If you are serious about punting, it's essential to find the best football betting sites in the UK. There are hundreds of bookmakers out there, but how do you select the right ones? By looking for the following features:
Competitive oddsThis is the least a sportsbook can do, and if they offer above-average odds, they certainly get bonus points for that.
Market variety There is only one thing better than having what you need: having plenty of choices on top of it. The more markets a sportsbook has, the better the experience.
Bonuses and promotions Incentives matter, and bookies are competing to incentivise us. When bookmakers compete, punters win
Customer support Nobody thinks about customer support until they need it. We think about it all the time, and we test it as well.
Live betting and streaming These have become staples of online football betting, but some sportsbooks’ live services are way better than others.
Betting apps Mobile technology adds a whole new layer of experience to online betting.
Best Football Betting Sites
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The Available Betting Markets Are a Key Component of an Excellent Sportsbook
Value in everyday markets should be matched with choice, and when it comes to online football betting, that means a wide range of markets from each bookmaker. Moreover, the best online bookmaker for football should provide variety in both the types of bets and the available championships.
What Are the Most Popular Football Bets?
We have listed here the most popular football bets in no particular order. Some of these wagers are just popular with football fans, while others are unique to the sport.
Straight resultAlso known as 1X2, this is the simple case of betting on a win or a draw.
Individual goalscorers These bets have been around since before the Internet had even been dreamt of. We’re talking about separate bets for first, last and anytime scorers. In addition, the rise of live football betting sites has given us the new option of ‘next goalscorer’.
Total goals Football betting sites list a number of goal lines, starting at 0.5 and finishing at around 10.5 or possibly higher. Punters must then decide whether to go over or under a line and stake accordingly. There is an additional option for the exact number of goals, but this is much harder to predict and, as a result, is less popular.
Correct score It’s even tougher to call the exact outcome, but this type of bet has a strong following because the odds for an accurate prediction can be very profitable. When it comes to football betting sites, UK-based firms are very competitive on this particular bet, and it's widely available across sportsbooks.
Both Teams to Score (BTTS) This wager requires the bettor to decide whether both teams to score during the match in question. It's also possible to stake on either side to score in that game. As with any market that is related to goals, a quick look at a team's scoring record over recent matches offers strong indicators as to whether the bet will be successful.
Discipline bets You can’t bet on whether there will be a yellow card in a specific match, as they are incredibly common, but it is possible to bet on the odds of a send off. A small selection of football betting websites also publish a market on whether a specific player will get a yellow card.
Handicap bets Handicap bets are good to leverage both risk and profit. Additionally, they are excellent for betting on matches where the winner is evident.
These Are the Top Football Championships and Leagues to Bet On
In addition to bet types, there is another aspect of markets which is very important to football punters – the availability of championships and leagues. Nowadays, the best football betting sites offer competitions from all over the world, and there is coverage of games even in the most remote parts of the planet. However, some leagues and tournaments will always be more popular than others. Here are the competitions that remain the main focus for all football betting sites:
At the start of the 1992/93 season, the best teams in England broke away and formed the Premier League. More than 25 years later, the league has grown to become one of the best. When it comes to football betting, UK sportsbooks always give the EPL extensive coverage.
The FA Cup is much older than the Premier League, but it's just as prestigious. Every club under the auspices of the Football Association takes part, and when the teams reach the finals in May, it’s one of the highlights of the sporting year.
The top division in Spain features two giants of world football – Barcelona and Real Madrid. Some of the greatest players in the game compete in this league. Since it's such a big draw for spectators, it also gets a lot of attention from football betting sites across the web.
This is the biggest domestic cup competition in Spain. Once again, Barca and Real feature heavily. The nation’s football is competitive, with Atletico Madrid and Sevilla providing stiff opposition, so this is an important area for the online football betting industry.
This is the top Italian division, and the best bookies for football have hundreds of markets available. In the modern era, Juventus have been a dominant force, but there are challenges from top teams such as Inter and AC Milan.
This is the biggest knockout competition here, and the sportsbooks are particularly active when this competition reaches its later stages. Its first edition was held in 1922. Juventus is the competition's most successful club with 13 wins.
