As the largest international sport, of course soccer is one of the most popular sports to bet on. Not only are there leagues all over the world, but massive international events like the World Cup and Olympics draw bettors from around the globe. As such, online betting sites have developed numerous ways for punters to bet on the sport. Not only can we bet on individual match & tournament winners, but we can also select from a variety of futures & prop bets as well.
Some soccer bets offer better value than others. For casual punters looking to make a game more exciting, finding the best price for every bet is less important than it is for serious handicappers looking to make consistent profits. The betting sites listed below offer the best variety of soccer bets, along with the lowest vig (juice), best customer service, and excellent reputations for safety & security.
How to Bet on Soccer Online
The most popular way to bet on soccer is on the money line. However, some betting sites also offer Asian handicapping for soccer. Total bets (over/under bets) are popular as well, and offered at every sports betting site. Futures bets can be made for almost every league in the world, along with thousands of prop bets every season.
Betting on Soccer Matches Winners
While a lot of punters bet on the standard money line, others prefer to take the draw out of the equation. In standard money line bets, a draw is a loss if you’ve chosen one team over the other. In Asian handicapping however, a draw becomes a push for the punter. Here’s some more information.
Soccer Money Line Betting
Money line bets are as easy as they get. You pick the team you think will win, shop around for the best odds, and place your bet. The tricky part about betting the money line in soccer is that there is also a chance of a draw. If you’re betting one of the teams to win, a draw is a losing bet. So, your team must win for you to win. Draws can also be bet on individually, just like picking a team.
Since there is a third possible outcome to this bet, the odds for each team are higher than they are in sports where a draw isn’t a possibility. In lopsided games, the odds for a draw may be low, but the possibility of it alone is enough to increase the odds for each team. For this reason, a lot of punters like to bet on heavy favorites where a draw looks very unlikely.
Money lines are based around the £100 figure, but they work differently for negative (-) and positive (+) money lines. Negative money lines show you the amount that needs to be wagered in order to win £100 in profit. Positive money lines show you the amount that would be won from a £100 wager.
A typical money line bet for soccer might look like this:
- Chelsea +115
- Draw +220
- Manchester United +220
In this case, all three bets are ‘underdogs’. The game is considered close enough that any bet gets a positive money line.
A bet of £100 would return £115 in profit on Chelsea, £220 on a draw, or £220 on Manchester United.
In matches where one team is considered a heavy favorite, that team would be indicated with a ‘-‘ instead of a ‘+’. A -170 for example, would require a wager of £170 to win £100 in profit, for a total return of £270.
Soccer Point Spread Betting
Point spread betting in soccer is the same as it is in basketball or American football. The underdog is given goals (points), and the favourite has to give up points. A typical point spread in soccer would look like this:
- Real Madrid -1.5 +120
- Tottenham +1.5 -140
In the example above, a bet of $100 would return $120 in profit, if Real Madrid wins the match by 2 or more goals. Since they’re giving up 1.5, a 3 – 2 win would result in a bet score of 1.5 – 2, a loss for the punter. Real Madrid would need to win the game by 2 or more goals to cover the spread.
For Tottenham, a bet of $140 would be required to win $100 in profit, for a total return of $240. For this bet to win, they would need to lose the game by 1 goal, tie, or win the game. If they lose the game by 2 or more goals, they haven’t covered the spread. In this case, they’ve been given 1.5 goals, so if the score was 4 – 2 for a Real Madrid win, the bet score would be 2.5 – 2, still a losing bet.
Asian Handicap Betting in Soccer
Asian handicap betting in soccer is just like a typical money line bet, but without the draw. In these bets, draws become a push for the bettor, not a loss. Since a draw is not a loss, the odds for either team are lower than they are on a typical money line.
Some betting sites offer Asian handicapping in soccer, while others don’t. The downside to Asian handicap betting is that the vig is generally 20%, even at the most reputable online betting sites. As always, shop around for the best odds and lowest vig.
Soccer Total (Over/Under) Betting
In a total bet, the betting site decides what they think will be the total, combined score of a match. For example, a game with a final score of 3-2 would have a total of 5. The punters job is to decide if this number is too high or too low. If you think the total is too high, then you would bet on the under, meaning the actual score will be under the total predicted. If you think it’s too low, you would bet on the over.
Reputable betting sites have a 20% vig on total bets for soccer, which is 10% higher than many other sports. Always shop several online betting sites for the lowest vig.
Betting on Soccer Tournaments
With so many tournaments played every year, most betting sites offer betting on individual matches and tournament winners as well. The more popular the tournament, the easier it is to find prop bets. Typically, betting sites that focus heavily on European sports will offer a better selection of prop bets for smaller tournaments than those who don’t. This includes tournaments played in parts of the world outside of Europe.
Soccer Futures Betting
Since there are so many soccer leagues around the world, tons of futures bets can be found. While casual punters are typically looking to bet on their favourite team, serious handicappers bet on a variety of international leagues.
