If you can find a bookmaker that doesn’t offer odds on the football, then you have also found a bookmaker that won’t be in business for very long.
A bookie would be mad not to have odds on football matches, so you won’t struggle to find someone to take your bet. However, not all bookmakers are made equal, so some have much greater depth of market than others, while others can boast the best prices on the whole, or greater coverage of certain leagues in far off nations, or more live streaming than everyone else.
It all depends what you like to bet on really.
We do recommend the bookies we find best for football, but this page is about more than that.
For punters who are perhaps new to betting on football (or betting at all), there is a handy guide on betting on football below which covers the basic bet types and betting features that you can look out for and try.
How to Bet on Football
Assuming you are already signed up with a bookmaker and have some funds in your account, the process of making a bet is really easy. The most difficult bit is getting your head around the interface, but once you’ve used one or two they are all much of a muchness.
Since football is one of the most popular betting markets, there will usually be a shortcut right in front of you on the home screen, or direct links to games that are imminent or in play.
If you want to look for something specific though, you can either use the search bar, or navigate to the A-Z sports list.
This is almost always on the left of the page with the sports in alphabetical order, so just click on the Football tab and it will take you to the football home page where you can navigate to the game or competition you want to bet on.
It will look something like this:
As you can see, there are still a lot of options, with the bookie plugging their football offers and enhanced prices for the day, as well as betting features like bet builders, but as you scroll down you will see popular markets like the 90 minute market for upcoming big games, and anything that the bookie thinks will be popular with bettors on the day.
For more specific bets on niche leagues or markets that are less popular, you will need to find the match in question by viewing all competitions offered by the bookie and selecting from there.
We have highlighted where this option is in the image above, and if you click on that, you will see something like this:
There will be loads of them, so find the one you want then click on it, and you will see all of the games in that league that are available to bet on.
We will select the English Championship:
Now we can see all the available games in our selected league.
We can switch between individual matches and outright markets like who will win the league, top goal scorer in the league etc.
If we want to bet on something a bit more involved we next need to select the match we are interested in, but before we do that, lets just point out that you can actually add bets to your betslip from here too.
Underlined in red, are all the markets you can view for each game on this page. You can toggle between these and the odds on the right will change as you do so. Click the odds to add the bet to your betslip.
Boxed in yellow, you can see how many other markets are available for each game. It won’t always be the same for every match, but it is here, and as you can see there is a lot more we can bet in than the basic markets offered on this screen, so let’s now select the Hull vs Coventry match and see what we are looking at.
Now we have access to every single market available for this game; we can only see the ones at the top in this image, but if we scroll down there are many more.
We can also view them by category as you can see in the dark blue bar at the top.
So this is how you go about finding the football bet you want to make on a bookmaker’s website. They all follow a similar sort of pattern and work in the same way at a fundamental level, even though there will be some small differences from one site to another.
One worth mentioning is that some sites handle part of the navigation in the sports list itself, so for example you can see in the image below that this particular bookmaker has a drop down list of the most popular football leagues within the A-Z, so you can click on one of them to get relevant markets faster.
There will still be a football page where all other leagues can be found though, similar to the other images in this section, this is just to help speed things up for the most popular football betting markets.
There are usually a number of ways to get to the bet you want to make.
What are the Most Common Football Bets to Make?
Now you know how to bet, we can look at what you might like to bet on.
Assuming you are newish to football betting, the below bet types are some of the easiest to start with, as they are not difficult to understand and are widely available at all bookmakers.
- Match Result (1X2) – This straightforward bet involves selecting one of three possible outcomes for a football match: a home team win (1), a draw (X), or an away team win (2). If your chosen outcome matches the final result, you win the bet.
- Over/Under Goals – In this type of bet, you predict whether the total number of goals scored in the match will be over or under a specific number set by the bookmaker. If the actual number of goals scored aligns with your prediction, you win the bet. These will be decimal numbers, like 2.5 and 3.5, because then the bet has to win or lose. If they used round numbers then a 3-1 win would make a bet on over 4 goals difficult to work out.
- Both Teams to Score (BTTS) – BTTS bets involve predicting whether both teams in the match will score at least one goal during the game. You can bet “Yes” (both teams will score) or “No” (at least one team will not score). Own goals do count in this market.
- Correct Score – This bet requires you to predict the exact final score of the match, which can be challenging but offers higher potential payouts. If the match ends with the exact score you’ve predicted, you win the bet.
- First Goal Scorer – In this bet, you select a player you believe will score the first goal in the match. If your chosen player scores the opening goal, you win the bet. Own goals do not count in this market.