The Champions League, or UCL, as it is often known, features the winners of individual European divisions and the best-placed teams below them. For the best football-betting sites across the net, this is one of the biggest events of the entire sporting calendar, and it is when you will find them at their busiest.
This tournament is made up of strong teams across the continent who have finished just outside of the Champions League qualifying places. Once again, this is a competition that proves to be a big draw for the best football gambling sites, and there are lots of betting options available across the long tournament.
These are the main markets to look out for, so let’s now take a look at the top football betting sites marketwise:
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How to Assess the Best Betting Odds
Which betting site is best for football? There are many ways to approach this question. All bettors need to know that they are getting good value for their money. So, the first point to consider is whether the site’s sportsbook has regular odds that keep pace with the rest of the industry. If you are doing the research yourself, there are two ways of carrying it out, and the first is to head over to the main odds-comparison websites.
You can compare betting odds at a glance there, but the problem is that the football betting sites listed tend to be only the established brands. That's a good start, but the newer brands aren’t covered, which means punters could be missing out on great value.
The only way to address this issue is to identify the online football betting site that you want to assess and check the prices yourself. This doesn't need to be a long process: Just pick a top football match and look at the odds for the results and a couple of prop bets, such as the first goalscorer. You’ll quickly see, by assessing the options, whether the bookie is competitive or not.
The value that can be found in regular, everyday odds can also be lifted by price boosts. Punters can find these on the best online football betting sites in the UK. While not essential, they are excellent bonuses to have when it comes to choosing a bookmaker.
Valuable Bonuses and Promotions Are Essential to the Sportsbook Experience
We’ve seen how value for money comes from competitive odds, but there are other ways for good football bookmakers to give their customers a little boost. Offers and promotions can take many forms, but the object of all of them is to provide an incentive in the shape of bonuses, free bet refunds and more.
These bonuses should come at the very start of your business relationship when you sign up for a new account. A welcome deal will typically offer a 50% or 100% match on your opening deposit up to around £50.00 or possibly higher. Alternatively, you may get £30.00 in free bet tokens in return for a £10.00 qualifying stake. The exact terms of each deal will be different depending on who you use. In terms of the best betting sites in the UK, customers should always find some form of a welcome bonus.
Football Betting Offers at Betfair
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These initial deals can then be backed up by ongoing promotions across the lifetime of the account. For football matches, some bookies issue ‘Bore Draw Refunds’. In such wagers, losing bets in the ‘correct score’ markets are returned if a game finishes with no goals. Also, there are acca insurances, where refunds are sent if one leg of a four-fold or higher lets you down. Furthermore, there are even acca boosts, where a percentage of additional profit is sent in the event of a long, straight-line winning multi.
Lots of other deals are available, and you can check our ‘Offers’ page for more details on promotions. Bonuses take many different forms, and customers should always check the exact terms and conditions of each one. Just remember that the best football betting sites should be providing offers and promotions throughout the lifetime of an account.
What You Absolutely Need to Know about Security and Licencing
All trusted football betting sites are very open about their licencing, security and collaborating organisations. There are four main types of logos you will see at the bottom of a site’s homepage, and they all serve an important purpose in your betting experience:
- Regulators. In the UK, the text at the bottom of the homepage should confirm that the company is regulated by the Gambling Commission and that they are allowed to take on qualifying British customers. Most bookmakers also display the logo of the Gambling Commission. If you click on it, you will likely be redirected to the regulator's home page, and very often you will see the sportsbook licence as well. If the licence is not immediately visible, you can search for it here in the website's database.
- Auditing and security agencies. Bookmakers undergo gambling-specific audits to ensure the fairness of their services. These audits are performed by organisations such as eCOGRA and iTechLabs. In addition, sportsbooks may list their security encryption providers and various certificates related to personal and financial data-handling.
- Alternative dispute resolution (ADR). When issues arise with bookmakers, punters may choose to solve them with independent adjudicators instead of bringing them to court. All UK-licensed bookmakers are required to work with at least one ADR organization, such as IBAS, eCOGRA, ADR Group and others. These organisations can help punters a great deal with legal disputes.
- Responsible gambling groups. Problem gambling can be a serious issue for all involved parties. Therefore, responsible sports betting sites make sure to include at least one support organisation that deals with it. You will soon learn to recognise the logos of GAMSTOP, GamCare and BeGambleAware.
