How To Bet On Soccer?
Table Of Contents:
Where Is Soccer Betting Legal?
For many years, states were prevented from legalizing sports betting by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, aka PAPSA. PAPSA was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2018, paving the way for legal sports betting in the United States. As of March 2023, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington D.C., and West Virginia have all legalized online sports betting.
Numerous other states have legal sports betting, but only in-person. Those states include Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, North Carolina, New Mexico and Mississippi. Most states have at the very least introduced bills to get the process started, so it could only be a matter of time before the vast majority of states have legalized betting on soccer.
As of March 2023, The following states all have a legal and regulated sports betting industry, where you can wager on soccer:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- Washington DC
- West Virginia
Best Online Soccer Betting Sites and Mobile Apps
There are plenty of betting websites and mobile apps that you can use when looking to place a wager on soccer. How do you find the one that is best for you? Well, odds can differ slightly from sportsbook to sportsbook, and it would be advantageous to give yourself multiple options by shopping at various sportsbooks to find the best prices. Some will offer parlay insurances, promotions and odds boosts that others may not. You can also find soccer player props at some sports betting websites that may not be available at others.
How To Bet On Soccer
Placing a bet on soccer sounds simple enough, but if you want to do it successfully it requires multiple steps – all of which are important. You should start the process, of course, by figuring out which bet you should make. At Pickswise, we have expert handicappers who do much of the work for you by researching teams and players in the top soccer leagues, including the MLS and EPL. Our handicappers break down statistics, preview matches, make predictions and plenty more. We post the odds that are being offered by various legal sportsbooks as well. Be sure to check out our soccer picks all year long (soccer never stops!) to help you bet better.
Once you decide on a wager to place, the next step is to determine the best site or app at which to do so. Most sportsbooks will have a soccer tab either in the left column or at the top, which will then take you to the soccer markets that are available. You can bet on individual soccer matches, futures, props, and – if applicable – promos and odds boosts. Locate the market you desire, add the play you want to your bet slip, enter your wager amount and then lock in your bet with the submit, bet or confirm button.
Ways To Bet On Soccer
There are many ways to bet on soccer, which is becoming increasingly popular among bettors in the United States. It offers all kinds of betting options because there are so many different leagues and tournaments around the world. Among the soccer markets generally available at most sportsbooks are single game, futures, player props and team props, and you can also make parlays and teasers. Some of the popular soccer betting markets are listed and explained below.
Money Line Betting
A money line bet in soccer is when you pick one team to win outright against another, regardless of the margin of victory. Unlike in other sports, a soccer money line is generally three-way instead of two-way. The third option is a draw (or tie) — which happens if the score is tied after 90 minutes. It will be different in playoffs and other knockout games, in which you can also bet on which team advances. A draw or tie is not a push if you bet on one side or the other – you would lose your bet if you didn’t bet on a draw. That is different to a two-way NFL money line, for example, where in the event of a tie even after overtime has been played a bet on one side or the other would be a push and you would get your stake back. In money line betting, it doesn’t matter if the team you are betting on wins by one goal or four goals; it is a successful wager regardless of the margin. Similarly, it is an unsuccessful wager if the team you are betting on loses by one goal, which is exactly the same as it is if that team loses by seven goals.
Another difference in soccer money line betting is that because there are generally three options, even the favored side will often have plus-money odds such as +115, +135, or +160. A draw could be something like +240 and the underdog side could be +250. Only a rather sizable favorite would have negative odds (-115, -130, etc.) on a three-way money line. Odds of +135 on Paris Saint-Germain to beat Barcelona mean you would net a profit of $135 on a $100 bet if PSG wins. If L.A. Galaxy is a -120 favorite over Chicago Fire, you would need to bet $120 on the Galaxy to profit by $100 (or $12 to profit $10). A Galaxy win – by any margin – gets you $100 on the $120 bet with a Galaxy loss or draw meaning you would lose your $120 stake.
Goal Line Betting (Goal Spreads/Handicaps)
Goal line bets in soccer are when you pick teams to win by more than the size of the line if they are favorites or to lose by less than the size of the spread (or win outright, of course) if they are underdogs. Unlike on the money line, each of the teams involved in a particular bet will generally have the same or at least similar odds to cover – such as -110 or -115 (soccer may vary more than other sports, as there could potentially be something like a +110 underdog on the goal line and a -125 favorite on the goal line). If Manchester United is a -1.5 favorite over Southampton, United must win by at least two goals to cash a bettor’s wager. If Southampton loses by one goal (such as 3-2 or 1-0) or wins the match outright, a Southampton +1.5 bet is successful.
