Football is by far the most popular sport in the world. Millions of fans watch games on a daily basis. It’s no surprise that it’s also the sport that attracts the most money when it comes to sports betting. A lot of people believe they can make some cash by placing a wager every now and then.
The harsh reality is that most of them actually lose in the long run. It’s rather hard to beat the bookies who know what they’re doing. If you are struggling with this task as well, we recommend you to check our guide to football betting. It will give you a lot of useful information, as well as some tips and tricks that will help you improve your results.
For a start, let’s take a look at the most important competitions in the world of football:
Let’s start with the international tournaments. They’ve lost a bit of their glamour recently, but still, attract plenty of attention:
- The FIFA World Cup: the most prestigious international football tournament is the world cup. It is played in every 4 years and the best teams from each continent take part. Brazil is the only nation with 5 trophies, but Italy and Germany have 4 each;
- The UEFA European Championship: the European Championship is the second most attractive tournament, mainly because the quality of the football is exceptional. Similarly to the World Cup, it is played once in every 4 years. The most successful teams are Germany and Spain. Both have won the competition 3 times;
- Copa America: this is the official tournament of South America, although it recently features teams from CONCACAF as well. Uruguay has won it 15 times, while Argentina has done so 14 times. It’s interesting to note that most countries from South America have won the tournament at least once;
- Africa Cup of Nations: the championship of Africa is played every two years and is rising in popularity in the past decade or so. Egypt is by far the most successful nation with 7 titles and Cameroon is in second place with 5;
- AFC Asian Cup: the second oldest continental championship and features the countries in Asia. Since 2007, Australia is also part of the tournament. The most successful nation is Japan with 4 titles.
The international tournaments are fun, but run rarely and are rather short. The real deal is club competitions and most of the popular ones are played in Europe:
- The UEFA Champions League: this tournament is the direct descendant of the European Champion Clubs Cup. Some of the fans are not completely satisfied with the current format of the competition, but it remains one of the most prestigious ones worldwide;
- The Europa League: the second most popular UEFA club competition in Europe was on a downward spiral. However, the winner now qualifies for the CL which revived the tournament;
- The English Premier League: the most popular league in the world and the home of legendary teams like Manchester United, Liverpool, and Arsenal, as well as modern superpowers like Chelsea and Manchester City. The EPL is the competition that attracts the most money in terms of betting;
- Other local European leagues: the likes of the Spanish La Liga, the German Bundesliga, the French Ligue 1, and the Italian Serie A are also popular. They have at least a couple of clubs with a worldwide support each;
- Competitions outside of Europe: traditionally, the other continent which is crazy about football is South America. This is why you will find plenty of interesting local leagues, as well as the Copa Libertadores which is the most respected international club competition in the CONMEBOL region.
Most Popular Types of Bets
After we went through the most important competitions in football, it’s time to check the types of bets that are most common among the players:
- Match result: also called 1×2, FT, and Full-Time result, this market has been around since betting was invented. You basically place a wager on the final result of the game. The three options are: home win, draw, and away win;
- Over/Under goals: if you pick the over/under goals line which is usually set at 2.5 goals, you are betting on the number of goals scored by both teams. For example, if they are 3 or more, over 2.5 wins. If it’s 2 or less, under 2.5 wins. The same logic applies to other popular lines like 3.5, 1.5, or 4.5 goals;
- Both teams to score: the name says it all really, both teams need to score for this outcome to be true;
- Double chance: if you are not willing to risk it with a wager on Match Result and prefer a safer route, you can place a bet on the Double chance. It allows you to cover two of the outcomes. For example, a home win or a draw. Either of them will bring you the win. However, the odds are usually very low;
- HT result: the HT result option is similar to the Match result, but only the first half final score counts. Once again, you can pick between home win, draw, and away win;
- HT/FT: this one combines the half time and full-time result. You have to correctly predict both to win. For example, you can place a wager on a draw on halftime and a home win at the end. Both have to be true for your bet to return profit;
- European handicap: in this scenario, one of the teams receives a predetermined advantage. For example, the home team -1 European Handicap means the game essential starts at 0:1 for the away team. As a result, a 2:1 win for the home team would mean the European handicap result is 2:2 or a draw;
- Asian handicap: the concept of Asian handicap is similar, but there is one crucial difference. Its main purpose is to reduce the outcomes in a game to two only. This is why you will see AH – 1.5, for example. It means that the favourite has to win with at least two goals more, as the starting score is 0:1.5;
- Draw no bet: another safe variation of the match result market. You can pick a team to win the draw no bet option. As a result, your stake will be returned if the game is tied at the end.
There are plenty of other options such as first goalscorer, outrights, and so on. However, the list above includes the most popular markets that are covered by pretty much any bookmaker.
