Soccer Betting Explained
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, with dozens of competitive leagues across the globe. This means that there’s no shortage of betting opportunities, with bet types like moneyline, Asian handicap, totals, parlays, props, and futures.
Each match result has a moneyline with plus or minus odds. The lower the odds, the higher the implied probability of that outcome. The higher the odds, the greater the payout. In soccer, a team can win or draw, so you have three choices: Team A, draw, or Team B. This bet type only applies as a full-time result — if you’re wagering on a tournament match and it goes to extra time, a draw would be the winning outcome.
The Asian handicap is sort of like the point spread in other sports. You’re taking a team to win by an assigned margin or lose by less than that number. For example, if you take Manchester City -1, they need to win by more than one goal for you to win your wager.
There are also fractional handicaps, which are a bit more complicated. For example, let’s say put $100 on Tottenham -0.25 at -111 odds. If they win outright, I’d get back $90. If they draw, I’d only lose half of my $100 stake, while if they lost, I’d lose the full amount.
Soccer betting also features totals, where you can bet Over or Under on the combined score in each half or full game. There are options to focus on one side’s total score as well. For example, I can bet on the Over 2.5 in the Liverpool-Manchester United match, or go with Manchester City Over 1.5 goals.
Parlays are when you put together two or more bets for a chance at more winnings. You need to win each of your wagers in order for this bet to be successful. There are even Same Game Parlays, where you can focus on multiple bet types from one match. The payouts vary depending on the odds of each wager and the number of selections.
There are many props to choose from in soccer with both team and player props. Team props are related to a given game, such as Both Teams to Score and Total Shots on Target. Player props focus on players, such as Robert Lewandowski to score at anytime or Paul Pogba to get a yellow card. You either bet Over/Under, like Under 6.5 Corner Kicks, or take the moneyline, like Bruno Fernandes to get an assist.
Futures are wagers that focus on outcomes that conclude at the end of the season. You can bet on futures such as Tottenham to win the English Premier League or Cristiano Ronaldo to score the most goals in league matches. Each outcome is assigned a moneyline, which varies depending on the implied probability.
Soccer Betting Tips
Here are some soccer betting tips to put you on a path to success, focused on each bet type:
Choosing a team to win outright is more difficult in soccer. For one, there is a chance that the game can end in a tie. Another issue is that some favorites have such expensive moneylines, making it too risky to put in a straight bet.
My suggestion would be to focus on underdogs that you think are undervalued and have a better chance at a win than indicated by the implied probability on the moneyline.
You often see home teams pull off upsets because playing in their own stadium can be a significant advantage in soccer. Target home underdogs when placing your moneyline wagers. Leave the favorites to be used in parlays.
The Asian Handicap helps safeguard you in the event that your team does not cover the spread or the game ends in a draw. Let’s use the odds for Fiorentina vs Roma in Serie A as an example.
Imagine you like Roma to win the game (+162), but you want insurance in case the game ends in a draw. You can wager on them at +0.5 (-210) to protect yourself against that risk. The problem is that this is an expensive price, so don’t put too large of a wager at this high juice.
I would suggest trying to find a home underdog and taking them at the +0.5 Asian Handicap. This way, the moneyline won’t be as high, since the home team is projected to lose the game. For example, let’s say that you like West Ham to win, but want to reward yourself if they draw instead. You can put some more money on the +0.5 while you sprinkle them to win outright.
My favorite way to approach totals is by finding games that project to be low-scoring and going with the Under. This is because most matches have totals of 2.5 goals, even if it looks like a defensive affair.
It’s a good idea to also look at tournament matches because often we’ll see one team that desperately needs to score to either boost their goal differential in their group or come back from a large deficit in the second leg of a Europa or Champions League match. In this case, you can roll with the Over. This is also a good way to find Unders.
If you’re following the game in real-time, you may opt for a live bet on the total. For example, if one team scores a goal early on, you’ll see the live total jump from 2.5 to as high as 3.5. You can go with the Under here because of the added value.
The first way to approach parlays is by selecting two or more heavy favorites that are too expensive to use in a straight bet. This way, you can limit your risk and still capitalize on potential mismatches.
For example, if I took Liverpool -350 straight up, I’d be staking $350 to win $100. But if I parlayed them with Tottenham -400 and Manchester City -500, my odds would become -108 instead.
I also recommend going with Same Game Parlays because you can combine outcomes that have a higher probability of hitting due to their correlation. For example, if I think the Seattle Sounders will beat the New York Red Bulls in a high-scoring match, I can parlay the Sounders -1.5 with Both Teams to Score and Over 2.5 goals. This is a good way to shoot for that higher payout.
Props can be more difficult in soccer since it’s a lower-scoring sport compared to others like hockey or baseball. This means that even the best offensive players may go a few games without notching a goal or assist.
You’ll also notice that some strikers have heavily inflated moneylines, such as Robert Lewandowski. It would be prudent to use his Anytime Goal prop in a Same Game Parlay, perhaps Bayern Munich to win by two or more goals.
This is why I suggest using soccer props in parlays as opposed to straight bets.
If you’re feeling lucky, you can also bet on the first goalscorer for better odds. The best way to do this is taking a team that has a great chance at maintaining a clean sheet (zero goals allowed). This way, you’ve narrowed down the potential goal scorers to one team. From there, choose only attacking midfielders, wingers, or strikers because it’s too tough to predict defensive players to score.
Remember to limit your risk on longshot props like the first goalscorer.
Futures bets force you to tie up your bankroll for longer stretches because they are settled at the end of the season. Therefore, your best bet would be to find an undervalued team at a nice moneyline for a potentially high payout.
For example, perhaps you think that Liverpool to win the Champions League at (+750) is undervalued. This would be a better bet than a heavy favorite like Manchester City (+350). You don’t want to tie up your money for a low return.
How We Make Our Soccer Best Bets
We make our soccer best bets by thinking about the following factors:
- Check starting lineups for injury changes or rest days for key players
- Look for any updates in odds to see how the market reacts
- Analyze recent trends between each player and teams
- Review team play styles to project how they match up with each other
- Make sure the weather conditions are not impactful on the final outcome
- Determine if any player/team is mispriced and capitalize on that market inefficiency
Soccer Betting Picks
The betting picks that you see within each of our soccer articles are exact lines coming from the most popular sportsbooks in the industry.
These selections are consistently updated to reflect any changes within the betting markets.
You’ll find the best bets on our Soccer Odds page, where we review lines across multiple sites to find the best value for a given selection.
Be sure to take advantage of this useful tool because it allows you to find value within an efficient timeframe.
How to Place a Soccer Bet
Putting in your soccer bet is easy, just follow these steps:
- Decide on your bet type and preferred side, total, or prop
- Look at the Odds Comparison Tool here at the Game Day to find the best line
- Click the image to be taken to that sportsbook where you can bet on those odds
- Sign up or log in to your account
- Be sure to click one of our links or use our promo code to get the best offer
- Select “Place Bet”