There’s so many football betting markets to choose from that it can be overwhelming for beginners.
In this post I explain how the majority football bet types work.
1×2 / Full Time Result /Match Result / Match Odds
Bookmakers give different names to the classic — and still most popular — “1×2” football betting market. For a 1×2 bet, you select one of three outcomes:
- Home win (“1”)
- Away win (“2”), or
- The Draw (“X”)
Remember that the home team in football (soccer) is always listed first. So if the fixture is “Man United v Arsenal”, then United are playing at home.
You win your 1×2 bet by selecting the correct outcome from the three available. Winning bets are decided after 90 minutes + stoppage time. Any extra time or penalties (during cup fixtures) are off the records.
Double Chance allows you to back more than one outcome from the 1×2 market at once. It’s basically two bets merged into one.
You win your Double Chance bet if one of the two outcomes you selected was correct. This will give you a better strike rate — but the payouts aren’t as big as other (riskier) markets.
Your options are as follows:
- “1x” — the Home team and the Draw
- “12” — the Home team and the Away team
- “x2” — the Draw and the Away team.
Note that Double Chance doesn’t simply split your stake equally (like an Each Way bet in Horse Racing) over two 1×2 outcomes, as this would give you two different profit scenarios (depending on which outcome wins). Instead it gives you one price that equals out the potential winnings for either scenario. For example, an x2 bet makes the exact same profit for a Draw and Away win.
Admittedly, sometimes the Bookmaker will offer better value for you to place two bets individually in the 1×2 market than the Double Chance market, and vice versa. But you’ll need to calculate your stakes and potential winnings to be certain of that. You can use a Double Chance Calculator.
Both Teams to Score
This football betting market gives a simple “Yes” or “No” selection:
- “Yes” — both teams to score
- “No” — all other outcomes (neither team scores, only one team scores)
There’s nothing more to it!
Goalscorer betting markets are fairly intuitive. They enable punters to bet on individual players to score a goal in a game (but own goals don’t count!).
Strikers tend to be favourites to score. Other players, such as defenders, tend to be complete outsiders.
There are variations on goalscorer markets:
- “Anytime Scorer” — bet on a certain player to score in the game, no matter when.
- “First Scorer” — bet on a certain player to score the first goal in the game.
- “Last Scorer” — bet on a certain player to score the last goal in the game.
- “To Score 2/3/4…” — bet on a certain player to score at least two/three/four/more times in the match. Scoring more goals than the amount you’ve selected will still win the bet.
It’s worth noting that Bookmakers have different terms for when your chosen goal scorer doesn’t feature in the game (e.g. not selected, injured, ill, banned). Some Bookies will refund your stake, others will count it as a loss.
The Correct Score football market is for betting on what the score will be in a match. You select from a list of common results.
Always keep in mind that the most common outcome for professional football games tends to be lower scoring results — such as 1-0 or 2-1. But the most likely outcome always depends on the two teams, how closely matched they are, and how they tend to play.
Winning a Correct Score bet is a lot tougher than many other bet types. It’s difficult to predict. That’s why many scorelines will pay out much more than standard 1×2 market winning bets.
To win a Total Goals bet you have to predict the range of goals scored in a match. For example, your options could be:
- 0-1 goals
- 2-3 goals
- 4-6 goals
- 7+ goals.
Some Bookmakers tighten ranges (e.g. changing 4-6 goals to 4-5), which makes it less likely to strike a win. But the odds will be higher on those cases, of course.
There’s a multitude of factors you could consider in making a Total Goals bet. As a punter you need to assess the fixture on an individual basis. For example, two highly defensive and evenly matched teams may make for a low scoring game. Two very attacking teams — or a potentially one-sided fixture — could make for a lot of goals.
Over/Under football markets enable punters to bet on a particular number of goals in a game, without needing to be specific about the scoreline. The most popular Under/Over market is “Over/Under 2.5 goals”.
If you place a bet on “Under 2.5 goals” in the match between Arsenal and Chelsea, then scorelines of 0-0, 1-0, 0-1, 1-1, 2-0, and 0-2 are all winning outcomes (as they each have less than 2.5 goals). The bet loses for any other scoreline.
Over/Under markets are listed with decimal representations like 2.5 so that all possible scorelines are included. A whole number market, like “Under 2 goals”, would mean that a 1-1 draw would be disregarded entirely as it has neither over or under 2 goals; it has 2 goals exactly. Decimals avoid this problem.
This bet type is the same as the 1×2 market except the bet is settled at the end of the first half. You select Home, Draw, or Away. The HT score decides whether your bet wins or loses.
For example, if you back the Home team to win and the HT score is 1-0, your bet wins.
There’s also a Double Chance HT result, which allows you to pick two of the possible HT outcomes at reduced odds. See “Double Chance” above to recap on how that works.
