So, you’re a football fan and have an uncanny ability to predict what’s going to happen. You have great potential in the world of sports betting, but you will still benefit from learning the basics with our football betting guide. In this beginners’ guide to betting on football, we explain the fundamental principles of sports betting, including understanding betting odds, the different types of bets and so on.
These are the things you need to know inside-out before advancing to things like money management and different strategies. While some people gamble just for fun, our approach emphasizes long-term profit and sustainable sports betting.
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What Are the Main Types of Bets?
There are many kinds of bets in football, but if we start explaining them all at once, it will be an overwhelming amount of information. Our football betting guide for beginners is dedicated to clarifying both the broad terms and fine details of bets. Thus, we will acquaint you with a few basic categories of sports bets:
A single bet is a bet on a single outcome. Most bets fall into this category. For instance, if you bet on Barcelona to beat Valencia, you’re placing a single bet. The bet’s success depends on the outcome of that match only. Here are the most popular types of single bets:
Match Odds Betting on the home team, away team or draw.
Both Teams to Score (BTTS) Will both teams score?
Double Chance Similar to match odds but you get to bet on 2 selections. “1X” means you win if the match ends as a home win or draw.
Over/Under 2.5 Betting on whether the number of goals in a match will be over or under 2.5 goals (i.e., 2 goals or less or 3 goals or more).
Goalscorer Will, the player you pick, score first/last/anytime.
Draw No Bet Back one of the sides to win and get your money back if it’s a draw.
Asian Handicap Betting on whether a team will win after a handicap is applied. For example, “Barcelona – 2.5” would win if Barcelona won by 3 or more goals. Asian handicap betting is useful for getting higher odds when a big victory is expected.
Half Time/Full Time Who will be winning at half time, and what will the full time result be? Draw/Away would indicate the game would be level at halftime, but the away team would end up winning the match.
Full Cover Bets
|Trixie||Three selections. 4 total bets|
|Patent||Three selections. 7 total bets|
|Yankee||Four selections. 11 total bets|
|Lucky 15||Four selections. 15 total bets|
|Canadian (Super Yankee)||Five selections. 26 total bets|
|Lucky 31||Five selections. 31 total bets|
|Heinz||Six selections. 57 total bets|
|Lucky 63||Six selections. 63 total bets|
|Super Heinz||Seven selections. 120 total bets|
|Goliath||Eight selections. 247 total bets|
Also known as system bets, full cover bets are advanced combinations that include all available accas and/or single bets of a given number of selections. These are more expensive as you’re placing several bets. Still, you can profit even if one or two picks lose. The simplest system bet is called the Trixie and requires just 3 selections. It consists of 1 treble and three different doubles. Here are the most common full cover bets:
Accumulator bets (also known as accas or multiples)
Accumulators combine many events or outcomes into one bet. You need all of them to win – less chance but a much bigger payout if it does come in. For example, you might think Liverpool, Chelsea and Bayern Munich are all sure to win their games. By combining these bets into one accumulator, you benefit from higher odds. If one of them draws or loses, however, you lose the bet. For more information on accas, check out our complete guide for Accas.
Bets can also be split into pre-match and in-play:
Pre-match bets Betting before the match used to be the only way to bet. If you’re betting on the day of the match, the odds usually won’t change much until kick-off, making it easy to get matched. Look out for price movements when the team news is announced, an hour before kick-off.
In-play betting Bets placed after kick-off are called in-play or live bets. Betting in-play allows you to get better odds and to assess how the game is going. You need to keep a clear head and not become too emotional, but a combination of research and intuition can bring in decent profits. Find out more on our Live Betting Page.
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Understanding Betting Odds
Understanding betting odds is essential for your long-term success, and no online betting guide for football would be complete without an explanation of this topic. There are two major things to know about betting odds.
First, the odds represent the return on your stake. Simply multiply the odds by your stake, and you’ve got your total return. For example, a £10 bet at odds of 2.2 will return £22 if it wins. £10 of this is your original stake, £12 is profit.
Second, the betting odds represent the chance of your bet winning – in theory, at least. To calculate the probability, just divide 100 by the odds. So, odds of 2.0 suggest a (100/2) = 50% chance of success. If you think there’s more than 50% chance of that bet winning, then you’re getting a good price. Of course, odds are prepared by people, and it is fair to expect they have at least studied a football betting form guide before setting the odds. If not, everyone who has done their homework will have the edge over the bookies.
Sports Betting Markets – What Are They?
You will hear the term “market” all the time on betting sites, but the definition is rarely offered, even in football betting guides. Different outcomes in a single match are all their own market. Match odds, Asian handicap, BTTS (Both Teams to Score), DNB (Draw no Bet), Number of goals, Over/Under, Corners, Yellow/Red Cards, Goalscorers – these are all individual markets.
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The Cash-Out Button – When Should You Use It?
You backed the home-team for £10 at odds of 2.5. Fast-forward 70 minutes into the match, and they’re winning 1-0. The odds have dropped to 1.4. Let the match run, and you might win £15. If the away side equalizes though, you lose your £10. Hit that cash-out button, and you get your £10 back plus some profit (~£8-12). You’ve made money no matter what happens in the rest of the match.
So, when should you use cash-out?
Take profits Your team is winning, but there’s only 1 goal in it, and the opposition have had chances to score. By cashing out, you eliminate the risk of losing money and pocket some profit too. While you could hold out for a bigger win, you risk a loss. Many small wins are usually better (psychologically and for your money management) than a win-loss-win cycle.
Cut losses There are going to be times when things don’t go your way. Your team just haven’t turned up and are losing by a goal with 60 minutes gone. Many people find it difficult to accept the loss and stay in, hoping for a turn-around that rarely arrives. Cash-out and you may only get £2.50 of your £10 back but that slightly smaller loss will still help your long-term profitability.
A few years ago, punters would trade out of their bets by placing a corresponding lay bet on a betting exchange. Now nearly all the top football betting sites have a handy cash-out button. It’s a great feature that’s worth taking advantage of. For more information, check out our dedicated Cash-out page.
Self-Awareness is Critical
Problem gambling is a sensitive topic, but it can have serious consequences for affected punters and their families. Since this is a football betting guide for beginners, we advocate self-assessment and promote self-awareness.
Keep a record of your betting, the events you bet on, the price, stake, whether it was a win or a loss. This will help you see if you’re throwing away your hard-earned money or making progress. Be honest with yourself and examine any patterns.
Take the time to check out our dedicated page on responsible betting too.
A Guide Is Only the Beginning
Now you know the basics, learn about more advanced topics like using the betting exchange and bet builder. Keep educating yourself, and you will continue to improve. Good luck!