you’ll be aware that these bookmakers are now able to offer a massive range of betting markets to choose from. In fact, over the last decade or so the emergence of markets such as Both Teams To Score and Coupon bets has allowed this sector of the industry to become about as diverse as it’s ever been.

Below we have listed some of the more common football bets and with it, explanations as to how each of these works.

Match Betting

Match betting is going to be the most popular football betting market and is one that will be covered by all bookmakers. The market is simple and for this all you need to do is select either a home win, away win or the draw. It can also be referred to as the Win-Draw-Win market for this exact reason.

There are a number of variations of this betting market as well, one of the most common is the Double Chance market. This is where you are able to take two results in one bet. For example, this could be home win and draw, away win and draw and home win or away win. 

Again, both of these can be extended with that of full time and half-time betting. The markets work in the same way apart from half time bets being settled at half time and full time including the full match.

Handicap Betting

Handicap betting has been one of the most popular betting markets over the last decade or so. This form of betting is one that has been huge in the US with sports such as American Football and Basketball, but it’s only just starting to become really popular in Europe as well, especially within the realms of football betting.

The concept of this betting market is to give one team an advantage over the other. When it comes to football betting, this advantage (or disadvantage) comes in the form of goals. So, you can either back a team to have a goal advantage or goal disadvantage, depending on their chances of success.

For example, you back Team A who are playing against Team B with a handicap of +1. This means that 1 goal will be added to that teams score at full time to create the handicap result. Let’s say that they draw the game 1-1, the handicap would then be added, meaning they get an extra goal, so the adjusted result would be 2-1 and the bet would be a winner.

If you are removing goals from one team as part of the handicap then the bet is represented as a negative number.

Another form of handicap betting is that of the Asian Handicap. As the name would suggest, this betting market is derived from Asia and has been made in order to eliminate the “draw” bet, meaning that it’s simply a 2-result betting market. They do this by representing handicaps as fractions, usually in blocks of 0.5.

For example, a typical bet would be Team A -1.5, which would mean that Team A would have 1.5 goals removed from their overall score. Let’s say that Team A beat Team B 3-1, the adjusted result would then bet 1.5-1, meaning your bet would win. Essentially, a -1.5 handicap means that the team needs to win by 2 or more. A -2.5 handicap would be 3 or more goals and so on.

Again, like the traditional handicap bets, these can come as both positive and negative numbers, meaning that goals can be added or removed where specified.

Correct Score

Correct score betting is probably the most lucrative single market that you can bet on with football, but at the same time it’s also the toughest to call. The concept is very simple in that all you need to do is predict the score at full time for that match.

What’s worth pointing out for this market is that the prices can vary massively for each bookmaker. The lowest price for a “favourite” in the market is usually around the 5.00 mark and they tend to work upwards, usually in some sort of correlation between the number of goes and the price that the bookmaker is offering.

When picking a score line, it’s often worth bearing in mind the range of scores on offer and also the most popular score lines. Throughout the 2017/18 Premier League season, these were the top 5 scores and the percentage of games that had this score line:

  • 1-1 = 12%
  • 1-0 = 12%
  • 2-1 = 8%
  • 0-0 = 8%
  • 2-0 = 7%

Over/Under Goals

This variation on the total goals market is another that is now one of the most popular betting markets in the industry. It’s been one that is heavily used with accumulator betting, but also can offer enough value to standalone for single bets as well.

The process of the bet is where you simply choose if there will be over or under the line of goals set by the bookmaker. The line will always be represented as a fraction, so there can be no ties or push circumstances.

For example, the most common line is that of 2.5 goals. This essentially means that if you were betting on the over 2.5 goals you would need 3 or more goals and if you were betting on the under you need 2 or less. The line can be adjusted as you wish, with bookies often offering prices from as low as 0.5 right up to 6.5 and even higher for some notoriously high scoring games or leagues.

