It doesn’t take long on any bookmaker to see just how many markets there are for betting on football. The majority have hundreds to choose from for each game, so it can get quite overwhelming if you are new to betting on the sport.
But, the majority of markets are actually just variants of one another. So, if you’re able to grasp the principle of how the main markets work, you’re going to be able to get a better understanding on how each of the smaller markets work. Throughout this article we will be looking comprehensively at a range of bet types and how they might function in a real betting situation.
Match odds are very much going to be the bread and butter of any bet type. They are what the majority of people will be betting on and will also be the most well supported in that every bookmaker will be able to offer this market.
The breakdown is very simple. You get three selections to choose from; home win, away win and the draw. It’s your job to choose the outcome of the game from simply selecting one the bets. If the result comes in, then your bet wins. It’s worth nothing that for this market you don’t need to have the correct scoreline of a game nor do you need to time your bet. A team could be losing for 85 minutes of the match and then come back to win. As long as your result is right after 90 minutes, your bet wins.
A typical market might look like the one below:
This caption is from a game between England and Croatia. The numbers that are placed after each result reflect the price that the bookmaker is offering. So, for Croatia to win they are offering odds of 3.9, the draw priced at 3.125 and England to win at 2.2. With decimal odds you simply multiply your stake by the odds to see your return. This price includes your stake. With fractional odds the price won’t include the stake returned, but it will be returned to you, instead showing simply the net win that you could potentially earn.
Let’s say that we placed a bet of £10 on England to win this match. If they won, our returns would be £22.00, which breaks down as £12 net win plus our £10 stake returned. If they lost or drew the match, then our bet would lose.
When betting on the match odds or the match result as it’s also commonly referred to, the key is to try and absorb as much pre-match information as possible to help create more informative bets. This might include recent form, head to heads, starting line up, history of games at that ground, player form and even things like weather conditions or pitch sizes.
It’s also key that you are able to work out your own value from these markets as well. A good trick to do this is once you’ve formed all of your potential bets, to simply then form your own price based on this, ideally prior to seeing what odds the bookmakers are offering. You can then compare and if the bookmaker is offering a higher price than the price you’ve made, you can assume that, from your research, this is offering good value for this specific result.
Half-time/ Full-time (HT/FT)
The half-time/full-time market is a bit of an adaptation of betting on the match result. The difference for this is the fact that you need to select the result of the both the first half and the full-time score.
As you can imagine, this is a tricky market to predict and as result the odds for this bet are much greater than simply choosing the match odds for the 90 minutes. You are going to essentially need to split each game in 2 and almost consider them as two separate parts. There can be a lot of permutations that can affect games as well, which can make it difficult.
A typical market might look like this:
What this is showing is two results for both the first half and the full-time score. In this particular game you have several different events that could happen including England win, Croatia win and the draw. The layout shows the result from the first half as the first selection, then the full-time result as the second selection. So, “Croatia – Croatia” above would state that you need Croatia to win the first half and win the match.
A common mistake that people make with this is that they think you are picking the result of both halves, which you are not. You are picking the result of the first half then the full-time result. What’s the difference?
Well, there is a big difference. There could be an instance where you pick England – Croatia from the bets above. Let’s say England win the 1st half 3-1. In the second half, Croatia win 1-0. A lot of people would think that the winning bet for this would be England Croatia as England won the first and Croatia won the second, but in fact, the full-time score would still be 3-2 to England here, so the winning bet would actually be England – England.
The flip side to something like this would be if we assumed that England were 3-1 at half time, then after 90 minutes the game finished 3-1, essentially meaning the second half was a 0-0 draw. Again, this bet wouldn’t be England – Draw, it would be England – England as they won the first half and then were overall winners after 90 minutes.
The key to successful bets with these types of markets is trying to find teams that are fast starters. Now, nearly all teams will score the majority of their goals in the second half, this is just how football works as both teams are likely taking more risks to score a goal.
But, it is possible to find teams that are fast starters and are able to get early goals. These are often teams that play with a high intensity and are right at their opponents from the off. There are actually plenty of free stats that you can get for this kind of info online, before then working out which team starts the best.
