Soccer Betting Strategy: Backing Both Teams To Score
The "both teams to score" wager is a relatively recent addition to the soccer betting markets. Often abbreviated to BTTS, it has continued to grow in popularity sine its creation. In fact, it's become one of the most commonly placed wagers by those who bet on soccer. This is at least partly because of its sheer simplicity. Most bettors prefer the simple wagers, especially those who bet primarily for fun.
We really like the BTTS wager ourselves. Not just for its simplicity though. What attracts us most to this wager is that it's one of the easiest wagers to get right. We've had a lot of success with it, and with significantly less effort than we have to put into some of our betting. Although it's never easy to win any type of wager on a consistent basis, backing both teams to score in soccer games is definitely one of the least challenging ways to make money.
The BTTS wager is widely available at bookmakers and betting sites. The majority of them offer it on virtually all professional soccer games. This means there's plenty of opportunities for making money with this wager yourself. You just need to learn how to use it effectively. And we can help with that.
On this page we've provided a brief explanation of how the BTTS wager works. If you're not familiar with backing both teams to score, you'll need to read this before getting started. We've then offered some strategy advice, outlining the best scenarios for using the BTTS wager. We explain when to back both teams to score, and when to back against both teams scoring. Finally, we offer a few basic tips for using this wager.
Both Teams to Score Explained
We've already mentioned how simple the BTTS wager is. So this explanation won't take very long at all. It really is one of the most straightforward ways to bet on soccer games. You always have just two options, and these are as follows.
When you believe that both teams are going to score at least one goal in a game, you go with option one. If both teams do score, you win and are paid out at the relevant odds. If neither team scores, or only one team scores, you lose.
When you believe that both teams won't score, you go with option two. If neither team scores, or only one team scores, you win. If both teams score, you lose.
Let's use an example to illustrate exactly how this wager works. There's an upcoming cup game taking place between Hull City and Arsenal, and a bookmaker is offering the following BTTS market.
You'll notice that the odds for both possible outcomes are the same. This is quite common. It simply means that the bookmaker believes that the odds of both teams scoring or not scoring are exactly the same. In games where a bookmaker believes one outcome is more likely than the other, the odds might be different.
For this game, we think that both teams ARE likely to score. So we place a wager on "yes." The following are some example score lines that represent a sweet victory for us.
As you can see, in each instance both teams have scored at least one goal. The following are some example score lines that would represent a loss for us.
In each of these score lines, at least one of the teams has failed to score.
That's really all there is to the BTTS wager. We did say it was simple! All you have to do is decide whether or not you think both teams will put the ball in the back of net.
There are a couple of slight variations of this wager too. For example, some bookmakers will allow you to bet on whether both teams will score in the first half or in the second half. We typically avoid these variations. The odds are a little better, but it becomes much harder to make accurate predictions. You have to start thinking about how the teams will approach each half from a tactical point of view, and that's just an unnecessary complication.
There's another variation that we do like though. Most bookmakers allow you to combine a bet on who will win the game with one on whether both teams will score. For example, a bookmaker might offer the following market on the game we referenced earlier.
The odds are significantly higher here, for obvious reasons. We need to make two correct predictions to win, instead of just one. We've got to pick who will win the game AND decide whether or not both teams will score. Please note that the market we've showed here is for a team to win and both teams to score, but bookmakers will also allow you to bet on a team to win and both teams NOT to score.
You should probably ignore these combination markets when you first start backing both teams to score. They're definitely worth considering once you've got a bit of experience with BTTS wagers though. Especially if you're good at getting them right!
The next thing to consider is how to use this wager effectively. So we've now got some strategy advice on when to back both teams to score, and when to back against both teams scoring.
When to Back Both Teams to Score
There's no specific system to follow when deciding whether to back both teams to score or not. We can recommend a good general approach to take though. We suggest that the first step is to analyze any upcoming games to see if there are any that stand out as being likely to represent a good opportunity. Then you should assess the two teams involved in each game that you identify. You should also assess any other relevant factors that might have an impact, such as the circumstances surrounding a game.
This process should enable you to establish an estimated likelihood of both teams scoring. Then you can compare that likelihood to the odds available, and see if there is any value in placing a wager. If there IS some value to be had, you should go ahead and get your money down.
Personal judgement is the key here really, so we can't offer a great deal of advice about EXACTLY when you should back both teams to score. What we can do, though, is highlight a few scenarios when it's often the logical choice to make. Please look at the list we provided below.