Both Teams To Score (BTTS)

There are few, if any markets that have seen as big a rise to fame as the Both Teams To Score market. It was originally included by Betfred and then made famous by their Goals Galore list, but now can be used as part of accumulator bets or simply as single bets, with just as much success.

For this bet you are betting on a match where you need both teams to score one or more goals in that game. The result of the match is irrelevant and as soon as both teams have scored, then the market will be settled as a win.

There are several variations of these types of bets that include Both Teams To Score No and Both Teams To Score and Result. The BTTS No market is the reverse of the one mentioned above and for this you will need one or both teams to not score in that match.

BTTS and the result is one that’s been seeing huge increases in popularity of late. For this you not only need to pick games where both teams score, but also the result for that match, be it home win, away win or draw. For example, you could pick Team A to win and BTTS. A winning result for this might be 3-1 to Team A, where they have won the match but also had both teams scoring.

Goalscorer Bets

This market is all based around certain players to score and at a particular point in the match. The most common is that of the first, last and anytime scorer, where a player must score first, last or ay any time for each respected market. The odds will reflect the difficulty of calling these evets, with anytime scorer being lower than first or last simply down to the fact that there is much wider range of time of the event to take place.

There’s actually a wide range of rules that you need to be aware of, which we talk more about in the full article. These include scenarios such as if your player doesn’t feature in the match or if the first goal is an own goal.

Coupons

Coupons have seen a sharp rise in interest over the last 5 years and what’s ironic about that is that they were really where football betting started, with the likes of The Pools and bets similar to that. The concept is actually pretty much the same, in that you get a long list of games or bets to choose from and then make your selections accordingly. The biggest difference is the range of betting markets that you can chose from and of course, the jackpots that are stake.

These bets have become popular down to the fact that they allow you to win large sums of money from a very small initial outlay.

Goals Galore by Betfred was probably the start of the revival for these bet types. The bet requires you to select a number of games from the BTTS market. With it you are given a long list of matches to choose from and the more games that you include the higher the odds that you take.

It’s slightly different from that of an accumulator bet in that the odds that you take are fixed depending on the number of games that you choose. For example, 3 selections pay 3/1, 4 pays 11/2, 5 pays 10/1 and so on, right up to 15 selections, which pays a massive 1350/1.

As an addition to this bet type, they also include a Bonus list. This list includes fewer games than the Long List and with it is a little tougher to call. But, fixed odds are increased quite considerably and range from anywhere between 1.5x to 3.5x the Long List.

Coral’s Football Jackpot is similar again, but for this you are picking the result of 15 games from a list. With the Football Jackpot you are actually able to choose more than one result for each game, and as you do, this increase the number of “lines” that you bet. For this your stake will be a multiple of the lines that you bet. A single result selection for each of the 15 games (home win, away win or draw) will contribute to just 1 line. As you add multiple selections for certain games then the lines will increase, and your stake is charge by the line.

What’s great about this jackpot is that there is £1million up for grabs should you get all 15 of them correct.

Betfair’s versions is a little different again as you choose to bet as part of a syndicate. They still have a standard jackpot game that you can play on your won, working in the same way that Coral’s does above, but you can also choose to jump on other people’s selections for their pool bets. It’s worth noting that the syndicate will only run once the whole pool has been filled.

Important Match Betting Rules

There are a lot of rules that are applicable when betting on football and some are less common than others. You don’t need to know them all, but it’s handy to have a good grasp on what happens within certain scenarios as they can have a huge effect on your bet or the outcome of the returns that you were expecting.

90 minutes

The 90-minute rule is one that many people simply get wrong. This is where you are betting on the outcome of your bet being settled within the 90 minutes of a football match. This includes both added on time in the first half and added on time in the second.

This will not include any extra time or penalties when cup games are taking place. For these bets you will need to select the team to qualify to the next round of the coemption and not the 90 minutes if this is the bet you want to place.

Most bookies will open up special extra time betting when extra time or penalties take place. These will work exclusively in these timeframes and can be accessed by your bookmakers live betting portal.

