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Online Gambling Sites » Betting Guide » How does football betting actually work?

How does football betting actually work?

Publish Date: 20/08/2021
Fact checked by: Melissa Roy

Need football betting explained? Wondering how does football betting work? We are here to help. Football is the most popular sport in the world, and it’s largely for this reason that it’s also considered as one of the best sports for betting. It’s also popular due to the fact that it’s played all year round and offers a vast number of matches: on virtually any day of the year, you can place a wager on a football match, whether it’s a domestic, continental or international game. In this guide, we’ll aim to answer the question ‘How does football betting work?’

Football betting explained

At, we can reveal our pick of bookmakers who offer markets on thousands of football bets each and every single week. You can find the exact league or competition you want to place a bet on quickly and easily in these  sportsbooks. Not only do these sites cover the main European leagues, such as the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga, but they also offer bets on smaller divisions, as well as national cup competitions and, of course, the Champions League, World Cup and more! You can make single bets, doubles, trebles, accumulators and more, so unlike with some other sports you can customise your football bets to suit you!

But how does football betting work? Football is a sport with simple rules, but when it comes to betting, there are a plethora of different markets on offer. You can bet on the outcome of a football match and this is undoubtedly one of the most popular options for wagering for many punters. However, at we’ll help you find those bookmakers that offer lots of different bet types, including the correct amount of corners and cards, as well as the correct score. It’s also possible to bet on who you think will score the first goal in a game, as well as much, much more. In this section, we’ll delve further into the issue of ‘How does football betting work?’ by reviewing some of the most common football betting types you might come across.

Football match betting

Also referred to as a 1X2 bet, the match bet is the most common form of wager in football betting and, as you might guess, it involves placing a bet on the end result of a football match: either a home win (denoted as 1), a draw (X) or an away win (2). Typically, any online No.1 bookie will display their football match betting odds on their home page or the first page of their sportsbook, as it is what most regular football fans will find themselves interested in. The odds of a football match bet might look like this:

  • Manchester City: 1/7
  • Draw: 11/2
  • Schalke 04: 14/1

City are therefore heavy favourites for this match, with a Schalke 04 win and even a draw relatively unlikely.

What is a double chance bet?

We can’t have football betting explained without looking at double chance bets. If you’re less confident of the outcome of a single match, you might want to place a double chance wager . This is when you bet on two different outcomes occurring in a match, such as a home win and a draw. The odds, and therefore your likely payout, will reduce, but so will your risk.

So, using the example above, you could place a bet on Manchester City and Draw. You would, therefore, only lose the bet in this instance if Schalke 04 won. It’s also possible for you to place a bet on each team to win, meaning the bet would only lose if the match ended in a tie.

Asian Handicap betting is a good way of lengthening the odds in games which pose a mismatch between two teams. It usually involves giving a team a plus or minus goal headstart, meaning one of the teams has to win by two or more goals for the bet to be successful. The Asian Handicap is a specific form of handicap betting. With this type of bet, you have two possible choices and you can also bet on half or quarter lines, so, for example ‘Over/under 2.5 goals’, in which case you are betting on whether there will be more or fewer than three strikes in a game. Hopefully these examples will answer some basics of the question of ‘How does football betting work?’

Other over/under markets

In football, over/under markets don’t just apply to goals and we can have football betting explained by looking at other examples. For many matches nowadays, you can add to the thrill by betting on corners and cards. These types of bets tend to work along similar lines as those highlighted above, so you’ll usually bet on whether you think there will be more or less than 6.5 corner kicks or 3.5 yellow cards in a game and so on. However, you can also change the standard format of a bet. For example, the Asian handicap explained for the corners market, means that you won’t lose if both sides have an equal number of corners. These types of bets can also be combined into accumulators, of which we’ll talk more about below:

Accumulator bets are one of the most popular wagers placed by football punters. But how does football betting work for accumulators? They involve combining four or more football match bet selections in one bet. The odds for each selection roll over into the next, so if all your selections come in you could find yourself with a high return from a relatively low stake. Say, for example, you want to bet on Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle United and Bournemouth winning at the following odds:

  • Arsenal: 1.27
  • Chelsea: 1.78
  • Newcastle United: 2.03
  • Bournemouth: 2.78

With a $10 stake, you could stand to win a payout of $127.57 (and a profit of $117.57) if all your selections come in, which is far better than if you wagered on each game individually. By having football betting explained this way, you’ll see how there’s plenty to learn.

Singles, doubles and trebles

You may have heard the term ‘singles’, ‘doubles’ and ‘trebles’ also referred to when it comes to betting on football. So let’s have these options for football betting explained.

These simply refer to how many selections you place in your bet. A single bet will just be on one match, competition or player, whereas doubles and trebles combine two or three bets.

In wagers which involve multiple selections, it’s important to note that each needs to be successful for your overall bet to win.

How to understand football betting odds

The first thing many people ask when determining ‘How does football betting work?’ is ‘What do the odds mean?’ It’s vital to have a proper understanding of what betting odds signify, as only then can you really get a proper idea of how much you stand to win and how much money you’ll have to risk to gain it. In this section, we’ll talk you through two ways of displaying betting odds: decimal and fractional. It’s important to note that there is no real difference between the two in terms of how much you stand to win: they are simply two different ways of expressing the same thing.

