How to Bet on Soccer – A Definitive Soccer Betting Tutorial

Soccer Ball IconNo matter what you call it, football, futbal, footie, or otherwise, soccer is one of the world's most successful sports, with billions of people watching league matches every year, and the planet practically coming to a standstill every four years to watch the World Cup. Soccer has staked its claim on every inhabited continent on the globe, and the sport only continues to grow in popularity as time marches forward. To date, there are dozens of popular leagues out there, like the Euro leagues, the Premier League, and even Major League Soccer (MLS). But soccer is big for another reason, and it has little to do with wanting to play the sport. It's about the gambling. Soccer is the most bet-on sport across the globe, and billions of dollars are wagered every month.

Knowing how to bet on soccer matches properly will be the difference between potentially winning big or losing big. Here is some key information to keep in mind when betting soccer.

A Brief Soccer Betting Tutorial

Knowing The Structure

There are three main betting types in soccer: The point spread, the moneyline, and the total (o/u). Let's take the first thing first – the point spread. This is simply the number of goals which oddsmakers predict a particular team will win by. So, let's say you have Arsenal playing Man U, and the oddsmakers feel comfortable that Arsenal has the better team this year. They may favor Arsenal by two goals, which would read thus: Arsenal -2: Man U +2. When you place a bet on Arsenal to cover, the team must win by 2 or more goals. If Man U covers, they can still lose but come within one goal, and you lose the bet. Often you will see a line that reads like this: Arsenal -2 (-115): Man U +2 (-105). The second set of numbers is a variation of a moneyline. This means you have to bet $115 to win $100. It's basically just a way for the oddsmakers to not only keep action even on both teams but also to cover their losses. If, for example, 90% of the action went to Arsenal and Arsenal won, the sportsbook would take a bath on losses with even money ($1 to win $2).

The moneyline in a soccer context is the bet that reads thus: Arsenal +135. What does this mean? It's simply a representation of what you win per $100 bet. So, basically, each dollar earns an extra 35%, or a bet of $100 will win $135. The positive numbers are typically for underdog teams, however; the minus side of the equation would be for better contenders, hence the book covering for its prospective losses. For instance, if you read this line: Arsenal -140. What does this mean? Well, it means you have to bet $140 to win $100, or, to put it another way, you're paying an extra 40% for every dollar won.

The total of a match, also called the over/under (O/U), is the third and final main betting structure in soccer. Using our two Premier League teams as examples again, let's look at a typical O/U line: Arsenal 2 ½ +120 over; Man U -150 under. This one looks more complicated, but it's actually quite simple. The first number, 2 ½, is the projected total number of goals in the game. So, betting the over, which would be the underdog bet, has a line of +120, or +20%. Remember, this means an underdog and will win more money. Whereas betting the under, which would be 2 goals, is the more likely predicted outcome, and so you're giving up 50% with the line of -150, meaning you have to bet $150 to win $100.

Look At Other Soccer Bets On The Card

Other than these three main betting types in soccer, you may also find different proposition bets, depending on which sportsbook you're betting with. Some of these bets include factors that don't necessarily speak to the outcome of the match. For instance, you can bet on who wins the coin toss at the start, which team scores the first goal, which player will score the most, the length of the match, etc.

Before you bet on anything in the soccer realm, make sure that you're familiar with the different types of bets. Take time to weigh the odds and try to make sure you have favorable odds before playing. Study the subject, bet responsibly, and remember that sports betting should be fun. This isn't about chasing instant riches.

If you are ready to make a bet, check out our list of legal USA soccer betting sites for the top rated bookmakers that are US friendly.