While the Saudi Pro League has been the highest division of football in Saudi Arabia for years now, many are hearing about it for the first time. With huge signings from top divisions across the world, the SPL is set to become one of the most important leagues in football.
This means more betting markets with increasingly competitive odds, as bookmakers look to make the most of this seismic shift in the domestic leagues. And here, you’ll find everything you need to know to make the most of the Saudi Pro League markets.
Saudi Pro League Structure
If you understand how the Premier League works, then the Saudi Professional League will offer little mystery with regards to its structure.
There are 18 teams, and each club plays the others twice in a double round-robin system, once at home and once away. This means that (barring any extraordinary events) each team will play 34 times. There are three points awarded for a win, one for a draw and nothing for a loss.
Saudi Pro League standings are ranked on these points. Should the points amount to a draw, then the team who has fared best in head-to-head encounters will be placed at the upper ranking. If this fails to yield a result, then placement will be based on goal difference.
SPL Promotion & Relegation
As this is the top flight of Saudi football, there is no higher domestic league for the top teams to move into.
However, the winner and runner up of the league will qualify for the AFC Champions League group stage.
The bottom three will be relegated to the FD League — the number two domestic league in Saudi Arabia.
The top three ranked in the FD League will be promoted to the Saudi Pro League.
Saudi Pro League – Best Betting Sites
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Saudi Pro League Betting Tips & Predictions
The 2023-24 season is set to be a real game changer, with a spending spree like no other changing the dynamics of the league in an unprecedented manner. This means that even if you were a fan of the league before, you’ve got to reconsider everything you thought you knew.
And if you’re new to the SPL, perhaps enticed by Saudi Arabia League transfers of the likes of Sadio Mane and Karim Benzema, there’s no better time to get started.
Either way, you’ll want to ensure you are starting with your best foot forward in the form of a sound betting strategy, and our tips and predictions are here to help with exactly that.
A Trio of Tips to Get Ahead on Saudi Professional League Markets
Our betting tips are more general pieces of advice you can use when analysing odds throughout this SPL season.
1. Use only the finest betting sites
It’s not just the salaries which have gone up but also the number of available betting sites with SPL markets. In fact, if you take a look at the best football bookies, you will generally find many of the same names appearing as the top Saudi Professional League betting options.
On top of that, many of the best betting promotions are available on football markets broadly and that means they’ll almost certainly be offered for SPL markets too. You can get highly competitive odds, great bonus offers, and a world class betting experience when betting on the Saudi League table. But only if you choose from the best.
2. Watch the early games
All these transfers will undoubtedly change what you can expect from the teams. The best way of familiarising yourself with all these new variables is to watch the games.
You can check the Saudi Pro League stats of course (and we very much recommend you do), but there’s nothing like the experience of watching a team live to inform your predictions.
3. Focus on team chemistry not individual ability
Success in a double round-robin tournament like this one requires consistent quality. While individuals are of course vital, it is that collective effort which will really count in the long run. Team dynamics and chemistry are also one of the biggest unknowns when any side upends their rosters.
In your analysis of Saudi Pro League teams then, it is vital you pay attention to the whole rather than the sum of their parts.
Three Early Saudi Pro League Predictions
As opposed to betting tips, our predictions are more specific to markets available right now. These are to get you thinking about your own SPL forecasts.
Despite all the money spent to change the course of the SPL, we still think it’s going to be reigning champions Al-Ittihad who walk away victorious this season. Before we mentioned a focus on the team rather than individuals, and we think their success showcases why that is so important.
Not only do they have plenty of stars, Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema and Jota will be joined by Kante and Fabinho at the back line, but they have already proven themselves to be the most well-rounded and strategically–sound team in the SPL.
The gargantuan spending spree which has seen Saudi Pro League transfers become global headlines is overwhelmingly coming from four teams.
These are Al-Nassr FC, Al-Ittihad, Al-Ahli, and Al-Hilal, who have been taken over by the country’s Public Investment Fund hence their vertigo inducingly deep pockets.
