Football Betting Odds
There’s no other sport in the United Kingdom that builds excitement across the nation like football, and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of matches to bet on every single week.
There are a number of different domestic leagues, cups, and global tournaments for punters to focus their energies on, with an almost endless well of markets.
England boasts one of the most exciting domestic leagues in the world, while Europe’s other “top five leagues” feature La Liga in Spain, the Bundesliga in Germany, Ligue 1 in France, and Serie A in Italy, due to the quality of players and teams on display.
These leagues, along with others, offer a large selection of betting markets, from outright winners to relegated sides, as well as live in-match play.
This guide will outline how to focus on betting across global markets and break down why betting online is becoming the most popular way to gamble.
Football Betting Odds Explained
If you’re betting for the first time in football, the first thing to grasp is how betting odds work so you can understand how likely an outcome is to happen and what the potential winnings are.
There are two formats of betting—fractions and decimals—and there are simple ways to calculate both to understand what your bet will return, depending on your stake and if the outcome takes place.
Fractions are the most traditional method to use. As an example, imagine you see Manchester United to win the Premier League this season at 8/1 (an outright bet), for every £1 placed you will win £8 (£9 when you include your stake).
Depending on how Manchester United perform over the course of the season, their odds will change. For example, if they start winning games and reach the top of the league, the price on United winning the Premier League will begin to shorten—for example, 5/1 from 8/1.
Equally, if they don’t perform well and results are poor, their odds (chances) of winning the title will begin to increase. For example, they may go from 8/1 to 10/1 or more.
The same principle can be applied to decimal odds. If you see Manchester City to win the Champions League at odds of 2.5 and you’d like to place a bet of £10, you can calculate those odds by your stake (2.5 * 10 = £25).
The fractional odds for decimal odds of 2.5 would be 6/4.
The same principle can be applied to in-play match betting, which involves placing a bet on the outcome of a specific situation in any game of football across any league or tournament.
Punters can place a bet before the match begins, or once kick-off has taken place, with odds fluctuating throughout the game based on what happens during it.
Bets can be placed on various different markets such as the first team to score, time of the opening goal, the first player to score, the number of goals scored, the total number of corners, players to be yellow or red-carded, and many more.
Another form of betting in football is “football handicapping.”
This form of betting is applied in a match to level out the odds on both teams and can be used by bettors to give themselves a better chance of winning a bet with slightly increased odds.
Some bettors enjoy doing this as it allows them to analyse a team’s performance rather than the outcome of a match, such as how many goals a team will win by, rather than just simply winning.
For example, if Liverpool were playing Norwich in the Premier League, as the stronger side Liverpool may have a handicap of -1.5, with Norwich on +1.5.
This effectively means that Liverpool will start the match with a 1.5 goal disadvantage, and it provides a virtual advantage to the weaker team, Norwich in this instance.
If you bet on Liverpool to win at this handicap price, they would be required to win by at least two goals, while betting on Norwich means they would need to win the match, draw, or only lose by one goal for you to win the bet.
Popular Football Bets Online
When betting on football for the first time, it can seem overwhelming given the sheer volume of bets and different prices available to you.
And sometimes you need to look in the right places to find good value bets to give yourself a good chance of winning.
At the start of a season, you might look at long-term bets, such as an outright winner of the English Premier League or teams to be relegated, while each match week you might pick a few different teams to win or bet on one single match with a correct score.
It’s important to make sure you pick the right bets in different leagues and tournaments to maximise your chances of winning and avoid selecting any bet with not much value just for the sake of it.
Therefore, it’s useful to understand different types of bets and when to pick them.
Below we’ve outlined a range of different types of popular betting markets that can be placed across a number of different divisions and tournaments when betting on football.
The betting term “accumulator” refers to the type of bet that involves at least four different selections or more.
An important difference to an accumulator bet over any other is that all four selections must happen in order for the bet to payout.
An example of an accumulator is, when there’s a Premier League matchweek taking place with a number of different fixtures, you could opt for four different teams such as Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham all to win their own individual matches in order for the accumulator to payout.
Your winnings are based on the combined odds for each match you’ve bet on.
One note of importance is that some online sportsbooks have offers such as ‘money back if one team loses on your accumulator’ so it’s worth looking out for this if it can be found.
