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soccer betting 101 apple chalkboard soccer ball illustration

Whether you’re looking to bet sides, totals, which player will score, the timing of the first goal or how many corner kicks there will be in a match, soccer betting features many different ways to bet on a match.

Just like learning to bet on any sport, when learning how to bet on soccer, you will come across many types of bets. Some may be a variation of the bets discussed below or will be specific to your individual sportsbook.

After reading the following overview, you’ll be ready to make your first match bet on the world’s game.

What Are the Most Popular Soccer Leagues to Bet on?

So you’re looking to bet on the world’s most popular game but don’t know where to start?

Perhaps you’re looking to get some action down on the English Premier League, widely accepted as the top league in the world. Some other major leagues include the German Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, and French Ligue 1. Or maybe it’s a World Cup year and you’re ready to cheer on the United States Men’s National Team or a different nation you have ties to. Of course, you can also simply bet your local team if you’re a fan of Major League Soccer in America.

Most Common Bets You Can Make When Betting Soccer

Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of bets you can make in soccer like the three-way moneyline, double chance, Asian Handicaps, over/unders, and more.

Three-Way Moneyline

Wagers in soccer are decided after full-time; that is the full 90 minutes, plus any extra injury time that is added by the referee for injuries, stoppages, etc. A three-way moneyline breaks down the possible results into three options. This is the case for regular season match betting. For more on tournament and elimination style bets visit: How Soccer Betting is Different and Similar to Other Sports.

In a soccer match, the simplest betting options would be for either the home team to win, the away team to win, or for the match to end in a draw.

Double Chance

In double chance bets, you are placing a wager on two of the possible three outcomes as 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 are increasing 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.

three way moneyline man city chelsea draw sample line soccer betting 101

sample line draw no bet man city chelsea favorites underdogs

Draw No Bet

In draw no bet (dnb) the concept is similar to a double chance bet. In this case, the difference is that you are eliminating the draw option from your bet. In draw no bet wagers, you would choose either team in a match under the draw no bet market. Should your team win the match, your wager will 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.

The purpose of a draw no bet wager would be when you feel fairly confident that your team will win, but see potential in it being a close match. A draw no bet provides the extra security of getting your money back should the match end in a draw.

Much like in the example used for double chance betting, 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.

three way moneyline man city chelsea draw sample line soccer betting 101

sample line draw no bet man city chelsea favorites underdogs

man city draw no bet chelsea draw no bet sample line

Asian Handicap

Think of an Asian handicap bet like a 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.

When betting on soccer online you will find many different options for Asian handicap betting. In Asian handicaps your most typical handicaps or “spreads” will 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 where the draw option has been removed. 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.

You are still probably asking yourself why there are handicaps such as -0.25 or +0.75? Again, with the lower scoring nature of most soccer matches, these sort of 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 Win Win 0 Win Win
0 Draw Stake Refund 0 Draw Stake Refund
0 Lose Lose 0 Lose Lose
-0.25 Win Win +0.25 Win Win
-0.25 Draw Half Lose +0.25 Draw Half Win
-0.25 Lose Lose +0.25 Lose Lose
-0.50 Win Win +0.50 Win Win
-0.50 Draw Lose +0.50 Draw Win
-0.50 Lose Lose +0.50 Lose Lose
-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 are predicting if the total amount of goals scored between both teams will result in a total which falls over or under the selected total in a specific match.

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.

Much like with Asian handicap betting as described above, 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, then 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 bet that was placed on over 2.5 and be refunded the other half of your bet which was placed on over 2. If the match were to finish with 3 or more goals, you’d win both bets.

The other example of this would be if you were to 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’ll be betting on the combined total of cards (yellow and red) given out to both teams.

Half-Time/Full-Time Result

With this bet, you are choosing what the result will be at half-time in the match and then also at full-time. In this case, you are basically breaking the game down into two separate mini-games in which you will select the result at the end of each half. You will though need both of those selections to be correct at the end of each half 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.

half time full time odds soccer betting 101

Both Teams to Score

This bet is a natural fit for neutral bettors who have no attachment to either side in the match. 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 together. A bet best made for a match between two high-scoring sides, to win this type of soccer bet you will need each team to score at least once and for the total amount of combined goals to end with three or more.

Other variations also exist where you can bet both teams to score and under 2.5 goals, as well as alternative goal totals.

Total Team Goals

This sort of bet is specific to individual teams. Here, you will 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.

Examples:

  • 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.

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Ryan is SBD's resident soccer pro, though his repertoire is by no means limited to a single sport. His articles have been published by the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and the Kitchener Rangers, and outlets like SportsXpress and Shredthespread.com