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Get a brief overview and description of the main football betting markets
Identify the best soccer betting options with full explanations across the main football betting markets
Published on 18 December 2018
Updated on 18 December 2018
Betting Tips for Today's Football
Find more value in your next football bet. You could gain a betting edge by checking out the tips and stats for today's and tomorrow's fixtures...
Getting started with football betting and finding the easiest football bets to win is harder than it sounds. A large part of this is down to the vocabulary, which can sound strange and – in some cases – downright baffling. Even seasoned bettors might steer away from certain markets, simply because… they don’t really know what they are!
That’s why I’ve put together this comprehensive list of the main football betting markets. For beginners out there, this can be your crash course into the must-know vocab. For the veterans amongst you, consider this a brush-up on your knowledge!
Let’s get to it.
The most basic of all betting markets, and still undoubtedly the most popular.
With a fulltime result bet, you’re simply picking the final outcome of the match. You always have three options to choose from: home win, draw, and away win. Often, these are expressed as “1/X/2”.
Whilst some bookies only offer certain markets on certain games, you’ll always be able to make a fulltime result bet, on any competitive game in the world. These wagers should be the cornerstone of your football betting.
Note: These bets apply up to the end of regular time (underline). Extra time in cup competitions will not be covered.
This is similar to a fulltime result bet. The difference is that you’re taking two outcomes instead of one. So, your choices are Home/Draw, Draw/Away, or Home/Away.
Given that you’re covering 2/3 of the outcomes here, double chance bets are obviously much safer than fulltime result picks. Accordingly, you’ll also get considerably lower odds on them.
Double chance wagers are perfect for the cautious bettor, but you’re unlikely to make a big profit off them.
As the name suggests, you’re literally picking the exact final score of the game here. You can basically pick any score you like, from a 0-0 bore draw all the way up to a 10-0 win for one side (now that would make you a big profit!).
As you can probably guess, these are very difficult bets to win. It’s hard enough just to pick the result in games correctly. Picking the actual score? That’s another level of difficulty entirely.
Half time/fulltime is a more difficult version of the fulltime result bet. Instead of picking the result after the final whistle, you also have to predict the result at half-time. You might take Draw/Home, for example, which means you’re backing a draw at half-time, with the home team to get the win in the second half.
I wouldn’t recommend this bet in a vacuum… but it definitely works with certain teams. Every season, a few sides consistently either start strongly then fade, or start slowly and then get better after the break. At the time of writing, for example, Arsenal are relying almost entirely on their second half performances in the Premier League.
Half time/fulltime correct score
Well, if you thought regular correct score bets sounded too easy… here’s a new challenge for you!
Here, you’re effectively doubling the difficulty of that bet. You must pick the correct score of the match at half time, and at fulltime.
These bets are phenomenally hard to win. Give them a shot for a bit of fun, if you like, but keep your stakes nice and low.
The over/under is one of my personal favourite bets.
You start by picking a half-number of goals – 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, and so on. Then, you choose whether you think the total number of goals in the game will go over or under that number. If you take the Over 2.5, for example, you’re betting there will be three or more goals in the match. Take the Under 1.5, and you need a 0-0 or 1-0 to triumph.
The standard over/under is 2.5 goals, and I would recommend starting off with this bet. Historically, games in the Premier League have averaged 2.65 goals since 92/93. It’s also where you’ll tend to get odds that are closest to 50/50.
Both teams to score
Both teams to score – frequently shortened to BTTS – is another of my favourite markets. It’s an easy one to understand – you’re simply betting on whether or not both teams will score – and I’ve also found it a pretty consistent one for actually winning wagers.
You only have two options here – Yes and No. The odds will vary to some extent depending on how prolific the teams involved are, but they rarely get prohibitively high or low.
This is another great market for beginners.
At a base level, this one’s pretty self-explanatory – you’re simply betting on a player to score a goal.
There are some interesting variants, though. The most common bet is “Anytime goalscorer”. In this case, your chosen player can score at any point in the match, and you’ll still win.
In addition, you can bet on “First goalscorer” and “Last goalscorer”. In these cases, your potential hero needs to bag either the first or last goal to bring home the bacon. These are much harder bets to win, and – accordingly – the odds are significantly higher.
Much like a regular goalscorer bet, you’re still picking a particular player to score. In this case, however, you need them to score more than one goal. The regular markets you’ll be offered are “2 Or More” and “Hat-Trick”.
Normal goalscorer bets aren’t “easy” to win. Multi scorer bets are very hard. You will get great odds on them, though, which can make them tempting. Even the top strikers – like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – usually get odds of over 20/1 to score a hat-trick.
I recently put together a comprehensive guide to Asian Handicap bets, which you can find here. Here’s a short summary for you, though.
With an Asian Handicap, you essentially create a “fake score” before the match. If you’re betting the favourite, you give them a fake deficit. If you’re betting the underdog, you give them a fake lead. You then bet on whether or not they’ll win your fictional match.
As an example, let’s say Liverpool are playing Cardiff at home.
You think Liverpool will win big, so you take them at -2. That means – in your bet – Liverpool are starting 0-2 down. If they win the real game 3-0, they also win your bet 3-2, and you triumph. If they only win the real game 1-0, then it’s 1-2 in your fake game, and you lose. If it’s a draw in your fake bet, you get your stake back.
