For anyone serious about football betting, it's pivotal that you're aware of all the different betting markets available to you. This guide will help you maximise your chances of establishing yourself as a profitable punter. Here are the 21 most popular football betting markets available, and tips to guide you in the right direction!
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The Most Popular Football Betting Markets
This is the staple of football betting. Predicting and placing bets on the outcome of matches has almost evolved into a tradition, especially in the UK, due to its simplicity.
With regards to the final result market, you’re selecting one of three options: a home win, draw, or away win. It’s simple, and the ultimate test of your football knowledge or how trustworthy your ‘gut instinct’ really is.
Punters, however, typically stay away from backing a single final result, no matter how good the value, preferring to pick out several selections (four or more) from a round of fixtures to create an accumulator bet for superior odds and excitement.
The Double Chance (DC) bet adds an interesting dynamic to the final result market. Instead of backing one outcome, DC allows you to back two, albeit with lessened odds. Thus, you can back a home win or draw, away win or draw, or even a home or away win using DC. It’s a market in which your backing of the underdog can be rewarded.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
The Over/Under football betting markets enable punters to bet on there being over or under a particular number of goals in a game, without needing to be specific about the result.
The most popular spread is “Over/Under 2.5 goals”, but there’s also 1.5, 3.5, and so on. With the average punter seeking entertainment, the “over” line is generally more popular.
Both Teams to Score
Both Teams to Score (BTTS) is another market in which the final result isn’t accounted for. There are two options: “Yes” or “No“. If you back “Yes“, then both sides will have to find the back of the net for you to win your bet, while “No” means you're hopeful of a stalemate, or that only one outfit has their shooting boots on.
Final Result & Both Teams to Score
A combination of two popular (aforementioned) betting markets, the Final Result & BTTS market is the ideal option if you’re confident of the victor and the number of goals.
You can select any three final result (1X2) outcomes and either BTTS (“Yes” or “No“) options within this market, giving you a little more freedom compared to the single final result and BTTS markets. It’s tricky to predict though, meaning the payouts are more generous.
In a European Handicap (EH) market, one side will start with a pre-determined goal (or goals) advantage.
For example, if you back Tottenham with a -1 EH against Aston Villa, then you’ll need Tottenham to win by at least two goals for your bet to win, as Villa are essentially starting the contest with a 1-0 lead. Should Tottenham lose, draw, or only win by one goal (a draw with the handicap), your bet loses.
It’s a market which can provide value for not only heavy favourites but distinct underdogs as well.
The Asian Handicap (AH) market isn’t too dissimilar from the European Handicap market, with one distinct difference: the Asian Handicap is designed to eliminate draws.
While you always get a whole number with EH, the AH market involves decimals. By using the previous example, this means that you’re often likely to see Tottenham as -1.5, and Aston Villa as +1.5. However, whole numbers still exist with the AH market, but should you back a Tottenham victory with a -1 AH, and the contest ends 2-1 to Tottenham, your stake will be refunded as it won’t count as a loss.
Half Time/Full Time (HT/FT)
This market is a combination of the Half Time Result and Final Result markets. To win a Half Time/Full Time bet, you must correctly predict the outcome (Home, Draw, or Away) at both half time and full time.
Thus, if a match between Manchester United and West Ham at Old Trafford was 1-1 at the break but ended 3-1 to West Ham, then you would’ve had to have backed the draw at HT and an away win at FT.
The Half Time/Full Time combination is tough to predict, but that lower chance of winning is of course reflected with more generous returns.
Half Time Result
With Half Time result betting, it's all about the opening 45 minutes. It’s the same premise as the Final Result market, but instead you’re betting on the result at the interval. The result at full time will not have any impact on your bet.
To Score in Both Halves
If you’re backing a side to score in both halves, they must score at least once in the first and at least once in second half. The final result and goals scored by the opposition aren’t taken into account, unless you opt for the Both Teams to Score in Both Halves market.
If you’re really feeling lucky, you might want to go one step further than merely predicting the outcome of a particular contest and have a punt on the correct final score instead.
