Ah, two-legged football.
This is the format that has served up some of the most breath-taking ties and most extraordinary comebacks in the game’s history.
While these matches are able to create fantastic storylines and action on the pitch, they can have pitfalls for the humble punter – particularly those who believe they have wagered on a certain outcome, and later find out they have accidentally bet on something else entirely.
So this is your guide on how to bet on two-legged football games – avoiding the mistakes that can turn an anticipated payout into a loss due to one simple mistake.
What Does Aggregate Mean in Football?
Two-legged games were first introduced in football back in the 1960s, as a way of ensuring both teams got to experience home advantage in important matches.
The scoreline from both games is combined to provide a clear winner at the end of the two matches. So, if Liverpool win the first leg of a Champions League game 2-0 against Barcelona, but lose the second 0-3, then it’s Barcelona who win the tie 3-2 on aggregate.
The only other point of note is what happens when the aggregate scores are tied at the end of the 180-minute contest. From the 1965/66 Cup Winners’ Cup to the 2020/21 Champions League, away goals were used to determine a winner in UEFA competitions, and other governing bodies also implemented the rule.
UEFA has since abolished the away goals rule, but you will still find it used in some competitions around the world, and it’s worth finding out which format the competition you are betting on has adopted.
In short, the team that has scored more goals in their away leg wins under these circumstances, and if that tally is level then extra time and/or penalties are used.
Nowadays, many two-legged ties go straight to extra time or penalties when the aggregate score is level.
How to Bet On Two-Legged Football
There’s no trickery or secret sauce to betting on two-legged games of football, but you MUST know exactly what you are wagering on.
For both ties, your bookmaker or betting app will present you with two options:
- To win the match
- To qualify
The distinction between the two is obvious enough – the ‘to win the match’ market is the standard 1-X-2 option for the 90 minutes… there is no reference to the aggregate score here, and you are simply wagering on who will win that particular game.
The ‘to qualify’ market is, as the name suggests, betting on the team that will win after the aggregate score is applied. There’s no draw option here, but you will benefit from the possibility that your bet will land if your team wins after extra time or penalties – this is not the case with ‘to win the match’ bets, which apply to the 90 minute result only.
Both of these options are often displayed on the main pages of a betting site/app, and so you should double-check the market you have selected before signing off on your betslip – too many punters unfortunately make the mistake of not betting on the outcome they actually want to.