The reason we are putting so much emphasis on the first half result is because if we fail here, the bet has lost before the game has even been finished. You need to make sure you work out what fits for both teams as well. For example, two teams that are poor starters or don’t score many goals would allow for a pretty obvious draw at half time. Once you are able to get the result for the first half, you can then widen your research and start bringing in stats from the match odds research section to see who might win the match overall.
The handicap market is probably one of the most underused market for betting on football in our opinion. It’s massively common market for American sports, but for some reason, with football, many punters either don’t take advantage of the huge value it can have or simply don’t understand it.
The concept of handicapping is where you give one team a hypothetical advantage over their opponents. For football, this comes in the way of goals. So, at the end of the game one the scores will be adjusted to signify the handicap that has either been added or taken away from either team.
What many people fail to understand with this is how it affects the odds. If you add goals on, you are giving that team a better chance to win, whereas if you remove goals from them it gives them a tougher time, meaning odds will increase.
The most common form of handicapping for football is what is known as the 3-Way Handicap.
As you can see from the above picture, there are three possible outcomes for a game still; home win, draw and away win. But, with each result you see a number in the bracket. If that number is positive, then this is the number of goals that will be added to the full-time score. If that number is negative, then this is the number that will be remove from the full-time score.
You’ve probably also noticed from this the “Handicap tie – Croatia +1”. For this bet you are betting on the game to finish as a draw after the handicap has been added. Here this would essentially mean an England win by just 1 goal. So, if the game finished 2-1 to England, then your bet would win, as 1 goal would be added to Croatia’s score to create the adjusted handicap score of 2-2, therefore hitting your selection of a tie.
Let’s run through a quick example of some permutations using the market above with whether that would be a winning or losing bet:
Real score 2-2:
- Croatia +1 = a win (adjusted score of 3-2 to Croatia)
- Handicap tie – Croatia + 1 = a loss (adjusted score of 3-2 to Croatia)
- England -1 = a loss (Adjusted score of 2-1 to Croatia)
Real score 2-1 to Croatia:
- Croatia + 1 = a win (adjusted score of 3-1 to Croatia)
- Handicap Tie – Croatia +1 = a loss (adjusted score of 3-1 to Croatia)
- England – 1 = a loss (adjusted score of 2-2)
There are times where you might get these markets but only offer 2-way betting, with the draw not included as part of the result. The concept of these works in very much the same way, but there will be times when the handicap is adjusted to create a draw, which isn’t a result for the sake of this bet. If this does occur, then your bet will be what’s known as a “push” meaning that your initial stake will be returned.
Asian Handicap Betting
An extension to handicap betting comes in the form of Asian Handicap betting. As the name would suggest, this market was developed in Asia and has been designed to remove the draw result from bets, essentially meaning that there would never be a “push” scenario as mentioned above.
To do this they have introduced fractions into the handicap. These will reflect the likes of 0.5, 1.5, 2.5 and so on. This means that there will be score lines such as 1.5-1 or 2.5-0, which then give certain winners or losers from these bets.
Above is a typical example of how this would look when you are in the bookmaker. As you can see, they keep the same negative and positive numbers, implying that goals are either added or removed and you can also an example of how the fractions would look in the form of the handicap.
Whilst the bets may seem the same in that you take Croatia and you add one on or you take England and you take one off, the bets will work slightly different. For example, let’s say you that back Croatia at +0.5 for this bet. This essentially means that any draw and any Croatia victory will win this bet, with a 1-1 draw being adjusted to 1.5-1 and so on right through the draw results.
If you are taking England at -0.5 this means that you need any England win. So, a 2-1 England win would be adjusted to 1.5-1, meaning that you still get the win.
The range of handicaps is what really makes this market. The margins can be quite big and head upwards of 4.5 for some games with certain bookies. The most common handicap is actually that of +/- 1.5 goals. This is because that when you bet on the -1.5 market you are betting on that team to win by 2 or more goals, essentially. This is because the -0.5 market is the same as taking that team to win in the match odds market as you don’t get paid out for draws.
