Football Betting – Guide, Tips, Strategy & Markets

Learn how football betting works, the different markets you can bet on, the most profitable betting systems and strategies, and more!

Throughout this football betting guide, we will look into how football betting markets function as well as delve deep into the factors that should be taken into consideration when placing bets on football matches and tournaments.

We hope that you come away from this guide believing that It is still possible to make money betting on football games by combining your knowledge of the game with solid data-driven soccer betting strategies.

How Football Betting Works

soccer betting icon

The most popular form of football betting involves betting on which team will win the match. However, as the gambling industry has evolved this type of betting has expanded to several betting markets which can all be covered in just one game alone. As with almost all forms of sports betting you will be betting with odds that will determine the payout of your bet if successful.

How Does Football Bookmaking Work

Bookmaking is the activity of setting odds and effectively calculating how much to pay customers in the event of a sporting outcome occurring. The thinking that goes into deciding the odds for a football match these days is a sophisticated process that makes use of scientific data as well as factoring in some level of human knowledge and instinct. A good bookmaker in theory will be looking to offer the customer odds that are slightly in the house’s favor.

How Do Betting Odds Work

Odds in football matches, in theory, represent the likelihood of an outcome occurring. Therefore when placing a bet you will need to calculate if the odds are a true reflection of what is likely to take place. Bookmakers set the odds for their specific sites and there is often much correlation between the several high-profile bookmakers. You should only look to place bets with odds which you have reason to believe represent good value.

betting odd formats
International ways of formatting betting odds.

Football Betting Markets

This modern era of bookmakers has extended the number of betting markets astronomically. Below is a list of the most popular types of wagers you can place bets on which would be available in the majority of the online and land-based bookmakers.

MarketDescription
Match WinnerMatch Winner is a type of wager where you will be betting on which team will be the eventual winner of the match. You will have three selections to choose from regarding the result of the match. These are Home, Draw, and Away.
Tournament WinnerTournament Winner is a type of wager where you place a bet on a team to win a specific tournament. These tournaments will either be in the form of a league or a domestic or International cup.
Over/Under GoalsOver/Under is a type of wager where you are betting on the number of goals to occur in a match. The bet will appear as a number with a decimal point. For example, a bet of over 2.5 goals will need to see 3 goals plus for it to be a successful bet.
Correct ScoreCorrect Score is a type of wager that involves predicting what the final score will be. These bets are very difficult to predict so every selection will have high odds.
Both Teams to ScoreBoth Teams To Score is a type of wager that involves placing bets on whether or not both teams will score in the match. Meaning that you can place a bet for both teams to score and place a bet against both teams to score.
Anytime GoalscorerAnytime Goalscorer is a type of wager that involves placing a bet on a footballer to score at any time in the match. It is also possible to bet on the first goalscorer of the match as well as the last goalscorer of the match.
Second-Half ResultSecond-Half Result is a type of wager that involves placing bets on who will win the second half of a football match. Regardless of the final result this type of bet only takes into consideration the result of the second half.
Handicap Match ResultHandicap Match Result is a type of wager where you are betting on a team to win or lose by a specific margin. An example of this would be that you would win your bet if the team you back loses by one goal or better.
Double ChanceDouble Chance is a type of wager where you are betting on two outcomes of the match. This can either be for one team to win or draw, or for both teams to win excluding the draw.
Draw No BetDraw No Bet is a type of wager where you place a bet on one team to win the game and if the match results in a draw your bet will be void. The odds for this selection will be less than placing a match-winner bet.
Number of CornersNumbers of Corners is a type of wager where you are betting on how many corners will occur in the match.
First Team To Score First Team To Score is a type of wager that involves placing a bet on who will be the first team to score in the match.
Most Popular Football Betting Markets

Types of Football Betting

With football betting, you have the option to bet through multiple betting sites, each with its specialty. A traditional bookmaker will offer fixed-odds sports betting while sites like an exchange site offer a different betting experience.