- 1When both teams need a win
- 2When two strong attacking teams are playing
- 3When two defensively weak teams are playing
- 4Derby games
It's important to note that we're not suggesting you should ALWAYS back both teams to score in these scenarios. But we've found that, as a general rule, both teams are more likely to score than not in these circumstances. So it's good to look out for such scenarios and then assess the relevant games individually.
Here's some more detail on each one of these scenarios.
Both teams needing a win
You could be forgiven for assuming that teams always set out to win when playing a soccer game. But that's not actually the case. Teams often play for a draw, especially when playing significantly stronger opponents. In some cases, they may even be resigned to losing and set out simply to keep the margin of defeat down.
It's not worth even thinking about backing both teams to score in these types of circumstances. It's a pretty unlikely outcome if one team isn't particularly aiming to win the game.
However, there are some games when it's obvious that both teams are going to be going all out for the win. If it's towards the end of the league season, for example, and they need the win to stay in contention for the title or to avoid relegation. Or if it's a game in an elimination tournament. These types of games are usually great spots to look at when backing both teams to score, for one simple reason.
This is entirely logical, right? If a team HAS to win, they can't afford to sit back and defend. They've got to score to get the result they need. So they're going to focus on pushing forward and trying to get goals. And if both teams are playing like this, then there's a very good chance that they're both going to score.
Two strong attcking teams
Some soccer teams are very balanced. They have equal quality in defense and attack, and they play a balanced style that makes the most of their strengths throughout the team. Other teams are less balanced, with most of their quality in one specific area. Their style of play will usually look to make the most of their strengths in that area.
So if a team is especially strong in attack, they're going to play in a way that makes the most of their attacking quality. They'll look to get forward as often as possible, and create as many goal scoring opportunities they can. They'll take the risk of conceding goals, trying to simply to outscore their opponents.
If both teams in a game are strong in attack, and likely to play to their strengths, then the chances are very high that both teams will score.
Two defensive weak teams
Good defenses prevent goals from being scored. It's that simple. Even the best defenses can still concede, of course, but they know how to make it difficult for their opposition. Weak defenses, on the other hand, are always likely to concede. And some teams do have weak defenses, even at the very top level of the sport.
Games featuring two teams with weak defenses are obviously good spots to back both teams to score. The lack of quality in the defensive areas should ensure that goals are likely.
This scenario is a little less clear-cut than the others outlined so far. There will often be times when there are very good reasons NOT to back both teams to score in a derby game, so you need to be wary of them.
However, as a general rule, derby games do tend to be high scoring games. They're played with an extra level of passion, and both teams are usually going flat out to win. This often leads to the teams focusing far more on attack than defense. It also leads to mistakes, as the players can lose their concentration and professionalism as the passion takes hold of them. These two things combined frequently result in lots of goals.
To illustrate this, here are the last ten year's results from one of the most intense rivalry games in soccer. The North London derby is ALWAYS a passionate affair, to say the least.
As you can see, both teams scored in 15 of these 20 games. That's a fair sample size, and clearly both teams score far more often than not. So, statistically, it makes a lot of sense to bet on both teams scoring in this fixture. The same applies to most other derby games too.
When to Bet Against Both Teams Scoring
Betting against both teams scoring should be approached in the same way as backing both teams to score. You should first look to find suitable games, do the necessary analysis, and then compare your assessments with the available odds. It's only when you find value that you put your money down.
There are also some broad scenarios when betting against both teams scoring is the right thing to do. Here are three spots that we recommend paying especially close attention to.
- 1When one or both of the teams are defensively strong
- 2When one or both of the teams are weak in attack
- 3If one team is likely to set up for a draw
Again, we're not suggesting that you automatically bet against both teams in scoring in these scenarios. They're simply good spots to look out for. Here's why.
Defensively strong team(s)
The principle here is essentially the same as two strong attacking teams, but in reverse. Whereas teams that are especially strong in attack will focus on getting forward and creating opportunities, teams that are especially strong in defense tend to focus on keeping things tight as a priority. They rely on their defensive strength to frustrate their opposition, and generally create only a few goal scoring opportunities for themselves.
When both teams in a game are playing in this way, goals are naturally in short supply. So backing against both teams scoring is usually the logical way to go.
Team(s) weak in attack
Unsurprisingly, teams with weak attacks don't tend to score many goals. This is partly due to their low supply of offensive talent, but also because of the way they tend to play. When a team has attacking deficiencies, they'll generally implement a more defensive style. If they can't score many goals, they have to make their opponents score even less.
