How To Bet On Soccer

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Soccer can be immensely rewarding and a valuable asset to a bettor’s portfolio because there is so much from which to choose on the global menu. The best leagues are in Europe, known as The Big Five, topped by the English Premier League, followed by Spain’s La Liga, Serie A in Italy, the Bundesliga in Germany, and the French Ligue 1. Learn how to bet on soccer in the US and understand the different types of bets you can make.

Liga MX in Mexico, England’s second division—called The Championship—and Major League Soccer in the US can also pad the bottom line, with proper research and tact. Mix in all of the international fixtures and tournaments, and the soccer smorgasbord is a veritable feast to be picked and plucked for profit.

How To Bet On Regular Season Soccer

The trickiness of betting on soccer lies in the nature of its typical three-way offerings—patrons can pick either Team A, Team B, or Draw, with corresponding odds.

In any type of sporting event, there is enough difficulty in simply attempting to pick one of two sides, with points and/or odds involved. Mix in a third element, the dastardly draw, and the challenge can seem to magnify geometrically.

However, that’s the fantastic challenge of doing proper homework and research. With such a vast amount of match selections, and with insights and experience, matches projected to be too tight, or too difficult to call can be bypassed–onto the next one, or the next, or the next … pick and choose to your liking and to your strengths.

Experience is the great intangible, requiring years if not decades to develop certain gut instincts. Perusing a set of 14, 16, or 20 matches or a weekend stocked with 70 games is enviable. When instincts and experience combine to pinpoint an angle on a few matches, that’s the reward.

The trickiness is not restricted to three-way action, either. The sport demands attention because in Europe, for example, there are domestic and European club tournaments that compound schedules. 

Moreover, players who leave for international duty with their national sides are that much more taxed. Who is being rested and who has been pressed, say, with five or six matches over 10 or 11 days, must be followed and noted.

The greatest gray area is motivation. A team with no shot at a domestic regular-season crown but is still alive and thriving in a domestic tournament must be circled. Those are the types of details that must be followed like a hawk.

Best Sportsbooks For Soccer Betting

Types Of Bets To Make In Soccer

Three-way

Three-way is the most common offering. We’ll use a July 14 match in the CONCACAF Gold Cup as an example.

El Salvador was -125 to win, Trinidad and Tobago +335, and the Draw +190. To bet on El Salvador to win outright would have required $125 to win $100, a $225 return. For the underdog, $100 would win $435—the principal plus $335.

El Salvador had been 2-0-1 against this foe in the Gold Cup, with a 7-5 goals advantage. For it to win would have been the way to go, as El Salvador won 2-0 in Frisco, Texas.

Totals

In the above example, a Total of 2 was established at one Las Vegas sportsbook. Over that total was listed at -130, Under at Even. Anyone who expected a bushel of goals would have had to risk $130 to win $100 on more than two being tallied.

The Gold Cup history of these two sides might have suggested fireworks–several goals from both teams. Instead, El Salvador played smart and deliberate, forging a 2-0 victory. A wager on either side would have been a push, with money being refunded.

An Under at 2.25 or Over at 2.75 can be typical offerings, too. The former bet entails half on 2 and a half on 2.5; both are winners if there are one or no total goals. If there are two, one is a draw and refunded, the other is a winner. Three goals mean both lose.

At Over 2.75, half is on 2.5, the other half on 3. Both win if there are at least four goals scored. At three, one wins, the other is refunded. If two or fewer, both lose.

Goal Lines

In another Gold Cup match on July 14, Mexico was a -3 favorite, meaning it would have to beat Guatemala by at least four goals at +105 to win. A $100 wager would win $105. Taking Los Chapines (Guatemala) at +3 cost -135, or wager $135 to win $100.

These Goal Lines are adjustments in what appear to be one-sided matches, so the goal handicap comes into play. In this case, Mexico won, 3-0, and money on both sides would have been returned.

Asian Handicaps

Consider these advanced plays, but we address them because of their popularity abroad. A game with an AH of 0 means it’s evenly matched. Bettors take one side or the other, and if it ends in a draw, the money is refunded.

This type of betting essentially removes the Draw from a typical three-way wager, distilling the decision to one of two sides minimizing risk.

So if a wager is made on Team A at +0.5 and it wins or the match ends in a draw, the bet is a winner.

If a bet is made on Team B, in another match, at, say, -1.25, half goes on -1 and the other half at -1.5. If Team B wins by two goals, both wagers are winners. If it wins by a single goal, the former is a draw and the latter a loss; ultimately, less money is lost. Consider it a form of insurance.

Parlays

These involve combining at least two options from different matches, a popular activity since it enhances the payoff if both hit.

Just remember that on the three-way, it can be a challenge to win just one of the three options. But let’s say you wager on Team A at +120 (risk $100 to win $120 as a solo play), to win Game 1 and Team D at -130 (bet $130 to earn $100 by itself) to win Game 2.

