Different Types of Soccer Bets: Ways to Bet on Soccer
Soccer attracts huge betting interest on a global scale. This is partly because it's the most popular sport in the world. It's estimated that there are over 3 billion soccer fans, so it's no surprise that there are plenty of people who like to bet on the sport. It's very common for fans of a sport to enjoy putting their knowledge to the test by trying to take on the bookmakers.
There are also some other reasons why soccer attracts so much betting interest though, with the most obvious reason being that there's a wide variety of wagers to choose from. Some sports only offer limited betting options, but that's not the case with soccer. There are all kinds of different bets to place on this sport.
Another appealing aspect of betting on soccer is that many of the available bets are very straightforward. You don't need to be a betting expert to figure out what to do. This is great news for recreational bettors who bet mostly for fun, as they generally prefer things to be as simple as possible. There are some more complicated wagers too, but you don't HAVE to use them if you don't want to. There's money to be made even if you just stick to the simple wagers.
It's still a good idea to at least learn about how the more advanced wagers work though. You may decide not to use them, but ideally you should be aware of ALL the betting options available to you when betting on soccer. You'll improve your chances of making money in the long run if you are.
On this page we provide a detailed look at each of the main types of soccer bets: the simple ones AND the more complicated ones. We tell you how they work, and how you can use them. We also provide examples where appropriate, and explain the merits of each type too. Reading through this page will help you to decide which wagers to use in any given situation. This will ultimately put you in a good position to find value in the betting markets and place the right bets.
Full Time Result
There are hundreds of soccer matches taking place around the world on a weekly basis. Betting on the full time result of these individual games is the most popular way for people to bet on soccer. It's also one of the easiest and most straightforward.
There are actually a few different ways to bet on the full time result, and we cover them all here. We start with the most traditional method, which is known as the win-draw-win market. This name describes the three selections that are available to you. Remember that, unlike some other sports, a game of soccer can end in a tie (draw). So you not only have the option of betting on either team to win, you can also bet on the game to be tied.
Here's an example of how a win-draw-win betting market might look. This is for a game between Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City.
You'll notice that there's quite a big difference between the odds for each possible selection. That's because, in this case, Tottenham Hotspur are heavily favored to win. Please note that the difference isn't always this big. The odds are much closer in matches where the teams are more evenly matched. There's almost always a favorite of course, but sometimes the odds for a favorite are slightly lower than the odds for the other team. In some games the draw can actually be the favorite, but this is quite rare.
Now let's take a look at some of the other ways to bet on the full time result in a game of soccer.
A double chance wager is probably the safest possible option for betting on the result of a soccer game. You basically get two chances to get it right, hence the name. You pick two of the three possible outcomes, and you win if the end result is either one of those.Confused? It's actually simpler than it sounds. An example will help to make it clearer, so here's how the double chance market might look for the game between Tottenham and Norwich.
A wager on "Tottenham or Draw" would be successful if Tottenham wins or if it ends in a draw. A Norwich win would mean the wager loses. A wager on "Tottenham or Norwich" would be successful if either team wins, or again if it's a draw. A wager on "Norwich or Draw" would be successful if the game is won by Norwich or if it ends in a draw. A Tottenham win would mean the wager loses.
You'll probably have noticed how the odds are much lower here than for the win-draw-win market. That's because it's much easier to win double chance wagers than win-draw-win wagers. You get to cover two of the possible outcomes rather than just one, so you obviously have a better chance of getting it right.
Draw No Bet
The draw no bet wager is another relatively safe option. With this you have just two selections to choose from, as you have to pick one of the teams to win. You can't choose the draw, but you get your stake back if that's how the game ends up. The bet is essentially cancelled if there's a draw, which explains the name "draw no bet."
A draw no bet market for Tottenham against Norwich would look something like this.
A wager on Tottenham would be successful if Tottenham managed to win the game. The initial stake would be returned if the game was a draw, and the wager would lose if Norwich won the game. The odds are a bit better here than for the double chance, but still less than for the standard win-draw-win.
Everything we've covered so far is relatively straightforward. Handicap betting is where things start to get a little more complicated. You should be able to understand this easily enough if you're used to betting on the major US sports though, as it's essentially the same as betting point spreads.