Half Time/Full Time Result
A HT/FT Result bet is a combination of the HT market and regular 1×2 market. To win a HT/FT bet you must correctly predict the outcome (Home, Draw, or Away) at both Half Time and Full Time.
If you bet on a Draw at HT and Home win at FT, your bet would be represented as “X1”. A winning outcome could therefore be 1-1 at HT, 3-1 at FT, for instance. Other bets you could have made are: 1/1, 1/X, 1/2, X/X, X/2, 2/1, 2/2 and 2/X.
The Half Time/Full Time combination is difficult to predict, as there’s two parts you need to get right. But the lower chance of winning is of course reflected in higher payouts.
Draw No Bet
The Draw No Bet market reduces games down to just two outcomes — Home and Away win. With only two options, the Draw is eliminated. So if the draw occurs, any stakes you placed on this market are refunded back to your account.
Some punters like this market because it saves the potential disappointment of a draw. The trade-off is that the odds you accept on either team will be much lower than if you backed them in the standard, riskier, 1×2 market.
Surprisingly, there’s a ton of Corners markets to choose from. Here’s some examples:
- “Most corners” — bet on which team will get the most corners
- “Between X-Y corners” — bet on the total number of corners being between a particular range (e.g. 5-10)
- “Under/Over/Exactly X corners” — bet on there being under/over/equal to a given number of corners in a game (e.g. 10).
- “First half corners” / “Second half corners” — bet on how many corners will happen per one half of the game.
- “First team to reach X corners” — bet on a race between the two teams, where the winner is the first to a total number of team corners (e.g. 5)
- “Time of first corner” — bet on specific timings relating to corners.
Corners can also involve an Asian Handicaps (which I get onto further down this post).
Bookmakers build a lot of bets around the excitement of Yellow/Red Cards.
The most popular Cards market is “Number of Cards in Match”. Bookies set an estimated total for the number of Cards to be shown, and punters can bet on whether the final total will be Over or Under that amount. Usually you’ll see the market “2.5 Cards” — although it could be much higher for some fixtures (e.g. derbies).
There’s a number of other Cards markets, such as:
- Which team will receive the most bookings
- Number of cards for each team
- Whether a red card will be shown for a specific team..
- In a particular half (1st or 2nd)
- At a particular time.
Bookmakers offer odds on penalties taking place, and being scored. These tend to be in a standard Yes/No format, such as penalty…
- …to be scored?
- …to be missed?
- …to be the 1st goal?
You can sometimes specify the team, too. For example “Penalty to be scored by Team X?” or “Penalty to be missed by Team Y?”.
Penalty bets tend to be unpredictable. Even with VAR watching over the games, there’s still not that many penalties to begin with — let alone scored/missed.
Combo bets combine two (and in some cases more) football bets. Combining bets ups the risk, as you need to correctly predict all parts to win. Payouts are therefore bigger.
Popular Combo bets for football include:
- Winner & Both Teams to Score
- Total Goals & Both Teams to Score
- Winner & Number of Goals
- Correct Score Half Time/Full Time
There’s also another popular Combo known as a Scorecast — where you predict which player will score the first goal and what the final score will be at full time. Variations such as “anytime & final score”, or “first scorer & winner” exist, too.
European Handicaps are the simplest of the football betting handicaps.
The ‘handicap’, is basically a goal advantage given to one of the teams (e.g. -1/-2/-3 etc) at the kick off. Punters can then bet on any of the usual three outcomes of the game.
For example, EH -1 for Arsenal at home against Everton means the game starts at 0-1 for the visitors. So Everton have a theoretical 1 goal head start.
The point of the handicap is to reduce the superiority of one team, giving bettor’s a fresh outlook on the fixture. Handicapped favourites need to prove their superiority to win — which gives more chance to the weaker opponent. This has the effect of evening out the odds in those uneven fixtures, rather than backing the extremes the favourite at low odds or the underdog at high odds in the standard 1×2 market.
Handicaps can be a interesting bet type for FA cup ties, when lower league teams face a Premier League opposition.
Asian Handicaps (AH) are basically a variation on European Handicaps (EH). The same principles apply.
The main difference is that Asian Handicaps reduce football games down to only two outcomes (win and lose). You can’t back the draw. And if the market enables a Handicap draw, then the bettor’s stake is refunded. Imagine the following Asian Handicap applied to a Premier League fixture:
- Liverpool (-2)
- Watford (+2)
If Liverpool win the match by exactly two goals, all bettors would have their stake returned — because the handicap would create an equal number of goals for both teams. So to prevent draws, Asian Handicaps are mostly quoted in half-goals.
Asian Handicap markets require a sharp insight into the superiority of one team against another. But they offer far more value to punters than many popular markets — so it’s well worth exploring.
To learn more, check out this informative article on each of the Asian Handicap Bet Types.