There is a reason why soccer is also known as “The Beautiful Game.” At times, there is no sport on the planet that can match its style and allure. Then again, it can also be the ugliest game you have ever watched. It depends on the teams and who’s playing, right?
Despite its ups and downs, soccer remains the most popular on our little green planet. In fact, it is believed that over 50% of people on earth are fans of the sport, which pretty much says it all. Given such interest, it is not difficult to see why it is also the sport which attracts more bets than any other, across the globe.
Bookmakers, casinos, and online betting companies have made it easier to bet on soccer over the years. By introducing numerous bets, there is an opportunity for almost anyone to try their luck on their favorite team. It is not just soccer’s showpiece – the FIFA World Cup – that gets players’ pulses racing. England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, and Germany’s Bundesliga are all thriving betting markets, year after year.
We all have our favorite teams and competitions and we all have our favorite bets. Below, I will break down tips for soccer bets I believe to be the best out there. Grab yourself a pen and pad, strap in, and take some notes!
The easiest way to bet on soccer is on the result of a game. There are only three ways a game can go, which makes things very easy to understand. You place your bet on either of the two teams to win, or on a draw. If your bet is successful, you collect winnings based on the odds and the amount you have placed. Pretty easy, right? Absolutely, although I always prefer to illustrate my points with examples, for the sake of clarity.
In this scenario, Manchester United (+180) are playing Liverpool (+159). The draw is at odds of +275. As you can see, there are three potential results, which are a win for Manchester United, a win for Liverpool, or a draw. The odds difference between Manchester United and Liverpool is pretty low, suggesting both teams are evenly matched. the odds for the draw also suggests this.
Oddsmakers will study the history of results between both teams, factor in things like injuries and overall squad strength, and home advantage to produce these odds. For example, if Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino are missing for Liverpool, their chances will not be as high. This might affect their ability to win the game, which will, in turn, affect the odds.
If you are a player who does not want to bet on anything but a result, you should ensure that your pick is justified. Always follow these steps:
This is certainly the most simple bet you can place on a soccer game. I would personally avoid a simple bet on a result, as there are three scenarios which could play out. For example, if you bet $100 on Tottenham to win, Liverpool could win or a draw could occur. The odds are not 50/50, which means there are, technically, two other scenarios which could occur.
A great alternative to a “straight up” bet on a result is handicap betting, which we will cover next.
Handicap betting can be a great way to bet on soccer. In theory, it is a stronger bet on a team’s performance.
A handicap bet is placed on a team starting with an theoretic disadvantage or an advantage. You can choose Manchester United to beat Liverpool, for example, starting with one goal down at kick off. This means that Manchester United would need to win by at least two goals for your bet to come through. You can bet on a team starting a game minus more than one goal, too.
For example, if Manchester United have been firing on all cylinders for the past ten games, this might get you thinking. Their average goals per game have been 3, with Romelu Lukaku – their star striker – scoring 12 in the last ten. Other players have also found their form and goals have flowed. Liverpool, on the other hand, has struggled in front of goal. Manchester United’s defense has been pretty good, too.
For this reason, you are sure Manchester United will win. The odds of +180 don’t really do them justice. To avail of better odds, you pick them to start the game with one goal down. Those odds then rise from +180 to +260. Manchester United go on to win the game 3-1, which wins you your bet, as according to the stipulations of the bet, United were behind by 1, to begin with (making it 2-1).
Conversely, if you chose Liverpool with a one-goal advantage, and the game ended 0-0, you would win your bet. This is because they started the game with a theoretic goal.
Handicap betting is a great way to make some money if you trust your conviction (and things go your way, of course). However, you are still at the mercy of a handicap draw at best, or a loss, at worst. There are still two results which could go against you.
In my opinion, the most underrated bet in soccer is Asian handicap betting. It is similar to spread betting, so some readers may be accustomed to betting in a similar way on the NFL, for example. The theory behind Asian handicap is that the perceived stronger team must score more to win. In classic handicap betting, there is a potential draw result which is removed in Asian handicap.
The Asian handicap system aims to improve betting odds of a football match by making it as close to 50/50. If a draw occurs, the player’s stake is returned. Where there are perceived to be minimal differences in ability between both teams, markets will offer what is referred to as a “level bet,” which means both teams start with 0 goals.
If one team is a little stronger, they may start – 0.25 goals, or 0.5 goals. This can go up to 2 or 3 goals, depending on the difference in the ability of both teams. Remember, a draw result is not possible, so if neither team is the clear winner, stakes are refunded (like a push). In cases where there are 0.25 goals involved, players can lose half their stakes or win half the bet (see the table below).
Wherever you can find Asian handicap markets, always choose them over traditional handicaps. With the way the Asian handicap system works, there is no draw result. Games are as close to 50/50 as you will find, which can make a huge difference to your bankroll in the long run.
Betting in-play is another highly recommended way to bet on soccer. When betting this way, you get more of a feel for the game than you ever could if betting on a result before the game starts. You can judge a team on how they have started the game, which can often give an indication of how the result will fare.
