Start Betting on Soccer with this How-To Guide
- Understand the different types of bets you can make on soccer
- Learn to read odds when betting on soccer
- Wrap your head around terms like “double chance” and “Asian handicap”
Soccer offers sports bettors an incredible range of options when it comes to wagers. While this variation is part of what make betting on the sport so exciting, it can get confusing for beginners.
The following overview includes everything you need to know before making your first match bet on the world’s game.
Let’s get started…
What Are the Most Popular Soccer Leagues to Bet on?
Soccer is a global sport, with major leagues that you can wager on scattered across the globe. The highiest-caliber of play is often considered to be in Europe, particularly within these five leagues:
- English Premier League
- Bundesliga (Germany)
- La Liga (Spain)
- Serie A (Italy)
- Ligue 1 (France)
Maybe it’s a World Cup year and you’re looking to add some excitement to the world’s most viewed and closely followed sporting event.
Of course, you can keep bets closer to home if you’re a fan of Major League Soccer in America.
Types of Soccer Bets
Let’s take a look at some of the most common bets you can make in soccer, including the three-way moneyline, double chance, Asian Handicaps, over/under, and more. Note that Wagers in soccer are decided after full-time; that is the full 90 minutes, plus any extra time added by the referee for injuries, stoppages, etc.
A three-way moneyline breaks down the possible results into three options: Team A wins, Team B wins, or the match ends in a draw (tie).
Simply pick the outcome you think is most likely or offers the best odds, and that’s it.
This applies to regular season match betting. For more on tournament and elimination style bets visit: How Soccer Betting is Different and Similar to Other Sports.
In double chance bets, you are placing a wager on two of the three outcomes described above.
Your options would be: Team A to win or draw, Team B to win or draw, or for either Team A or Team B to win. Each of these selections will pay out differently based on the original three-way moneyline odds. You increase your probability of winning, as you are selecting two of the three possible outcomes of the match.
However, with a higher probability of winning comes much shorter odds and returns. Let’s look at an example of a match on the English Premier League schedule:
Draw No Bet
Draw no bet is essentially a two-way moneyline that eliminates the option to wager on a draw.
In draw no bet wagers, you bet on a single team to win the match. If your team wins the match, you win. Should the two teams end in a draw, your wager will be graded as a push or void, and your stake will be returned. Obviously, should your team lose, your wager would be graded as a loss.
It makes sense to place this type of wager if you feel fairly confident that your team will win, but see potential for a close match. A draw no bet provides the extra security of getting your money back should the match end in a draw.
Compared to the three-way moneyline, odds will be shortened for a draw no bet wager, yet not as much as with double chance.
Let’s compare the odds for the same match between three-way moneyline, double chance, and draw no bet:
Think of an Asian handicap bet like the point spread you would see in an American Football (NFL) game. Here you are giving Team A or Team B a handicap to cover. These can typically be adjusted by a couple of goals in either team’s favor.
You will likely encounter many different options for Asian handicap betting at your online sportsbook.
Typical handicaps or “spreads” include: -0.25, -0.50, -0.75, -1, -1.25, -1.50, -1.75, and -2.00 for favorites. Conversely, when betting an underdog you’d see: +0.25, +0.50, +0.75, +1.00, +1.25, +1.50, +1.75, and +2.00.
You can also bet an Asian handicap of ‘0’ which is exactly the same as taking a draw no bet wager. Your team will need to win the match in order for your bet to be graded a winner. Should the match in a draw, your stake will be refunded.
What’s the deal with handicaps such as -0.25 or +0.75? Soccer is a relatively low-scoring sport, and these handicaps allow for half wins or half losses. The easiest way to lay out Asian handicap betting is to review the following table of standard Asian handicap betting options.
Asian Handicap Lines Explained
|Handicap||Team Result||Bet Result||Handicap||Team Result||Bet Result|
|0||Draw||Stake Refund||0||Draw||Stake Refund|
|-0.25||Draw||Half Lose||+0.25||Draw||Half Win|
|-0.75||Win by 2+||Win||+0.75||Win||Win|
|-0.75||Win by 1||Half Win||+0.75||Draw||Win|
|-0.75||Draw||Lose||+0.75||Lose by 1||Half Lose|
|-0.75||Lose||Lose||+0.75||Lose by 2+||Lose|
|-1.00||Win by 2+||Win||+1.00||Win||Win|
|-1.00||Win by 1||Stake Refund||+1.00||Draw||Win|
|-1.00||Draw||Lose||+1.00||Lose by 1||Stake Refund|
|-1.00||Lose||Lose||+1.00||Lose by 2+||Lose|
Now that we’ve reviewed the different betting options available on up to one-goal Asian handicaps, let’s take a look at a few more bets you can make on up to two-goal handicaps.