Should you back Leeds United to beat Fulham 2-1, and Patrick Bamford strikes late to hand Marcelo Bielsa’s side a 2-1 victory, you win. Unsurprisingly, more outlandish score lines garner bigger prices.
Anytime Goal Scorer
If you’re keen to capitalise on a player’s rich vein of form or their impressive scoring record against a particular club, the Anytime Goal Scorer (AGS) market allows you to do so.
The AGS market lets you place a bet on a player of your choice to score at any time during the 90 minutes of play. The less likely the goal scorer, the better the odds. Keep in mind that goals scored during extra time and penalties usually won't count for this market. However, stoppage time goals do.
First Goal Scorer
The same premise as Anytime Goal Scorer, just a little trickier. Instead of having the luxury of having the entire 90 minutes for your selected goal scorer to find the back of the net with AGS, they’ll have to break the deadlock if you’ve backed them as the First Goal Scorer.
A perk of the FGS market as opposed to AGS is that, due to its superior difficulty, you’ll certainly find better odds.
Player to Be Carded
This is an incredibly popular in-play market, with punters looking to capitalise on tidy prices late in proceedings.
The Player to Be Carded market works in a similar way to Anytime Goal Scorer, but instead of backing a certain player to find the back of the net, you want them to end up in the referee’s book as either booked or sent off.
If you do dabble with the cards market for a particular bout, it might be wise to research the tendencies of that game’s referee and just how card-happy they are.
Draw No Bet
Another bet type relating to the final outcome of a football tie is the Draw No Bet market. This type of bet has only two possibilities: a home win or an away win. If the match results in a draw, your money is refunded.
Of course, in a regular Final Result market, you'd lose your stake if you bet on a team winning and the match resulted in a draw, so this bet is less risky.
This market is somewhat related to the Double Chance bet type, in that you're covered should the match end in a tie.
This market is another that adds an interesting dynamic to predict the outcome of a match. Winning Margin means you’re predicting how many goals one team will beat the other by, with “one goal” being the most popular option.
While this market may be a tempting option with more pragmatic managers happy to sit on a one-goal lead, it should be one to avoid if, for example, Marcelo Bielsa is occupying one of the dugouts.
There's a lot of variation available within the Total Corners market, with bookies often offering punters the chance to bet on the exact number of corners in a given match, the timing of the first corner, which team will get the most corners, first and second half corners, or, like goals, you can dabble in corners on an over/under basis. Corner markets can also include Asian Handicaps.
Unsure whether Arsenal will topple Tottenham in the North London derby, but certain of a fiery encounter? Perhaps the Total Cards market is for you.
This market tends to work on an over/under basis, so, for example, if you reckon this particular North London derby will be so tasty that you bet on 5.5 cards or more, you’ll be successful should the referee brandish a total value of at least six cards. Generally, a booking is one point, a straight red is two, and a double yellow card is worth a mighty three points, although this can differ with certain bookies.
To Win to Nil
Jose Mourinho’s 2004/05 Chelsea side would’ve won punters heaps of cash via this market, which often offers mouthwatering returns. To Win to Nil betting is perhaps a less specific version of Correct Score betting, in that you’re backing a side to win without conceding. Should the side you’re betting against score, your bet is over, no matter the final result.
To Win From Behind
To Win From Behind means that the side you’re backing must trail at any given point in the match – whether it's 1-0, 2-0, 3-1, and so on – before turning it around and going on to win. This market requires a bit of research, but, considering its difficulty, there are big returns to be had.
While the average punter tends to avoid these sorts of markets in favour of those that facilitate entertainment, more experienced bettors seek to find value in any way, shape, or form, and may look towards the Clean Sheet market.
By “clean sheet”, we're referring to a match where a goalkeeper stops the other side from scoring, so you're trusting the defensive competence of a particular side’s goalkeeper in this bet. Should the opposition breach your selected side’s goal on just one occasion, you lose.
While the majority primarily gamble for fun and excitement, the ultimate goal is profitability. After all, you don’t bet to lose, right? But with the average punter being one who strictly sticks to the Final Result market and five-fold accumulators on a Saturday afternoon, the chances of garnering profit from online bookmakers are slim. While unquestionably entertaining, predicting the outcome of a football match often isn’t profitable. However, there are ways in which you can boost your chances.