When two such teams meet in a game, we obviously don't expect many goals. A goalless draw is the most likely outcome, with perhaps one side stealing a 1-0 win. Either way, it's unlikely that both teams will get on the scoresheet. Backing against them both scoring is therefore the sensible option.
One team setting up for a draw
We wrote earlier about how both teams needing to win often leads to high scoring games. Well this scenario is kind of the opposite of that. When one of the teams in a game sets up specifically to try to earn a draw, we can usually expect to see very few goals. If any. The team playing for the draw will play defensively, as their goal is to prevent their opponents from scoring. Their whole game plan will be devised not to concede a goal, even if that means not scoring themselves.
As such, games where a team is likely to set up for a draw typically represent good opportunities for betting against both teams scoring. That team isn't going to put much effort into getting goals themselves, and they're going to do everything they can to prevent their opponents from scoring too.
Basic BTTS Tips
To finish up this article, we've provided some general tips for using the BTTS wager. These are all very straightforward, but valuable nonetheless. Try to follow these tips at all times if you can, especially the first three.
- 1Don't bet on every game
- 2Compare available odds
- 3Consider the key factors
- 4Try small BTTS accumulators
Let's explore these tips in a little more detail.
Don't bet on every game
We mentioned at the start of this article that bookmakers and betting sites offer the BTTS wager on most soccer games. Please don't use this as an excuse for betting on every game though. As with any other type of wager, you should only place a BTTS wager when you've identified a good reason to do so.
The simplicity of betting on both teams to score often tempts people to do so on far too many games than they should. This is WRONG! Betting too frequently will almost always prove costly over time. It also makes it harder to do the necessary work, as there's only so many hours in a day. You simply won't have the time to analyze each game properly if you're betting on lots of games.
Placing just a few wagers is a much better approach. Look for the best opportunities, and give yourself the time you need to try to make accurate predictions.
Compare available odds
This tip applies to all forms of sports betting. The odds for any individual wager can vary between different bookmakers and betting sites, and it's in your best interests to always go with the best odds. This means spending a little extra time comparing what's available before putting any money down.
Although this can get a little boring, it WILL prove to be time well spent. You'll maximize your returns on every winning wager that you place, and doing that can make a big difference to your overall results.
The easiest way to do this effectively is to open accounts with a few reputable betting sites, and then check the odds at each one whenever you're betting. Just make sure that you only use reputable sites, such as the ones on our list of recommendations.
Consider the key factors
We wrote earlier about the need to properly assess a game before deciding whether to back both teams to score or not. We explained how this means looking at both teams involved, and other factors that might prove relevant too. If you're not sure what you should be looking for, here's a list of the main factors that we recommend taking into account.
- Strength of each team's attack
- Strength of each team's defense
- Current form
- Playing Styles
The first two points here are perhaps obvious. It's clear that the likelihood of goals being scored is always going to be affected by the quality each team has in attack and defense. Strong attacks and weak defenses tend to mean goals will be scored. Weak attacks and strong defenses, on the other hand, tend to represent the opposite.
The other points aren't so obvious though: not to most people, at least. However, they can have just as big an impact on how many goals are scored in a game, so you really need to take these into account too. For more information on their impact, you should read our article explaining what influences the outcome of soccer games.
Try small BTTS accumulators
This isn't something you should do for the sake it. But, in the right circumstances, it's worth considering. When you're confident in two or more predictions, there's a strong case for combining multiple BTTS wagers into an accumulator. Just be sure to keep the number of selections reasonably low. Including two to four selections is fine, even five if you're really confident, but more than that and you're making it very hard to win.
A lot of betting sites offer enhanced odds and additional bonuses for including a larger number of selections, but try not to be tempted by this. They do it for a reason. The more selections you include, the greater the chances are of one of them losing.
The both teams to score wager is one that you should definitely be looking at. It's beautifully simple, and there are regular opportunities where it's a good wager to place. Consistent profits are possible with a sensible approach, even if you're not a soccer betting expert. That's not to say it's easy to get BTTS wagers right, but they're certainly easier than many others.
Just remember to follow the tips on this page. You still need to put some thought into your decisions when placing these wagers. Make sure that you carefully consider the likelihood of both teams scoring, rather than just guessing. It's especially important to be selective in terms of which games you bet on too. Resist the temptation to bet on every single game, and try to only bet when you find true value.