Learn bookmaker soccer betting rules to protect your bankroll

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Learn bookmaker soccer betting rules to protect your bankroll

Discover how bookmakers use soccer betting rules against your bets. Learning the bookmaker betting conditions will help you make better bets.



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Updated on 16 November 2018
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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...


Soccer betting rules are very similar (for the most part) across the popular bookmakers. There may be a few differences and some nuances, but when all is said and done most bookmakers providing soccer betting markets will not want to subject their customers to uncommon conditions, which would make their sportsbook or bookmaker unattractive.


Although, we may watch football on the TV or stream the match down from a site, we almost never look through the soccer betting rules.


It’s my hope that you can use this post to refer to classic soccer betting rules, which are relatively consistent across bookmakers.

The standard bookmaker football betting rules


The basic soccer betting rules are based on the classic football betting rules, listed below:

•    3-way results based on 1X2 (Home Win, Draw and Away Win)

•    Advance betting before the event

•    Betting during the game (In Play)

•    Prop bets, proposition bets and in-game bets

•    Overall bookmaker betting rules

3-way results based on the 1X2 (Home Win, Draw and Away Win)


The standard Home Win, Draw and Away Win bets with the classic 1X2 decimal odds, fractional odds or American moneyline odds are offered across bookmakers. The 3-way includes the use of the Draw (or tie), as soccer matches can (and often do) end with level scores.


The 3-way bets are based on normal matches within the chosen league and the result is confirmed after the regulation 90 minutes (including time added on by the referee).


You must correctly predict the final match result; Home Win, Draw or Away Win.

Advance result betting before the event, such as tournaments or leagues


Soccer is played around the world and there are many tournaments, cups and league competitions, which provide the opportunity to bet on the winner of the tournament or national league before the event has even started.


This means that you’re placing an advanced bet on the outcome of the competition, which is sometimes good for you to find value within future odds that are incorrectly priced.


There is sometimes much value to be gained from looking through advanced bets that have not taken recent team performance into account.

Betting during the game (In Play)


Bookmakers, betting exchanges and sportsbooks now offer a range of in-play betting options, which allow the punter to cash-out and return their stake and profits (or potentially reduce a loss).


However, the odds offered in-play (i.e. during the match) are not the same as the odds offered before the event. The odds within the match are typically calculated odds, which are designed to reduce the bookmaker’s liabilities…They’re not designed to give you your money back.


To reiterate the point, you should only take a betting position on in-play bets if the odds are in line with your value calculations or minimise losses.


Prop bets, proposition bets and weird bets


Prop bets can cover a lot of different areas within a match and are usually very engaging. They will keep you rooted to your seat watching the big game. However, it’s pointless being mesmerised by the game if you’re letting money drain from your pocket at the same time.


Proposition bets are sometimes known as exotic bets and they are usually active for 90 minutes (inclusive of the time added on by the referee). Prop bets may include:


Exact Score or Correct Score


Predicting the final correct score of a football match, so how many goals will be scored by the home team and how many goals will be scored by their away opponents.


Halftime result and fulltime result


Predicting the overall match result at halftime and at fulltime. So, if you were to look at the following half-time and full-time results, it provides the different possible combination that bookmakers will accept.

•    Home Win/Home Win, Home Win/Draw or Home Win/Away Win

•    Draw/Home Win, Draw/Draw, Draw/Away Win

•    Away Win/Home Win, Away Win/Draw, Away Win/Away Win


The first goal scorer and the last goal scorer


Simply, the player that will score the first goal or the player that will score the last goal. The first and the last goal scorers are two different betting markets.


Both markets are slightly more difficult than the player to score at any time betting market, as you’re specifying the first or the last goal.


Higher odds are usually available within this market across the different bookmakers, but be very wary, as this can be an area where less experienced punters can lose their money.


If your player does not play, your money is usually returned, but check the different bookmakers as sometimes there can be discrepancies.


Furthermore, if your chosen player scores an own goal, this is not usually counted, and would not register as your player scoring a first or last goal. Bookmakers would simply class this one as an own goal and not register it against a specific player for betting purposes.


Remember, if your player takes any part in the game, they will be classed as playing. If your player leaves the field for any reason (i.e. substitution, injury or sending off) before scoring a goal. This would also class as a losing bet.


A specific player to score at any time


This bookmaker betting option is like the previous betting market, but this one revolves around a specific player scoring at any time within the regulation 90 minutes. This is usually a good market for punters that want to take less risk in their goal scorer bets and cover a goal throughout the entire match by their chosen player.


The same conditions as the first/last goal scorer apply to this betting market, as your player must play some part in the match to register as a viable bet. All other conditions also remain the same.


First half match result and full-time match result


Like the halftime/fulltime, this betting market concentrates on either a halftime bet or a fulltime bet. It does not include both halftime and fulltime together. This means that the Home Win, Draw or Away Win are valid selections for this proposition market.


Abandoned matches before the halftime or fulltime result are usually classed as a void and your stake should be returned.


However, if the match is abandoned within the second half and you have placed a bet on a halftime result, the result will most likely stand, and your bet will either win or lose depending on the result.