The driving force with handicap wagers is that the teams are awarded extra goals or deducted goals for the purposes of the betting. Most bookmakers allow you to choose how many goals are awarded or deducted, and offer different odds depending on your choice.
This is another wager that makes more sense with an example, so here's how the handicap market might look for the Tottenham versus Norwich game.
There are three distinct options to choose from here. Tottenham are the clear favorite, so the options on that team all involve deducting goals. Norwich are the underdog, so the options on that team all involve awarding extra goals. This is standard practice, but some bookmakers do offer handicap markets where the favorites are awarded goals and the underdogs are deducted goals.
Let's say you decided to go with Tottenham (-1) on this game. Tottenham would have to win by at least two goals for your wager to win, as they're going to be deducted a goal. So if they actually won 2-1, the result would technically be 1-1 for the purposes of the betting. This is a draw, so you lose the wager. If Tottenham won 3-1, though, then the result is 2-1 after the handicap is applied. So you'd win the wager.
A bet on Tottenham (-2), would need Tottenham to win by three or more goals. A bet on Tottenham (-3), would need Tottenham to win by four or more goals. Please note that the more goals that are deducted, the less likely it is that a wager is going to win. This is why the odds get greater accordingly.
When wagering on the underdog for the handicap, the opposite rules apply. A bet on Norwich (+1) then only needs Norwich to draw the game. If the actual result was 1-1, then the result with the handicap applied would be 1-2. This is a victory for Norwich, so the wager would be successful. With a bet on Norwich (+2), Norwich could lose by a single goal and you'd still be successful. With a bet on Norwich (+3), Norwich could lose by two goals and you'd still be successful. Obviously if they bettered those results (i.e. won the game without the handicap goals), then you'd be successful too.
Handicap betting is a good way to manage risk versus reward when betting on soccer games. You can choose selections that are more likely to be correct but come with lower odds, or you can choose that selections that are less likely to be correct but come with higher odds.
There's another form of handicap betting for soccer too, called the Asian Handicap. This is somewhat more complex. We won't go into depth here, as we cover this form of betting in detail on the following page. We also cover some specific strategies for the Asian Handicap too.
A correct score wager is exactly what the name suggests it is. It's a wager on what the exact final score of a game will be. This is obviously a lot harder to get right than simply predicting which team is going to win, and this is reflected in the odds available for this type of wager.
Here's how the correct score market for the game between Tottenham and Norwich might look.
This is simply to provide an illustration of the options and the odds available. A bookmaker or betting site would typically offer even more options than what we have listed.
Correct score wagers are exhilarating, and the high odds means they have the potential to return some decent profits. However, you shouldn't spend too much time or money on them if you're serious about trying win money in the long run. There isn't really an appropriate strategy that can help with picking the correct score, and these wagers are simply too hard to get right with any degree of consistency.
Half Time Result & Half Time/Full Time
These two types of wager are very similar to the standard win-draw-win market, but they each have a twist. With a half time result wager you're predicting solely what the result will be at half time. With a half time/full time wager, you're predicting what the result will be at half time AND full time.
A half time result wager has the exact same three options as a win-draw-win wager. Here's how the market might look for the Tottenham vs Norwich game.
If you went with Tottenham here, you'd need Tottenham to be winning at half time for your wager to be successful. If you went with the draw, you'd need the game to be level at half time. If you went with Norwich, you'd need Norwich to be winning at half time.
So a half time result wager really is almost identical to the standard win-draw-win on the full time result. The only difference is that it's based on what the half time score line is.
The half time/full time wager is a little more complex. To best understand the different options available, first take a look at this example betting market for the Tottenham versus Norwich game.
In the case of each option you can see here, the first selection is for the half time result and the second selection is for the full time result. You need to get both selections right to win one of these wagers. So, for example, let's say you went for Tottenham/Tottenham. To be successful, you'd need Tottenham to be winning at both half time and when the game is over.
This is another wager that we don't recommend spending too much time or money on. Predicting the full time result is hard enough, without making it even more difficult by trying to also predict what will be happening at half time.
There's ONE EXCEPTION to this last piece of advice though. If you're backing a team to win, and you think they're likely to make a fast start to the game, then betting on them to be winning at half time and full time can be the sensible option. It's obviously a little riskier than just backing the full time result, but you will get better odds. It might be worth taking those better odds if you're confident enough that your chosen team will take a first half lead and hold on to it.