All of the biggest betting sites offer futures betting for leagues around the world. However, odds can vary depending on the site you’re betting at, and the time of year you place your bet. Some betting sites keep their soccer futures bets open late into the season, while others close their futures betting right as the season begins. Sites who keep their futures bets open adjust the odds as the season goes along, offering lower odds on teams that are winning, and higher odds on those that are losing.
Some punters prefer to wait until a few games have been played before placing soccer futures bets. This gives them a chance to see how well each team is performing, and make a more educated bet. The only downside to this is that the books know which teams are playing well also, and the odds reflect this by going down.
If you have a dark horse heading into a season, before any games have been played, you’ll find the best odds before the season begins. If your team starts winning, the odds will go down, so get those bets in early while the odds are high.
In many cases, especially leagues with a lot of teams, punters can bet on more than one team and still make a profit if any of their teams win. For example, if you made two £50 wagers on 3/1 teams, you’d be betting a total of £100. If either of those teams win, you’ll get a total return of £200, for a profit of £100 – doubling your money.
Remember, for seasonal futures bets, it will take all season long to collect your winnings – if you’re lucky enough to win. So, keep your soccer futures bets small, and don’t tie up a large percentage of your bankroll.
Soccer Prop Bets
Soccer prop bets include any type of bet that don’t fit into any of the categories listed above. These can include all sorts of things, including very specific events that may or may not happen in a game. Here are some of the more common soccer prop bets that can be found at online betting sites.
- Which team will score first?
- Which team will score last?
- Which player will score first?
- Over/under on total goals scored in a game.
- Exact score of a game.
- Who will be leading at half time/who will be leading at the end of game (one single bet).
- Will player x score a goal?
- Will both teams score in a match?
Prop bets tend to have higher juice than some other bets. Once again, always shop for the best price.
Soccer Betting Tips
We stress this on almost every article we write, because it’s that important. Serious soccer punters need to register at several sports betting sites so they can find the best odds. In soccer, there is a wide variation in odds from one betting site to the next. This is possibly the most important aspect that separates winning punters from losing ones.
Beware of prop bets. Props generally have a higher vig than match winners, making harder to pull consistent profits. If you’re going to bet props, register at as many reputable betting sites as you can, and look for the best odds & vig you can find.
Keep your bets on match winners capped at 2% of your bankroll. For prop bets, limit them to 1%. For futures bets, limit your wagers to .5 – 1% of your bankroll.
If you can’t bet on your favourite team to lose, don’t bet on them at all. Serious punters need to be able to separate their hearts from their wallets on every bet they make. If you’re not able to bet against your team, make it a rule to never bet on them to win.
Take your profits. If you’re winning, don’t raise the stakes. Instead, cash out your winnings and learn how to become a profitable handicapper. Don’t raise the stakes until you’ve been pulling consistent profits for a period of time that is long enough to know you can sustain it. Every punter goes through up and down streaks, don’t mistake a streak for the ability to pull consistent wins.
FIFA World Cup Soccer Betting
The FIFA World Cup is the largest soccer event in the world. Held only once every four years, hundreds of thousands of fans trek to the tournament from around the planet. Pitting the top 32 teams in the world against each other, countrymen wager billions of dollars on the World Cup.
Of course the most popular way to bet on World Cup games is on individual match winners and the overall tournament winner. Most online betting sites have a lower vig on individual match bets than they do on tournament winners. The reason is because a tournament futures bet is essentially a prop bet, and the vig gets lost within a lot of math that most punters won’t bother to compute. Less reputable soccer betting sites generally charge a higher vig than the big-name, trustworthy sites.
As handicappers, the best way to protect ourselves from unknowingly paying too much vig is to have funded accounts at several soccer betting sites. Then, before you place bets on World Cup matches, compare the odds at each of the books you’re signed up at. This allows you to find the best odds on every bet you place. Over the course of a season, small bits of juice on every bet you make can be the difference between ending the season profitably or on a loss.
Every online betting site offers tons of prop bets during the World Cup. Some example of World Cup prop bets would be the first team to score, the last team to score, first player to score, how the first score will come (open field, corner kick, penalty kick etc), over/under on yellow & red cards in a match, and more.
Olympic Soccer Betting
Olympic soccer betting is basically the same as it is for the FIFA World Cup. The main difference is that the Olympics only has sixteen competing teams instead of 32. Fewer teams means there are fewer blowout matches, and tighter odds for futures bets. While the overall competition level is higher, fewer teams translates into less global interest in Olympic soccer than the World Cup. It’s still a huge event though, and all online betting sites offer a wide variety of betting options.
All of the standard types of individual match bets, futures bets, and prop bets can be found. Of course the key is to find the best odds and lowest juice, so sign up at several betting sites so you can compare odds for each bet you place. This is especially important for those betting on the event winner, where odds can vary greatly from one betting site to the next.
Major Soccer Leagues
There are dozens of professional soccer leagues around the world. Some of the most popular international soccer leagues include: