The Complete Football Betting Guide

You could ask almost anyone what their favourite sport to watch and follow is, and they would more likely than not reply with “Football”. Of course, there are many other sports that people enjoy, and some people do not even enjoy sports, but football is at the top of the roster. This OddsMonkey football betting guide will look at the sport itself, presenting all the details you require to begin your football betting journey.

This article will explain football betting in its simplest form, the types of football bets you can place, and introduce you to some useful strategies that could aid your overall experience.

An Explanation of Football Betting

As bookmakers have changed and the digital world of betting has expanded, the available markets have also continued to grow, although Match Winner bets remain the most popular option. You can now place football bets known as ‘Bet Builders’, which allow you to combine multiple markets for a game into one bet, increasing your odds and potential returns. The odds in football can be confusing if you do not understand the basics, so let’s discuss those now:

Football Betting – Stakes

Within football and other sports betting types, your stake is the amount of money you place on a bet or specific event’s outcome. The odds are important in this section of placing a bet, as they show you the implied probability of the event occurring. With OddsMonkey, you can sign up for an account and use our free OddsMatcher tool to find the best odds for your desired market. Finding the best odds, especially where the odds are shorter than ‘Evens’, could help boost your returns.

Football Betting – Odds

The betting odds are decided using a complex scientific process that combines data and knowledge into one mathematical equation. Bookmakers will always set the odds so that they can take more than they pay because, in this industry, there is never a poor bookmaker. The best bookies will offer attractive odds to customers, trying to entice them more and trying to outdo the competition.

As mentioned earlier, odds are the implied probability of an event occurring. If you are an experienced gambler, you can spot ‘value bets’, where the odds do not match the actual chance of an outcome. If you see a bet priced at 1/1, also known as Evens, the implied probability is 50%.

Any odds where the number AFTER the slash (/) is larger will have a higher implied probability but will return less if they win. Odds with a higher number BEFORE the slash (/) are implied to be less likely, so they will return more if they win.

Football Betting – Markets

In football betting, a wide variety of bets can be placed, known as Markets. Each Market will have its own smaller options within it, but we will discuss the most popular football bets now:

Betting Market Market Description
Outright Bet An outright is a type of bet in which you choose a team you think will win a league or tournament. The odds for outright bets are typically high as they cover an entire event, not just a single game.
Match Winner Fancy a team to win a single game you have spotted? Match Result betting is backing a team to win a game within 90 minutes, and odds can vary based on form and injuries.
Over/Under Goals Over/Under Goals bets allow you to predict how many goals will be scored during a game. These come in 0.5 intervals: Over 1.5, Over 2.5, Under 2.5 etc.
Correct Score These bets are somewhat similar to Match Results, although they are a lot more specific. You are predicting the exact score that a game will end, and the odds are typically higher.
Both Teams to Score BTTS, or Both Teams to Score, is a twist on the Overs market. You can say either Yes or No for both teams to score a goal in a game. 
Goal Scorers Player Markets are a huge part of the modern football betting world, and Goalscorers are the most popular. Think you know which player will score a goal in a game? Now you can place a bet on it!
Handicap If the team you want to place a Match Result bet on is a very heavy favourite for a game, it could be wise to look at Handicap betting as an option. Essentially, a Handicap bet is starting the favourite on Negative Score, making it harder for the team to actually win but making it more rewarding for you if they do.
Double Chance Match Winner bets are the most popular, but for a bit of safety, you can back a Double Chance result. Instead of just betting on Team A, you can back Team A + Draw, meaning if the game ends a draw, or Team A win, your bet is a winner
Draw No bet Draw No Bet is like a Double Chance bet, but instead of your bet winning for a draw result, your stake is returned. You back a team to win, and if they win you get a payout, but if they draw you get your stake back. 
Corners, Throw Ins, Goal Kicks, Free Kicks These statistic-based bets have risen in popularity rapidly in recent times, and more people are looking at previous results and stats sheets to try and land a winner on these markets.
Each Way Each way betting in football is not common as it is only offered on outright bets. For example if you are betting on a team to win the league then you might be able to back it each way which means you will be paid out a proportion of the odds if your team finishes 2nd or 3rd depending on what the bookmaker offer.

Football Betting – Forms

There are different forms of bets that can be placed. We mentioned ‘bet builders’ earlier, but these are one of the many options available. There are others that we will discuss in the next section.


An accumulator often referred to as an Acca, is the process of combining multiple games into one. This will combine the odds for each of the individual bets, increasing them drastically into one giant bet with multiple ‘Legs’. These bets are difficult to land because there is so much to keep track of with the multiple legs in play. You can use our free football acca calculator to see what potential odds you could get when placing a bet.

Fixed Odds

Fixed odds betting requires you to place a bet when the specific odds are locked. This means you will receive these odds at a guaranteed price.


Handicaps are a great way to boost the odds when a favourite is drastically under-priced. There is a lot of potential with these markets, as you could give an underdog a boosted advantage or drastically improve the odds for a team like Manchester City, where they are hugely under evens.

In-Play Betting

Betting on games and events before they begin is exciting, but betting on a game while actively being played brings a new level of enjoyment to the experience. The main perk of In-play betting is that you can watch the game and see how a team performs in certain conditions and under pressure. This could make it much easier to select players to receive a yellow card, teams to score, total goals in a game, etc.

Football Betting – Statistics

As we mentioned in the betting markets section, statistics betting is becoming more popular as time goes on. There is huge potential for betting within different leagues and competitions, and with more and more bookies adding Free Kicks, Throw-Ins and other statistic betting markets to their sites, now seems like the perfect time to learn about how to find and use these stats for your bets:

Using Trustworthy Statistics

There are many reliable sources for football statistics, such as FootyStats, FBRef and WhoScored. You can use all of these sites to find different stats, whether for a specific player or an entire team. Detailed stats around player fouls, tackles, shots, shots on target and much more are available, as well as team stats surrounding the topics of free kicks, throw-ins, corner kicks and more.

Prematch Stats

When you place bets on a football match, you typically want to wait until around 1 hour before kick-off, as team sheets/line-ups are revealed at this time, meaning you can place bets on the players who are confirmed to be playing the game. This is extremely useful for goalscorer markets and ones similar to this. Consider looking at individual player stats before a game begins and then matching them to the line-ups. The following is a list of pre-match stats you should pay attention to:

Team Form – Team form is very important as it shows how a current club performs in the league. You can look at the overall form for a club or fixture on the Home and Away form, depending on which way the game is being hosted. This can give you a good insight into how they will perform in whichever game they next play.

Player Form – Player form is just as important for betting, even if you are not looking at specific players to bet on. Knowing that 2 of a team’s best defenders are injured or that their striker is not playing a game could potentially change the outcome of that game drastically.

Defence – Knowing a team’s defensive strengths and weaknesses can determine who will win a game or perform better on the day. If a team has a weak defence and comes up against one of the best strikers in the league, they will probably concede quite a few goals.

Attack – Contrary to defensive prowess, knowing how strong a team is when going forward can be a powerful tool for betting on a team to win or a player to score in a game.

Football Betting Tips

Any bet you place will be more likely if it is researched. In this next section, we will look at some league and competition-specific betting tips to help you know what to look for when watching a certain competition.

UEFA Champions League

The Champions League, sanctioned by UEFA, is the most prestigious and sought-after trophy for league-level clubs. It is packed with the best European teams scrambling to secure the trophy. Except for Porto in 2003/04, the trophy winners are typically from the top 5 leagues in Europe. It is typically simple to choose which team will win or at least make the final based on the other clubs in their groups and runs. The club that has won the most UEFA Champions League trophies is Real Madrid, and with their squad, they typically have a chance to win it each year.

UEFA Europa League

The Europa League is second in line for European cup rankings, slotting in just below the Champions League. This competition is filled with the teams close to making the Champions League cut, but fell short at the final hurdle. The event’s winner not only takes home the trophy but also secures themselves a spot in the next season of the Champions League. Sevilla has the most of these, with 6 to their name.

UEFA Europa Conference League

Conference League football is one step below the Europa League, with winners of this tournament gaining promotion to the above mentioned league for the following season. This is a newly created competition that gives even more teams a chance to climb their way to the Champions League, and the first team to win this in the 2021/22 season were Roma, managed by the infamous Jose Mourinho.

Premier League

The Premier League is the top league in England and is widely regarded as the best national-level league in the world. This league is filled with money and strong players and allows clubs to bring in the best players from other leagues. A few teams typically finish in the top few teams, including Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea. However, thanks to recent advancements, Newcastle United are making a huge push to become one of the so-called ‘Big 6.’

La Liga

La Liga is the top level of football in Spain and is home to two of the biggest clubs known globally, Real Madrid and Barcelona. These teams dominate the European trophies, as well as their own La Liga title, and are one of the strongest leagues in football. Players such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and others have played in this league.

Serie A

Ronaldo – Portuguese Cristiano and Brazilian R9 – has played in this league. The Serie A is the top division in Italy and is home to some great teams such as Juventus, Inter Milan, Atalanta, and Jose Mourinho’s Conference League-winning Roma side.


The Bundesliga is the highest level of football in Germany and has raised some breakout starts such as Jadon Sancho, Jamal Musiala, Jude Bellingham and Erling Haaland. Some of the clubs in this league, such as Bayern Munich, are known worldwide thanks to their incredible form in both league and cup tournaments.

Ligue 1

In France, Ligue 1 is the top level of football and is a one-sided competition, thanks to the physical attacking prowess of PSG. Housing a front-3 of Neymar Jr, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi, this team is unstoppable against most of the smaller clubs in the league. Don’t let their Ligue 1 form fool you, however, as there could be some upsets when they perform at the European level. To date, Marseille are the only French Squad to have won the champions league.