First & Last Goal Scorer
First and last goal scorer are straightforward soccer wagers, but not especially easy to consistently get right. These wagers tend to be favored by those who bet for fun. That's not to say you should ignore them when betting for profit though, as they can offer value in some circumstances. They're just not wagers to spend too much time or money on though. There isn't much in the way of strategy that can be applied, and there's a lot of guesswork and luck involved.
With these wagers you are simply trying to predict which player will score the first goal, or last goal, in the match. A bookmaker will typically offer odds for every player taking part in the game. Here's an example of what some of the odds might be for a game.
These are all for the first goal scorer in a game. As a general rule, the odds for last the goal scorer in a game will be very similar.
Scorecasts are a combination of the correct score and first goal scorer wagers. You have to predict the first goal scorer and the final score, and only win if you get both predictions correct. This is another type of wager favored by recreational bettors who bet primarily for fun. Serious bettors tend to avoid them, for one simple reason.
Correctly predicting the first goal scorer in a game of soccer is difficult. Correctly predicting the final score is difficult. Correctly predicting BOTH of these things for the same game? Well, that's nearly impossible! You can make educated guesses, but you basically need a lot of luck on your side to win one of these wagers. It doesn't matter how much you know about soccer, there simply isn't a viable approach for consistently making accurate scorecast predictions.
The main reason that recreational bettors like the scorecast wager is the potential for big payouts. The problem is that you're never going to get many of them right. You'll be well rewarded when you do, but in all likelihood you'll lose a lot more when you get them wrong.
Total Goals (Over/Under)
Betting on total goals, or betting the over/under, is very popular in soccer. All you have to do here is predict whether the total number of goals scored in a game will be higher or lower than a specified amount. This simplicity is the main reason why total goals wagers are so popular.
Wagers of this type also represent a good way to make some money. Unlike some of the wagers discussed so far, there's some clear strategy involved in making the necessary predictions. By considering the right factors, it's possible to make informed judgments about how many goals are likely to be scored in a game.
Bookmakers and betting sites usually offer a number of totals to choose from, with the odds adjusted accordingly. Here's an example of the options that are likely to be available for a game.
This range of options means you get to decide just how much risk you want to take. For example, you might be confident that there will be at least three goals in this game. So the logical thing to do would be to bet on over 2.5 goals. However, you could take the safer option of betting on over 1.5 goals. The odds are lower, but there's a greater chance of being correct.
Please note that the reason why all the totals are quoted with half a goal is to prevent the possibility of a wager being tied. Obviously a soccer game can't have exactly 2.5 goals, so the actual number of goals scored will always be higher or lower. Therefore, every wager will either win or lose.
We have an article in our soccer betting strategy section that's dedicated to betting on total goals. Please read through this for some useful advice on using this type of wager.
Both Teams to Score
The both teams to score wager is a relatively new option in soccer betting. Commonly abbreviated to BTTS, it's proved to be very popular. It's a simple wager, and one that offers great potential for making money. With the right strategies, the BTTS wager can be very profitable.
As the name suggests, this wager is about predicting whether or not both teams will score in a game of soccer. It's a straightforward yes/no selection. Here's how a BTTS market typically looks.
As you can see, the odds for yes and no are quite close. This is usually the case, although sometimes there will be a bigger difference. A good example of this would be a game between two very attack minded teams. In this scenario, it's very likely that the odds for yes would be quite a bit lower than the odds for no.
Many bookmakers and betting sites also offer the option to bet on one team to win AND both teams to score. Here's an example of how that market looks.
This type of wager can be very profitable if used in the right circumstances. We explain why in our article featuring BTTS strategy advice.
Outrights, or futures, are longer term wagers. These aren't based on the outcome of individual games, but on the outcome of whole competitions, cups and leagues. A simple example of an outright wager would be on the winner of the English Premier League.
Here's how that market might look at the start of a season.
In this particular market the aim is to predict which team is going to win the Premier League. This can be quite hard to do, as it's such a competitive league. There are usually several teams in contention at the start of the season. It's definitely possible to find value with wagers like this though. If you're familiar enough with all the teams involved, and aware of their respective quality, then you can make accurate assessments about their chances of winning the league.