Over/Under Goals Betting (Totals)
Like in any other sport, an over/under total goals bet in soccer is when you are wagering on the combined number of goals that are scored by the teams throughout the duration of the match. Unlike with sports such as football and basketball in which lots of points are generally scored in a single game, soccer totals must be set low because so few goals are generally scored, with the average match producing around 2.5 goals, depending on the league concerned. The two sides (Over and Under) won’t necessarily have the same odds, as they almost always do in football and basketball. A match between Real Madrid and Sevilla may offer a total of 2.5 goals, and you might see the over at +110 and the under at -130. If Madrid wins 2-1, an over bet would be successful because three goals were scored in total. An under bet would cash if the result was a 1-1 draw or if Madrid wins 2-0, for example.
Player Prop Bets
Player props in soccer may not be as widely available as they are in the NBA and other professional sports, but certain markets will be offered and most sportsbooks will now allow you to bet them. The most popular player props in a single game are goals, assists and player cards (yellow and red). Unsurprisingly, bets around goals are the most popular type of bet in soccer props. You can bet on a player to score first in the game or at any time during the game. Of course betting on a player to score first will have better odds as if another player scores the bet is lost, where if you bet on a player at any time, it doesn’t matter if it’s the first or last kick of the match, or the first or sixth goal scored, it will still be a winning bet.
Team Prop Bets
The most popular team props in a single game are total goals – or “team total” as it will likely be listed at your sportsbook. If you feel good about one team’s goal output but not the money line, goal spread, or the overall game total, you could place a wager on the over/under for that specific team. In most games you can also bet on both teams to score at least one goal, which will also have the option for only one or neither team to score. You can also find team props such as total cards shown in the match and corner kicks taken.
Correct Score Betting
In football and basketball, for example, it is almost impossible, or a complete shot in the dark at the very least – to predict the exact score in any game. Even in baseball and hockey it would be tough enough to make it not worth betting on. In soccer, however, there are so few expected goals in every match that correct-score betting is an extremely popular market. You can bet on the exact score of a game, such as 0-0, 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2 etc. You must get the score exactly correct for a wager to be successful, and in most cases you will find the odds on each option well into plus money, with higher scores attracting better odds. A 1-0 win for the favorite might be a +400 chance, for example, while a 2-0 road win for an underdog could be available at +1600.
The futures market is popular in every sport, and soccer is no exception. One of the best things about soccer is that there are so many different leagues and competitions taking place all over the world at many different times of the year that there are always futures bets to be made. Before any league season begins, betting on the eventual title winner is especially popular. In many cases you can also bet on teams to finish in the top three or four of their respective league, or in the bottom three or last place or perhaps on their exact placement in the final standings. There are sometimes individual markets, as well, such as which player will be the leading goalscorer in the competition. The World Cup inspires the most betting and its futures market is available years in advance of the tournament beginning.
A parlay is a type of bet in which multiple bets are included in the same overall bet, and every leg must be successful in order for that overall bet to be a winner. It is generally a riskier play for bettors given that more than one successful outcome is needed, but the benefit is that the payout is much higher than it is for a standard single bet.
In soccer (and most other sports), you can combine bets on the spread, money line, and game totals in the same parlay. For example, you could have Sporting Kansas City to cover a -1.5 goal spread against FC Cincinnati, Bayern Munich on the money line against Borussia Dortmund, and over 2.5 goals in the Lyon vs Monaco matchup. If Sporting KC wins 2-0, Bayern Munich wins by any score, and the Lyon-Monaco game features four goals, the three-leg parlay is a winner. But if Kansas City wins by only one goal instead of two, that leg is unsuccessful and the entire parlay is lost even though the other two legs were winners.
Live, in-game betting in soccer is an increasingly popular option for bettors. In football and especially basketball, lots of points are generally scored in each contest, creating many momentum swings, frequent odds movements, and new betting opportunities. Tennis is another extreme example, as points are played – and won – every few seconds. Odds can go crazy throughout an entire match. In soccer, of course, scoring is not so volatile, although if a big favorite gives up a cheap early goal there can be some value created. Events such as a team having a player sent off can also have a major effect on the in-play odds for a game, while the odds on the favorite will gradually improve the longer the game goes before they can open the scoring.
Soccer Competitions You Can Bet On
The volume of soccer games to bet on is quite simply immense. Unlike most sports in which a single prominent league is the top dog, soccer features a ton of well-known leagues that are followed closely by fans and bettors from all parts of the globe. Among the most famous leagues are Major League Soccer (United States), the English Premier League, the Bundesliga (Germany), La Liga (Spain), Serie A (Italy) and Ligue 1 (France), plus the major European competitions in the Europa League and the Champions League.
In addition to club competitions, there are international tournaments. The World Cup and the European Championship, which usually take place every four years (although Euro 2020 was delayed until 2021), are the most prestigious events in the world.
