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Introduction to soccer betting

Even though soccer is not one of the big 4 major sports in America (USA), it has come a long way since the 1994 World Cup which started bringing it far more into the American consciousness. It is by far the most popular sport in the world and not surprisingly therefore, it is the most popular betting sport in the world.

Further, with the international heritage of many US sportsbooks, mature soccer betting offerings have already resulted in soccer betting growing at a fast rate in the USA and it is already than the Hockey betting handle, as can be seen in the graph below which summarized the October 2021 betting handle by sport in Colorado (reproduced from here).

So, how do you bet on soccer?

It is quite similar to mainstream US sports, especially a lower scoring game such as Hockey.  The biggest difference is that games can (and many do) end in draws (International speak for a tie).  This means your typical moneyline and spread bets which have only two outcomes become a ‘3-way’ bet.   While this increases the odds on each outcome, it makes it harder to keep up the same win rates.  However, ties can be a very fruitful betting strategy when you know 2 teams are well matched as you will often get odds around +200.

Soccer Moneyline and spread bets

Spread bets are not as common in soccer as US sports, some books provide them, but with the draw bringing 3 moneyline options, they are not needed as much. Below is an excerpt from Tipico on a major league US soccer match.

Note that in soccer the home team is always placed first, the opposite of many US sports.  So, Manchester Utd v Liverpool means Man U are at home (in contrast to say Tampa Bay Lightening @ Colorado Avalanche-where the Avs are at home).

Home advantage is considered a big deal in soccer, with many teams performing completely differently at home (roared on by their passionate fans) and away. So, if you see the excerpt of the Tipico odds above, the home team (FC Cincinnati) are at of +127 versus the much weaker away team (Orlando City) odds of +205. However, also note that the odds of a tie (draw) are an attractive +250 and as mentioned above,  these can be a good betting strategy in themselves, if you know your soccer.

Moneyline bets make up a lot of our silver level bets on this site, featuring reasonably good win rates and decent ROI levels, although not as high as some of the prop bets below.

Best Soccer Prop Bets

In addition, being a relatively mature betting markets, the props available on soccer are almost endless.  Form our experience, some of the most popular and reliable betting props are as follows-

  1. Over/Under goals, typically either 1.5 or most commonly 2.5. goals. These make up a lot of our platinum level bets as they can produce the highest ROI over time. You need to know your teams and which games are likely to have at least 3 goals scored (over) or which games are likely to be a defensive masterclass (under).  Just as in the big American sports, the quality of the defense and attack in contrast to the opposition, the motivation riding on the game and other factors need to be considered to judge these bets properly.
  2. Anytime goal scorer makes up a lot of our gold level bets.  The odds are normally attractive enough if you know your players well enough.  Taking a 2022 just ended season example, Sadio Mane was often a good anytime scorer bet for Liverpool given his odds and hit rates.  In contrast, Liverpool’s ultimate strike weapon Mo Salah was generally overpriced, so we would rarely bet on him.
  3. Half time results (especially draws in an expected tight game) can be a good bet
  4. Half time/Full time result can be a good bet where you have a clear favorite in mind, and want to increase the winnings from a straight moneyline bet on the final score
  5. Parlays can make sense similar to the half time/full time above when you combine 2 clear favorites to enhance moneyline odds. In general, we do NOT advocate parlays as a mainstream part of your betting strategy
  6. There are endless types of other soccer bets on everything from Asian Handicap (a form of spread-betting) to the number of corners in the game through to yellow and red cards. These are more specialist for the real students of the game, and we rarely feature them in our recommendations.

So, if you want to follow along with the rest of the soccer mad betting world and see what the fuss is all about, our regular soccer betting tips and picks can be a gentle way for you to ease yourself into the world of soccer betting, hopefully in a profitable manner.