Getting into football betting might seem like a daunting task, even if you’re familiar with the game itself. Handicaps, scorecast bets, accumulators – what does it all mean?
Luckily, betting on football is actually pretty easy to wrap your head around once you understand the jargon.
We’ve written this football betting guide to introduce would-be punters to the intricacies of this betting sphere. After all, if you enjoy betting, there’s no sport out there that competes with “the most important of the unimportant things in life.”
Why Is Football Betting so Popular?
In addition to the immense popularity of football as a sport, there are a few other reasons why this is one of the world’s favourite sports for betting. First of all, it has a larger selection of professional matches, leagues, and tournaments than any other sport.
While there are national leagues for all kinds of sports, no other sport boasts a widely followed league in almost every country. As any football betting strategy guide will tell you, the more leagues you can bet on, the greater your chances of finding one that interests you.
Second, football is played throughout the year. While some sports might take place only during specific seasons, there are always football matches going on, meaning there’s always some football event to bet on. If the Spanish league you follow is on break, its Brazilian counterpart is sure to be up and running.
Football Betting Terms
Whether or not you’ve placed bets before, you’ve surely stumbled across terms like handicap, double chance, and single bet. Don’t worry – what hides behind these seemingly complicated terms are mostly easy-to-understand types of bets.
In this section of our beginners’ guide to betting on football, we’ll go over the most common terms used in football betting and explain each one.
Stake: This term doesn’t relate exclusively to football betting, but it’s still important to mention as you’ll be running into it constantly. The stake refers to the money you place on a single bet. If you place £5 on Tottenham to win, your stake is £5.
Match bet: This is the most basic and common form of football betting. A match bet is a bet you place on the outcome of a single match; it’s also sometimes referred to as a 1X2 bet. Every beginners’ guide to football betting starts by explaining match bets, as those are the easiest to understand – especially if you’re new.
If you were betting on Juventus versus Milan, for example, betting on 1 would mean you think the first team, Juventus, will win. Betting on X is a prediction that the match will be a draw, while choosing 2 means predicting that Milan will win the match.
Single bet: While bets can differ according to what kind of result you’re betting on, they can also differ by how many matches are included in one bet. Placing a single bet, as the name suggests, means that you’re placing a bet on only one match. Accordingly, your returns depend only on the outcome of that single match.
Many a guide to football sports betting recommends single bets if you want to minimise risk while betting. Single bets tend to be regarded as the safest option, as they have higher winning percentages than accumulator bets.
Accumulator (acca) bet: These wagers represent a combination of four or more matches, or selections. Unlike single bets, where you win or lose based on the outcome of a single match, acca bets yield a return only when all your predictions turn out to be correct. Single bets are regarded as fairly safe but not particularly profitable in almost every betting guide on football.
Accumulator bets are much riskier, but also have the potential to provide much bigger winnings. If you’ve ever come across a story about someone earning ludicrous amounts of money by placing a £5/10 bet, that was an acca.
Handicap: This is another extremely popular type of bet. Handicaps can spice up even the dullest match by giving a hypothetical goal disadvantage to one of the teams.
If we take the example of Juventus versus Milan, a (-1) handicap on Juventus would mean that team would be starting the match with a hypothetical one-goal disadvantage. In order for your bet to be successful, Juventus would have to win by one goal more than the handicap (2-0 or a greater margin).
Every online football betting guide will tell you that handicaps are a great way of making matches with a clear favourite more interesting and profitable to bet on. Unlike Asian handicaps, which we’ll talk about next, regular handicap bets can be placed only on “full” goals.
This is why regular or European handicaps are also called three-way bets. You can bet on three outcomes: a win for one team, a win for the other team, or a draw.
Asian handicap: This is another well-known form of handicap betting, its name stemming from the popularity of handicap betting in Asia. As any football betting odds guide will tell you, Asian handicaps are quite advanced and can be complicated to understand. You should tackle them only once you’ve found your footing in the world of football betting.
There are two main differences between regular and Asian handicap bets. First off, the regular (European) handicap is a kind of three-way bet because you can bet on either team to win or you can predict a draw.
Asian handicaps are two-way bets. If a draw occurs, your stake is refunded but you don’t win anything. In most other ways, this kind of bet is similar to a European handicap, which we’ve already covered in this football betting form guide. In essence, the main purpose of an Asian handicap bet is to even out the odds between unbalanced teams.
Since you can’t bet on draws with Asian handicaps, the other main difference comes into play: half- and quarter-line bets. This means that Asian handicaps can be expressed as half numbers, such as 0.5 or 1.5.
For example, let’s look at Juventus (-1.5) versus Milan (1.5). If you’re betting on Juventus, it would have to score at least two goals more than Milan for you to win your bet. Because it’s a one and-a-half goal advantage, draws are eliminated. If you’re betting on Milan, it would have to either win, draw, or lose by only one goal. A total draw, including the handicap, results in your stake being refunded.