Below is a breakdown of the top leagues and some specific considerations that should be taken into account for each one before placing wagers.
English Premier League Betting (EPL)
The English Premier League is the top club league in England and the most popular league worldwide for viewing and betting. It is home to famous clubs such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. The EPL is the most popular league in the US and many US soccer fans will have an English team which they support. The quality of football in the EPL has been known to be the best in the world thanks to the huge budgets available to the 20 teams. The English Premier League, while not as physical as years gone by, has still one of the more robust styles of play. Pace and power in attack and crunching tackles in defense can see a lot of counter-attacking play in EPL games. While the average number of goals are below some of their European counterparts, you won’t be short of action in the EPL and each team contains a wide variety of top players from across the world.
UEFA Champions League Betting (UCL)
European clubs must qualify for the Champions League, generally doing so by placing in the top positions of their respective league the previous season. Once the UEFA UCL field is set, there is round-robin play in groups of four followed by knockout stages – similar to the European Championship and World Cup. The Champions League is the most prestigious club tournament in the world.
UEFA Europa League Betting (UEL)
The Europa League is similar to the Champions League in that European clubs qualify for it based on their finishes in the previous club season. It is the second-tier event in Europe trailing only the Champions League. Teams that finish outside of the UEFA UCL cut line in their respective leagues can still qualify for the Europa League with a respectable spot on their league table.
La Liga Betting
La Liga is the top club league in Spain and one of the most popular worldwide. It is home to Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. La Liga is known for its high-intensity play with and without the ball. When out of possession you can expect teams to press hard for the ball. And those in possession will typically pass the ball around quickly. Unlike some European leagues, there is a real emphasis on long periods of possession and building up slowly to create a goalscoring opportunity. While you do get high-scoring games, this style can see fewer goals than say the German or Dutch equivalents.
The Bundesliga is the top club league in Germany and one of the most popular worldwide. It is home to Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig. The Bundesliga is known for being a highly intense league with strong pressing when out of possession and moving the ball quickly when in possession. This intensity leads to the Bundesliga having a high number of average goals per game and it is often favored with bets such as both teams to score and over 2.5 goals.
Major League Soccer Betting (MLS)
Major League Soccer is the top club league in the United States. It may not be as popular worldwide as the main European leagues, but it is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. It is home to two Los Angeles squads (LA Galaxy and LAFC), two New York teams (NYCFC and New York Red Bulls), and clubs in other major cities such as Atlanta and Chicago. The MLS has become known for its physical and athletic play style. The games are played at an intense pace and pressure from the jump and this tends to result in high-scoring matches. The MLS has been up there with the most free-flowing leagues in the world, with only the Dutch Eredivisie and Bundesliga of the European contingent seeing more goals per game in recent seasons. As a result, both teams to score, team goals over 1.5, spread lines and total goals markets are all popular choices among MLS bettors.
Soccer Betting Trends
As in every sport, it is important to stay up to date with all of the latest trends in soccer. Some trends can obviously be specific to a certain team, but there are also league-wide or even sport-wide trends that must be considered before and during the betting process. Teams’ home records and away records are especially important to note, as home-field advantage is generally even more of a factor in soccer than it is in most other sports. Only the top teams will be heavily favored on the road on a three-way money line unless there is a significant discrepancy in talent such as Manchester City vs Bournemoouth. Sometimes value can be found if the sportsbooks and betting public are sleeping on a club that has an unusually successful track record away from home.
Also make sure to pay attention to how successful teams are as home underdogs or road favorites, etc., in addition to statistics such as average goals for and average goals against. Head-to-head history is important, too. There are many different playing styles and formations being used in soccer, so it is not unusual to see head-to-head records that you otherwise might not expect without researching. Injuries are prevalent in soccer, as are player absences for other reasons — to a greater extent than most other sports. With so many competitions taking place all around the world at any given time, a player could miss a club match while participating for a national team. It is essential to confirm starting lineups prior to wagering on any match.
Five Ways To Bet Smarter On The Soccer
- Take advantage of early-season odds. There are so many teams and leagues around the world and so much transferring of players between clubs that it takes time for oddsmakers to be sharp on every team’s level of play in the early stages of a league’s season. Hopping on the futures market — especially when it comes to underdogs — can be profitable before odds adjust to on-field results.
- Favor the home team. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but in general there is a bigger home-field advantage in soccer than there is in most other sports. Fans are generally passionate, travel for road teams is often extensive and soccer fields differ in size. It is much more advantageous to play on a field that you are extremely familiar with than it is on another team’s field that you might see only once a year — or perhaps have never even seen before. Odds do reflect such home-field advantage and sometimes so much that a road team can be the value play. But with so many options and with the right research, you can find great betting opportunities on teams that excel at home.