- Half-Time/Full-Time (HT/FT) – HT/FT betting involves predicting both the half-time and full-time results of the match. You can bet on various combinations, such as Home/Home (home team leads at both half-time and full-time) or Draw/Away (the match is a draw at half-time, but the away team wins at full-time). You can find correct score markets that work for HT/FT too.
- Asian Handicap – Asian Handicap betting is a method to balance the odds when there’s a significant difference in team strength – if Man City played Dorking Wanderers for example. It assigns a goal advantage or disadvantage to one team. For instance, if you bet on Team A with a -1 Asian Handicap, they must win by at least two goals for your bet to win. It’s a way of getting better odds in a game that is otherwise so heavily weighted one way that the odds are pointless taking.
- Draw No Bet – This bet removes the possibility of a draw by refunding your stake if the match ends in a tie. You can still bet on a specific team to win or lose, but a draw won’t ruin things for you.
There are many more betting markets out there of course, but if you start with these you can progress to more complicated bets once you find your feet.
There are a few other bet types worthy of discussion at this point though.
A football accumulator, which is more commonly known as an ‘acca’, is a bet that combines multiple selections into a single wager, then multiplies the individual odds to create one big bet.
The potential payout always ends up looking incredible, and when they come in people can win ridiculous money as you can see here, but to win an accumulator bet, every single selection must be correct.
So football accas offer the potential for significantly higher payouts than individual bets but come with a higher level of risk because they are much less likely to succeed.
As an example, here is a fictional acca:
- Match 1: Liverpool to win (odds of 2.00)
- Match 2: Manchester City to win (odds of 1.75)
- Match 3: Barcelona to win (odds of 2.20)
- Match 4: Lazio to win (odds of 2.90)
- Match 5: PSG to win (odds of 1.75)
To calculate the potential payout of your accumulator, you multiply the odds of all the selections together:
Potential Payout = (2.00 x 1.75 x 2.20 x 2.90 x 1.75) = 39.10
If all three teams win their respective matches, your accumulator bet would pay out at odds of 39.10. For example, if you bet £10 on this accumulator, your potential return would be £391 (£10 x 39.10).
Remember though, if just one of the selected teams fails to win or if one of the matches ends in a draw, your entire accumulator bet is lost.
A football acca doesn’t have to be on match result, you can use other markets like BTTS, you can even mix sports if you like, but the rules remain the same.
Accumulators can involve any number of selections, but the more selections you add, the more difficult it becomes to win.
Bookies love accas because they so rarely come in, and of course, the bookie’s margin has been worked into every selection you make, so the more lines you add the bigger their profit margin becomes.
If you want to make an acca bet on the football, just keep adding selections to your betslip and the option for an acca will appear.
Football Bet Builders
Some people confuse bet builders with accas, but they are different beasts.
While an acca is a big bet made up of many smaller bets all concerning unrelated events (different football matches), a bet builder is one single bet made up of several bets all pertaining to the same event.
So you might decide on the following selections:
- Team A to win
- Both teams to score
- First goal scorer
- Over 7.5 corners
- Team A to be winning at half time
The individual odds of these markets will be put together and multiplied, just like with an acca, and the overall odds for your bet builder will be created.
A bet builder tool will automatically recognise if two bets clash, for example if you bet on a 1-0 correct score but also select BTTS (this would be impossible), so it will only let you place bets that are valid.
When it comes to related contingencies (bets that are closely related, such as Man Utd to win and a Man Utd player to score), the odds you are given in a bet builder will not be as good as if you were to bet on these markets individually.
Usually, related contingencies would not be allowed, and a bet builder is pretty much the only way to get around this. The price you pay though, is lower odds, because of course if Man Utd are going to win, then at least one of their players must also score. It’s the same as trying to bet on over 1.5 goals at the same time as a 1-1 correct score – in order for the correct score bet to win, the over 1.5 goals bet has to as well.
For this reason you need to keep an eye on how your selections impact the odds of a bet builder. If you select markets that are too closely related they might not move the odds at all, so be clever about the outcomes you choose.
InPlay and Live Football Betting
Once a game has kicked off and is live, the in-play betting markets become available.
To get to the in-play section of the site you will have to either follow a link from the home page for a specific game, or find the In-Play tab in the menu bar – both options are highlighted in the image above.
The interface for the in-play area will be a little different to the rest of the site, but it’s a lot simpler too with fewer options.
Again, they are all slightly different, but you will need to choose your preferred sport (so football in this case) and then the interface will show you which games are currently live.