Let’s run through a couple of score lines for the -1.5 handicap. A 2-1 victory would mean the bet loses. A 1-1 draw would mean the bet loses. A 3-1 victory would mean the bet wins. A 5-2 victory would mean the bet wins.
One of the best ways to utilise the handicap betting market is by taking on short priced favourites in games they should win easily. Often short priced favourites are going to be priced at 1.50 or lower and this, to the majority of punters offers little value in terms of the returns they are likely to get. But, the fact that they are so short means the bookies think they are going to win and going to win well.
By applying a handicap of -1.5 in the Asian or -1 3-Way to this bet then you are going to dramatically increase the odds for a solid victory, which should be achievable.
The correct score market is one of the hardest to call from pretty much any market within football betting. The reason behind this is that games can be highly unpredictable. It’s not uncommon to see matches that have all the hallmarks of a 0-0 be one of the highest scoring games of season or even vice-versa.
The flip side of this is that the market can be highly lucrative. The odds, even for the shortest price, are usually going to be around 5.00 or higher. As you add in more goals the price can increase dramatically and if you are able to get a prediction right, then you could be on to a decent win.
The concept of the market is pretty simple, all you need to is predict the correct score after the full time whilst. The bookies will offer a wide range of potential score lines for most matches and these can range anywhere from 0-0 to 5-5, and anything in between.
When betting on markets like this it’s always good to try and come up with a logical score line for that match. This could be based on anything from previous results or even past games between the two sides.
A good place to start is to try and work out common score lines between the two teams or even from that league. For example, in the 2017/18 Premier League season, the most common scores were 1-1, 1-0 and 2-1, with 32% of matches covering these three scores alone.
|Full Time Score||Number of Matches||Percentage of Matches|
|1 – 0||44||12%|
It’s probably a fair comment to say that each of these scores are going to offer a decent return from the bookies. If we look at the chart above, we can see that they would fetch odds of 6.00, 6.50 and 10.00/13.00, respectively. This is going to be a much higher price than if you were to simply pick from the results market, which you can check out from previous posts above on this page.
Correct score betting is always going to be a tough market to pick from. But, as we mentioned, the rewards are there, so it is possible to come out with a net win. A lot of punters actually spread their bets, picking 2 or even 3 possible scores. You can hedge with this strategy as well, meaning that you alter your stakes depending of the odds to ensure maximum returns from one or two of the scores, with the third as a back up that could prevent a loss.
Goalscorer bets (first, last, anytime)
Betting on goalscorers in the game is another that can often prove quite lucrative, similarly to that of the correct market above. There are many variations of this market as well, which is great from the punters perspective. It’s important to understand the bet that you are making though and the implications of that bet.
- First goalscorer – The first goalscorer is where you bet on the player that you think will score first goal in the match. To win the bet, they have to score first from either team. But, it’s worth noting that for this that if an own goal is scored then the market will continue to run as if no goal has been scored.
- Last goalscorer – The complete opposite to the first goalscorer is to pick the player that scores the last goal in the match. Now, most people think that you want to be looking at players who score late in the game, and whilst this can work, realistically the player who scores first could also be the player who scores last, say for example the game ended 1-0.
- Anytime goalscorer – Pretty self-explanatory here, all you are betting on is a player to score at any time within the match. This could be first, last, 2nd, 3rd and so on, just as long as they grab a goal at some point.
With all of these bets, bookmakers often host up a number of terms and conditions that can vary for each market and with each bookmaker. It’s worth checking to see what these terms are before placing the bet as some bookies can be much more welcoming with these types of bets than others.
For example, we spoke earlier about bookies not including an own goal for the first goalscorer market and whilst this is true, there are some that will include this goal. A good way to find out is if they are offering “own goal” as a bet for first goalscorer. This would essentially settle the market if one was scored.
These markets can also be extended by the bookies to include things like a player to score 2 or more goals, players to score a hat-trick and players to score in both halves, as you can see from the image above. There are also promotions that you can take advantage of for this as well.