The first goalscorer betting market is popular amongst football fans. This is centred around which player you think will score the first goal in the match, while each player has their own odds to do so.
Strikers are most fancied to score the first goal, while defenders rarely find themselves on the scoresheet, so their odds of scoring first are usually higher.
For example, Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo may be the favourite to score the first goal given he plays in attack for his side and usually scores goals, while defender Harry Maguire’s primary role is to defend his own goal.
He spends less time in the opponent’s box and will likely have longer odds of scoring first given the chance of him doing so is more unlikely, although he has been known to score vital goals with his head at corners for club and country!
Half-time & Full-time
When betting on football, there tends to always be a team favoured over the other, and at times it can be tricky to find the odds you want on a particular match, so the half-time/full-time market can be used to provide a more favourable price and a better payout option.
This market allows punters to pick the team they think will be winning the match at half-time and full-time. For example, if Chelsea is playing West Ham at home, you might fancy the hosts to win both halves, where they would be required to be at least one goal up in the first 45 minutes and the second 45 minutes.
On the other hand, for a perceived closer match with teams more evenly matched, you might predict a draw at half-time and a team to be winning at full-time.
Sometimes if you’re unsure of the outcome of a result, or you’re looking for value in a bet, betting on corners can be a step away from the norm.
You can look at the exact number in either half or a match, as well as a bet over and under a certain number of corners.
A popular bet amongst punters is looking at total corners for both teams, and if you think one team might have periods of sustained pressure over the other and they might win more corners, then this market can be a clever and profitable method of betting.
With goal-lines betting, this looks at a prediction of how many goals will be scored in total during the match, where bettors can predict an exact number, or hazard a guess at whether there will be under or over a certain number of goals.
For example, you might look at a match where both teams have sturdy defences, and their form is showing they don’t concede many goals in recent games and bet that there will be under 1.5 goals in a game.
Alternatively, if there are teams playing and one or both have been scoring for fun, you might look at putting over 1.5 goals, 2.5 goals or even 3.5 goals.
If Manchester City were playing PSG, you might think that both teams have the potential to score a lot in one match, in which case over 2.5 goals or 3.5 goals might be a sensible bet.
Football Betting Strategy
While exploring different markets in football is an exciting part of betting on the sport, it’s important for bettors to have a strategy to stick to when making decisions on bets.
Many bettors have a weekly routine, such as waking up early on a Saturday morning and analysing teams over a cup of coffee, and there’s something thrilling about studying the teams, their recent form, and statistics before making the important calls.
Preparation is key when it comes to making the key decisions. Here are a few strategies to keep in mind when picking your bets:
The form is crucial for bookmakers, and it plays a huge part in the odds that they set in football. It’s important that bettors do their homework too and study how teams and players are performing before settling on picks.
The first thing to look out for is the team’s last few results; are they winning games and scoring lots of goals, or struggling for results and conceding too many?
How do they usually fare against the team they are playing? What’s their home and away form been like up to that point?
All of this should form your decision when picking a team, instead of just picking the best odds, the favourite or the team that is top of the table.
Look For Where There’s Value
It’s not just as easy as picking the favourites for every game, and even if a few favourites do come in then it’s not always going to offer too much value.
Sometimes it’s better to dig a bit deeper and find a team that has good odds for considering factors, perhaps an away team who are in good form and might spring a surprise or select draws for matches you expect to be close, as draws can always bring some decent value.
Head over the heart is the best way when looking at the fixtures on paper, as it’s always best to embrace an impartial attitude when it comes to placing a bet.
If you pick the team you want to win, over the team you think will win through analysing the data, then it could result in a lost wager.
You may look to back your favourite team because you’re biased and think they can take the spoils, but it’s always better to think clearly and go with your gut, rather than what you want to happen.
Don’t let your heart rule your head when placing a bet!
Betting On Different Football Leagues
As already mentioned, there’s several different leagues and tournaments to bet on when it comes to football, with matches taking place every day of the week, most weeks.
The Premier League, England’s top flight, is one of the most popular divisions across the world.
With 20 different teams involved per season, featuring global powerhouses and the traditional ‘top six’ of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham, the Premier League has the reputation of being arguably the most exciting league in the football industry.
Spain’s La Liga also boasts two of the biggest clubs in world football in Barcelona and Real Madrid.
