‘Football… bloody hell!’ so said Sir Alex Ferguson in his customary understated fashion. The beautiful game has a penchant for making grown men cry, and inducing the kind of euphoria that you simply could not imagine being replicated anywhere else. And that’s before we even get onto the small matter of football betting…
Skill, judgement, timing, luck – those are just four of the attributes that successful punters need for long-term joy when betting on the football. Often, simply scanning the league tables isn’t enough to ensure consistent profits, rather than just the occasional win. You need a hefty dose of insight to keep your bankroll topped up, not to mention in-depth knowledge of the different betting markets available.
An understanding of some of the more ‘niche’ bet types can pay dividends, particularly where your knowledge of football suggests that a certain game will have plenty of goals, cards, corners etc.
So strap on your seatbelt and get comfy as we take you on a journey through the various football betting markets that are available, and offer you some handy hints and tips as to how maximise your winnings from each.
The most popular and easiest to understand of the available bet types is Match Result. Here, you are quite simply looking to predict the outcome of a fixture; whether that’s Team A to win, Team B, or the draw.
Sometimes referred to as W-D-W or 1-X-2 to denote home win, away win or the stalemate, the Match Result market features a number of variants that you should be aware of:
- Half-Time/Full-Time (HT/FT) – In essence, this is identical to the Match Result bracket, however, here you need to guess the team to be winning (or a draw) at half time and then full time. Not one or the other – both. So we’re adding an element of risk here, although we are rewarded with more generous odds. The HT/FT market is a great way to enhance your winnings when you expect one team to beat another with relative ease.
- Draw No Bet – As the name suggests, punters are offered a caveat in the way of a draw. Say you fancy Team A to beat Team B, but Team B has a habit of scraping draws occasionally. Rather than going in full-bore by backing Team A you could choose Draw No Bet, which refunds your stake should the match finish in a stalemate.
- Double Chance – Another favourite with punters, Double Chance enables us to back a team to win or draw thus giving us a 66% chance of winning our bet before a ball is even kicked. In pure percentage terms, you won’t find a more risk-averse market than this. A good example of when to try a Double Chance wager is when you have a sneaky feeling that an underdog can get something from the game when taking on a more illustrious opponent.
Beware Knockout Matches
You might be forgiven for thinking that Match Result betting covers our backs for a multitude of sins – we’re just looking for a winner, after all.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of caveats to this that many bookmakers like to… well, not keep a secret but they don’t exactly fall over themselves to let you know. The most pressing of these is how the Match Result market changes for knockout-style matches.
Any cup tie that can go to extra time and/or penalties – we’re talking the FA Cup, the latter rounds of the Champions League and Europa League, major international tournaments like the World Cup and European Championships. This extra time is exempt from the Match Result market, so you are betting on the outcome after 90 minutes only (i.e. the end of regulation time), and if that scoreline changes during extra time it makes no difference to the outcome of your bet.
So say you have bet on Arsenal to beat Real Madrid. At the end of 90 minutes the game is a draw, and yet during extra time the Gunners bag a winning goal. Unfortunately, your bet is unsuccessful as Arsenal didn’t win the game during normal time. Do bear this in mind when perusing the Match Result betting coupon.
Another bet type that fits loosely under the banner of Match Result is handicapping/Asian handicapping.
Traditional handicapping is a cinch to understand; you are simply handing one team a theoretical advantage or disadvantage and betting on them to overcome it. Asian handicapping is the same thing but it adds a decimal point and eradicates the possibility of a draw. The easiest way to explain it is with an example:
Imagine we expect Man City to beat Tottenham comfortably, but the odds in the standard Match Result market are nothing to write home about. We could instead back City with a -2 handicap, which would mean that they need to win by three goals to clear that handicap and satisfy our wager. If they won by two goals then our bet would lose, because after adding the handicap margin into the equation the match would end in a theoretical draw.
The other way to use a handicap is the reverse tactic. So if you fancy Tottenham to do okay against Man City, you could add a +2 handicap line to them to minimise your risk. Then anything other than City winning by two clear goals or more would result in your bet being successful.
Correct Score Betting
Hopefully, the nature of Correct Score betting is clear from its name, but if not then yes, you are backing a specific scoreline which you expect the fixture to end in.
Again, this is the 90-minute score rather than any extra time or penalty additions (although those much loved/hated 97th minute equalisers do count if they occur within regulation time/injury time).