These markets are often tough to call, but the first thing we would say is try to take advantage of promotions where they offer you higher odds if the players scores multiple goals.
In terms of choosing players to start with, it would seem obvious to shoot for players that are the clubs’ top scorers or who score on a regular basis. Try looking at players who are involved with direct free kicks or even penalties as a good option. There’s not necessarily a right or wrong method to this, a lot is luck, but scoring trends can be used, especially if a player has a habit of scoring the first goal in a game.
Both teams to score (BTTS)
The Both Teams to Score market has quickly grown into one of the most popular markets to bet on of any bet type. Over the last 5 years it’s become one that many people target and can offer some decent odds as a result.
The concept is pretty simple and all you need to do is to pick out games where you think both teams have a good chance of scoring a goal. The actual full time result is totally irrelevant for this, so you aren’t required to pick a winner for the bet straight up. A simple example of this would be a game that finishes 1-1 and this would qualify as both teams scoring. It really doesn’t get any simpler than that.
The price you’re going to get can range for the market. It can be low as 1.50 or as high as 2.50, with even money being a decent shout for most matches. Whilst the odds are never going to be huge for the majority of games, this market works great within accumulator bets and it’s here where the majority of punters see the most success. Linking 3 or more games can start to combine odds of 8.00 and work up to be even bigger with more games selected.
The Premier League in the 2017/18 season saw 49% of games where both teams have scored. In theory this means that you could flip a coin for each game and not too far away. But, we know as shrewd punters that things are never as easy as this.
There is actually quite a bit of strategy that can be applied to this market. We’ve already seen that around half of the games have both teems scoring, but we can expand on this even further.
This is because the amount of information and actual statistics that are published specifically for this market is quite vast.
|Manchester City 2017/18 Match Goals||Home||Away||Total|
|Won to nil||37%||47%||42%|
|Scored on both halves||68%||53%||61%|
|Both teams scored||58%||47%||53%|
|Failed to score||5%||5%||5%|
|Lost to nil||0%||0%||0%|
|Conceded in both halves||5%||11%||8%|
The information above is taken from Manchester City’s record-breaking season in 2017/18 within the English Premier League. As you can see, they actually had a higher BTTS percentage at home than they did away from home, which is something that you would assume was the other way around.
This stat alone shouldn’t be enough to form your bet though as you need to pair it up with that of the opposition’s BTTS percentage. You also need to look at recent form, in particular if they are scoring/conceding plenty of goals.
It’s key to remember that you aren’t looking for a result here, which sound obvious, but a lot of people get lost when researching these types of bets. You simply need a single goal from each team to get you off the mark.
BTTS + Win
An extension to this market is the BTTS and win. For this we are looking to both pick a winner of the match and also make sure that both teams score at some point. It’s a great bet to take on as the pricing structure is one that is much more favourable than simply going with the match result.
The work needed to find these bets can also simply be extended from your initial research for the BTTS bet. The most important part to remember is that you need both teams scoring and you will have most success by working with this section first. Once that’s been done, you can look at which team is favourite to win the game and go from there.
Total Goals Over/ Under
Over/under betting is all related to the number of cumulative goals scored in a single match. The market is one that has been adapt from American sports, where a common bet is the points spread asking punters to choose over a certain number of points in a game.
The process is very much the same for this bet. The bookmaker will set a line for the number of goals and then as a punter you need to choose over (more) or under (less). The bookmaker will represent the line, so it could be 2.5, 3.5 etc. It’s done like this in order to make sure that a result is had for every single game, with no “push” scenarios if the goal line is tied.
The market can be quite flexible though and with it you are often able to get a wide range of score lines to choose from. They might start from as little as 0.5, meaning 1 goal or more and can get up to as high as 6.5 or even 7.5 goals. When betting in play this is one of the most dynamic bets there is as it keeps altering every time a goal has been scored.
