It’s one of the biggest sports to bet on in the industry and whilst there are literally thousands of markets to bet on each day with a wide range of bookies, if you’re new to football betting then it might seem like a minefield as to where to start.
Before we jump in, we wanted to point out that the process is actually very simple. It’s one of those things that once you’ve done a few times, will become second nature. Without wasting any more time, let’s take a look at how to bet on football.
Choose Your Bookmaker
The first place that you need start is with the bookmaker. We get it, there are dozens to choose from, so which one do you choose?
Well, the good thing is that the coverage from each of the bigger brands is pretty much the same. It may vary slightly between each, but it’s going to be for obscure leagues or markets that few people really want to bet on.
Our advice is to pick a brand that you trust and go with that. If you’ve no background on any bookmaker, then we’ve written a host of comprehensive reviews on them and also compiled articles where we go through what we think are the best in the industry right now.
It’s also worth noting that you’re going to be able to claim a bonus when you register with pretty much all bookies. Given that you’re reading this article, then it’s likely that you want that bonus to be “football friendly” and by this we mean one you can both use and clear when betting on football.
The majority of bonuses will allow you to do this to be fair, but it’s always worth checking the T’s and C’s to make sure. Again, we’ve countless articles on how to find the best bonuses and the ones that are most suited to you, so read these before you sign up.
Choose Your Match
Once you are registered, signed in and have funded your account, you’re now going to be able to choose the game that you want to bet on.
There are a couple of options that you can take with this. If you’re not only new to betting on football but also new the sport as a whole, you’re going to need to do some research. In fact, you’re going to need to do a lot of research.
Our advice would be to start with some of the betting blogs or sport tips pages to get a look as to possible bets. If you can find games or bets that 2 or more people are tipping, the it’s likely that this is going to be a good place to start.
If you’re new to betting but have some form of background for football, then you will have a bit of a head start. We highly recommend that you stick to what you know to start with.
For example, if you’re a Leicester City fan, then it’s likely going to be best to stick with that game and apply your knowledge on your team to your bet. You can even branch a little further here and go with the Premier League (or whatever league your team is in) and choose other games that you might know about.
The basics here is to have some knowledge about what you’re going to bet on before you jump in the bookies. The reason we do this is that you can then learn to spot value bets, which we talk a little more later in this article.
Choose Your Bet
What you will find is that pretty much all matches will have a huge range of markets to choose from. Just a handful include:
Again, we’ve loads of info on these markets in our Football Bets and Markets article, so we won’t dive too deep here for this. What you can bear in mind, especially at the start, is to keep it simple. Again, if you’ve any betting background, start out with markets that you’re familiar with and then go from there.
The number of markets that you can bet on will vary for each bookmaker. You will find that most of them have over 100 markets per game, but this can increase/decrease depending on bookmaker that you are using.
Add to Betslip
The next step in this process is to add your bet to your bet slip. The bet slip is basically where any selections that you make are stored. You can add things in and then still move around the bookmaker whilst your bets are stored. It’s a little like a shopping list if you were doing some online shopping.
A key thing to note is that once you ass a bet to your bet slip, this does not mean that you’ve placed the bet yet. It simply stores it there until you confirm your picks, which we talk more on next.
Adding your picks to the slip is really simple. On most sites you will simply click the odds next to the market and then this will add them straight in. You can remove bets by clicking the odds again to deselect or you can just remove direct from the bet slip.
Managing the Betslip
Once you’ve made your picks, the next thing is to move across to the betslip and confirm your bets. Betslips may have a number of functions to use. We’ve included an example of BetVictor’s betslip, but to be honest, they are all pretty much the same in terms of functionality at least.
The first thing to note here is the bet that you’ve chosen. Here you can see that we have picked Arsenal to win their match at odds of 1.4. Depending on how your view your odds will depend on what you see here, for example, if you choose fractions then you would see 4/9, or thereabouts.
There might not seem a lot of info here but if you hover over the info button, then you can see the game and the market that you’ve bet on. Some bookies might show this as part of the main text, but BetVictor choose not to in order to keep the betslip looking clean.
The next thing to note is the stake box. This is where you input the amount that you want to bet on that particular outcome. We’ve decided to make this bet £10 and the number will be representative of the currency that you use on your account.
Along from that you will see the returns, which in this case is £14. This is the total amount we get back, not the net win. The net win for this bet would be £4.
Below it will the total stake and the total returns will be highlighted. It does it again because you can include more than one pick at any one time in your bet slip.
As you can see from the second image, we now have three picks in our bet slip. We have decided to bet £10 on each selection, which then shows that we have a total stake of £30 and potential returns, assuming that all win, of £45.
You may also notice on your slip a multiples section in the middle, which is where you can place your accumulator and other mixed bets. You can play around with the stake for these bets to see how much it would cost and the returns you would get if you combined them into one bet.
Once you are set, just click the ‘Place Bets Now’ button and your bet will be placed.