And put simply, we think it will work. It’s not set in stone, but it seems extremely likely these four will dominate the league. Only Al-Ettifaq look like they could break through, with Jordan Henderson, Moussa Dembele and Jack Hendry joining Steven Gerrard’s efforts.
With so much top-tier talent to choose from and so many unknowns this season, picking a top goalscorer could prove to be one of the trickiest markets for this league. Sadio Mane at Al-Nassr, Benzema at Al-Ittihad , Malcom at Al-Hilal, and Roberto Firmino at Al-Ahli could all take that top spot.
That said, we think it’s likely Ronaldo’s year. He scored 14 goals in 16 appearances for Al-Nassr FC last season, and we think more experience with the team over a longer period could see him dominate the list of Saudi Pro League top goalscorers.
Saudi Pro League Odds
The following odds are an illustration from three top bookmakers (Betfred, bet365, Sportingbet) showcasing what you can expect from Saudi Arabia Pro League winner markets. They are of course subject to change based on ongoing events, and, as you can see below, can differ a great deal depending on the bookmaker.
Saudi Pro League Summer Acquisitions
Teams in Saudi Arabia have spent $480 million over this Saudi Pro League transfers season, most of which is coming from those top four teams who are financed by the Public Investment Fund.
This has followed a few years of heavy spending in sports more generally, with an estimate of $6.3 billion since the beginning of 2021.
If you ask Saudi Arabia, their reason for this is simple. They wish to diversify their economy, and football is big business. Certainly, there’s more potential profits in the Saudi Pro League than the Saudia Arabia National Team.
Critics see it differently. An attempt to “sports-wash” the reputation of a nation, a term for using high-profile events to distract from other issues. That is a matter for debate. What is undoubtable though, is that this will have a massive impact on not just the Saudi domestic leagues but on global football as a whole.
Three Star Signings
There have been many transfers this summer — more than we can really do justice to here. To give you an idea of the impact this can have on the top Saudi Teams, here’s a trio of top signings and what they can bring to the table.
- Karim Benzema – To Al-Ittihad
If there’s one player that can justify that €600 million contract, it’s Karim Benzema. Not only is he one of the greatest forwards in the world, but one who has just come into his prime.
Karim exceeded already lofty expectations as Real Madrid’s central force of attack following the absence of Ronaldo in 2018, becoming the top goalscorer that season. He was a key part of their 2019-20 La Liga victory with 20 goals, with a brace against Villarreal securing the title.
Benzema also proved a successful leader in his last two seasons for the club, becoming captain in 2022-23. He left at the end of that season, after 16 years with the club, 353 goals and multiple titles. This is a man who can lead a team and score goals. He may be the lynchpin of Al-Ittihad’s success.
- Sadio Mane – To Al-Nassr
The second biggest signing for Al-Nassr FC after Cristiano Ronaldo, at least in terms of headlines, has to be attack extraordinaire Sadio Mane. However, he comes in as a little bit of a wildcard.
His 2022-23 season for Bayern Munich fell way below expectations following six fruitful years at Anfield. With 120 goals in 269 games from Mane contributing to Premier League and Champions League titles for Liverpool, it was a surprise when the goals for the German champions dried up. Famously, he failed to get a single shot in a group-stage showdown against Barcelona.
Which Sadio Mane will show up at Al-Nassr? It remains one the Saudi Pro League’s as of yet great unanswered questions.
- Neymar – To Al-Hilal
Everywhere Neymar has competed he has been a star player. Three teams, Santos, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, and three 100 plus goal legacies. This fact alone might make him the most valuable of all the Saudi Pro League signings as Neymar has proven that he can be a difference maker anywhere. He adapted to the La Liga with intimidating quickness, and for PSG, came back from injury and controversy to push them towards Ligue 1 and Coupe de la Ligue glory in 2020.