Alternatively, you could take Cardiff at +3. Even if they lose the real game 2-0, you still win your bet.
Alternative Asian Handicap
Generally, this works in the same way as a regular Asian Handicap. You’re still creating a fake lead or deficit for your chosen team before the game.
Alternative Asian Handicaps, however, work on half-numbers, not whole numbers. So, in the previous example, you might take Liverpool at -2.5, or Cardiff at +2.5. That means that the draw is entirely removed from the equation – you either win, or you lose.
Draw no bet
Draw no bet is one of the safer markets out there.
You start off by picking either the home or away team to win. If your selection does go on to triumph, then you collect your winnings. If the match finishes in a draw, however, then you still get your full stake back, despite not having picked the correct winner. This is a great way of getting some insurance built into your bet.
You’ll get lower odds than you would with a fulltime result bet. When you’re looking at a game that’s likely to be close, though, and you’re not entirely confident in your winner pick, taking the draw no bet is often a smarter option.
Result/both teams to score
We’ve already looked at full-time result and both teams to score bets. This market simply combines the two. To win it, you must pick both the correct outcome of the game (1/X/2), and whether or not both teams will score.
This isn’t an easy bet to win, but it’s not the hardest we’ve looked at. In certain circumstances, it can offer very good value indeed. If a heavy favourite with an excellent defence is playing at home, for example, this is a way to bet them for a comfortable win, whilst still getting good odds.
To clarify, the two main types of handicap bets are Asian Handicap and European Handicap. If you simply see a market described as “a handicap bet”, assume it’s a European Handicap.
The two handicap types are very similar. In both, you create a fake advantage or disadvantage for one team before kick-off. The biggest difference is that, with a European Handicap, you can bet on three outcomes: you can take either team to win (with the handicap included), or pick the draw.
This draw will still include a handicap. If Man City are playing Newcastle, for example, you might take “Tie (Man City -1 Goal)”. In that case, you would be giving City a one goal disadvantage, but still betting them to draw in your fake match. You’d be backing them to win by one goal, basically.
Alternative handicap result
These bets work in exactly the same way as regular handicap bets. The only difference is that you’re changing the handicap, and therefore the odds.
Every bookie will offer a regular, starting handicap with odds that are close to 50/50. But, you don’t actually have to take this bet. Instead, you can pick a higher or lower handicap to raise or lower the odds.
If Arsenal are playing Watford, for example, the starting handicap might be Arsenal -1. If you feel confident in the Gunners getting a win, you can take the alternative handicap of -2, and bump up the odds.
A winning margin bet is pretty self-explanatory. You’re just… betting how many goals a team will win by!
In practice, this is essentially a harder version of handicap betting: you’re still predicting how the game will go, in a pretty precise manner. The difference here is that – in order to win – you need to be spot-on with your prediction.
To win a scorecast bet, you must pick both the correct score, and the first or last goalscorer.
This is a ludicrously hard bet to win, and I’d recommend steering clear with anything but a miniscule stake. Correct score and goalscorer wagers are hard enough in isolation! Bundle them together, and a victory becomes nigh-on impossible.
This is simply a slightly easier version of the aforementioned scorecast bet.
You still need to guess the correct score and a goalscorer. The difference is that – rather than picking the first or last scorer – you can take a player to score at any point in the match.
If you’re absolutely determined to take a scorecast wager, I’d certainly recommend taking this instead of the regular version.
1st half scorecast
Here we have another slight variation on the scorecast bet.
This works in exactly the same way as a regular scorecast bet, but – as you might expect – it only applies to the first half. Needless to say, this makes an extremely tough bet even harder to win.
Wincast bets are basically an easier version of scorecast wagers.
As with a scorecast, you must pick a player to score (both first goalscorer and anytime goalscorer variants are available). Instead of picking the correct score here, though, you only need to pick the result (1, X or 2).
This is the easiest version of the scorecast bet type. Accordingly, as you can probably guess, it’s also my favourite!
Timecasts are tricky little bets. Again, I wouldn’t recommend putting any kind of sizeable stake on them, but they can be fun every now and again!
To win a timecast, you need a couple of things to come off in your favour. You must successfully pick which team will score first, and roughly when they’ll score that goal. The bookie will set the time frame, and you must predict whether the first goal will be scored during or after that time.
As an example, you might be betting on Derby to score first against Nottingham Forest. You’ll then also need to pick whether they score before or after the 30th minute.
Final thoughts on the different betting markets
Well, there you have it – a crash course into every major market you’re likely to find across the global betting markets.
When you’re in the pub on a Saturday afternoon, you should now be able to reel off phrases like, “I’ve got a Man U -2 AH here”, and, “Aguero on a first half scorecast – thank me later”, much to the astonishment and envy (maybe) of your mates.
Okay, on a more serious note, you should now have a good idea of your options when it comes to football betting. I’ve also indicated the relative risk of many of these markets, so you can make a decision about the most profitable football bets, which should help you pick which bet types are suitable, based on how you like to gamble.
Keep checking back on the site for more detailed explanations and guides to many of the markets mentioned here.
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