Should both come in, a $100 parlay on Team A to Team D, would return $289.23. The more “legs” that are involved, the greater the payoff.

Professionals, however, avoid these like the plague due to the difficulty of them being profitable over the long haul.

The Big Five – Best Soccer Leagues in Europe

Premier League – England

Abu Dhabi United Group bought Manchester City in 2008, and the club has taken flight over the past 10 years, claiming five of the Premier League trophies in that span. That includes three of the past four titles.

City has been installed as the -150 favorite by William Hill to win it again this season. Chelsea (5-1), Liverpool (11-2) and Manchester United (6-1) are next in line. City also is Bill Hill’s +275 Champions League favorite.

(Note that odds are subject to change.)

Chelsea and Liverpool (+500), Man U (+700), Leicester (+3300), and Tottenham (+4000) round out the top six on William Hill’s futures market.

United could be intriguing since the offseason addition of aggressive midfielder Jadon Sancho, from Borussia Dortmund in Germany, to combine with Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford might be lethal.

Championship – England

There are fantastic opportunities in England’s second tier. A great example is Derby County, whose reins were taken over by former Man U star Wayne Rooney in November 2020.

Scoring had been challenging for the Rams, and it didn’t appear Rooney had any quick-fix schemes. In 13 of Derby’s next 14 matches, two goals or fewer were tallied. Defense was a premium. Poaching totals Under 2½ would have paid fine dividends.

Moreover, near the end of its campaign Derby went 1-10-2; again, results that weren’t surprising. 

William Hill has Fulham (+550), West Brom Albion (+650), and Sheffield United (+800) as its top three favorites to win the Championship and promotion to the Premier League.

Serie A – Italy

A nine-year stranglehold on the Italian top flight by Juventus was broken last season by Inter Milan, which finished 12 points better than rival AC Milan and 13 over both Atalanta and Juvy.

Always consider Atalanta for high-scoring matches. Last season in the Big Five, goals plus assists divided by 90 minutes were not led by Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Kulian Mbappé (PSG) Erling Haaland (Dortmund), or Lionel Messi (Barcelona).

Colombian striker Luis Muriel at 1.82 led Europe in the statistic. And in team goals per 90 minutes, only the German dynamo at Munich (2.88) finished higher than Atalanta (2.34).

Juventus (+110) is William Hill’s favorite to regain control of the league, followed by Inter Milan (+225), Atalanta (+800), and AC Milan (10-1).

Bundesliga – Germany

Bayern Munich has won the past nine titles, the most dominant élite side in Europe. Last season, it finished 13 points ahead of RB Leipzig, 14 from Borussia Dortmund. 

Munich is the +500 second Champions League favorite by William Hill, a stunning -600 to claim its 10th consecutive Bundesliga championship.

Dortmund, with its famed Die Gelbe Wand (Yellow Wall) at one end of its Westfalenstadion, is +700 to win the crown. Those odds will increase if super striker Erling Haaland is sold to an English club. Leipzig (+1200) is third on the Hill chart.

La Liga – Spain

Atlético Madrid broke through in 2020-21 for only its second championship since ’95-96. In fact, since 2005, Atlético is the only Spanish side to win La Liga other than the Real Madrid–Barcelona monopoly.

Of the original La Liga members, who are the three sides that have never been relegated? It’s Barça, Real Madrid, and—drum roll, please—Athletic Bilbao. De nada for the sweet bar bet.

Hill has Barça and Real Madrid at +150 to win the ’21-22 title—the former was buoyed by the mid-summer decision of Lionel Messi to remain for another five seasons—and Atlético is +300 to defend its crown.

Atlético won it last season courtesy of arguably the world’s best keeper in 27-year-old Slovenian Jan Oblak (0.66 goals-against per 90 minutes); only PSG’s Keylor Navas (0.64) and Mike Maignan (0.61) of Lille were better in the Big Five.

Oblak is especially stingy at home, so note when Atlético plays matches inside its Wanda Metropolitan Stadium in Madrid.

Also, pay close attention to when Atlético plays Getafe. In La Liga, Los Azulones (Deep Blue Ones) have not scored against Atlético in their past 17 matches; Atlético is 15-0-2 against Getafe in that stretch, with a 31-0 goals advantage. 

Ligue 1 – France

The top of the French first division had a refreshing new look last season when Lille (83 points) scraped its way to only its second crown since 1955 by just nudging Paris Saint-Germain (82) at the wire.

PSG had dominated the league, having won seven of the previous eight titles; AS Monaco claimed that other trophy in 2016-17.

The Parisians made a curious offseason move by switching 33-year-old Croatian keeper Keylor Navas, whose 80.9% save rate was second in the Big Five last season, with 21-year-old Italian backstop Gianluigi Donnarumma.