Top Sites for Football Betting
Pretty much any bookmaker online offers football as one of its main sports. As you can imagine, some are better than others. We decided to give you a top 5 of the best sportsbooks for football betting based on the following criteria:
- License and reputation: obviously, you don’t want to risk your money at a bookmaker that is somewhat shady and might run away at any minute. A proper license and solid reputation are a must;
- Competitions and markets: the sheer number of games and betting markets offered are important, especially if you are looking for more exotic choices;
- Live betting: one of the most popular forms of betting nowadays is to place wagers while the match is on. This is why we believe the quality of the live betting console is a crucial factor;
- Odds and limits: finding the best odds on the market and the opportunity to place huge amounts may be the difference between winning and losing in the long run. This is why we considered those factors as well;
- Promotions: a good bookie will certainly give you the chance to boost your bankroll with a welcome offer and at least a couple of other ongoing promos;
- Other: there are other criteria such as payment options, the speed of the support, side features and so on. Simply put, we did our best to cover any important aspects of the bookmaker service when evaluating each of the operators on the list.
Our bookies’ selection
You now know how our system works, so let’s take a look at our picks:
Many consider Bet365 to be the best bookmaker on the market for a number of reasons. It’s certainly up there when it comes to football too, with some of the best odds and the largest variety of markets. On top of that, the operator has an exceptional live console and plenty of special offers.
The legendary British bookie has a flawless reputation and an exceptional service. Tons of games, all kinds of promotions, live streaming, and so much more is part of the platform.
New online customers only, min £10/€10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 4 X 10 £10/€10, 30 days expiry, free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
World Cup special: Bet £10 on the top goalscorer of the World Cup. Get a £5 free bet at every goal of this player during the tournament. Freebets expire after 4 days. This offer only concerns goals scored during the first 90 minutes of the games and doesn't apply to penalty shoot.
Another UK company that has been around for ages. Ladbrokes is among the best online bookmakers for football betting for a number of reasons. The high odds, an abundance of markets, and great live console to name a few.
18+. New customers only. Promo code required. Certain deposit methods excluded. Min £/€5 on win or each-way bet excluding Tote or pools = match max £/€50 free bet. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Bet must be made within 14 days. Free bet valid for 4 days. Free bet stake not returned. Single bets only. Free bet cannot be used on certain markets. T&Cs apply.
Taking full advantage of promotions is a must if you want to make some money in the long run. In this section, we will give more information of the free bets of each of the bookies above:
Bet365 Welcome Offer
Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5 and 1x settled bet requirement to release Bet Credits. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
William Hill £30 in free bets
As soon as you join William Hill, make a deposit and place a bet of at least £10, you will get £30 in free bets. Use them within 30 days of football or any other sport you like. The only condition of the promo is to place both the initial wager and the free tokens at odds of 1.50 or more.
Ladbrokes up to £50 free bet
The offer of Ladbrokes for new customers will also give you the chance to boost your bankroll. Simply join and place a bet of at least £5 on odds of 1.50 or higher. The bookie will give you a free wager of the same value up to £50. You have 4 days to use and again, it must be staked on at least 1.50.
One of the best advantages of modern technology is that you can actually watch a lot of games live through streams provided by the bookmakers. The quality is high and on top of that, you will often be able to get the service on your phone and tablet.
This is even better for football fans who love betting live. They can watch the games and place the wagers in the same place. The bookmakers usually require you to have some funds in your account to give you access or at least to have placed a bet in the past 24 hours.
All of the sportsbooks in our list above offer live streaming. The competitions covered include some of the most popular European leagues, as well as games from all over the globe.
Tips And Tricks
Most people that bet on football are actually losing money in the long run. They make a lot of mistakes for a number of reasons. For a start, a lot of punters believe that watching games regularly means you are an expert in betting.
That is far from the truth, as it takes much more to be successful. For a start, the bookies have all the tools, formulas, and data at their disposal. They also have large teams of traders to analyze them and set the prices. It’s close to impossible to beat them in terms of predicting the probabilities.
However, you still have the chance to find some value bets. The main reason is the horde of uneducated tipsters who place tons of wagers and skew the odds in some direction. As a result, a solid analysis could help you build a strategy that brings money in the long run.
It should be built around positive expected value in the long term. In other words, you should not simply try to guess the outcomes of a certain game. You should try to calculate the chance of each outcome and place a bet on the one where the price is right.
This is the single most important factor when it comes to football betting and betting in general. This approach is the way to becoming a winner.
With that in mind, here’s a list of some practical tips and tricks that could help you with your preparation for the games:
- Stats matter: you should always check previous results, the form of the teams, goals scored/conceded and other important stats that could affect the game;
- Teams news: injuries, suspensions, rotation could change the outcome of any match;
- Motivation: how important is the game for each of the teams? Why?;
- Schedule: is there another, more crucial game right after this one? Is one of the teams at the end of a tough streak which exhausted plenty of players? You should always know the answers to these questions;
- Styles: this one is a bit more subjective, but certain styles work better against other ones. For example, a team that relies on crosses will find it hard against one that has tall centre backs and a solid goalkeeper. Obviously, this example is oversimplified, but you get the point.
Making money from football betting is not easy, but it’s not impossible either. If you take full advantage of the best bookies out there in terms of odds and promotions, you’ve got a solid start. Put the necessary effort to build a sensible strategy and you could find success.