Any beginners’ guide to football betting usually advises against making Asian handicap bets at the beginning of your punter days due to the complexity of the system. We’ll echo that advice, but worry not – once you’ve dipped your toes into football betting, Asian handicap bets will become easier to understand.
Double chance: Punters who like to play it safe love double chance bets. With DB bets, you win your wager when your team wins or the match results in a draw. Two out of three outcomes lead to you winning money, hence the name “double chance.” Because these bets are very safe, the odds are fairly low, which means betting DBs is not exactly a get-rich-quick scheme.
Draw no bet: Another very safe type of bet that you’ll find recommended in any football betting guide for beginners is the draw no bet, or DNB. With a DNB, you get your stake back if the match results in a draw. Like double chance bets, DNBs offer great security but lower odds.
Total goals: Not all bets require you to predict the winner of the match. If you don’t have a preferred team, aren’t confident about guessing who’ll win, or are simply uninterested in the winner of the match, you can opt for a total goals bet instead.
The name explains it all: Instead of choosing a winner, you bet on the total number of goals that will be scored during the course of the match.
The simplest form of total goals we’ll cover in this football betting guide is over/under. This means you can bet on whether the match will have more or fewer than a certain number of goals. These goal values are usually half-line numbers (e.g. 2.5) in order to avoid confusion in the event of a draw.
Total goals bets probably won’t make you a millionaire, but they do serve as a simple, low-risk option for when you’re unsure about the result of the match but are confident of predicting whether it will be high- or low-scoring.
Asian total: Asian total or Asian total goals is a variant of the total goals bet mentioned above in our football betting UK guide. Don’t worry – this type of bet is actually less complex than Asian handicaps. The only difference between total goals and Asian total bets is that the latter allows half wins and half losses. Here’s an example:
If the bet is over 0.75 and one goal is scored in the match, that qualifies as a ‘half win,’ yielding 50% of the winnings. If the bet is under 0.75 and only one goal is scored in the match, that would be a ‘half loss,’ meaning you get 50% of your stake back.
Scorecast: A scorecast bet consists of two parts – predicting who will be the player to score the first goal and predicting the final score. Some venues that provide football betting games also allow last goal scorer predictions or first/second half scorecasts.
Wincast: These bets are very similar to scorecast bets. The only difference is that with wincast wagers, you predict the final score and a player to score a goal at any time during the game.
Both teams to score: Both teams to score or BTTS is another safe and easy-to-understand football bet. In BTTS bets, you wager on whether or not both teams will score. This is a very useful bet if you’ve selected a high-stakes match between two teams that play attacking, high-scoring football. There is a variant of this bet called BTTS & Win. In this variant, you bet on both teams scoring and on which team will win.
Corners/fouls: Most bookmakers allow betting on how many incidents like corners, bookings, or fouls will occur during a game. These bets can offer some of football betting’s best odds, since they require significant knowledge or luck to predict.
Cashout: Many bookkeepers nowadays give punters a cashout option. This means you can get a portion of your winnings by cashing out before the match is finished but while the result is favourable for you. Bettors can cash out to get a portion of their winnings when they’re unsure whether the result will remain favourable or to cut their losses.
Football Betting Advice: What Type of Bet Should You Go For?
The question on everyone’s mind, newcomers and grizzled veterans alike, is “what type of bet is the best?”
Let us be clear from the beginning – there is no betting tactic that will guarantee wins and easy money. Even if you make the safest bets with the lowest odds, you’re bound to lose sometimes. That’s the beauty of football – nothing is set in stone.
However, as part of this football betting guide, we’ve listed some tactics and bets that are considered safer, especially for newer punters. Just bear in mind that no victory is certain and these are principles you should consider, not foolproof advice.
Start With Safe and Easy Bets
The best way to find your betting sea legs is by sticking to easy-to-understand bets with low odds, at least at the beginning of your betting career. Single, double chance, and draw no bet wagers are usually an easy way to get started.
Applying tips on football betting is one thing, but you should also see what markets and what kind of bets your bookmaker supports. We’ve listed the most common and popular types of bets, but remember that some betting sites might not support them all, and some might have their own variants of these bets.
Stick to the Leagues and Tournaments You Know
This should be a no-brainer; no type of bet can suit you if you know nothing about the teams involved. Of course, not everyone has immaculate knowledge about all ongoing matches.
Pair your existing knowledge with football statistics that can be easily found on the internet to make educated bets. There are many football gambling tips to be found online, but rely on them at your own risk. No one is always right. If they were, they’d be billionaires.
Slowly Get Into Accumulator Bets
While you should definitely stick to single bets at the beginning, acca bets are where the money’s at. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a few low-stakes acca bets to get a feel for the system. Once you have the necessary knowledge and experience, acca bets can earn you a fortune if played right.