Fixed-Odds Betting

Fixed-Odds betting is used practically anytime you place a bet with a bookmaker. The concept of fixed odds is that when you place your bet the odds you have bet with remain the same regardless of the activity of the market at a later time (unlike parimutuel betting).

If you were to place a bet for a football team to win at 4/1 and the odds were as low as 3/1 before the game got underway your bet of 4/1 will still stand.

Lay Betting

Lay betting is a type of wager that can be placed on a betting exchange site. When placing a lay bet on an outcome of a football match you will be betting against that outcome to occur. The amount you stake will be the amount of money you would be set to return if your bet were successful. The odds of the selection though determine how much money you will be liable for.

For example, if you were to place a £10 bet against Manchester United to win at odds of 1.5, you will have a liability of £5. In other words, you will be risking £5 to win £10.

In-Play Betting

In-play betting as the name suggests is a type of wager that involves placing a bet when the game is in-play. This can give betters some advantages as they have the opportunity to see how the game plays out before placing their bet.

Nowadays, you will find multiple betting systems designed purely for the purposes of in-play betting. This is in part due to the fact that while a game is in play the markets fluctuate significantly and with skill and knowledge of how the markets work this has the potential to be taken advantage of. It is worth adding that this is specifically relevant for users of exchange sites.

Accumulator Betting

An accumulator bet (or parlay) is a type of wager where you can select multiple selections. Accumulator bets are often used by recreational gamblers in the hope of getting lucky on a few occasions and seeing a gigantic return from their investment.

For example, you could back 5 different football teams to win and if they are all successful it will result in a winning bet.

Handicap Betting

Handicap betting is a type of wager where you are betting on the outcome of the match but only this time your bet will involve a pre-set margin. Handicap or spread bets make a lot of sense when there is an obvious favorite, in order to get better odds and therefore, returns on you wager.

For example, one team might be heavy underdogs but you believe they will perform above expectation. In this case, you can place a handicap for the team to win at +1.5. This means the team you have backed can either win, draw or lose by 1 goal and your bet will be successful. The opposite will occur for teams that are considered heavy favorites.

types of football betting
Choose the type of betting that you feel most comfortable with.

Statistics

Statistics are all the range in this era of sport and football is no exception to this. There are statistics for everything in the modern game and what you can’t find on the internet is frankly not worth knowing. You can discover the more obvious things like how many goals a team scores and what their record is at a certain ground but you can also search for lesser looked for stats such as how many goals a team scores from outside the box to help you with some of your more obscure bets.

football betting stats

Sourcing quality statistics

When searching for quality football statistics you should simply obsess over a handful of carefully selected websites that you can rely on for good information.

WhoScored is a great free football statistics website providing you with actionable insights on teams’ past games as well as players’ current form and dynamic. SoccerStats is a similar website, although older looking, but offers incredible computed statistics such as contextual averages, corner stats, and more. Additionally, there are several quality youtube channels like Statman Dave that delve into the nerdiest stats available which can help you make informed decisions.

What you need is a wonderful place to get information and follow any team throughout the world. Of course, you must be able to quickly see major stats from previous games, the amount of possession, and for example, the number of shots on target. What you also need to consider though is the style the team plays so make sure you are not stat reliant and do additional homework.

Pre-match statistics

The majority of bets on football matches will be placed before the game gets underway. The major European leagues are some of the most followed sports leagues in the world. This means that there is a lot of statistics available for betters to use to their advantage. Not all stats will be relevant to the bet you are considering placing so please have this in mind before you place a bet.

Teams’ Current Form

Paying attention to the teams’ current form is essential when considering placing a bet. If you were to look at a league table for example you might get a false impression of how the match is likely to play out. If you are a keen follower of football then you are likely to be aware of how certain teams are playing and whether they are on the up or are alternatively not playing as well as they can under different circumstances. Things that can contribute to a team’s form will be factors such as confidence, packed schedules, injuries to key players, bad management, etc.