The big disadvantage of this wager type is that you potentially have to tie up part of your bankroll for many months. This is something to be aware of, although it doesn't have to be a major problem if you practice good bankroll management!
It should also be noted that markets such as the one displayed above stay open throughout the course of a season. So you don't necessarily have to get your money down right at the very start. You can wait until a few games have been played, and then decide which team to back.
In this context, the word prop is short for proposition bet. There are several terms used for this type of wager, including exotic bet, novelty bet or side bet. Special is the most commonly used term in the United Kingdom and Europe, while prop tends to be used most in the United States.
It's hard to define this wager exactly, so we'll turn to Wikipedia and use their definition. "A bet made regarding the occurrence or non-occurrence during a game of an event not directly affecting the game's final outcome."
Actually, that probably doesn't make things much clearer! Perhaps the best way to explain specials and props is to look at some examples of the kind of things you can bet on. Here's a list of a few specials/props that bookmakers usually offer on soccer matches.
- First team to score
- Time of first goal
- Specific player to score (Yes/No)
- Penalty to be awarded (Yes/No)
- Red card to be shown (Yes/No)
- Number of bookings
- Number of corners
- Goals in both halves (Yes/No)
As you can see, these things have nothing to do with which team actually wins or loses the game. Not directly, anyway. These wagers are aimed primarily at the recreational bettor, since they're so thrilling. It's possible to apply strategic thinking to some of them, but you're largely relying on guesswork when placing wagers of this type. With a few exceptions, they're not really suitable for the serous bettor.
Please note that many bookmakers and betting sites also offer additional specials and props that are not related to individual games. For example, transfer related wagers and manger related wagers have become increasingly common in recent years. These include wagers such as which team a high profile player will join in the next transfer window, or which manager is going to be fired next.
Accumulators, or parlays, are extremely popular among soccer bettors. They involve combining several selections into one single wager. In order to win such wagers, all of the selections must be correct. This obviously makes them hard to get right. The upside, though, is that they can offer very attractive payouts. This is because the odds for each selection are multiplied together.
To explain further, here's an example of how a soccer accumulator might look.
It's obvious that the odds for each team in this accumulator are quite low. But when multiplied together, you get overall odds of 5.10. This means a $100 wager would return $510. That's obviously a nice payout when you consider that all of these teams are expected to win.
The problem, however, is that soccer isn't a predictable sport. Teams often don't win games even when they're heavily favored to do so. This is why it's such a challenge to win money betting on the result of individual games. It's even more challenging when you have to correctly predict the results of several individual games in one single wager.
This doesn't stop people from placing soccer parlays though. The appeal of the large payouts is just too enticing. And the bookmakers love this, as the vast majority of parlays lose. They have to make the occasional big payout, but those payouts are easily covered by all the losing accumulators they take. This is why a lot of betting "experts" claim that accumulators/parlays are suckers' bets and are best avoided.
We disagree. Despite the challenges they present, it's not right to say that accumulators can't offer good value. They can. They just require a lot of thought and the right approach. Please see the following page for some helpful tips and advice on using this type of wager.
Live Soccer Betting
Live soccer betting involves placing wagers on games while they are actually taking place. This changes the whole complexion of betting on a game. Rather than trying to predict what's going to happen before it starts, you can watch part of a game and then make decisions based on how the respective teams are playing. This gives you more information to work with, which in turn means it's easier to make informed judgements.
Betting on games live also allows for additional types of wager that wouldn't otherwise be possible. Here are some examples.
- Next team to score
- Next player to score
- Time of next goal
- Next player to be booked
- Next team to have a shot
- Time of next corner
We think that live betting is one of the best possible ways to bet on soccer games. It's very exciting, which should appeal to recreational bettors, and it can also be very profitable if you know what you're doing. We offer more detail on this specific type of betting on the subsequent page, which includes some valuable strategy advice too.
The wide assortment of wager types discussed above illustrates just how many betting options are available when betting on soccer. This is a good thing. More options mean more opportunities for finding a good value wager to place. So, in theory, this increases the chances of making money.
It's definitely advisable to spend some time learning all about the different soccer bets you can place. This knowledge will help you make the right bets at the right time. But please remember that you don't HAVE to use all the different bet types. It's fine to stick with the ones that work best for you. The most important thing is that you put some thought into deciding which type to use whenever you place a bet.