Research is key, especially if, like most punters in the UK, you’re gambling on teams you don’t watch week in, week out (or at all) in the lower divisions. It’s important to take into account home and away form, injuries and suspensions, statistics from both an attacking and defensive perspective (which is also useful if you’re betting on goal markets, or Winning Margin, Clean Sheet, and so on), and, in some circumstances, pitch conditions. Oh, and don’t be scared to back a draw!
At the elite level, you should consider tactical factors. While you don’t need to have an in-depth understanding of Marcelo Bielsa’s combinations and rotations in wide areas, we recommend a bit of tactical and analytical research into the teams you’re betting on. They’re easily accessible online, and can help you understand the dynamic of matches, and how teams are looking to score and prevent the opposition from scoring. Tactical analysis is also beneficial for predicting other markets as well, namely Anytime Goal Scorer and Player to be Carded.
Lastly, look into a team’s ability to defend the counter-attack and set pieces. Chelsea, for example, proved in their 3-1 defeat to Manchester City that they’re defensively poor at transitions, meaning if they were to face up against Crystal Palace, Wilfried Zaha, a distinct threat on the counter, would be a good option to get on the scoresheet.
Our Market of Choice: Player to Be Carded
While there’s still an avenue for profit by dabbling in this market pre-game, it’s the in-play betting odds that make this one a big go-er. We would recommend assessing the situation at half-time, i.e. in the go using one of the best football betting apps, with bet365 offering the best value in this market among all bookies. While players who are seemingly another foul away from getting in the referee’s book are unlikely to garner a worthy return, the majority of options will be priced around and upwards of 10/1. Of course, these prices can only increase as the match progresses, meaning it evolves into a cat-and-mouse game between punter and bookie.
When attacking the cards market, the tendencies of the match referee must be considered, which are easily accessible on the Premier League website. For example, you’d be wise to dabble in the cards market in games officiated by Stuart Atwell, who, on average, has given out 4.78 yellow cards per game this season, as opposed to Lee Mason, who dishes out just two bookings per game.
Tying back to the in-play Player to Be Carded market, the dynamic of the contest, as well as tactical elements, should also be noted. Goalkeepers (usually for an underdog) sitting on a slender lead are candidates to go into the book for time-wasting in the latter stages, and are often very well-priced. Players tasked with preventing opposition counter-attacks, such as Fernandinho during his pomp under Pep Guardiola, are also prime candidates, as are full-backs who match up against masterful one-vs-one wingers.
Other High Value Market: Double Chance
Another profitable option which has emerged throughout the 2020/21 season has been the Double Chance market. As a result of the pandemic, this campaign has been particularly unpredictable, particularly for the Premier League. Seemingly anyone can beat anyone. This, however, means it’s time to start trusting the underdog via the double chance; essentially, backing them not to lose.
It’s not just in the Premier League either, though! With the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, and Borussia Dortmund either undergoing a transitional phase or simply being a shadow of their former imperious selves, it’s more profitable than ever to bet against Europe’s elite across the continent.
Other High Value Market: To Win From Behind
Elsewhere, the To Win From Behind market is another worthy option, with the difficulty in landing such a bet meaning the returns are typically healthy. However, it certainly requires some research. Basically, you need to pick the right game.
If it were us, we would be looking to attack Wolves and Southampton games, presuming you don’t venture out across Europe. The former are an outfit who typically tend to start cautiously before turning it on after the break, while the latter’s energetic, high-octane style means they tend to start fast before tiring. Thus, you’d be wise to bet on Wolves to win from behind, and Southampton’s opponents to do the same.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
While sticking a Saturday morning six-fold on the afternoon’s fixtures generates a significant buzz for the average punter, the ever-increasing variation regarding football betting markets makes it simply naïve to continue to place the same old, often unprofitable, bets. It’s easier than ever before to find a market that suits your needs, giving you ample opportunity for a profitable 2021!