A hero in Italy’s run to the Euro title that culminated in a PK-winning battle against England at Wembley, Donnarumma’s save percentage of 71.2 last season placed him 30th in the Big Five, eighth in Serie A for AC Milan.

Hill installed PSG at +800, with Liverpool of the Premier League, to win the Champions League, but it’s -600 to win another league crown.

Lyon is +1000, Lille (+1200) will have a solid chance to repeat and never count out Monaco (+1400).

Liga MX – Mexico

In comparison to the Big Five, Mexican élite sides averaged 2.55 goals in the 2020 Apertura, which would have placed it just ahead of La Liga in Spain (2.51) in excitement factor.

Italy (3.06) topped everyone, followed by Germany (3.03), France (2.76), and England (2.69)

Like Spain, it’s wise to concentrate on certain Unders in Mexico, especially with 2½ as the Total. And the fewest goals were scored in UNAM and Atlas matches, 68 in both cases, or an average of 2.

La Liga operates in two cycles, the Apertura (or opening) in 2021 and the Clausura (or closing) in 2022. For the former, Hill has Cruz Azul (+400), Club America (+500), and Monterrey (+600) as the top choices.

Major League Soccer In The US

Do not discount the US top league for opportunities to fatten the wallet. It requires research and monitoring, and a few years of observance are always beneficial.

There are some nuggets, like taking the home team plus a half-goal whenever the Chicago Fire play on the road. That has been a sweet little corner of my soccer portfolio since 2020. Be watchful, however, for signals (like hungry, new talent) that could end such trends.

Hill posts Seattle (+400), LAFC (+700), and Orlando City (+800) as the top three favorites to win the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy.

How To Bet On Soccer Props

The list of props on soccer matches can seem endless, especially in Europe. The first goal, correct score, and halftime/full-time results are just some myriad options that are widely available for the sport.

Note that nearly all of these wagers deal with regular time—90 minutes plus stoppage time. Unless indicated, they exclude extra time of 30 minutes (following matches tied in regulation) and penalty kicks.

In the Euro 2020 finale won by Italy on PKs over England, the Westgate SuperBook in Vegas posted an impressive menu.

Team to score first? A wager at -125 (risk $125 to win $100) would have been a winner as the Three Lions scored the match’s first goal in the first couple of minutes.

Will both teams score? A Yes wager at +120 would have been successful. 

Will there be an own goal? Yes was +1100. In a tournament that featured 11, two more than the combined total of its previous 15 editions, it might have been a popular choice.

However, none were recorded in Italy–England. The No was -2500, or wager $2,500 to win $100, and would have delivered a winner.

Will England’s Harry Kane score a goal? Yes was +210. But he didn’t, so -250 would have won. Will Italy’s Ciro Immobile score a goal? Yes was +290; alas, he didn’t either, so -350 won.

The list can be hypnotic. The best approach is to do your own extensive homework before matches, preferably for days. Digest all the facts, figures, and statistics, and develop a few wagers that are appealing.

Then, and only then, review and compare odds that are out there for those specific plays. When those figures are deemed enviable and when you’ve spotted a few potential edges, fire away and have fun.

What To Check Before Placing Your Soccer Bet

Injuries and form are the two most important details to follow and confirm before making a bet on The Beautiful Game.

Bayern Munich, PSG, Man City, Barcelona, and Real Madrid are all powers in their own leagues, but when any travel to a foe that has had a sticky history of making life tough for such a specific visitor, that information must be heeded.

It is also significant if a couple of key players are injured. Staying informed daily of news of these teams is vital to knowing who will be held out simply for rest due to a recent heavy load of duty for club and country.

FAQs: How To Bet On Soccer

Is it legal to bet on soccer in the US?

Yes, there are several great sportsbooks you can use to bet on soccer, such as FanDuel, BetMGM, and DraftKings. You just need to be in a state that allows mobile sports betting.

Are sportsbooks in the US partnered with any soccer teams?

FanDuel has a deal with D.C. United, BetMGM has a deal with MLS, and William Hill has a relationship with a minor-league team in Las Vegas.

Can you bet on soccer on FanDuel?

Yes. FanDuel offers betting on soccer in addition to several other sports.

Can you bet on soccer on DraftKings?

Yes. DraftKings offers soccer. Check odds at DraftKings and compare them with other sportsbooks like FanDuel.

How do I bet on props in soccer?

The best approach is to do your own extensive homework before matches. Take in all the facts, figures, and statistics, and develop a few wagers that are appealing.

What are "The Big Five?"

The Big Five refers to the five best soccer leagues in Europe. They include the following:

  • English Premier League
  • La Liga in Spain
  • Serie A in Italy
  • The Bundesliga in Germany T
  • The French Ligue 1
About the Author

Rob Miech

Veteran sportswriter Rob Miech covers soccer and does features for Gaming Today. He has written about college hoops for the Las Vegas Sun, CBS SportsLine and the Pasadena Star-News. He is the author of four books, including Sports Betting for Winners.

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