Correct Score betting is beloved because the odds are so agreeable – even your bog-standard 1-0 can be available from 5/1 or even greater – and so shrewd punters will back two or even three scorelines in an attempt to hedge their bets without cutting into their profit margin.
Some bookmakers are now offering ‘grouped scores’, so you can back Team A to win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 for example, and while these selections tend to be a bit squeezed in terms of odds they do represent a great way to spread risk.
Correct Score Betting Strategy
Unfortunately, there tends to be neither rhyme nor reason to many scorelines in football, however, we can enhance our chances of success by following some key pointers:
- Home/Away Advantage – Some teams perform at their best when they have their home support baying them on, while others struggle in the spotlight and the expectation of a home crowd. The same is true when certain sides play away; some players miss their home comforts while others shine in enemy territory. The key here is to use the Home/Away league tables as a guide when putting together your Correct Score betting coupon.
- Netbusters/Goal Shy – We can never 100% predict how a football match will pan out, but we do know that if a team has a reputation – backed by stats – for scoring lots of goals, then that will naturally alter our Correct Score thinking. Alternatively, a team with a penchant for low scoring, drab affairs will offer us plenty of value in the 0-0, 1-0/0-1 and 1-1 stakes. Getting to know the selections is paramount.
- Style & Substance – There’s a saying in boxing that ‘styles make fights’, and the same can be said of football where often contrasting or mirror image styles can serve up a predictable affair. Over the years Liverpool and Newcastle United clashes have tended to be goal-fests thanks to the gung-ho cultures of the two clubs, where a match-up like the Milan derby tends to be a tight and testy affair. Understanding how contrasting systems can result in goals/no goals is crucial.
- In Form & Informed – The form table very rarely lies, so it’s worth putting your perceptions to one side when setting up your Correct Score coupon. Keep in the loop as to who is doing well and who isn’t and this added insight will help you to predict the right score more accurately.
- History Repeating – We mentioned the classic rivalry between Liverpool and Newcastle earlier, and it is remarkable to note that only 1 of their last 20 meetings has witnessed less than two goals. In that timeframe the most recurrent scoreline has been 2-0 either way, but 13 of the matches have seen 3 or more goals scored, which gives you an insight into how lively these fixtures are. As the size of this data sample proves (over ten years), history often repeats itself where high/low scoring matches are concerned.
It’s all well and good trying to guess who will win a match or predict what the score will be, but some punters have a real knack for knowing who is likely score – and when.
Luckily this knowledge is backed by a number of available betting markets, so those in the know can profit from their insight. Here’s a quick overview of the best of them:
- First Goalscorer – As the name suggests, who will be the first off the mark? Given the more open nature of this market, punters can expect some pretty generous prices up for grabs.
- Anytime Goalscorer – Pick out a player to net at any point during the game and you will trouser a profit. Note that due to the fact your chosen star has 90 minutes to notch, odds here are less generous than in the first/last goalscorer markets.
- Last Goalscorer – If you have a knack for picking players who tend to net the winner in games – or a handy late equaliser – then this is the market for you. Back in the day, super-sub Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have been a perfect candidate for this market.
In-Play Goalscorer Betting
New technologies have opened up a raft of additional opportunities for punters, and one of these is in-play betting.
A popular market here is Next Goalscorer, as followers of a match have a bit of time to see who is performing well and who looks likely to find the net next. Punters can monitor substitutions too, which ensures that their wager isn’t a dead rubber when their chosen player is sat getting splinters in their backside on the subs bench.
First Goalscorer – Each Way Betting
This may sound like a contradiction in terms, but many bookies offer each way prices in the First Goalscorer market. The bottom line is that some will pay out for anything up to three goals typically (some bookies even pay out on the first six goals in a match), with your first goalscorer price generally paid out at 1/3 should they net latterly.
Goalscorer Betting Hints & Tips
There is no hard and fast strategy for betting on the goalscorer markets. Some punters prefer to rely on their favourite strikers – the likes of Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez are good examples of profitable First/Anytime/Last picks – while others prefer to think outside the box and back big defenders who attack at set pieces. John Terry netted seven goals in the 2014/15 season for example, each one paying at somewhere around the 10/1 mark on average (depending on whether it was the first goal of the game or not).
If we take Harry Kane in 2015/16 as another example, we note that he scored 25 goals in 38 Premier League appearances. Now allowing for the occasional brace or hat trick, that is still probably around 28/29 games where he has netted individually, and that’s a lot of profit potential for punters.