La Liga, featuring 20 teams, is home to some of the most technically talented players in the world, and it’s no surprise to see Spanish teams regularly progress into the latter stages of the Champions League and Europa League year after year.
Germany’s Bundesliga has a reputation for the highest football attendances in world football, and exciting end-to-end matches with lots of goals.
Bayern Munich is Germany’s most successful team, and with 18 top-flight sides in total, it is also recognised as a league that develops some of the finest young players the world has to offer.
Serie A, Italy’s top football division, is another 20-team league playing home to some of the world’s biggest sides in Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Lazio, and Roma to name a few.
Built on sturdy defences and technical flair, the division was once the most attractive destination for the world’s best footballers to ply their trade in the 1980s and 1990s, and still appeals to top players in the world to this day.
Ligue 1 in France completes Europe’s ‘top five’ leagues, with 20 sides from across the country playing in the division.
Ligue 1’s reputation has been growing over the last few years and most recently has attracted global interest due to the rise of Paris Saint-Germain, whose newfound wealth from Qatari owners has seen the team sign some of the best talents in the world, including Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr, and Kylian Mbappe.
Betting On The Champions League
The Champions League is the elite club football tournament run by the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) and consists of 32 of the continent’s finest teams vying for the grand prize.
The tournament is structured by four teams in eight groups, with two teams from each progressing to the last 16 before a knockout format begins.
The annual tournament is one of the most popular sporting events to bet on in world football. A huge market, Europe’s elite competition offers a wide array of bets to place a wager on through the season, from in-game bets to outright winners for the whole competition.
Traditional Champions League odds, as with most football odds in general, are often split into two different categories: outright betting and match betting.
As previously mentioned, outright betting involves picking a bet on the outcome of the full Champions League tournament, such as Manchester City to win the competition at 3/1.
You can also bet on other longer-term markets in the Champions League tournament such as ‘top goalscorer’ – e.g. Lionel Messi to score the most goals in the Champions League for that season at 5/1.
And match betting is also very popular in the Champions League, featuring all of the typical match-play bets previously discussed in this article.
For example, if Manchester United are playing Villarreal, you can bet on the outcome of the final score, first goalscorer, how many goals will be scored, and many more.
Betting On The World Cup
The World Cup is the most prestigious tournament in the world when it comes to international football with countries from across the globe competing to win one of football’s most illustrious prizes.
Made up of 32 different nations, football’s biggest spectacle on the planet sees 64 games spread across a month period with a host of matches taking place each day, ensuring there is plenty to bet on through the days and weeks – from outright to in-play markets.
With the next World Cup on the horizon, scheduled to start in November 2022 in Qatar, more football betting opportunities are just around the corner, and it will be important to keep an eye on the international scene with World Cup qualifiers currently taking place across various different continents.
If you’re looking for value and aiming to get teams at good odds, now is the time to look at their qualifying form and outright prices. Just make sure you’ve had a good read of the above and are fully prepared first!
Advanced Football Betting Systems
While betting strategies are key, it’s crucial to ensure you understand different betting systems and are implementing them into your strategy to secure a better chance of winning your bet.
Here are a few betting systems to be aware of when betting in football.
Understanding A Team’s Value
It can be possible to work out a team’s value heading into a match by following a particular method, which involves working out what percentage you feel the chances are of a side winning the game.
Once you identify this percentage, you can multiply it by the decimal price on offer in the market, and any result of 1.00 or bigger means the side has value to them and could be worth betting on.
Comparing Different Bookmakers
Those more experienced in football betting have different betting accounts with various bookies in order to compare prices on offer, and allows bettors to have flexibility in the approach to rival bookmaker odds.
These odds can vary from different bookmakers, and it’s good to keep an eye on different sportsbooks and changes they are making over their competitors.
For example, many bookmakers might have Liverpool at 9/2 to win the Premier League, but if you compare different sportsbooks then you might be able to find more value and identify one that offers a better price, e.g. 5/1.
This helps you add value to your bet and increase the potential winnings. Always seek out the best odds!
Lay betting often plays a big role in advanced football betting, with punters taking this approach to bet on an outcome not to happen.
For example, you could place a bet on a team not to win a game, enabling you to back your belief and bet that something won’t happen.
However, with this approach, your overall risk can be greater if your selection that you predicted to lose actually wins, so that’s something to bear in mind.