Key Players’ Current Form

The likelihood of a team performing well in a match will depend hugely on the current form of their key players. Some teams are more dependent than others on the performance of one or two individuals. If for whatever reason you have an indication that they might not be playing to their full capabilities, through confidence, injury, or any other factor then it could be worth placing a bet against them if you think the odds suggest that the bet is worth it.

Defense Statistics

Defense statistics are essential to consider when placing a bet. Especially if you are betting on an over/under goals or both teams to score market. Naturally, a team with a solid defense or ones that play with a defensive style are more likely to concede fewer goals. This will be factored into the odds but it is our job to look for value in the market by searching for odds that we believe represent good value.

Attacking Statistics

Attacking statistics are just as essential to consider as defensive statistics when placing a bet. If both teams play an attacking brand of football the game is more likely to have a high number of goals but there are things that can affect this likelihood.

For example, does the team have a prolific goalscorer? What happened the last time these two played each other? These things will affect the way the game is likely to play out. Your knowledge of the game will come in very handy when you are comparing the teams against others in the league. This way you will be able to decipher which teams are more likely to compete with others.

Gameplay Statistics

Some teams are more set up to score from set-pieces. This means that they are more likely to score from headers from corners or free-kicks and this info will be provided in previous gameplay statistics. Possession is a very useful thing to keep note-off but it is important to remember that it doesn’t always mean a great deal. For example, it is possible a team has less of the ball but is very happy for it to be this way because their opponent isn’t having many threatening attacks and they plan to hit them on the counter-attack.

statistics for football betting
Always make use of freely available statistics when you bet on football.

Football Betting Tips

When placing a bet on a football match there are many things you should consider before you confirm your bet. It is very easy to look at some basic stats and the league table for example and simply presume one team is likely to beat the other.

However, elite sport doesn’t always work like this. There are numerous occasions where an inferior opposition gets the better of their more talented opponents. Sometimes this is down to specific game plans while sometimes it can be better explained due to the competitivity of a league and the fact that games come thick and fast. These football tips are just a small indication of some of the things you will need to pay attention to.

League-Specific Tips

We will now cover the most popular football competitions throughout Europe. Despite all of these leagues being hugely popular, it is fair to say that each league has different characteristics which bring their own charm, and understanding how these nuances will benefit your football betting.

Premier League (England)

england flag icon

The Premier League is regarded to be the strongest league in the world when taking into consideration the strength of the entire 20 teams involved. This is largely accredited to the fact that the money pumped into this league is considerably greater than any other. This results in very few matches where one team would be an overwhelming favourite to the extent where you know exactly what will happen before the game is played. It is not uncommon to see teams in the bottom half of the table draw or beat teams in the top 6.

La Liga (Spain)

spain flag icon

La Liga is home to two of the biggest clubs in world football, Real Madrid and Barcelona. With a few exceptions these two teams have dominated the league for decades and attract the best players in the world to play for them. Although the league is indeed strong throughout it is much more rare for the big sides in this league to lose, especially at home.

Serie A (Italy)

italy flag icon

Serie A is a hugely competitive league that involves some of the most famous teams in the world. The Italian division has always had a reputation for defensive football although in recent years this is changing quite a lot as all the leagues are getting more similar in terms of playing style. Despite Juventus dominating the league for almost a decade, the number of teams competing at the top now shows that this league is one of the most competitive in the world

Bundesliga (Germany)

germany flag icon

The Bundesliga is a very competitive league that consistently sees the most goals throughout the entire season. The entire philosophy of German football attempts to promote attractive and attacking football that can help explain this. They often promote young managers and young footballers which has a positive effect on their national team. One often held criticism of this division though is that Bayern Munich has all the real money and in recent history, they have been able to continuously buy players from their main rivals such as Borrusia Dortmund and RB Leipzig. This is something that now happens very infrequently in the premier league for example.