We should have fractional odds for football betting explained with some examples. Fractional odds are displayed as follows: 5/1, 6/4, 20/1, 11/2 etc. The first number of the fraction denotes how much you will win, while the second stands for how much you stake. So, in the first example, you would have to bet $1 to win $5, in the second you would win $6 for every $4 staked and so on. Occasionally you’ll see odds displayed the ‘wrong way round’, so in the following format: 2/7, 4/11 etc. This is not an error: it simply means that the bookmaker thinks whatever you’re betting on is highly likely to happen. Lionel Messi might be 2/7 to score a goal at any time: this would mean that you would need to bet $7 just to win $2.

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Fact check

  • Decimal odds are the most commonly used in Canada, with fractional odds being more popular over the pond in the UK. In the United States, American odds, or the money line, tends to be the preferred option.
  • The money line is referred to as either positive or negative. Outcomes quoted next to a + symbol (e.g. New York Red Bulls +140) are outsiders, whereas those next to a – symbol (Los Angeles Galaxy -165) are the favourites.
  • A $100 bet on the Red Bulls would result in a payout of $140 if they won, but if Galaxy won, you’d need to wager $165 in order to receive $100.

What are decimal odds?

We can’t have football betting explained without including decimal odds. In many ways, decimal odds can be read as easier to understand than fractions. Sometimes, when comparing odds, it’s hard to deduce which fractional odds are better, but it’s very simple with decimal odds. Decimal odds are given as follows (using our same examples from above): 6.00, 2.50, 21.00, 6.50. To work out your winnings when placing a bet in the decimal format, you simply need to multiply your stake by the odds given. So, if you stake $10 on the 6.00 decimal odds, your payout would be $60.00. With decimal odds, your stake is automatically included in your returns, so your actual winnings would be $50.00 (payout minus stake).

As well as wagering on individual matches, bets on whole football tournaments are also popular with punters. But how does football betting work for tournaments? The most common is on the overall winner: so for Brazil to win the World Cup, Bayern Munich to win the Bundesliga and so on. However, you can also hone in on more specific bets, so what stage England will get to at the next European Championships, whether Japan will qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup and even who will finish bottom of the Scottish Premier League. The possibilities are endless! The downside of betting on individual tournaments as opposed to matches is that you often have to wait a long time for them to conclude.

Betting on individual players

It’s not just teams and competitions that you can bet on when it comes to football. You can also place a wager on individual players to win a variety of awards. So let’s have football betting explained for bets on players. A lot of these markets tend to be offered in the run-up to the nominations for the awards being announced, but some are open year-round, such as the Ballon d’Or (which is the award for the best football player in the world for that calendar year) and the Golden Boot (the accolade given to the top scorer of a particular league or tournament). You’ll often find that the odds for betting on individual awards are more generous than in terms of match betting, as there are a large number of players to choose from and who wins an award is often a matter of judges’ personal choice.

At, we’ll help you find those bookmakers that often run a number of special football betting markets, depending on the time of year and what is going on in the wider footballing world. You can, for example, bet on the Premier League manager you think will be sacked next, or which club you think the young superstar of the moment will sign for next. If a player transfer or a managerial move is close to completion, according to the press, you’ll often see that betting has been suspended, which means that the odds are so low it’s no longer worth the bookmaker offering a market.

Did you know?

  • One of the biggest sporting wins of recent years occurred in football in 2016, when a number of punters took a chance on 5,000/1 outsider Leicester City to win the Premier League.
  • The Foxes had finished 15th the previous season and after appointing Italian Claudio Ranieri as manager, were tipped by many to be relegated to the Championship.
  • However, after a great start, they romped to the title, finishing 10 points ahead of nearest challengers Arsenal to scoop one of the biggest shocks in football history.

What is cash out?

Cash out is a term you’ll come across often in football betting. But how does football betting work with cash outs? It denotes when the punter has decide to settle the bet themselves, and they can do this both before and during the game.Depending on the live odds being offered at the time of the bet being settle, you could make a profit when you cash out. Some players even decide to use this option even if they don’t make a profit in order to cut their losses.The majority of online bookmakers now offer the cash out function in order to give customers greater control over their bets. By having football betting explained for cash outs, you’ll enjoy much more flexibility with your soccer bets.

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Conclusion:  Hundreds of football markets to enjoy

We hope that we’ve had football betting explained clearly. As we’ve seen throughout this guide, the sport of football offers punters an almost inexhaustible range of different markets to bet on. Whether we’re in the middle of May, or the depths of December, you can almost guarantee that there will be a football fixture or competition somewhere that you can place a wager on. In each competition and, indeed, each match, there are an even wider variety of different types of bets, meaning the choice you have is almost endless.

To start betting on your favourite sport, simply sign up to one of our recommended bookmakers and use our football betting tips. As an online bookmaker legally operating in Canada, each of these bookmakers will provide you with hundreds of different betting markets, as well as free bet offers and more. With these sites, you can place bets on whatever league or competition you want, whether it’s our own MLS or one of the major leagues abroad, such as Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga or, of course, the Premier League. So hopefully you’ll no longer need to ask ‘How does football betting work?’ and can put down some great soccer bets.

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