Some players love knocking a few in against certain teams too. Admittedly this is now a defunct example, but Luis Suarez scored a whopping twelve goals in seven games against Norwich. Other players come to the party in local derbies, or raise their game against bigger teams, or show their true worth against weaker sides. Getting to know a player’s personality is an essential tool for a goalscorer punter.
Goal Betting: Both Teams to Score and Over/Under 2.5
By betting on both teams to score or on over/under 2.5 goals in a match, punters are able to hedge their bets quite considerably. These bettors couldn’t give a flying proverbial which team wins, which player scores or any of that business; they just use statistics and cold hard facts to predict games which will be full of goals and others that will be shy of them.
Certain divisions are prime candidates for these two markets. For instance, in the final week of the 2015/16 campaign in Holland’s Jupiler League (Second Division), the nine games played witnessed a staggering 36 goals – that’s an average of four per match. Unbelievably, that is nothing out of the ordinary for the Dutch second tier.
Specific teams have punters coming back for more time after time too. In the English Championship both teams scored in 72% of Fulham’s matches, meaning the BTTS bet would have been successful in around 33 of their games in 2015/16. Two-thirds of the Cottagers outings witnessed Over 2.5 Goals too, so they were a particularly profitable proposition.
And that’s the key to these goals markets, knowing the numbers. You don’t need to be a complete nerd to get ahead, fantastic websites and stats resources will display all of the data you need to make informed decisions and they are free to use. There really isn’t any art to goals betting, just wait until two teams who score a lot/concede a lot meet and fill your boots.
A Scorecast is a high risk, high return bet type that asks a punter to correctly predict both the final score and a specified player to score the first or last goal.
The rewards for achieving this are obvious, although there is something of a sting in the tail. You may find a Scorecast like this:
‘Team A to win 1-0 and Joe Bloggs to score first – 8/1.’
Now, this is all well and good, but have you stopped to consider the odds you would be quoted if you backed these two scenarios separately?
You would accrue a far greater return in this way but the reason you can’t do it is simple; bookmakers consider these dependant markets, and as such won’t accept two singles as a double, if that makes sense. Basically, it is about the bookies wanting to minimise their risk, which is harsh on the punter but naturally in the bookmakers’ best interests.
Getting both parts of a Scorecast correct is tricky, so staking caution is advised, but the rewards are obvious.
A variant of Scorecast is a Wincast, which requires punters to correctly guess the first/last goalscorer and the team to win. Naturally this is a lower risk affair as opposed to Scorecast betting, as here we are simply looking to guess the winner of the match rather than a specific scoreline.
We can utilise Wincast betting in a number of different scenarios, but the best is when we are convinced a certain team will defeat their opponent with ease and their in-form striker will net. An example from the 2015/16 campaign would be when Man City entertained Aston Villa; naturally City won and Sergio Aguero got on the scoresheet too; perfect Wincast fodder.
If first/last goalscorer betting isn’t your thing, then you could always substitute this half of your Scorecast/Wincast for an anytime punt.
The prices quoted here are a lot lower – your selected player has 90 minutes to score, rather than having to be the first or the last off the mark – but as you can imagine from the Man City/Sergio Aguero example outlined above, there is a greater regularity with which these wagers come in.
Jackpots & Pool Betting
Of course, there are many ways to skin a cat, to coin a phrase, and a non-traditional form of football betting – albeit one that dates back decades – is the Pools. This offers huge jackpot prizes in the millions of pounds for punters who satisfy a number of criteria.
The premise behind the Classic Pools is simple: select ten fixtures in which you think there will be a score draw, and if eight or more come in you win a huge prize. If your ten games happen to be the first ten in which both teams to score you’ll trouser a life-changing £3 million big ones.
There are other variants, such as Premier 10 (correctly guess win/draw/lose for the ten matches to pocket the cash), Jackpot 12 (same as Premier 10 but with 12 matches) and Goal Rush (jackpot prize for correctly predicting 10 both teams to score matches, consolation prize for nine), to name just a few.
Fancy winning £10,000,000? Of course you do, and you could do just that if you pick out seven correct scores in the Colossus big jackpot game.
The main game is a seven-leg affair, with the lucky sausage who correctly predicts the score of all seven games bagging the jackpot, six correct legs scooping £5,000 and five a still tidy £3,000.
Alternatively, you could try the Pick 3 variant which offers winners a £5,000 top prize.