A Beginner’s Guide to Betting on Soccer

Soccer betting is the biggest sports gaming market in the world but has yet to draw the same amount of action and attention from North American fans. 

There is a growing group of intrigued sports bettors wondering how to bet on soccer – especially with massive international events like the World Cup, this years' Euro 2020 and leagues like the English Premiership and Major League Soccer attracting more eyeballs in Canada and the U.S. 

For those new to the sport, we give you a beginner’s guide and a simple soccer betting explanation that will have you placing wagers on the pitch (that’s a soccer field) in no time.

Soccer betting lines explained 

To understand soccer betting lines, you do need to understand soccer and the basic workings of the sport. Soccer is generally a low-scoring sport played over a continuous 90 minutes (two 45-minute halves). 

Most soccer matches are limited to that regulation time, along with added “stoppage time” calculated by the referee throughout the game. Only in knockout or elimination tournament games — think World Cup and Euros — do you see overtime and the possibility of penalty kicks (shootout).

Because of this, the majority of soccer betting lines are designated and graded on the 90-minute regulation time result. 

Moneyline

The moneyline is the most basic way to bet on any sport and simply asks you to pick a winner, designating a set of odds for each side based on their implied probability of winning the game. 

However, because soccer is low-scoring and can end in a tie or draw after 90 minutes of play, the three-way moneyline is the preferred method of betting on soccer odds. 

3-way moneyline  

The three-way moneyline gives soccer bettors three options to wager on: either side or a draw match. 

Oddsmakers designate each team with odds to win based on their probability of victory and also set odds on the match finishing in a tie after 90 minutes, which is how to bet on draws in soccer.

Team Odds
Scotland +200
Draw +150
England -110

In the above example, Team B is the -110 favorite to win the match against the underdog Team A at +200 and the odds of the draw are set at +150.

2-way moneyline 

The two-way moneyline in soccer betting takes the draw option off the board and adjusts the odds on either side to reflect that change. 

Also known as “draw no bet” odds, the two-way moneyline is popular in tournament play when a winner is needed, either through added time, sudden death, or a shootout. If you wager on the draw no bet odds in a standard 90-minute game and the score ends in a tie, the wager is graded as a push and the original risk amount is returned.

Team Odds
Scotland +110
England -110

In the above example, Team B is the -110 favorite to win the match against the underdog Team A at +110.

Spread (goal line) 

Another way to bet on soccer odds is the spread – also known as the goal line or handicap. Soccer spreads are most commonly set between 0.5 and 2 goals but can be bigger depending on the level of competition between the two teams. 

The favorite to win the game could have a soccer spread of -1.5 which means they must win by two or more goals to cover the spread. The underdog for the game would be set at +1.5 which means they must lose by less than one goal or win the game outright. 

Each goal line is accompanied by a price of making that bet, better known as juice or vig. A -1.5 goal line favorite could have juice of +115 (paying our $150 for every $100 risked) while the +1.5 underdog could have juice of -135 (risk $135 for every $100 you wish to win).

Scotland England
+1.5 -1.5
-110 -110

Over/Under totals

The Over/Under total is a wager familiar with most sports bettors. Oddsmakers set a projected total number of goals scored by both teams in a match and you can bet on if the final score will go Over or Under that total.

Result Odds
Over 2.5 goals +110
Under 2.5 goals +110

Four more popular bet types for soccer

Since soccer betting has such a worldwide appeal, there’s no shortage of ways to wager on the “Beautiful Game”, including these alternative soccer odds markets below.

1

Futures

Futures are long-running odds markets often decided throughout a season or tournament, such as betting on which team will win the World Cup or which club will be relegated at the end of the season. Soccer futures odds change throughout a campaign or event, adjusting to results, injuries, and betting action.

2

Props

Soccer props or specials allow you to bet on specific happenings or events in the course of a game, such as which players will score a goal or the number of corner kicks taken by a team. The lists of soccer specials for big events like the Champions League or World Cup are huge, offering thousands of ways to bet on soccer.

3

Derivatives

Derivative soccer odds offer you bets on certain segments of the game, such as the first half, second half, first 10 minutes, or last 5 minutes of the game. Derivative odds can be sides, totals, and props/specials for those designated periods.

4

Asian handicaps

Asian handicap is a more complex way to wager on soccer spreads. Due to the low-scoring nature of soccer, Asian handicap allows bettors to spread their wagers across various results and increments, such as 0.25, 0.50, and .75 goal handicaps.

For example, a team may have an Asian handicap of -1.75. A $100 bet on that handicap would put $50 on -1.5 and $50 on -2.0.

If the team won by three goals, you would win the entire bet. But if the team won by just two goals, you would win half on -1.5 and be returned the other half on -2.0 as a push. If the team won by just one goal, tied or lost, you would lose the entire Asian handicap bet.

How to read soccer odds 

Soccer odds come in many shapes and sizes but on this side of the pond, American odds will be the most common way how to read soccer odds. 

Looking at three-way moneylines for example, you could see the favorite set at -120 (risk $120 to win $100), the underdog at +360 (risk $100 to win $360), and the Draw at +240 (risk $100 to win $240). 

Use our easy odds converter to help you read soccer odds.

Soccer betting tips

Breaking down the best ways to bet on soccer odds takes time, insight, and experience. However, these are some simple soccer betting tips to point you in the right direction.

Soccer Ball Kick Current form

This is the first stop for oddsmakers when setting the soccer betting odds. Take a close look at how a team has performed in recent matches and don’t get too hung up on season-long results.

Covers Global Two Color Bandage Injuries and Lineups

You’ve got to know who’s on the field before placing your soccer bets. Dig into the injury reports and find out which impact players are in and out, as well as read into manager’s projected lineups and how those could impact performance.

MatchupsHome/Away splits

Some teams are unbeatable on their home field but struggle on the road while so are built to battle in enemy territory. Take a look at each teams’ home/away splits and how their game is influenced by the venue.

Soccer PlayersMatchups

Dig deep into the makeup of the teams involved and what their strategy is based around. Then see how that approach clashes with their opponent.

Some teams thrive on speed and relentless pressure upfront while others are passive and rely more on ball control and sturdy defending to get the win. Figure out which one can impose its will on the other and what that means in terms of a final result.

Odds Odds

Half the battle of winning soccer bets is getting the best of the odds. Be sure to monitor the best available odds for your opinions and then shop around at various sportsbooks for the most value – or bang for your buck.

That can mean jumping on a low-priced favorite early on before the betting public pushes the price up or wait until late to get the most return on the underdog or value with an Over/Under wager.

Soccer betting forum

Want to learn more about betting on soccer and meet a large, knowledgeable community? Check out Covers’ soccer betting forum to get picks, ask questions, and learn from experienced sports bettors.

Instant Replay: How do you bet on soccer

  • Soccer is the biggest sports betting market in the world but still a bit of a niche sport in North America.
  • Most soccer games are graded on the 90-minute regulation result.
  • The most common way to bet on soccer is the three-way moneyline odds.
  • Soccer specials and props have become very popular and allow you to bet on almost anything in a game.
  • Futures odds on World Cup, Euros, and Champions League are very popular long-running wagers
  • Always shop around for the best soccer odds available at multiple sportsbooks.

How to bet on soccer FAQS

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