Soccer is easily the most popular sport worldwide. Not so shockingly, it’s also by far the most wagered upon sport, by a large margin. Europe is the home of most of the elite leagues, but nearly every country in the world has their own domestic league(s).
Today, the game has spread into both North American television and betting markets. Not only is the MLS rising in popularity, but the Champions League is now a fixture on ESPN and NBC broadcasts English Premier League games every Saturday during the season.
Not only does soccer win when it comes to amounts wagered worldwide, but also in number of markets. Some bookmakers have more than 100 pre-match betting markets and even more opportunities regarding live or in-play betting.
In this article, we’ll go over the top betting options for soccer betting. This is by no means an advanced betting on article on soccer betting markets. It’s introductory, but there are several links to more advanced topics.
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Traditional Wagering: 1X2 Betting
The 1X2 wager is the most popular form of wagering on soccer. It’s also known as match betting or full time betting. The 1X2 may seem complicated at first, but it’s easy to understand. Each portion stands for a different part of the bet. The 1 is always the away team, the X is the odds for a draw and the 2 stands for a home team victory.
Using the above example, which is displayed in moneyline odds, we can that Albania is a +400 underdog, the odds for a draw are +240, and that Switzerland is the favorite at -133.
1X2 have lost some popularity in recent years to Asian Handicap odds, which offer just two possible outcomes instead of three and typically less vig. Few other sports use 1X2 wagering, most notably are Rugby and European hockey.
Totals Betting (Over/Under)
Totals betting is simple for just about anyone who has ever bet sports before. These are also called goal line bets. The main difference that American bettors will have to remember when betting soccer is that any extra time played does not count towards the goal total.
The goal over/under is only for the 90-minute match. Any goals scored in an extra time period do not count towards the total. The oddsmakers pays according to the results after 90 minutes.
The average number of goals scored in a soccer match is about 2.5 goals, which is the most common total for top flight matches across the world.
Double Chance Betting
Double chance betting is common in soccer and sports that have a possible three outcomes. The double chance combines two of the three outcomes into each bet and offers odds on if either of these two outcomes occur.
For reference, here is our above 1X2 betting example which are the odds that the bookmaker used to derive the double chance odds
For instance, if we truly believe that Albania has almost no shot of winning this game, we can place our wager on Draw or Switzerland at -700. Although, depending on the odds for 1X2, we may be better off placing wagers in that market compared to the double chance odds.
On the whole, the double chance market allows the bettor to bet on the home team and the draw, the away team and the draw, or the draw not occurring.
Asian Handicap Betting
Above the same Asian Handicap odds for the Albania versus Switzerland match that we have been using for our examples. Asian Handicap odds have taken a lot of the action away from 1X2 odds. Bettors have been drawn to these markets due to the low vig and the ease of picking from just two betting opportunities.
If you’re interested in betting a lot of soccer, Asian Handicaps are a market to target. We dig much deeper into this betting market at Safest Betting Sites.
Proposition wagers are bets that are mostly modeled with recreational players in mind, but still provide value for savvy bettors. Props bets have a wide range of time. Some are over a full season while others are for a single match.
Many betting sites provide dozens of prop markets for each match. As mentioned in the beginning of the article, it’s not uncommon to see more than 100 betting markets for some high-profile matches. Most of these bets are props.
Props can be as simple as, “Which team will score the first goal of the match?” or “How many corner kicks will there be in the match?” They can also center on a particular player’s goals in a match “Will Lionel Messi score a goal in the match?” or over a season “Will Lionel Messi score more than 25.5 Goals in La Liga this season?”
Props can be related to just about anything regarding the game or tied to players from the game. It’s up to the imagination of the oddsmakers. They are typically softer than match betting and Asian handicap odds, but do have higher vigorish.
These days the markets for live betting seemingly keep expanding. At many top bookmakers, any match that is available for pre-match wagering is also available for live or in-play betting. At the very least, most bookies have live 1X2 markets and totals betting, but most have a lot more options.
It’s not uncommon to see 50 or more betting markets available when betting a single match. There are a lot of options for the smart bettor when betting live. They can look for arbitrage opportunities and other +EV markets.
In many European betting markets, futures are known as post ante or outright bets. These are available at just about every bookmaker online for the top leagues and international contests.
The above graphic is Bet365’s odds on the Euro 2016 tournament. Betting futures is straightforward process. There is no point spread. A bet is only graded as a winner if your selection wins the event.
There are a lot of opportunities for future betting if you’re a soccer bettor. The World Cup and Euro Cup garner the most future betting tickets, but those take place every four years. The Champion’s League, along with other top flight leagues, such as the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, and German Bundesliga have futures for each season, and that’s just scratching the surface.