And it’s not just his contract that was record breaking (he was signed to PSG for an unprecedented €220 million), he became the fastest player in club history to score 50 goals, managing that feat in only 58 matches.
Neymar later reached 100 goals during a 2021-22 season where many questioned his form — a testament to his immense standards, and again retained his astronomical levels of quality in 2022-23. Consider for instance, his two goals and three assists in PSG’s 7-1 win over Lille if you’re wondering whether he’s lost a step.
If Neymar can stay healthy as injuries have slowed his otherwise rocketing momentum over the years, there are few playmakers on his level, even in a league on a mission to sign the best talent in the world.
High Profile Managers
Considering how Nuno helped pull Al-Ittihad to glory last season, it is no surprise that it’s not just players that are caught up in a whirlwind of spending. The likes of Czesław Michniewicz, former Polish national team manager, Matthias Jaissle, ex Red Bull Salzburg/FC Liefering boss and Portuguese legend Luis Castro are all joining top Saudi teams this year.
Making most headlines for English readers of course will be the addition of Steven Gerrard to the management of Al-Ettifaq. He had a dreadful spell in Aston Villa leading to his sacking, and this will be a fantastic chance to win back the reputation he once had as the manager of Rangers — and we’re sure the money doesn’t hurt.
Popular Saudi Pro League Offers
One of the side effects of the Saudi Professional League getting so much attention is that they are more broadly available across top bookmakers. As a result, you will have access to many of the best promotions going right now.
There are lots of football offers and even more sportsbook offers that are broadly available across all kinds of markets, including the Saudi Pro League. There’s really no limit to what can be available, but here are a few examples to get you started.
This welcome offer from BetVictor is simple, effective, and adds tons of value for just a fiver.
All you need to do is register, opt in, and bet £5 at minimum odds of 1/1 within seven days of registration to receive 3 x £10 free bets.
These include £10 on any prematch market, £10 on live sports and £10 on Acca markets.
Every one of them is useable on SPL markets and is even available on Saudi Professional League live markets. And no wagering requirements plus fair terms means this is one where the value is as advertised.
This enormously generous newcomer offer is focused on football markets, SPL included.
All you need to do is bet £10 on football markets and you will receive 4 x £10 bets to use across a single free bet, both teams to score, total goals under/over and correct score.
It’s one which challenges you to make the most of the market variety. Again, no wagering requirements make this Bet £10 Get £40 in free bets offer stand out. You have seven days to use your free bets and minimum odds are a fair 2.00.
While lots of betting sites have bet boosts, we have to give Talk SPORT BET credit for already offering generous enhanced odds at the time of writing. This means bigger returns for betting as normally.
Popular Saudi Pro League Betting Markets
Football betting in general benefits from having one of the most varied and creative sets of betting markets of any sport.
This means more markets on the Saudi Professional League and more opportunities to find odds you want to back. There’s so much out there it might feel overwhelming, so to help you get started, let's take a look at five top Saudi Pro League markets:
Saudi Pro League Winner – The ultimate outright, this is where you back whoever you think will win the whole thing. With four top teams in serious contention and plenty of new variables to consider, we’d say that the 2023/24 season winner has hit a sweet spot of intrigue and odds quality.
Best for SPL Winner – Betfred
Asian Handicap – It looks likely there’s going to be quite the gulf between the top squads in the SPL and those without the means to spend big. That means some games may be one-sided. The Asian handicap markets, which allow you to put a goal handicap against the favourites, adds interest into even the most predictable results.
Best for Asian Handicap – BoyleSports
Anytime Goalscorer – Ideal for Saudi Professional League live markets, this market asks you to predict any player to score a goal at any time in normal play. What makes this such a special market is the focus on the individual regardless of other outcomes. A perfect way to keep interest high throughout.
Best for Anytime Goalscorer – BetUK
Top Goalscorer – Considering the sheer amount of attacking talent this season from Cristiano Ronaldo to Karim Benzema, there might not be any market as interesting as predicting the top goalscorers. With so many candidates, it won’t be easy, but it sure will be fun to watch.