A team’s discipline can also provide you with an idea of how they are treating the game. One red card can completely change the complexion of a match in soccer, which gives those who bet in play more control. It also opens up the opportunity for a whole host of other bets which are not available at any other point. These bets can be a great way to make a little extra cash on the side and ease the outlay.
While betting in-play, you can place bets on:
And much more. As a shrewd gambler, I believe that there is nothing quite like betting in-play. It really opens the game up and allows a gambler to see things which would not have been available to them previously. It is also a more engaging and interactive experience, which adds fun to proceedings.
For example, in the Brazil vs. Colombia 2014 World Cup, I forgot to put my bets on before the game. With no other options available, I decided to bet in-play, but not pick the result. I saw that there were exceptionally high odds for the first goalscorer being a defender, so chose Brazil’s Thiago Silva at something along the lines of 35-1.
Silva scored in the 7th minute and I was a very happy boy indeed. I decided to place $20 on the next goal scorer being David Luiz of Brazil at similar odds, and this worked out incredibly well, needless to say. My theory? There seemed to be little attacking ingenuity aside from set-pieces, so defenders would have a great chance. I was lucky.
Always ensure you are watching the game you are betting on. It can really help you to get a feel for the flow of the match. More so, it can help you to make judgments on the next goal scorer being an attacker or defender, or single out the hot-head more likely to be shown a red card. These small things can really add up if you are paying attention. Oh, and the odds can be pretty awesome.
Parlay betting is one of the more polarizing bets out there in soccer. Having previously lived in the UK, the Saturday morning accumulator bet (which is what parlays are known as across the pond) is a ritual for many. Betting shops are widespread, and all offer sheets of printed fixtures that many young guys and girls fill in with their picks, hoping to strike it big. Social media feeds often have stories of people winning thousands on as little as a couple of dollars, but most of this is fantasy.
While the odds of many accumulator bets are astronomical, they are for a reason. It is incredibly difficult to predict the results of numerous games. It is still very difficult to predict the result of one game where both teams are matched, never mind eight. Although this is the case, I believe parlay bets are still an excellent choice for small stake bets.
They are very simple bets to place. Honestly, there is nothing difficult about placing a parlay bet in soccer. You just need to pick results and hope all of them come in. The advantage of a parlay bet is that the odds are high as the chances of all your predictions coming in are so high.
Let’s take a look at an example where you are placing a $100 parlay bet with odds of 13-1 on:
You would need all of your predictions to come in in order to win $1,400 ($1,300 plus stake). Just one loss or draw will see your parlay lose.
The odds are stacked against you for parlay bets. As such, if you do win, you can count on some exceptionally high payouts. This type of betting is not the smartest way to spend your money, so never stake high amounts on parlays. This bet should definitely be something you do on the side, or for fun.
Speaking of fun bets, check these next ones out!
Soccer prop bets (also known as proposition bets or special bets) are some of the coolest you will find, anywhere in sports betting.
While some of them may be ridiculous, others are a fun way to spend a few dollars. Not all of these bets have to be as far-fetched and bizarre as Elvis scoring the winning goal in the Champion’s League final. Much like the bets offered when betting in-play – the next card, corner, or throw-in – they can be simple and logical.
If you believe that there will be an abundance of corners in a game on account of both strikers of opposing teams being of poor quality, you might get lucky. The same goes with throw-ins. If one team has little in terms of skill, and play “hoof ball” tactics, they may look to kick the ball out of play a lot rather than pass from the back. These bets can pay pretty well, for players smart enough to take advantage of them.
Then, there are bets which have no bearings on a game. For example, you could bet on the next manager of Manchester United and get some pretty good odds. If you have some insider information, even better.
Personally, I like to have a punt on a couple of prop bets from time to time. It often depends on the teams, the arena, and the event. For example, harsh weather causes havoc on many English Premier League fixtures in winter. Sometimes it can really pay off predicting what games will be called off or postponed by Mother Nature. This is just one example of a prop bet that can work out in your favor.
There are numerous prop bets you can find which come with high odds. It is a case of reading through what the oddsmakers are offering, first, and deciding if that particular bet has a chance of happening. While a UFO abducting Lionel Messi during an El Classico may seem a little far-fetched, it certainly would explain a lot…
One of the reasons why I love betting on soccer is for the abundance of bets you can make on any given game.
Personally, I try to stay away from the custom bets designed by oddsmakers and look for what I believe are the odds which represent true value. A simple win/lose/draw bet doesn’t really do it for me, but I can see why many novice gamblers start out favoring this type of punt. Many are just not aware of the options available to them, like parlays or handicap bets.
Both parlay bets and handicap bets certainly offer more variety than singles. Asian handicap betting is, in my opinion, probably the best type of bet anyone can place in soccer. The odds are favorable and there is no draw, which makes it the smartest bet, at least. I would certainly recommend anyone interested in Asian handicap betting to make sure they learn everything there is to know about this special type of betting.
Oh, and who can forget specials, or prop bets as we usually refer to them in the U.S.? These are some of the most ridiculous bets you can come across, but there are some real gems hidden in between the ludicrous ones. Prop bets when placed in-play can be even better value for punters, given that players can pick up on things when watching a game live.
The greatest thing about betting on soccer is the choice you have. This variety is there for you to use, so make the best of it!
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