Betting on football can be a fun way of enhancing your enjoyment of the beautiful game whilst also giving you a chance to win a bet on the sport you love. Of course, not everyone wins (or bookies would have long since gone bust) so it pays to pick your bets wisely, and that means doing your research rather than making impulse selections.
People who are looking for an online or mobile betting site to start betting with are in luck, because on this website we feature only the best betting sites in the business. We’re not interested in listing every tom, dick and harry who’s set up an online sportsbook, instead, we work only with those bookies that are universally trusted to offer fair odds, great customer service, and regular generous free bets and bonuses.
So, before you place your first online or mobile football bet, you need to decide which betting site you would like to join.
How to Join a Football Betting Site
There are literally hundreds of betting sites scattered across the internet these days, and many offer a similar level of quality and service that is… well, fairly average on both counts. In order to avoid spending your days arguing about cancelled bets, late payouts, or crashed betting markets, we urge you to join only the most established bookmakers in the business. Of course, whether or not you choose to take our recommendations on board is your call, but always make sure you know about the company you are joining before you join and check that they are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission – any bookie on this site will be.
Almost all bookies will offer some kind of enhancement when you join them, usually in the form of a free bet (see our free bets page for more details). Free bets allow you to try out a bookie without having to risk as much of your own cash as you otherwise would.
Once you’ve selected the bookie you’d like to join, just click on the banner or link on this site which will take you to the betting site in question. Once there, click the “Register” (or similar) button.
You will then be asked to enter some personal details, i.e. your name, date of birth (you need to be over 18 to gamble in the UK), address, and username and password details that you are free to make up. The form takes only a minute or so to complete, and then you will be ready to register a payment option, such as a debit card, to make your first deposit.
Depositing is just like buying anything online really, but the amount you deposit will depend on how much you want to bet, and might affect the free bet offer you are hoping to take advantage of. For instance, if you are signing up to a “Bet £5, get £20 Free Bet” offer, you would probably just want to deposit a fiver to get things going.
Once you have some funds in your betting account, it’s time to actually place your first bet… and let’s hope it’s a winner!
How to Place a Bet
To place a bet you first need to navigate to the sport, event, or competition you wish to bet on and then select the specific betting market. For example, if you wanted to bet on both teams to score in a match between Burnley and Chelsea, you would generally select “Football”, then “Premier League”, then “Burnley v Chelsea”, and then find the “Both Teams to Score” market. In reality most bookies will have quick links to big upcoming matches, popular leagues or markets, so you might even find yourself looking at the market you want on the home screen.
The odds will then be displayed for all possible outcomes on which you can bet, usually in fractional form as standard (e.g. 5/1, 5/4 and so on) although you can change to decimal form (e.g. 6.0, 1.8 etc) if you prefer. You simply need to click on the odds of the selection you want to back and it will populate the betting slip, which is usually located on the top right of the screen on desktops or at the top or bottom on mobile betting sites. Do’t worry if you can’t see it initially, once you make a selection it will make itself known.
You then just click on “Place Bet” (or something similar) at the bottom of the betting slip, and sometimes a further “Confirm Bet(s)” button to avoid any accidents, and there you have it, your bet is placed.
The above example of backing both teams to score is known as a “single” bet, i.e. just a single event occurring, but there are loads of different types of bets you can place, as we go into below.
Types of Football Bet
The world of online football betting holds a myriad of possibilities and betting opportunities, and this can be confusing to even the most experienced punter. As such, we thought we would explain some of the ways customers can bet on the football to maximise the potential return, boost enjoyment, and hopefully clear up any doubts you may have.
- Match Odds – This is the most common form of football bet and probably the best form for beginners to get started with. Also referred to as 1×2 or 90 minutes betting, this allows punters to predict the outcome of their selected match after 90 minutes plus injury time (but not extra time or penalties), whether it be a win for one team, a win for the other, or a draw. For example, if the customer backed England to win against Brazil and the result was a Brazil win or a draw, then the bet would lose.
- Tournament Winner – Simply betting on which team will win a given tournament, cup, or event. Spread across numerous competitions, punters can back teams in minor leagues and cups right up to the Premier League or World Cup. The bet is successful if the team backed wins the given competition. Odds for this can vary depending on the competition, yet with favourites sometimes having odds as long as 4/1 (or even more) this can be a bet which allows decent returns as well as sustained entertainment over the length of a season or competition. Not to mention cash out opportunities.
- First/Last/Anytime Goal Scorer – This allows customers to bet on whom they think will score first, last, or at any time in a match. Quite an easy concept to grasp yet occasionally complications can occur, especially if there is an own goal. Punters should check the terms and conditions their bookmaker has surrounding own goals but they are almost always ignored for this bet type. The second goal will count as the first for goal scorer bets and the penultimate goal will count for last goal scorer bets (assuming these aren’t own goals as well, of course). If there is no other goal after the own goal, then “no goalscorer” bets win. A useful betting tip here may be to back the “no goalscorer” market rather than “0-0” as odds are often the same yet “no goalscorer” keeps the bet alive if own goals are scored.
- Correct Score – This is a bet placed on the specific full time score in a match (so 2-1, 2-0, 4-2, etc), although you can also bet on the half time score. When placing this bet make sure to be betting on the team you wish to win; scores are often listed as home team to win and away team to win, so pay careful attention in order to back the correct team. As there are a wide range of possibilities in this market the odds can be temptingly high. However, the chances of placing a successful correct score bet are correspondingly low. Balancing these together, correct score bets can be fun yet are rarely successful.
- Total Goals & Under/Over Goals – This is usually a two option bet on whether over or under a specific number of goals will be scored in total during that match. Usually this is under/over 2.5 goals, yet alternatives can frequently be found with 0.5, 1.5, 3.5, 4.5 and even higher readily available. Some of these can offer extremely high odds, and consequently, this form of football betting has become increasingly popular. With only two outcomes this bet is easy to understand and allows punters to draw on previous form to predict how many goals might occur in any given game. Total goals betting can also refer to the exact number of goals in a game.
- Both Teams to Score – This requires the customer to answer the question: ‘will both teams score?’ A ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer is then bet upon with own goals counting in this market.
- Accumulator – An accumulator is a bet that groups together several unrelated selections to form one overall bet, whereby all selections need to win in order to gain a return. Accas, as they are sometimes known, are usually built on multiple match results yet other markets can be used such as both teams to score. This can provide very large odds indeed, yet punters should be wary of adding one match too many as it always seems to be that extra game that lets you down. Accumulators can be a great way to win large amounts of money from a low stake, because the odds for each game selected are effectively multiplied creating very long odds for the overall bet.
- Handicaps – Each team is given a handicap in the form of a number of goals advantage or disadvantage. The customer then backs the match result with the handicap in play from the start of the match. For example, Liverpool may be backed with a plus one advantage against Real Madrid. If the punter backed Madrid then they would have to win the game by two goals in order for the bet to be successful. This is because Liverpool essentially have a one goal head start for the purposes of the bet. Great value odds can be found in this market compared to in-play markets and match result markets, therefore substantial returns are possible once the concept of the handicap model is understood. Handicap betting is also a way to even up games where one side is the clear favourite as well as a way to combine markets; for example, if a side has a 0.5 goal start that is the same as the double result market for that team/draw.
- Scorecast – The customer is required to choose the first goalscorer and the correct score of the match in question. Offered by most bookies, this bet allows a punter to turn £1 into £150 in one bet…if they get really lucky. However, scorecast is offered by most bookies as they know punters rarely win them. Therefore, a scorecast should be seen as a bit of fun with low stakes, but it would be ill-advised to invest heavily in this market.