Best for Top Goalscorer – bet365
Saudi Pro League History
Many reading this will have just heard of the Saudi Pro League, as huge money acquisitions have made mainstream western sporting news. However, they are far from a recently established enterprise.
The first professional Saudi League was first established in 1976. Before this, football was largely played on a regional basis with the exception of the King’s Cup — a knockout football cup competition that still runs today.
This popularity of the Saudi Professional League surged throughout the 2000s, with heavy investment in clubs, infrastructure, and player development. This was also the period where the likes of Al-Nassr FC and Al-Ittihad became dominant forces and international talent began making the move to the league. It is hard to imagine the transfers we’ve seen this year taking place without this vital decade laying the groundwork.
The purchase of Newcastle United by the PIF in 2021 would be a testing ground for what Saudi Arabia could do with a major football acquisition, which was followed up with an agreement for Cristiano Ronaldo to join Al Nassr in January 2023.
The announcement on June 5th 2023 that the PIF would change four Saudi clubs (Al-Nassr, Al Ittihad, Al-Hilal, Al-Ahli) into companies under the Sports Clubs Investment and Privatization project was a surprising leap forward from past developments.
Since then we have already seen an enormous wave of transfers, showing an immediate impact.
The next major part of Saudi Pro League history will undoubtably be the 2023/24 season, which will showcase the results of this seismic shift in the direction of the top Saudi domestic league.
Recent Saudi Arabian Champions
Most Successful Saudi Arabia Teams
|Al-Hilal||18||2021-22, 2020-21, 2019-20, 2017-18, 2016-17, 2010-11, 2009-10, 2007-08, 2004-05, 2001-02, 1997-98, 1995-96, 1989-90, 1987-88, 1985-86, 1984-85, 1978-79, 1976-77|
|Al-Ittihad||9||2022-23, 2008-09, 2006-07, 2002-03, 2000-01, 1999-00, 1998-99, 1996-97, 1981-82|
|Al-Nassr FC||9||2018-19, 2014-15, 2013-14, 1994-95, 1993-94, 1988-89, 1980-81, 1979-80, 1972-73|
|Al-Shabab||6||2011-12, 2005-06, 2003-04, 1992-93, 1991-23, 1990-91|
|Al-Ahli||3||2015-16, 1983-84, 1977-78|
Top All Time Goalscorers
Due to changes in the league formats and issues with accurate historical bookkeeping, do note the following information is taken from the 2000/2001 season onwards.
It is the top domestic football league of Saudi Arabia. You can think of it as their equivalent of the Bundesliga or La Liga.
In the UK the SPL is available to watch on streaming platform DAZN, which costs £9.99 a month if you commit to a year, and £19,99 for a flexible option. It is available through their app or Sky channel 429.
With records taken since the 2000-2001 season, Nasser Al-Shamrani has been the all-time top goalscorer in the SPL with 167 goals.
Despite huge wages being offered to new players this season, Cristiano Ronaldo remains the top-paid player in the Saudi Pro League with a weekly wage of £3.6 million (£177 million salary).
Yes, the top two teams do qualify for the AFC Champions League. The bottom three teams are relegated to the FD League, their second-tier domestic league, while the top three performers there are promoted to the SPL. It works just like how the Premier League interacts with both the European Champions League and the Championship.
Absolutely. Many promotions are broadly available to use on all kinds of football leagues including the SPL. Offers exclusively aimed at the Saudi Professional League are also entirely possible.
TPP Final Say
We have no idea what the long-term impact of the changes to the Saudi Pro League will be. But with such a huge push towards obtaining the top talent from across the world, it seems implausible we won’t get great football as a result. And of course, with top- tier contests and mainstream appeal also comes competitive odds, great promotions, and plenty of betting opportunities.
The majority of the finest football sites in the UK are already on board, so if you’re interested in betting on the SPL, you know where to get the most varied and generous markets out there.