Football is the most popular sport worldwide, and with leagues all over the planet the betting market is massive. Since so many people that bet on football are betting on their favorite team, the odds often move too far in one direction, offering a lot of value for disciplined punters. If you can keep your heart separate from your betting, making a profit in football is very possible.
A great example of this is Manchester United, with possibly the largest worldwide fan base in professional sports. With their massive fan base, a lot of bets get placed on them to win. When this happens, the lines move, offering better value on their opponent.
There are dozens of popular football leagues around the world, here are a few of them:
- English Premier League (EPL)
- La Liga (Spain)
- UEFA Champions League
- Serie A (Italy)
- Budesliga (Germany)
- Primera Division (Mexico)
- Serie A (Brazil)
- Ligue 1 (France)
- MLS (USA)
How To Bet On Football Online
The most popular way to bet on football is on the money line, where a punters job is to simply pick the winner. Bets can also be placed on tie’s, which happens frequently in football. Point spread bets can also be made, and they offer some interesting betting situations. Total bets (over/under), futures bets, and tons of prop bets can be made as well.
Football Money Line Bets
Money line bets (also called ‘1X2’ in football) are listed as negative (-) or positive (+). While negative money lines always indicate the favoured team in football, a positive money line does not always indicate the underdog. Both money lines are based around the $100 figure, but the payouts are calculated differently. This is simpler than it sounds, so bear with me. Here’s how money lines work.
Negative money lines represent the amount of money that would need to be wagered in order to win $100 in profit. Positive money lines represent the amount of profit that would be won from a $100 wager. They’re backwards of each other. So, a -160 would require $16 wagered to win $10 in profit. A +160 would require a bet of $10 to win $16 in profit.
In football, since you can bet on a draw (and because they’re common), money lines look differently than they do in other sports. Sometimes you’ll find one team with a negative money line, the opponent with a positive money line, and a draw with a positive money line. However, you’ll also find situations where all three bets have positive money lines.
- Chelsea +115
- Manchester United +235
- Draw +225
In this case, Chelsea is favoured to win, but you’re still getting a positive money line because the game is considered close, and a draw is very possible as well. In this scenario, a bet of $100 on Chelsea would result in a $115 profit if they win. A $100 wager on Manchester United would result in a $235 profit if they win. $100 winning bets on a draw would result in a $225 profit. In matches that are considered close, a draw is a realistic possibility, which is why all three lines are positive.
When one team is heavily favoured over their opponent, the odds will look more like this:
- Chelsea -150
- Manchester United +340
- Draw +270
In this scenario, Chelsea is a bigger favorite than in the previous scenario.
Most often, draws will have odds in the range of +220 to +350. The odds for a draw are higher when one team is a clear favourite. In closer matches, the odds for a draw come down. Keep in mind, roughly 30% of all football matches end in a draw.
Football Point Spread Betting
Since many bettors don’t want to lose to a draw, a form of betting called Heng Cheng (also known as Asian Handicapping) was developed. In these types of bets, draws result in a push (bettor gets their wager returned), not a loss like they do in money line bets. Since punters can’t lose to a draw, the odds offered are lower than they are in money line bets.
Point spreads will usually be 0, .5, 1, or 1.5 goals. In games with a point spread of 0, the only difference between this bet and a money line bet is that draws will result in a push.
Football Parlay Bets
In a football parlay bet, the punter chooses multiple (2+) teams to win, and adds them to a single betting ticket. If any team on the ticket loses, the entire wager is lost. The advantage to a parlay bet is the greater odds received. With each team added to a parlay, the odds go up. So, a punter can take a small wager and turn it into a large payday if they’re lucky enough to win.
However, it’s very difficult to win large parlays, so we recommend keeping your football parlays down to 3-4 teams per ticket. If you have more teams you want to bet on, bet on them individually, or add them to another parlay ticket. While the odds will be lower than a single, larger parlay, you’re much more likely to win.
We recommend that serious football punters keep their parlay bets down to .5 – 1% of their bankroll, and smaller for parlays of 5+ teams.
Football Prop Bets
With generally tight lines in football (as a result of high competition amongst betting sites), most sports betting sites offer a wide range of prop bets as another way to make money. From a punters standpoint, this can be good or bad. The good is the ability to find other wagers to make. The bad is that the vig tends to be higher on prop bets than money line or point spread bets. If you’re interested in making a lot of prop bets, register at several online betting sites and fund those accounts. Then you’ll be able to place wagers when you find odds & vig you can live with.
Some typical football props that can be found include:
- Exact score.
- Half time results.
- First goal scorer (player).
- First team to score.
- Last team to score.
- Alternative over/under scores.
- Will there be a red card in the game?
- Time of first goal (before/after 26 minutes).
There are dozens of other prop bets that can be found as well, including country props for international events like the World Cup, Olympics and UEFA.
Football Futures Bets
Futures bets are wagers that can be placed well in advance of the results. These typically include bets that pick league champions, such as the team who will win La Liga or the English Premier League. They can also include bets on which teams will qualify for the World Cup.
Since futures bets take an entire season before they get paid out, we recommend that punters keep their futures bets down to a maximum of .5% of their bankroll. You don’t want to tie up a large percentage of your bankroll on a bet that will take a long time to pay out.