Yellow cards, red cards and booking points


Some bookmakers offer slightly different options for bets related to bookings.


There are different options for booking betting markets; points based and total cards. Either, yellow cards and red cards each have points associated and the combined total provides the points. Or bookmakers will accept a bet on the quantity of a specific type of card (i.e. yellow or red) within any match.


The team to score first or the next goal


This is separated into two different bets; before the match and in-play. The first team to score requires a prediction for just that…The first team to score a valid goal within the match. Whereas the in-play option relates to the next goal to be scored.


This means that the next valid goal scored after the bet was placed in-play would decide if your bet won or lost.


The total number of goals scored


Bookmakers have provided an easy to understand option where the total goals scored in a match includes the valid goals registered within the 90 minutes.


The betting options for this market are by and large identical across bookmakers may slightly vary due to the teams playing. So, you may be presented with options from 0 goals, 1 goal, 2 goals, 3 goals or 4 or more goals.


Sometimes it can go higher, but the higher numbers are often unrealistic given the probability of goal scoring based on the league and the opposing teams.


Total corners within a match


How many corners are awarded within a match? This is sometimes broken down into the home team and the away team with some bookmakers, but it’s quite a simple and a straightforward betting option to understand.


When is the first goal scored or time of first goal


You must correctly predict the minute (or range of minutes when the first goal will be scored). This betting market is again monitored over the regulation 90 minutes and time added on by the referee.


Overall bookmaker betting rules




There are several areas that bookmakers will challenge winning bets, but there are some basics that you should know before placing a bet.


Betting pre-match odds before kick-off


Remember that bookies will accept all bets placed on a match based on pre-match odds right up until kick-off. However, there are circumstances when bets are placed after the match has kicked off using the pre-match odds.


There are very few bookmakers that will accept that kind of bet, they would simply return your money and void the bet. Some bookmakers may offer you the option to place the bet in-play instead, but do not be surprised if your bet is not accepted and the stake is returned to your account.


Odds can and will change


The nature of betting is that odds are continually changing and fluctuating as the market makes its decisions on the two teams and the probable outcome of the match. As you can imagine, the odds are very fluid, and changes are constantly occurring.


Don’t be surprised if you place a bet at one odds, but by the time your bet is registered the odds have changed.


Sometimes you’re entitled to lock down specific odds for a short period between accepting the offered odds and placing the bet, but this is not the same across all bookmakers.


Speed is the key for gaining the odds that you want, but don’t confuse moving quickly with not thinking about your bets. Always have a plan before you risk any of your money.


All goal related betting markets


We’re only looking at the standard 90 minutes, as per any normal match. If the fixture will include extra-time, such as kick-out tournaments and cup competitions, the goal related betting markets will be specific and state that additional time is included within the bet.


It is your responsibility to understand not only how much you’re betting on the different fixtures, but how the bookmaker will return funds based on their policies around the different betting markets. Do not get caught out by assuming all bookmakers operate by identical rules.


All outright related betting markets


The outright betting markets are an answer to the 90 minute markets. This can help with the 1X2 bets following the regulation time and will cover the entire fixture. As with the goal related betting markets (above), you need to ensure you understand how you’re risking your money.


If you want to include extra time then go for the outright betting markets, but if you’re more concerned about the regulation 90 minutes results, then do not bet the outright betting markets. Outright markets will be clearly marked, but make sure you look before placing a bet!


League position bets


The is simply the outcome of the league or tournament league at the end of the regulation season. Bookmakers are more interested in the final league positions rather than what may happen in play-offs, play-outs or other matches that occur after the normal season has ended for most of the teams in the league.


Abandoned and postponed games


Matches that are abandoned, include games that have kicked off, but the match is halted and eventually abandoned by the referee.


Abandonments are usually due to unforeseen circumstances, such as seriously hazardous weather conditions, poor visibility, crowd trouble or several other reasons. If you have placed a bet, your bet will usually be voided and returned to you, as the game has registered as abandoned.


However, abandoned games that have kicked-off and a specific market has already settled, such as first goal score, first team to score, goals in the first half, half-time result, etc, will stand. Your stake is unlikely to be returned under these circumstances.


Postponed games are different and have usually not kicked off and have been postponed due to factors, such as a fixture reschedule or viewing purposes or another reason that was sanctioned by the league.


Bets placed in match postponed circumstances may not be voided and may be placed against the rescheduled fixture, usually if the fixture will be played in a couple of days from the original date. However, this is not always identical with different bookmakers, so check the soccer betting rules of your bookie before placing bets.

Final thoughts about bookmakers and the different rules


If you double check your bookmaker rules, especially when you’re looking to place a new bet that is not part of your usual portfolio, it makes sense to take a few minutes to review the rules.


Sometimes you may be caught out by something that is not immediately obvious but would have presented itself if you took the time to look.


Maintaining and growing your bankroll is the best option for any punter that wants to take more care of the betting. The only way to do that is with more soccer betting expert knowledg and we hope that we can help you with that journey.


Good luck!



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