Asian Handicap Lines: Additional Options
|Handicap||Team Result||Bet Result||Handicap||Team Result||Bet Result|
|-1.25||Win by 2+||Win||+1.25||Win||Win|
|-1.25||Win by 1||Half Lose||+1.25||Draw||Win|
|-1.25||Draw||Lose||+1.25||Lose by 1||Half Win|
|-1.25||Lose||Lose||+1.25||Lose by 2+||Lose|
|-1.50||Win by 2+||Win||+1.50||Win||Win|
|-1.50||Win by 1||Lose||+1.50||Draw||Win|
|-1.50||Draw||Lose||+1.50||Lose by 1||Win|
|-1.50||Lose||Lose||+1.50||Lose by 2+||Lose|
|-1.75||Win by 3+||Win||+1.75||Win||Win|
|-1.75||Win by 2||Half Win||+1.75||Draw||Win|
|-1.75||Win by 1||Lose||+1.75||Lose by 1||Win|
|-1.75||Draw||Lose||+1.75||Lose by 2||Half Lose|
|-1.75||Lose||Lose||+1.75||Lose by 3+||Lose|
|-2.00||Win by 3+||Win||+2.00||Win||Win|
|-2.00||Win by 2||Stake Refund||+2.00||Draw||Win|
|-2.00||Win by 1||Lose||+2.00||Lose by 1||Win|
|-2.00||Draw||Lose||+2.00||Lose by 2||Stake Refund|
|-2.00||Lose||Lose||+2.00||Lose by 3+||Lose|
Over/Under Goals Market
Much like an over/under bet in other sports, you simply predict whether or not the total amount of goals scored between both teams in the match will be over or under the total provided by your sportsbook.
The common over/under total for most matches in soccer will be over/under 2.5 goals. In this instance, an over bet will require at least 3 combined goals in the match and an under bet will require 2 or fewer combined goals in the match.
Some bookmakers will offer alternative goal lines which follow the same format as Asian handicap game lines.
If you were to bet on a total of over 2.25 goals, half of your bet would be placed on over 2 goals and the other half would be placed on over 2.5 goals. If the total were to land on 2, you would lose half your wager. If the match were to finish with 3 or more goals, you’d win both bets.
You could also bet under 2.75 goals. Here, half your bet would be placed on under 2.5 goals and the other half of your bet would be placed on under 3 goals. Should the match finish with 3 goals, you would lose the half of your bet which was placed on under 2.5 and be refunded the other half which was placed on under 3.
Of course, if two or fewer goals are scored in the match, then you’d win both bets.
Over/Under Corners Market
The over/under corners market works exactly the same as the goals market, with one exception. In this case, you are predicting if the total amount of corner kicks from both teams (or one team) will fall over or under a specified total.
Over/Under Cards Market
Once again, a similar type of bet as with goals and corners, but this time you bet on the combined total of cards (yellow and red) given out to both teams.
With this bet, you wager on the expected result at both half-time in the match and at full-time.
You are basically breaking the game down into two separate mini-game and selecting the result at the end of each half. You will though need both of those selections to be correct in order to win your bet.
Perhaps you favor one team to win the match, but feel it will be close in the beginning. You may select “Draw – Team A” for example. Or maybe you like the favorite in a match, but the odds are just too short for your liking. Betting that team to be leading at half-time and at full-time will net you slightly better odds, but you’ll need that team to start the game strong and hold their lead.
Let’s take a look at an example of half-time/full-time odds from a Champions League match between Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund.
Both Teams to Score
Betting on both teams to score is as simple as it sounds. A bet on this market means each team must score at least one goal in the match. The overall total number of goals does not affect your bet as long as both teams score at least once.
Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 Goals
While this bet may not be offered at every sportsbook, if yours does, it is a perfect way to combine both teams to score and totals betting.
This bet is best made for a match between two high-scoring sides. To win this bet, each team must score at least once and the total amount of combined goals at match end must be three or more.
Total Team Goals
This bet is specific to individual teams. Select the over/under on how many goals a specific team will finish with at the end of the match. Grading this bet is specific to the team you are selecting, and the result of the other team is not relevant to your selection.
- Team A to score over 1.5 goals (Team A must score two goals or more for a winning bet)
- Team B to score under 2.5 goals (Team B must score two goals or fewer for a winning bet)
First, Last, and Anytime Goalscorer
Select a player from either team to be the first goalscorer in the match, the last goalscorer in the match, or to simply score a goal at any time during the match.
You’re Now Ready to Enter the World of Punting
No, that’s not the least important player on an NFL team, it’s just the British term “punter” for bettor or gambler.
With so many leagues across the globe and so many online sportsbooks to choose from, you shouldn’t have to wait long to make your first bet or ‘punt.’
In fact, there’s probably a match about to kick off right now. So why not visit your favorite sportsbook and check out what their soccer betting menu offers? Be sure to visit our How to Bet on Sports section for even more information on betting soccer as well as many other popular sports.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.