Available in:


In football, there are three possible outcomes: win, lose or draw. The likelihood of one team beating the other is reflected in the odds. For example, if a UEFA Champions League favorite were to play an EPL team on the verge of relegation, the odds for the Champions League favorite to win would be much shorter (i.e. you would get less return on your wager) than those of a team in fear of relegation. The draw market in this game would also be a bigger price, since the probability of a Champions League favorite victory would be high.

However, in a game of this nature, there is little point in placing a bet on the heavy favorite to win, because the odds would be so short that the return would be very small, unless a very large wager was made. As a result of this, you’ll find plenty of other markets on online bookmakers such as Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and Bet365 that offer more than just the standard win, lose or draw outcomes. First scorer, anytime scorer, correct score and half-time/full-time are just some of the varied options available to a backer.

Recommended Football Betting Sites

Betting Markets

One of the most popular of these is the ‘first scorer’ market, where a prospective punter can place a bet on the team and player he thinks is going to score first. The odds are better here, because there is a chance that any one of twenty two players (plus oncoming substitutes) could be the first to score.

Other popular football betting markets offered by online bookmakers include half-time/full-time, where you can place money on one team being ahead at half time and the other at full time, or vice versa. Alternatively, the backer can gamble that one team will be ahead at both half and full time, or that it will be a draw at half-time and one of the teams will go on to win at full-time. Lastly, the punter can bet that the score will be a draw both midway through and at the end of the game.

One of the most popular methods of football betting comes in the form of the accumulator bet. Here, backers increase the potential return on their wager by betting on numerous teams to win, lose or draw, shortening their odds with every game but putting themselves in with the chance of a windfall. The number of teams you can bet on is entirely up to you, as is the stake, and your odds reflect the likelihood that all lines of the bet are successful.

Similarly, it is now possible to bet on ‘both teams to score’. This is pretty self-explanatory, in that a punter is again given a list of matches, and asked to pick games in which he thinks both teams will score. The difference is that there are now only two possible outcomes to each match: ‘will score/won’t score’ as opposed to the win, lose or draw outcome in accumulator bets.

When it comes to football betting, online bookmakers now offer a wide range of markets that cover just about any potential eventuality, should you fancy putting your knowledge of the beautiful game to the test.

Assessing Team Value

Anyone can visit a sports bookmaker like Ladbrokes or Paddy Power and put a bet down on their favourite football team; it takes very little thought, analysis or strategy. Indeed, the vast majority of football bets are made on the back of an individual’s loyalty to a particular team.

However, over the course of a season, it doesn’t make any financial sense to blindly back your preferred team simply because they’re playing. Instead, before the English football leagues resume in August, try to get to grips with the premise of ‘value’.

Essentially, value is determined by assessing what you think are the chances of a team’s victory against the prices that bookmakers are offering on that result. If you think a team has value, it is because you think the rewards of betting on them to win outweigh the risks.

You can work out a team’s value for any given match very easily, by following this method:

So, if we were to take an example of this, let’s look at the Euro 2012 competition and the semi-final between Italy and Germany. Bookmakers before the match believed there could only be one winner; Paddy Power were offering Germany at 10/11 and Ladbrokes at 8/10. They had Italy to win at 7/2 and 15/4 respectively.

A lot of inexperienced punters would have viewed these odds and immediately thought twice about backing Italy. However, others will have looked at those prices and immediately seen a window of opportunity.

If we take the best odds proffered for an Italy win, the 15/4 offered by Ladbrokes converts to 4.75. At that price, you only had to estimate that Italy had a 22% chance of winning the game to find value: 0.22 x 4.75 = 1.05.

That’s the equivalent of Italy winning the game only once if it was played five times over. Some German fans may have agreed with this assessment; the Germans were the only side in the competition to win all three group matches, had dismissed Greece in the quarter-final in some style and had the most in-form striker of the tournament in the form of Mario Gomez. Indeed, Germany were joint favourites with Spain to lift the trophy.

However, Italian fans would have looked at their side’s well-earned point against Spain, their steady progression through the group stage and a dominant display against England in the quarters. Despite the naysayers, Italy were unbeaten and looked dangerous in attack, particularly with Andrea Pirlo on top form.

All of these things will have been assessed by seasoned punters, and the more insightful will have concluded that backing Italy had value in it every single time. In the event, Italy won 2-1 in a virtuoso performance that merited much more the long odds given by Ladbrokes and Paddy Power before the game.


A huge innovation in online gambling in recent years, in play betting across all sports has proven wildly popular with punters. ... Read More >>

Everyone enjoys a goal-fest when they settle down to watch Match of the Day, but picking and choosing which teams will run rampant and which will stand strong can be a rewarding tactic for football betting too.... Read More >>

With all the major European football leagues either poised to resume or already in full swing, now is the time to pick up some decent prices on the league top scorer markets.... Read More >>

A frequent trap in football betting is that long odds can seem very attractive.... Read More >>

In football betting, the goals over/under market all too often plays second fiddle to the showier correct score and goalscorer markets. Which is a shame, because it's a better option for cultivating regular returns, and a flexible way to control ... Read More >>

One of the best things about major international football tournaments is that they provide astute betters with hundreds of mobile and in-play gambling opportunities.... Read More >>

Hedging is a betting strategy applied by cautious punters across the board, from the world of finance to sports betting and even casino games. But the increasing volume and variety of cash back offers in football betting now means you ... Read More >>

When you're betting on football, corners may seem like one of the least dynamic markets available. In fact, it is a highly strategic market with interesting options available both pre-match and in-play.... Read More >>