- Props can pay. Money line betting in soccer doesn’t always have the best value since there are frequent wild discrepancies in talent; favorites can have very short odds and underdogs with long odds rarely win. Goal line betting can be similar. But there is often value to found in props, even though there are a select few compared to statistics-heavy sports such as baseball, basketball and football. Betting on a player to score a goal, for example, will generally pay out handsomely like a baseball player to hit a home run.
- Game totals can be the way to go. The game totals market in soccer is an interesting one because all of them are so low. There are such few goals scored on average in this sport that you will rarely find a total higher than 3.5. Even 3 is a big number. But value can be found when you really know your stuff. A game total of 2.5 may be way too big for a team that has posted four straight shutouts, for example. Or a total of 3.5 may actually be too low for a team that has scored four goals in three consecutive games. Keep in the mind that game totals moving up or down even a half of a point is a big deal.
- Bet on the double chance (win or draw). This market often offers good value. Double chance means the team you bet on can either win or draw and the bet cashes. Obviously the odds are shorter than they are for an outright win, but there are so many regulation draws in soccer that adding that option to the bet is often well worth the payout price you sacrifice. The other option that is not as risky as a straight money-line bet is the draw-no-bet option, where you are paid if the team wins, but the bet is treated as a push if the game is tied.
When To Bet On Soccer Throughout The Season?
The top worldwide soccer competitions usually take place during the summer, although the most recent one was the exception as the 2022 World Cup was played in winter (November 21 to December 18) because of extreme heat in Qatar. For the club competitions, their general dates are as follows. EPL: August to May; Champions League: September to May; Europa League: September to May; La Liga: August to May; Bundesliga: August to May; MLS: March to December. As you can see, most leagues run from late summer to the spring of the following year. At that point they have a couple of months off when players can participate in worldwide competitions.
While futures markets are available throughout each season and competition, they are most popular in the preseason – and sometimes offer the best value at that point. Make sure you are familiar with the entire soccer calendar so that you know when the time may be right to strike.
Soccer Betting Strategies
As is the case with betting on any sport, it is important to establish your bankroll when it comes to betting on soccer. In the worst-case scenario, what is the most you are willing to lose in a league season or maybe in a month or a week? What is the maximum you would be willing to bet on a single game when you have a lot of confidence on it? After establishing these kinds of parameters, the next step is to familiarize yourself with the sport and its specific leagues. Become knowledgeable about as many teams as possible and stay up to date with the latest news, scores, injury reports, etc.
As you become more experienced with soccer betting, you will naturally find your niche with respect to which teams and leagues you enjoy betting on and bring you success. Where do you get your edge betting on soccer? Answer that question based on the data you have compiled on your betting history and continue to exploit that edge. There are so many different leagues around the world, so soccer bettors can have very different specialties. Remember to take a look at various sportsbooks and betting apps to find the one that offers the best odds on a certain market, or one that offers an intriguing prop that you might not be able to play elsewhere.
The best and most accurate way to find an edge is to keep a log of your soccer betting. Track all of your bets including the size, team(s), outcome, and also the units won or lost (you can keep track of your winnings in terms of both actual money and units, but units are a more accurate representation of your success). Make sure to break it down league by league, so you can pinpoint your most (and least) successful betting areas. Watch as much soccer as possible, because it will help you rely on your own instincts as opposed to the opinions of experts and analysts. You can even make your own weekly power rankings in each league as you become familiar with the teams. Your rankings can give you a reference point for making a bet when two teams in your rankings are going head-to-head. Also be sure to stay up to date on news, specifics such as a team’s travel schedule, particular matchups, head-to-head referees, and the appointed referee for a match. Referees can have a big impact on a soccer game.
Things To Avoid When Betting On Soccer
As mentioned above, you can’t just haphazardly bet on the best teams with the best players and automatically be successful. Player personnel can vary wildly from game to game based on injuries (of which there are many in soccer), suspensions, international duties and load management. You must stay up to date on a club’s active roster before making wagers.
Also, don’t throw your money around far and wide across dozens of competitions, especially not as you become a more experienced bettor. Find the leagues and teams with which you are most successful and play those. Similarly, with so many options available it is easy to get carried away and make massive parlays. Try to keep parlays to relatively few legs, as it has to be said that soccer – by its low-scoring nature – naturally has more variance than football or basketball and it is generally difficult to hit a ton of legs in a single parlay.
Finally, don’t put all of your eggs into the basket of the World Cup or other huge events. The oddsmakers are generally as sharp as they can possibly be in those areas. If you really do your research when it comes to less popular leagues/events/tournaments, value can be found.