Own Goals

Own goals will not count towards any goalscorer betting market. So, if you’ve bet on the first goalscorer market and the first goal is an own goal, then your bet will still be live for the purpose of this betting market. The same works if you are betting on the last goalscorer. Also, an own goal will not count for bets where you have backed that player to score first.

The only circumstances where this will be considered is when you have backed either the first goal to be an own goal or an anytime bet to be an own goal.

Obviously, these goals will still count for markets such as the Match Result, Handicaps, Correct Scores, Over/Under total goals and many more.

League and Cup Bets

League and cup betting are markets that are probably not used as often as it should be. When we reference these markets, we mean bets on the outright winner of a certain league, promotion, relegation and cup success.

You’ll generally find that a lot of people will place a bet at the start of the season highlighting which team they think will win that league or indeed the cup. The true value is actually placing these bets throughout the season, taking advantage of form and potential routes to the final or even upcoming fixtures. It’s actually a very popular back to lay market, where punters get on and after a few good results, simply lay off to lock in a profit. The beauty of this is that form can pick up at any time, so even letting it run can be profitable.

There are three main areas for these bet types:

Winner

The winner is the most popular market and this is where you are looking to pick the winner of a certain league or a cup competition. Unlike match betting, however, there is no draw or 90 minute rule. You're betting on which team will be crowned the winner at the end of the tournament - also known as 'to lift the trophy'.

Each Way

Each way betting is a massively underused market in football betting, but one that does work well with these types of bets. These bets are when you split your stake into two bets; one on the team win and the other on the team to finish within a certain number of places.

As an extension of this, you could look at place betting, which in football would be the equivalent of choosing teams to finish within a certain number of places. Popular choices for this include Top 2, Top 4 and Top 6, as these are generally either Champions League or European spots in the Premier League or automatic promotion spots and play-off spots in the lower leagues.

Top Goalscorer

Top goalscorer bets are when you are betting on a player to score the most goals in a single league, tournament tor cup coemption.

Ante Post

Ante post betting is not something that is commonly associated with football betting, but it is a market that you need to be aware of, especially for bets like the three we have just mentioned above.

For those that don’t know, an ante post market is a market that is set up by a bookmaker a considerable amount of time before the start of that event. So, this could be for league winners in the following season just a few hours after that previous season has finished. They are set up on a basis where they don’t have an awful lot of facts on how it might pan out but offer up a market regardless.

The downside to this market is that should a player or a team not take part in the market for whatever reason, you will not get your stake back. So, if you back a player for top goalscorer in their league, but they get transferred a few days before the start of the season, you won’t get a refund on your bet.

Dead Heats in Tournaments

Dead heats are pretty rare in football, but they can occur, especially in tournament football.
The concept of it is when two or more selections are tied for the winning result. This could be something like 2 players on the same number of goals within the top goalscorer market or 2 players tied on the same number of assists for the top assists market.

When this occurs, dead heat rules will apply. It’s a pretty simple process, all that occurs is that your original stake is divided by the number of results involved in the dead heat and then this becomes your new stake. The odds that you took remain the same. Let’s run through a quick example.

You stake £10 at odds of 10.00 on Player A to be top goalscorer at the World Cup. They score 7 goals in total, but they are tied with 2 other players (3 in total). The adjustment would mean that our original stake of £10 would be divided by the total number of players in the dead heat, which in this case is 3. So, £10/3 = £3.33. The odds of 10.00 would remain the same and our new payout would then be: £3.33 x 10.00 = £33.33.

Women’s Football

Women’s football is actually one of the fastest growing betting sections in the sport at the minute. Whilst it’s been around for a long time now, in terms of betting development has ben slow. But, the increase in exposure, especially at club level has seen bookmakers start to increase traction within the sport.

Whilst the sport doesn’t have the betting markets or the coverage of the men’s game just yet, it’s actually offers a far greater niche to find value from betting on football. Given that the coverage is less, the difference in odds between bookies can be huge, meaning that it’s often easier to find value from these games than the men’s game, providing you know what you are looking for that is!