There Is a Lot of Value in Both Live Betting and Live Streaming
The 21st century undoubtedly belongs to live betting. Punters can recognise the elemental pull of knowing what's about to happen. It doesn't matter whether you are watching the match on TV or at the stadium: What matters is that suddenly everything seems clear to you. It is not a rational thing: It is a primal, intuitive force which is understood beyond words, and we colloquially call it ‘gut feeling’.
What do you do when you have such a feeling? Take out your phone and make a bet on the best live football betting sites, of course: This is what in-play wagering is for. Nowadays, it is unthinkable for bookmakers to not offer in-play markets. There is also the prospect of finding better odds than those in the ante-post equivalents.
While some value comes with great odds, you should also expect the best in-play football betting sites to list as many markets as they would pre-match. A quick scan of the live section of any sportsbook will quickly tell you whether there is an extensive selection or just the results and a few prop bets.
Finally, if a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the value of live footage. This is where live streaming comes. Punters recognise an opportunity when they see one, and some football matches offer plenty of opportunities from start to finish. However, you need to watch the game somewhere, and nowadays, sportsbooks are the only easily accessible providers of live streaming for some games.
There is plenty of value to be found in both live betting and live streaming. We have gathered the most useful information on the best live betting sites for your convenience. Make sure to check our dedicated ‘Live Betting’ and ‘Live Streaming’ pages for extra insights and tips. You can also find a list of live betting bookmakers there.
Mobile Betting Apps Facilitate a Seamless Betting Experience
The importance of a mobile betting app is often overlooked, but punters are fast to recognise the utility of a good app when they run across a shoddy one. Fortunately, the best football betting sites offer solidly engineered software, and the probability of your phone crashing during a pivotal moment is minimal.
In all cases, apps should be free to use and available for iPhone and Android. They should be easy to find and install, but most importantly, they should provide the same functions as the main betting website. Moreover, they should absolutely use the same login details as the website.
As far as the top football betting sites are concerned, there shouldn't be any issues, and the app should suit your gambling needs. Having one is a plus for any punter, so check the availability with your bookmaker. Or you can do one better and check our dedicated page of mobile betting apps and all the tricks and tips that will come in handy.
The Top Football Bookmakers Provide Multiple Payment Options
Football betting is in no small part about money, and the transactional nature of wagers is facilitated in numerous ways. In general, the more flexible a sportsbook is with financial transfers, the better experience punters will have in this regard. Here are the main methods to load cash into your betting account and unload it back into your pocket:
- Cards. Visa and Mastercard are the staples of payment options, but they provide only debit solutions. This is the minimum most betting sites accept. There are also prepaid card alternatives such as paysafecard.
- eWallets. Most football bookmakers accept PayPal, NETELLER and Skrill. These are the quickest deposit and withdrawal methods. There is a twist, however: Sportsbooks don’t usually accept eWallet deposits for their welcome bonuses. Thus, you may want to check their terms and conditions for claiming the sign-up offer.
- Bank Wires. This is not as popular a method with bookmakers as one may expect. Still, some do offer it as an option.
- Cheques. Some bookmakers accept cheques as a deposit method. Just keep in mind that they take time.
- You can always load your betting account at physical betting shops if your bookmaker has one near you. Betting chains like William Hill, Paddy Power and Betfred have plenty of shops across the country.
Football Betting Is a Lifestyle Choice
Sports betting has always been more than just a hobby. For dedicated punters, it’s sort of a primal calling, while for casual ones, it’s becoming more and more of a lifestyle choice. Is it about seeing the future, or perhaps analysing information successfully? The thrill of risk, the joy of triumph, the learning experience of losing gracefully… perhaps there is no need to explain it. Sports betting is here, and for the last century, it has grown from being illegal to a multibillion industry.
Betting Shops Have Moved from the Backstreet to the High Street
Over the past 40 years, betting shops have gradually moved their venues to more prominent locations. It is arguable whether this was the cause or the effect of the diminishing stigma associated with gambling. However, sports betting has earned back the place of significance it occupied in Roman times, both literally and figuratively.