The process of placing these bets is very simple. Let’s say that the bookmaker offers up a goal line of 2.5 goals and you can choose over or under. If you bet on over then you essentially need 3 or more goals for your bet to win. If you choose under then it means you need 2 or less. It’s worth noting that this is cumulative for both teams, so even if one team scores all the goals for an over bet, that is fine. Also, the result of the match is irrelevant, as all we need for this market is cumulative goals (or lack of if you bet on the under).
The under market is one that we would usually avoid and almost exclusively choose the over bet, if betting at all. The reason behind this is that an under bet can be lost very quickly in the match. It’s quite plausible that a game could have three goals within the space of 30 minutes and your bet is dead.
So, this may be a little contradictory as we’ve already pointed out that the two main score lines for football matches in the Premier League is that of 1-1 and 1-0, both under 2.5, which is the standard line for most bets coming out at somewhere near even money.
You could bet on the under, but we think that it’s better that if you think it could be under, to simply move on and find another bet that is over. It’s important to understand that we don’t think you should bet on the “over” bet instead, but simply move on and find another match, which is a very key point to bear in mind.
The scorecast might just be the toughest market to call that we have covered in this article. But, as we well know, they tougher they are the higher the odds, so they can turn out to be highly lucrative.
The bet is one that combines two markets; first goalscorer and correct score. These two bets are tough to call as single games, never mind as doubles, highlighting just how difficult scorecast betting is. For this market we need to choose the player that will score first in a game and the correct score at full time for that game. You need both to have a successful scorecast bet.
You’re going to be able to choose from the full range of players for both teams and also an array of score lines as well. The more creative you get, the bigger the odds. It’s not uncommon to find prices upwards of 50.00, even for bets that actually have a fairly reasonable chance of coming in.
As scorecast betting is so tough, we would advise that you tread carefully with this and almost use it as a bit of a novelty market. You certainly don’t want to be getting into habits of betting big on a consistent basis as in the long run, you’re going to lose money.
In the example above you can see that even a Harry Kane goal and 1-0 to Tottenham win is paying out 17.69, much higher than their original price of 1.3 to win the game.
We aren’t afraid to say that for this you are going to need a lot of luck to make these bets stick. Our advice would be to keep things pretty straightforward, simply by picking common score lines such as 2-1, 1-1 and 1-0 and also picking players that are the team’s top goalscorers.
Cards and Corners
The cards and corners betting markets have come out of left-field a little over the last couple of years. Their popularity has increased massively in that time and they are now a feasible betting option for punters. In fact, if you scroll through social media sites, there are actually dedicated tipsters who concentrate solely on these types of markets.
The markets are similar to that of the over/under for goals, except instead that they have subbed out the goals and included both cards and corners. It is worth noting at this point that cards and corners will be two separate markets, so for one you bet on the cards and the other you bet on corners, although we are referencing them as the same as they are very similar.
For cards you are going to be taking on the line set by the bookmaker for the total number of cards shown. This market can actually vary slightly as some use betting points and some use physical cards shown. Betting points are just a system that incorporates both yellow and red cards, with more points for a red. So, a yellow card could be worth 10 points and a red card could be worth 20 points. The bookmaker might say over 45 points for cards, of which you would need some combination of yellow and/or red cards to win the bet.
Corners are a little more straightforward and for this you are simply betting on the number of corners in a match. Again, bookies will set a line, then you simply choose the over/under for that line.
For both markets, you will be able to choose if these come from the total match, meaning both sides together or if your bet is specific to one side. The majority do go cumulatively, but there are some where you are able to bet on each team in a game.
Both markets are actually really popular when it comes to betting live and also with “bet builder” type bets. The bet builder bets are often markets such as ‘request a bet’ style, where punters contact the bookie to form a bet. This might be something like: Team A to win, over 2.5 goals, over 4 cards shown and over 8 corners or something along those lines.
Whilst it may appear that both are pretty much pot luck, there are actually trends that can be found with a lot of teams. For example, things like teams with poor disciplinary record would work well for booking points and also teams that are attack-minded would be likely to work well for corner bets. All these stats an info can easily be found online, so you should be able to form pretty comprehensive analysis to form your bets.