Ligue 1 (France)

france flag icon

Ligue 1 is a league which in recent years has been dominated by Paris Saint Germain. This due to their financial muscle that dwarfs the rest of the league. This has led to a very uncompetitive league although this year things are much tighter. The league is not considered as strong as others but still consists of some of the most admired clubs in Europe such as Lyon and Marseille. The league also consists of some of the world’s biggest potential talent and the majority of the teams like to play with an attacking philosophy.

Champions League

eu flag icon

The Champions League is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world which the Elite clubs throughout Europe. This is considered the jewel in the crown for the top clubs in Europe and the potential winners of this tournament are normally limited unless there is a big surprise. Real Madrid has won the most champions league titles with an outstanding 13. To put this into perspective AC Milan is 2nd with seven and Liverpool is in 3rd with six.

Europa League

The Europa League is a European cup competition that involves teams that fell just short of qualifying for the Champions League. Teams that finished third in the group stages of the Champions league also qualify for this competition. Some of the bigger clubs who find themselves in this competition often field weaker teams and do not always prioritize the tournament, especially during the group stages. This could potentially offer great odds for teams that would be considered heavy underdogs under normal circumstances.

Team-Specific Tips

When betting on specific markets such as over/under goals it is important to consider the playing styles of the team you are betting on. For example, a team like Manchester City is notorious for playing great attacking football under Pep Guardiola so when they play a team who plays with their own attacking philosophy it can be fair to predict a high amount of goals. However, if they play a team that has the sole intention of shutting them out and playing 11 behind the ball it is also fair to predict that this game will involve fewer goals. In this specific example, both teams to score bet would be an interesting selection.

Player-Specific Tips

When deciding on whether or not you should place a bet on an individual to score in a match for example it is important we consider how they perform against a wide range of teams. The stats might suggest that a player scores buckets of goals bet very few in big matches. This should influence your decisions greatly. This can also work the other way as you might decide to place a bet on one player to score because the team they are playing suits the style of this player.

Football Betting Systems

Firstly there is no magic formula when placing football bets. Good betting strategies involve practice and a lot of discipline. The more conservative the betting system the less money you will potentially make also. There are however many betting systems that have been proven to be very successful.

Remember that with any type of gambling, including football betting, there is no magic formula, course, or tool, that will guarantee you profits. Success in sports betting comes with reducing the risk and finding value bets.

Arbitrage

Arbitrage betting is where you bet for and against the same outcome in a sporting event on different sites in order to make a guaranteed profit. This can be done by betting on different bookmakers or it can be best done using one bookmaker and an exchange site.

Matched betting

With no-risk matched betting, it is possible to use the bonuses bookmakers offer and use them in such a way you are making a risk-free profit.

There are several advanced strategies full-time matched betters employ to make a profit but the most basic exploitation of these offers is as follows.

You place a bet on a bookmaker to activate the free bet and then you lay against this bet using an exchange site to more or less break even. You then do the same process with the free bet meaning you will make a profit whatever the outcome. You can repeat this system with every bookmaker that has sign-up offers.

Full Cover Bets

Full Cover Bets are great if you like to place large accumulators on football matches. These bets work in a very similar way to accumulator bets with the difference being is that they involve a lot more bets and will protect you if some of your selections let you down. If you place bets where if one team lets you down you would have still made a lot of money then I would suggest that full cover bets such as the Lucky 63 and the Goliath bet might be perfect for you.

Dutching

Dutching is a type of wager where you place two opposing bets on two different bookmakers to lock in a guaranteed profit. In football, this is much more likely to occur on the markets that involve the possibility of only two outcomes. For example, both teams to score market. In order to find good dutching opportunities, you will need to purchase software.