While it may not be essential for the best football gambling sites to have betting shops in the real world, there are some definite benefits. The majority of football betting sites who own shops opened them many years ago, long before the Internet was invented. That means they are established brands who have an element of trust.
There is also the convenience factor, since UK customers can simply pop into a shop if they are passing by. They don’t even have to open an account to pick a market and place a bet.
Bookies have also started to introduce added incentives such as loyalty cards. Others will even let you withdraw your online winnings as cash from a physical betting shop. It's not an essential requirement, but as you can see, there are some definite benefits here.
Football Sponsorship Promises Brand Visibility for Sportsbooks
Bookmakers and football are becoming more and more intertwined in the public eye. For the 2018/2019 season, nine teams in EPL were sponsored by gambling companies. This has created concern that the betting industry is becoming increasingly popular, which will exacerbate issues like problem gambling.
On the other hand, major bookmakers are competing through sponsorships, and competition between businesses is always good for customers. In this case, we get better football as a direct result of these multimillion-pound deals.
A Peek into the Top Football Betting Myths
Nowadays, there are a lot of popular misconceptions about betting on football. While there is a grain of truth in each of them, it is so distorted that all meaning has been lost. The worst part is that these myths are actually quite easily dispelled by quick research, but people continue to perpetuate them without giving them much thought. Here are the top three:
Bookmakers Always Win
This is a variation of ‘the house always wins’, which is used for casinos. However, casinos offer games like roulette and blackjack, which have a distinct edge in favour of the house. In contrast, bookmakers don’t win by betting against punters.
They win by charging a commission on each bet. This commission is often called vigorysh, vig, overround or margin. In addition, bookies set the odds in such a way to attract punters on both ends of an outcome. In the end, even this doesn’t guarantee a win for them: Badly made odds can cost bookmakers millions of pounds. Paddy Power goes as far as proudly advertising such losses and paying them out early.
Bookmakers Will Suspend Your Account If You Win Consistently
Bookmakers do study the accounts of consistent winners and may even go as far as to check your account with other bookmakers to determine whether you are engaging in arbitrage betting, aka ‘arbing’. If they do discover any violations of their terms and conditions, they can suspend your account. However, if there are no violations, all they can do is cry their eyes out. Their tears taste as sweet as marshmallows.
Everyone Loses in the Long Term
This is yet another myth with probable origins in casino games. While the majority of football punters do lose money in the long term, there are a lot of bettors that stay on the profitable end of the goal line. After all, sports betting is more akin to stock trading, where knowledge of both the game and wagering pays off. Make sure to check our ‘Strategy’ page for more info on how to keep the ball turning in your favour.
Alternative Football Markets: Fantasy Football and Virtual Football
As we have already seen, the betting industry is a very fluid one. To survive and thrive in such an environment, the best football gambling sites have to stay ahead by innovating. New trends are coming online all the time, and there is a host of new betting opportunities for punters to enjoy.
One of the more popular options is fantasy football, and while this concept has been around for many years, online sportsbooks are only now starting to embrace it. The game originated from national newspapers in the 1990s, and in football terms, it involves picking a national team from the hundreds of players available across a division.
Players assemble their imaginary squads and earn points for goals, assists and clean sheets. In time, the concept was picked up by specialised football betting websites. Now, it's a big hit in the United States, where a number of daily fantasy sites (DFS) have cropped up. With American laws on gambling just starting to be relaxed, we can expect the best football betting sites in the UK and Europe to pick this trend up and develop it further.
The game of virtual football is sometimes confused with the fantasy version, but it's important to understand that these are two completely separate entities. Virtual football games are played between computer-generated characters, and they were initially picked up by physical betting shops before being transferred online.
Love the Game
In the end, the passion for the greatest game can easily be combined with the thrill of football betting into an invigorating mixture. If you need more information on finding the best sites to bet on football games, don't forget to check our other pages. There, you can discover useful information on many punting-related subjects.
Additional Resources for Online Football Betting
- Online bookmakers (Reviewing the most successful UK gambling brands)
- Efficiency of online football betting markets (A study of European football leagues)
- Engagement in in-play sports betting (Investigating the factors that drive individuals to participate in in-play sports betting)
- Betting on national sentiment (Evidence of its influence on economic behavior in online European football wagering)