How to bet on football matches
Over the last decade or so betting on football has become an increasingly popular pass-time on a Saturday afternoon and has, in many ways, become an essential part of the match-day experience.
How do you get started at football betting though? Below you will find a guide detailing all the ins and outs on how to get started betting on the beautiful game.
The timing of the football season will vary from continent to continent. The traditional football season in Europe will run from August to May with the number of games played depending on the number of teams in the division.
Teams will traditionally play every other team in the division twice, once at home, and once away, so for example, a 20 team league would see a team play all of the other 19 teams twice, coming to a total of 38 games.
While this is not true for every division in the world, with some divisions having fewer teams, this is the most common league structure.
European football may feature the most popular teams and divisions in the world, but the sport is also played on other continents, so you don’t have to worry about not be able to place bets in the pre and post season periods. For example, the MLS, the American football division, runs its season from March through to October.
Types of bets
Football is one of the biggest markets for bookmakers these days and as a result, all the big companies are constantly refreshing their markets in an attempt to compete with one another.
The following are the most common types of football bets:
This is the easiest type of football bet and simply involves choosing the full-time result of the game.
There are three options available when it comes to making this type of bet- the home team, the away team, or a draw.
As a general rule, betting on a home team will often give you a better chance of winning, while betting on a draw will always be the riskier bet.
Accumulators have quickly established themselves as the most popular type of football bets.
An accumulator, also known as an ‘acca’ is a bet where the customer chooses 4 or more selections on their slip and must get all of them right to pick up their winnings.
There are both pros and cons to accumulator bets. Naturally, the biggest pro is that the odds often tend to be huge and a victory ensures a big payday. Whereas the biggest con is that, if just one result lets you down, then you walk away with nothing.
Various types of accumulators have become popular in recent years, with bookmakers constantly scrambling to one-up each other in this market. Things like BTTS (both teams to score) and over/under accumulators are quickly rising in popularity.
Another staple of the football betting market is the goalscorer bets. Most bookmakers will offer odds on the first and/or last goalscorer in any given game, while also providing odds on whether an individual player will score at any time during the match.
While you will find all of these odds on any big game, you may struggle to find them on some of the more obscure footballing fixtures such as non-league or lesser known international games.
Those will knowledge of goalscoring form and player’s history against certain clubs can stand to make a lot of money on these kinds of markets.
Another popular type of bet, though, one you will have to wait some time to see any return on, is the league or cup outright competition, where you choose who you believe will win a selected league or cup tournament.
While these bets will never prove to be too fruitful in the higher divisions where the winner is often quite predictable, they can be incredibly useful in the lower leagues, where a good knowledge of recruitment and previous league records can often put you one step ahead of the bookmakers.
As the name suggests, handicap betting is when one of the teams in the game is playing with a handicap.
When one of the teams is such a clear favourite that they are almost not worth betting on, bookies will offer a handicap suggesting that one of the teams starts -0.5 or -1.
This means that the team would have to effectively win by 2 goals to win the game, with a 1 goal margin ending the game in a draw.
These bets are often worth putting on if a team is a heavy favourite and you are looking to even the odds. For example, if a top of the league team is at home to a bottom of the league team, then you may want to consider placing a handicap bet on the home team.
Due to football being so popular, all of the major online bookmakers are in constant competition with one another and as a result, you will often find all sorts of offers on games on any given weekend.
These offers will often include enhanced odds on the full-time result, accumulators or goalscoring markets.
Most bookmakers will often include sign-up offers for football bets as well. You can find out how to take advantage of these here.
Cash out bets are also an increasingly common fixture when it comes to football betting, with bookmakers offering you the chance to pull out your money halfway through a game if a result is going your way.
Where to bet
Football is one of the most popular sports in the world and every bookmaker will have a wide range of offers available.
Sites like bet365, William Hill and Ladbrokes tend to have better options for accumulators and special bets, while also offering good coverage of leagues all around the world. Bet365 even stream some of the more obscure games so you can keep up to date with all of the action.
You can check out our full reviews of bookmakers and how to receive special bonus offers from them at the top of our page.
Football betting strategy
While there are many who will have claimed to have cracked the key to football betting, the truth of the matter is that it is one of the most unpredictable, and therefore exciting sports in the world to have a bet on.
There are, however, certain ways to ensure that you are more likely to end up winning more than losing.
Studying team’s form, both home and away, is hugely beneficial, while also paying attention to past encounters between the two sides can also help.
Be sure to check out whether teams have any serious injuries or suspensions that may affect their performance as well. You don’t want to place a team on your accumulator only to find out their 20 goal a season striker is out of action for the week.