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How to Bet on Football

Football betting is the bread and butter of the online wagering industry; more money is bet on football than any other sport.

Whether it’s third-tier Croatian football or the Champions League Final- somebody, somewhere is betting on it.

Betting on football is generally done by fans wagering on their team, but punters looking to pick up consistent returns on football should generally try to wager on neutral matches, allowing you to separate your heart from your brain.

While football is a game full of magical moments, where nothing is impossible, it’s important to prevent these moments from factoring into your bets- you don’t want to have to rely on a miracle just to get paid.

The best advice for novice football punters is to keep your bets reasonable, and don’t get carried away chasing jackpot payouts.

Betting Markets

Football is generally the main offering with most major bookmakers, and you’ll usually be looking at anywhere from 70 to 120 different markets on big fixtures.

Outright competition betting is usually available throughout the season although there are always more open and creative betting opportunities available during the pre-season warm-ups.

Betting exchanges are popular destinations for football wagering and you’re generally going to find better prices on markets that are popular and well-developed. The exchanges are first-rate destinations just before a high-profile fixture is about to kick off, as that’s when you’ll nearly always find better odds than the bookmakers have on offer.

Live betting on football is massively popular and there are some different techniques between pre-match and in-play wagering. A lot of punters make some pre-match bets and then use the in-play opportunity to either double down on their existing bets or hedge them if things look to be going pear-shaped.

What to Look For

With better players and more predictable tactics, betting on higher-profile fixtures is considerably easier than betting on more obscure matches.

The odds on home sides winning are generally shorter than an away win if the teams are somewhat evenly matched. Beware of awayfavouritesas they can sometimes get a rude awakening despite boasting a better cast of players.

Betting on outright results is complicated by the fact that draws tend to happen more often in football than in other sports. You’re not just betting on who’s going to win- you also have to factor in the draw.

A number of punters will back an outright result and then wait for an in-play wager if the draw looks like it’s going to pan out. If you’re looking to just bet on a team outright, you might want to delve into the draw-no-bet market, where the match ending in a draw will earn you you’re your original stake.

Unfortunately, this luxury will cost you a fair chunk of your margin with teams listed at roughly half the odds they’re listed at in the outright result.

12 Questions to Ask Before Placing your Bet

Doing your homework is important, but being able to predict the rhythm of the match is generally the deciding factor in you getting paid out or not.

Think about how the teams stack up against each other and where the gaps are likely to be. Before placing any football bet, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Where are these teams ranked in their respective league or tournament?
  2. Who are the livewire players that the teams base their offense and defense around?
  3. Where do we expect to see the key match-ups on the pitch?
  4. Does either side have a player with a discipline problem?
  5. Does either side tend to score from a particular pattern (e.g. Stoke City/long throws)?
  6. Which side boasts an advantage on set-pieces?
  7. Does either side have an injury problem?
  8. Were words exchanged pre-match between players or managers?
  9. Is there a notable rivalry between the clubs?
  10. What is the historical record between the two clubs? Is that record relevant?
  11. Is a manager or any particular player under pressure to perform today?
  12. Would both teams settle for a draw?

Only when you have a full set of information can you look for value in any of the bets being offered. Your goal is to look for the bets which find the line between being both profitable and probable.

Types of Bets

There are so many different types of football bets, that it would be nearly impossible to list them all. Instead we will be focusing on the more popular markets that tend to see the most volume.

1X2:This is another name for outright result betting. You are betting on either team 1 to win, team 2 to win or the draw (X).

Correct Score:Exactly as the name implies, this wager predicts the final score. By and large, in a relatively even match, the lowest odds will be on a 1-1 draw.

Goalscorer Betting:There are a number of different goalscorer bets, with first goalscorer considered to be the most popular. You’ll be looking at some solid odds with the betting favourites generally priced around 5/1 or 6/1 to open the scoring.

Anytime goalscorer will generally offer up odds of less than half what you’ll find on first goalscorer, and last goalscorer betting usually mirrors the first goalscorer odds.

Handicaps:If one side is more favoured than the other, or you just think they’re going to run away with the match, you can back them to win on a handicap. Arsenal (-1.0) means that if you subtract 1 goal from Arsenal’s total they will still boast a winning scoreline.

Corners:Most bookmakers list odds on the total amount of corners we can expect in each match, and this is generally a litmus test on how much attacking you expect in the match.

A fixture being played mostly in the midfield with very few chances likely isn’t going to see too many corners, as opposed to an end-to-end match with lots of last-ditch defending.

Scorecast: This is an extremely popular jackpot wager that can pay big dividends if you get it right. A scorecast single is a wager on the correct score of the match coupled with the first goalscorer.

The odds between the two are multiplied so if you have a player at 5/1 to score first and a 1-1 draw at 11/2, you’re probably looking at odds of about 39/1. If you have a defender score first at 15/1 and you get a high score-line like a 4-3 result paying out at 66/1 you can be looking at 1072/1.

In the end, betting on football is rather straight-forward: first, figure out exactly how you think the game is going to play out, then look at all of the bets offered, and find the ones which differ from your projected result.

The more information you can acquire about the game, and all of the surrounding factors and influences, the more accurate you can be on your projections. The better you get at forecasting matches, the more success you’ll have with your bets. 

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