From here you may be able to place a few of the more basic bets as discussed above, but for the unique stuff, you’ll need to click on a particular match.
We will select that clash of giants, Bangladesh vs Afghanistan.
You can now see a visual representation of the match, with a map of the pitch and some game stats so far. This can be useful in making betting decisions, but it’s fairly basic stuff most of the time.
Incidentally, this is also where the live stream of the game will be viewable if it is available.
Underneath this you have all of the different bet types. Some will be the same as those that were available before the match, such as match winner, first goal scorer if the game is still 0-0, BTTS if both teams have not already scored, etc.; but some are only available in-play.
These include but are not limited to:
- Next Goal Scorer – In this bet, you predict which player will score the next goal in the ongoing match.
- Next Corner Kick – Predict which team will be awarded the next corner kick. This bet type is based on the team that is dominating possession or pressing for an attacking opportunity.
- Time of Next Goal – You can bet on the timing of the next goal, such as whether it will occur in the next 5 minutes or during a specific time period.
- Match Events (e.g., Penalty Kick or Red Card) – You can bet on specific events happening in the next 10 minutes, for example. So if the game is getting rough you might want to bet on a red card being awarded in the next 10 minutes.
The odds for all markets will change regularly once the game is in-play, because the situation is always changing. A team in possession in their opponents’ half is more likely to score than if they were in their own half and out of possession, for instance, and equally the odds for a match winner will be very different at 0-0 than at 2-0.
Live betting can be very exciting as a bettor, and can make a dull game more interesting to watch, but you do need to make sure you place your bets before the odds move too much.
Football Betting Rules to Understand
As well as having a firm grip on the basic football betting lines, there are also a few rules that can catch you off guard if you aren’t expecting them.
These are football betting rules rather than football game rules, and it’s an important distinction because as you will see, it is possible to bet on a team to win a game and still lose that bet even if they do come out victorious.
It’s all about the rules of the bet you are making.
- 90-Minute Rule – Most football bets in the UK are settled based on the outcome of the match after 90 minutes of regulation time, including injury time. Extra time and penalty shootouts, if applicable in cup competitions, typically do not count for most standard bets, such as match result and over/under goals. So if you bet on a team to win, and they were drawing after 90 minutes but went on to win in extra time, your bet would lose.
- Postponed Matches – If a football match is postponed or rescheduled for any reason (e.g., bad weather, security concerns), bets on that match are usually void, and the stake is returned to bettors. However, if the match continues later or is rescheduled within a specified timeframe, bets may still stand.
- Abandoned Matches – If a football match is abandoned before reaching the minimum required playing time (usually around the 60-70 minute mark), bets are typically void, and stakes are returned. If the match is abandoned after that point, bets may be settled based on the score at the time of abandonment or according to the rules of the specific bookmaker.
- Own Goals – Own goals are credited to the team that benefits from them. For example, if you bet on Team A to win, and a player from Team B scores an own goal, Team A is still considered the winning team in your bet. However, own goals do not usually count towards the goal scorer markets, so if you bet on a player to score first but the first goal is an own goal, your bet will still be active. This means that your player could go on to score what is technically the second goal of the game, but your bet would still win.
- Player Substitutions – If you place a bet on a specific player to score, and that player does not end up playing in the game, then the bet will be void and the stake returned in most cases. If they come on at all though, the bet is live. Similarly, if you bet on them to score first, but they come off the bench late on when a number of goals have already gone in, you will usually get your stake back.
- Ante-Post Bets – Ante-post bets are wagers placed on events well in advance, such as season-long bets on league winners or top goal scorers. Since there is more risk associated with making bets so far into the future, you can expect better odds, but the downside is that if you bet on a player to top goal scorer, for example, and they end up getting a long term injury or being sold to a foreign club, your bet will lose rather than becoming void.
- Dead Heat – In certain markets where multiple selections can win (e.g., top goal scorer), a dead heat occurs when two or more selections finish with the same result. In such cases, the stake is divided by the number of tied selections in the dead heat. So two players getting the same goal tally in the World Cup would turn a £10 top goal scorer bet into a £5 top goal scorer bet, but still at the original odds.
These rules are true in most cases, but betting rules can vary between bookmakers as they all set their own terms, so it’s advisable to read and understand the specific terms and conditions provided by the bookmaker you’re using, as there might be slight differences on occasion.
None of these rules are there to trick you or give the bookie an unfair advantage (they already have one of those through the margin they build into their odds). Rather, these rules exist to give the bookmaker a framework to price their odds to, and to settle any difficult or unusual situations before they arise.