Checking on the Bet
Once you have placed the bet then you’re going to be able to check on the bet to see that it’s confirmed.
It states everything that you’ve bet on, including the amount and the returns. You’re also going to be able to access this info from your account page, often in somewhere that is labelled ‘History’ or ‘Open Bets’.
What to do if You’ve Made a Mistake
If you find that you’ve made a mistake on your betslip, then don’t worry too much, we’ve all been there before. There’s a number of routes that you can take to rectify this.
The first one is to just use a bookmakers cash out facility. This is where you can cash your bet in and get your money back for the most part. You need to be aware of the cash out price though. Some bookies will instantly offer you lower price (usually 5% of original stake) even if the game has not started yet. This is just the cash out price cost.
You may find that the return is just the same as your original stake. If it is, then just click cash out and your stake will be back in your account.
Contact Customer Support
If the numbers don’t add up, then you need to get in touch with customer support ASAP. You have to make sure that it’s before the market has tuned live as once it has, then it’s unlikely that they will refund your bet.
If it’s still not live, the bookmaker will usually be pretty sound with voiding the bet for you and your full stake returned. To make sure you avoid this though, check and double check your betslip to make sure that everything is in place. The bookies are under no obligation to refund your bet once placed, so bear that in mind.
In play betting actually has all the sample principles that applies to regular betting, but it happens at a much faster pace. When you bet in play the odds are constantly moving so to get the price that you want, you need to move fast.
You need to add your picks to your betslip, just as you would with a normal bet, and then you work through the exact process before clicking submit.
A key thing to note here is that the odds will move about, even when you’ve added to betslip. At this point the bookmaker will ask you to confirm the new odds are the ones that you want to take.
As you can see from our example, the bookmaker here requires you to accept that the odds have changes from 1.82 to 1.81 and that you are happy with the new price. They aren’t saying that you can take the 1.82 price if you’d rather, obviously, but they are making sure that you’re aware that 1.82 is no longer available and that you can only get 1.81 now.
Given how fast odds change here, having to accept new prices for live betting will be a common process for many who are betting live.
Basic Rules and Strategy to Follow
Football betting is something that should be fun, but it’s key that you’re setting out to try and pick winners. You need to prepare to do that, so we’ve included a few basic football betting rules that you can apply to your betting strategy to help you do so.
Value betting is something that we touched upon earlier in the article, and it plays a huge role in betting on any sport, let alone football.
To find value you are basically saying that the bookmaker has their price wrong. Value would mean that it was priced higher than you think the real odds are.
For example, let’s say that your research tells that you that Arsenal will beat Chelsea this weekend. You think that they have an implied probability (number of times they win the match) of 50% which would give odds of 2.00.
To find value we are now looking for bookmakers that are offering odds higher than 2.0. When we do, this is called a value bet.
It’s worth pointing out that this is a simplistic view on how this works as a process, and we’ve a full article on value betting that you need to work through to get a little deeper with this.
Invest Your Time
To get better at anything you need to invest time to learn and improve. Football betting is no different and if you’re coming in completely cold, then you’re going to have to work even harder.
The good thing is that there are lots of brilliant stats-based sites that will get you going, as well as those provided by the betting sites themselves. These will give you a lot of information in a short amount of time.
It’s imperative that you start small and you can even keep track of bets offline, theoretically placing them and seeing how you would do before you invest money. Be warned though, as soon as you switch up free play for real money, the dynamics of betting start to change and you must never chase any losses.
Stick With What You Know
This is another point that we’ve spoken about previously, albeit briefly and that is to stick with what you know. If you’re a fan of one club, target them to start with. You know their strengths and weaknesses better than most, so use that to your advantage.
If your Spanish and living in England, then you might have a huge affiliation with La Liga. It could pay to make your early bets on games from that league, rather than that of say, the Premier League, which is going to be more popular in the UK.
Some of the best bettors use just a handful of leagues for all their bets. The reason? It’s because they’ve become an expert in their field.
Record and Learn
The final point that we want to make is about recording what you’ve bet and work out if you’ve made money from that. Is there a certain trend of games or markets that you’re particularly good at? Are some losing you more money that others? How frequent are your bets?
Take stock every week of what’s gone on and then adjust your strategy to work with your strengths before improving your weaknesses.
Use Multiple Bookmakers
This can be applied to all sports when it comes to betting, but if you are not using multiple bookmakers for your bets, then you could be leaving money on the table.
The reason that this is so important is that no single bookmaker is going to be best price for every single game or market. Some are consistently better than others, but never is one the best price on each result.
Betting with other bookies and making sure that you get the best price is going to offer a huge slice of value to you as a bettor. We aren’t saying that you need dozens of betting accounts, just 3-5 of the best for football betting and then take the best odds from that group. You might not get best price each time, but you won’t be too far away, and you’ll be much closer than if you just bet with the same bookie each time.