How to Bet on Soccer (Football)

Football betting is very popular and since the beginning of online betting the markets for this sport have grown exponentially. Although some betting markets may be quite easy to grasp, others like Asian Handicap might be very confusing at first glance – in fact, even over/under markets may require some explanation if you are a beginner when it comes to soccer betting.

In this quick reference guide we will take a look at the key concepts of football betting.

Markets

When it comes to football betting the most relevant market is the match result betting market. Although other markets such as outright bets may be very popular when it comes to retail bookmakers, the biggest volume of bets and even the betting limits are bigger with match result betting. The key to understanding the match result markets is the system of odds used, i.e. 1×2 or Asian Handicap which are the most common ones. Let’s have a look at them.

1x2 Bets

This market is surely the most relevant one for retail bookmakers in Brazil, Europe and South America. The goal of the bet is to guess whether any of the teams will win the match or whether a draw will happen.

The number 1 represents ‘victory of the home team’ the ‘X’ represents the draw and the 2 ‘victory of the visitors’. This is the most typical display of odds at advertisements.

The odds of this system tend to be lower than Asian Handicap because of the nature of the market and odds system as well as liquidity involved, but a key factor when it comes to betting is to understand the way you make your bets – although Asian Handicap can offer slightly better odds, the calculation of probabilities is a lot more complicated especially if you are doing it live, it really requires a profound understanding of basic math and probability.

Considering the above explained, we recommend that beginners stick to 1×2 market when making their first bets. After understanding how to bet with 1×2 you can try understanding more complicated betting systems that involve handicaps.

Asian Handicap

Asian Handicap (AH) is a system of match result betting used mostly in Asia and by professional punters in Europe. The system allows higher odds because of the nature of the bookmakers in Asia and how they operate. When it comes to recreational betting the difference of the odds between AH and 1×2 doesn’t make that much of a difference for the gamblers.

Explaining how AH works and how to transform probabilities (percentages) into handicap requires an entire separate guide which is something our website will provide soon.

However, we won’t leave you completely in the dark as you might be curious about the system at this point. The essence of AH is that this system divides the potential result of a match into only 2 outcomes. The easiest way to explain the system is picking up 2 teams that are very distant in terms of quality.

If you had for instance a match between Real Madrid and Leganés, in a 1×2 system you would expect RM to have very small odds in the house of 1.1 to 1.2. Handicap betting tries to balance the quality gap, and a realistic example would be a handicap of -2.5 to RM and +2.5 to Leganés with odds circa 2. The negative handicap “takes goals” out of a team score and does the opposite to the underdog. In this case if RM won the match with a result of 3 goals of difference or more, RM would have been a winner in the AH system. If the match ended up in a draw, if Leganés won or if the goal difference would be of 1 or 2, Leganés would be a winner in the AH. The odds of this market usually are between 1.8 and 2.2 which makes calculation a lot easier for professionals.

Asian Handicap scenarios of matches involving teams of similar qualities are far more complicated and the bet could even be considered void depending on the result (which would be the case of a 0 handicap a.k.a. as ‘DNB’ or ‘Draw no Bet). Our coming guide will explain this in detail.

Over/Under Bets – Total Number of Goals

These markets exist both within the AH world and the normal 1×2 betting markets of retail bookmakers. These bets try to guess the total amount of goals of a match. In a way, they work like a ‘handicap to both teams’ as the goals are summed. If you bet on a match that ended up 2×0, then bets of ‘over 2.5’ would lose and ‘under 2.5’ would win.

At AH odds always are in the house of 1.8 to 2.2, but at normal bookmakers like BetGold there are several other kinds of options of Over and Under, you can bet as little as under 0.5 up to exotic bets like over 5.5 with higher odds.

Secondary Markets

Secondary markets involve specific events of match or a tournament. Good examples of events within a match would be ‘Will Messi score at this match?’ total number of corner kicks (usually displayed in an over/under betting style), score as of HT, number of yellow and red cards – in general the more prestigious the fixture is the more special bets will be available in the markets.

Outright Bets

As simple as they sound, these bets try to guess e.g. who will win the next World Cup or Premier League. There are other team performance bets such as ‘Will Ajax progress to the round of 16 of the UCL?’ or ‘Will team A relegate?’

Summary

Football betting is all about what you know about a specific team or league if you want to earn long term profits or simply betting for fun on teams you don’t know much about. The key to a healthy relationship with betting is knowing what you want, fun, profits or both – respect your limits and never bet money you can’t lose.

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