Football Betting Strategies

There are some football betting strategies that if used correctly can be used to bring in a consistent profit. The strategies we are suggesting will be best implemented on an exchange site as you can cash out on these sites without risking your account being restricted.

News betting

News betting is a great way of betting with odds that you know are extremely likely to depreciate in value. As soon as team line ups or injuries are confirmed you can place a bet on a bookmaker or a betting exchange and if you are quick enough to react before the odds have already changed significantly this will be a very profitable system for you to use. Many gamblers use paid sources or social media to try and get breaking news before everyone else.

Bankroll Management

Any good gambler will need to practice good bankroll management. Good bankroll management will evolve around placing a percentage of your bankroll on selected bets. For example, perhaps you only intend to bet a maximum of 1% of your entire bankroll on any given day. The odds you bet with will also need to be considered. For example, you should bet with less money for a bet with higher odds. The whole idea of bankroll management is to protect you from going bust and not having enough money to bet with in the future. It is also there to protect you from times where you going through an unlucky streak.

Invest In The Tools Of The Trade

If you intend to take gambling seriously it essential that you set some money aside to pay for subscriptions for statistic databases, leaked sources, etc. No one likes the idea of spending money on these kinds of things but the cost of your subscription can be wiped out in one single successful bet.

There is no need to spend money on these things immediately though as you will need to work out your betting strategy first but the better you get at betting on football matches the more you will realize how much you can benefit from having a few tools to help you.

Don’t Risk Too Much At Any One Time

You will need to work out a strategy that is applicable to your style of betting and then have the discipline to never breach the limitations you have set yourself. Even if you believe a bet represents great value and you are tempted to stake a significant amount of your bankroll on this selection you will need to refrain from doing so if it goes against your bankroll management. This is the only way you can gain good discipline and you will reap the benefit down the line.

Never Focus On Derbies Or Big Games

There is an old cliche that form goes out the window in derby games, the same can be said about big games. While this cliche is only partly true as the superior team should always hold the advantage it is a cliche for a reason. All the evidence might point towards a specific result but in derby games, players realize the importance of the game and often raise their levels to compete.

betting on football with your head
When you place bets on football matches, do it with your head… Never with your heart!

Football Betting – FAQ

Answers to the most common questions about football/soccer betting.

Is football betting profitable?

Football betting can be very profitable if you have a good betting strategy in place and are able to display good discipline at all times. There is no magic formula to being good at placing successful football.

What is draw no bet in football betting?

A draw no bet in football is a type of wager where you are betting on one team to win a football match. The only difference to a normal match winner bet though is that your bet becomes void if the match ends in a draw.

How to win football bets every time?

There is no possible way to win a football bet every single time. If you are looking for complete certainty when betting your best hope would be to look into matched betting or arbitrage betting.

How to read betting odds in football?

Betting odds on football work just like they do in almost all forms of sports betting. Odds are most commonly depicted as odds or fractions. For example, if you were to place a £10 at odds of 4/1, 5.0. You will see a return of £50 meaning a profit of £40.

Can you bet on both teams to win?

Yes. It is possible to bet on both teams to win and still end up in profit depending on odds. Remember if you were to place this bet and the match ended in a draw you would end up winning neither bet.

How much money can you make betting on soccer?

There is no definitive answer to this question. The things that will determine the money you make will revolve around how successful your bets are and how much money you are willing to invest. For now, you should focus purely on winning a high percentage of your bets and place huge importance on bankroll management.

What does over 1.5 mean in football betting?

When you are betting on an over/under market you will notice that the numbers you are betting on involve a decimal point. This is used to divide both of the numbers. For example, if you were to place a bet of over 1.5 goals there will need to be 2 goals or more scored for you to win your bet as it is not possible for there to be half a goal.

If you are a fan of football and you are viewing this website it is very likely that you have placed a bet on a football match. It is also very likely that you have made mistakes along the way. With this soccer betting guide, we hope that you take away some inspiration and start improving your football betting game today.