FIFA World Cup Betting Online
The FIFA World Cup is the largest football tournament in the world. As such, it attracts more betting than any other. Sports betting sites expand their betting options, and give punters dozens of ways to bet on every game. Individual game winners can be bet on with the money line, point spread, totals, and tons of prop bets can be found. Punters can bet on the exact score of a match, which player will score first, which team will score first, what country will win the tournament, and much, much more.
Olympic Football Betting
Like the World Cup, the Olympics are also played every four years, two years apart. So, the summer Olympics and World Cup alternate every two years, which keeps it exciting for football fans. Every online betting site offers Olympic football betting, and tons of prop bets can be found as well. Of course this s a very popular event, so the betting sites give punters a lot of betting options.
Bets can be placed on individual games, and futures bets on Gold, Silver, and Bronze medalist teams can be wagered on as well.
Popular Football Betting Options
Total Goals, Over/Under
The bookmaker or betting site offers a line of total number of goals scored; the line can be 0.5, 1.5, the most common 2.5, 3.5 and so on. You will place a bet on if you think the total number of goals scored will be over or under the line.
If the line in a game is 2.5 and you think there will be 3 or more goals scored, you should bet on over. Conversely, if you think there will be two or less goals, you should bet on under.
When considering an over/under bet, there are some general points to remember:
Is the goalkeeper or a key defender carrying an injury? If so, betting over could be worthwhile.
Is one or both teams missing a star forward through injury or suspension? If so, betting under could be of interest.
If both teams need to win, there will be a lot of attacking play and again, betting over would be of value.
The way teams play can differ if they are at home or away so this should always be considered.
Examine the statistics of both teams recent games, what is the goal scoring trend?
Examine the head to head records between the teams, some teams have a history of producing similar results when they clash.
However, beware of statistics. A team who loses one match heavily will likely work hard on defensive tactics in training and may let in very few goals in their next match.
There are clearly many more aspects which can influence the outcome of a match but these are some worth considering. If you can put in some effort, betting on over/under can be profitable!
With a correct score bet, you have to predict the result of the game at the end of regulation time. Extra-time and penalties do not count, it is based on the 90 minutes and whatever injury time is played.
It is worth remembering that the home teams score always comes first. If you want to bet on the correct score in Leeds versus Hull, make sure you put the Leeds score first.
If you predict the score to be 3-1, you win if the game ends 3-1. Any other outcome and you lose. It is not easy but the odds are usually attractive and this is why many people choose to place this type of bet.
First Goal Scorer
Who will score the first goal? That is what the first goal scorer bet. You can also bet on no goalscorer if you think there will be no goals scored in the match.
In all betting situations, it is important to check the terms and conditions before you place your bet but the no goalscorer bet may differ from firm to firm so be sure the rules are what you agree with.
What about own goals?
What happens if your player sits on the bench and has not come onto the pitch when the first goal is scored?
These are questions that are extremely valid and the answer can differ from firm to firm. Most sites will treat an own goal as a no goalscorer and will refund a first goalscorer bet on a player who has played when the first goal was scored but this is not always the case.
It can be profitable to look for an outside bet in these occasions here, maybe a defender that is dangerous at corners and free kicks? The top scorer at your club may have a great chance of scoring but the odds on him will be extremely low so sometimes the risk on a rare goal from a defender can be very lucrative.
Last Goal Scorer
This bet follows the same principles as the first goalscorer but instead of who scores the first goal, you predict who scores the last goal of a game.
If you know a good attacker who usually starts on the bench but often comes on as sub, backing this player for last goal can be a profitable bet. That player comes in fresh and motivated and is facing defenders who may be tired from playing the majority of the match. If your player does not come onto the field at all, be sure to claim a refund.
Half Time Result
Betting on the half time result is all about predicting the score when the half-time whistle blows. If you are betting on the outcome, there are three results for a half time-bet, a home win, draw, or away win. The statistics will indicate there is a slightly higher chance of the game being a draw art halftime, as many goals are scored late in the game, so this may be worth considering.
Football Online Betting Advice
In such a competitive market, sports betting sites are aggressive with their vig and promotions. Register at several of the most reputable betting sites and fund your accounts. Before placing a bet, compare the odds & vig at all of the sites you’re registered at. Small advantages on price make a big difference at the end of the year.
Look to make smaller wagers on multiple games where you can find value, rather than large bets on fewer games. Serious punters who put in the time to find value and the best prices are the ones who profit. Those who risk large percentages of their bankrolls on individual bets are those who tend to lose.
Football is a sport with very passionate fans. However, punters cannot bet with their heart and expect to win. If you aren’t able to bet against your favorite team, don’t bet on them at all. Every bet must be judged without bias. The same can be said about betting on your country during the World Cup and Olympics.
If you hit a large win on a parlay or on a streak of wins, cashout your profit. Resist the temptation to raise the stakes, and collect your winnings instead. Punters go on losing streaks just as they go on winning streaks. If you raise the stakes, a short losing streak could eliminate your profits.
Stay up to date with injuries, roster changes and anything that might affect a team’s chances of winning. Don’t place any bets until you know who is playing and who isn’t.
Great defenses give teams a chance to win. While offenses win games, defenses give your offense a chance. Take teams with great defenses and weaker offenses over teams with great offenses and weak defenses.