Team Betting Tips

If you want to bet on Over/Under markets, or BTTS markets, then it is important to understand how the two involved teams play their game. For example, Manchester City are prolific goalscorers, so you could expect a lot of goals in their games, especially if they are against a team with poor defence.

Player Betting Tips

You can typically look at players who commit a lot of fouls per game using FBRef or apps like FotMob, and then use these stats to determine whether you think they will receive a card during a game. This is the same for Goals; if a player has a lot of shots on target against strong defences, they are more likely to score against a bad defence.

Popular Systems in Football Betting

There is no guaranteed strategy or formula for betting on football, but we will list a few proven strategies to work if you give them enough time and patience. These strategies require research and discipline.

Arbitrage Betting

Arbitrage betting is essentially placing a bet on both the back side and lay side of a bet to gain profit on one side or break even on the other.


Dutching betting, in its simplest form, is betting on both sides of the same bet to ensure yourself a profit in either circumstance. This is typically done when the odds on two bookmakers have a slight difference, and there is an opportunity for profit between them.

Full Cover Betting

A full-cover bet is like an accumulator, but the maths is slightly different. The difference between an accumulator and a full cover bet is that the full cover bet covers all of the options, from each single to doubles, trebles, and so on. If one leg loses, there are still plenty of options for your bet to win.

Matched Betting

Matched betting involves using free bets from welcome bonuses and reload offers and then using these free bets to either win yourself a profit or guarantee you do not lose anything from the bet you place. This is done by backing the bet on a bookmaker and then laying the bet with an exchange, ensuring the odds are as similar as possible.

If you are looking to matched bet then you may find out free matched betting calculator helpful.

Football Betting Strategy

Many other betting strategies can be used. The previous ones listed are the most popular and tested, but some betting strategies are ideal for an exchange where your account can avoid restrictions. These are suggestions that even average bettors can get involved with.

Risk & Reward

Looking at different strategies is all well and good, but you should find one that works for you specifically so that you can enjoy the experience of finding and placing your bets. If there is a bet that you fancy, even if it has good value, do not jump at it with your whole bankroll.

Information Betting

Information betting, also known as Tips, is most common in horse racing thanks to people being ‘experts’ at spotting the horses that will run well. Sourcing insider knowledge, assuming it is not anything incriminating, is a sure way of finding value that even the bookies did not spot and being able to beat them with a bet.

Betting Tools

Suppose you are serious about getting into the betting game and finding value as soon as it presents itself. In that case, you could potentially get involved with some of the betting tools available around the internet. We would not recommend spending any money on these, especially not until you find a trusted provider.

Bankroll Management

This is incredibly important because managing your bankroll could be the difference between making money and breaking the bank. Your strategy could be perfect, but your bankroll could drain because you are not properly managing your spending.

One easy way to manage your bankroll is to create a Staking Plan. Essentially, you should stake 5% of your bankroll on a risky bet, 10% on a decent bet, and up to 25% on a safe bet. The odds will be higher on the 5% bets so that the reward would balance the smaller odds on the 25% bets.

Derby Game Fallacy

The outcome of Derby matches can often be difficult to predict because both teams are fired up and want to give their best performance against a team they are rivals with. One good market to look at in derby games, especially in Serie A or Liga Portugal, is yellow card bets, as these games can get pretty heated.

Football Betting’s Frequently Asked Questions

Some common questions are floating around, so here, we will answer some of them for you.

Is football betting profitable?

In short, and theoretically, yes. There is a possibility of making a profit with football betting, but with this possibility comes a loss risk.

How do football betting odds work?

You could need clarification when you look at the odds for different football bets. These odds are a lot less confusing than they look. In the UK, fractional odds are used, which essentially show a number, say 3/1, and for every denominator (1) you place, you will win the numerator (3) in profit.

Can I bet on both teams to win?

You can bet on both teams to win a game on two separate bets, and the odds will differ for both. You can also use the “12” double chance, which covers both Team 1 and Team 2 winning, but does not cover a Draw.

Can you win football bets every time?

That would be incredible, but sadly, no. There is no way to guarantee a winner, but there are ways to improve your chances through research.

Football Betting Guide Conclusion

Now, after reading our extensive football betting guide, you should be clued up about football betting and be able to place any bets you desire on upcoming football leagues and tournaments. There is plenty to look forward to in the football calendar.

Here at OddsMonkey, we have a fantastic range of sports betting guides such as the ultimate horse racing betting guide where you can learn all the ins and outs of racing. Be sure to check out our other guides if you would like to find out more about sports betting.

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About the author:

James OddsMonkey

James OddsMonkey

James' background in IT support and matched betting knowledge is how he's ended up at OddsMonkey updating offer, answering tickets and generally being super helpful.

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