Football Betting

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The Evolution of Football Betting

Betfred in Cosham High StreetIn recent times, football has overtaken horse racing to become the most popular sport as far as gambling is concerned. But how has a sport with such humble beginnings with regards to betting come to be number one on the list?

As football began to grow through the 19th century, there were opportunities for betting on the games but many of the outlets were unlicensed and difficult to track down. Over time however, high street bookmakers became commonplace across the UK and it became much easier to place a bet ahead of a game.

Into the Grounds

At the football ground itself, there were bookmakers present at the games but the real boom in football betting came in the 1980’s.

With grounds setting aside areas for hospitality suites, major bookmakers saw an opportunity to hire these units while at the same time increasing their presence in all parts of the stadium itself. Suddenly, it seemed that soccer bookmakers were everywhere and they became far more accessible to the football fans in the stadium itself.

Digital Revolution

However, the major factor in football taking over from horse racing in terms of popularity has been the arrival and massive growth of the internet. At the time, many would be gamblers were still a little uneasy at the prospect of having to use a betting shop and despite these outlets best efforts, there was still a reluctance to use them.

All of a sudden, the internet meant that you could place a bet without even having to leave your home and as the network grew, an extensive selection of bookmakers became available. Over the years, new outlets have arrived and that has only added to the popularity of football as a betting sport.

Increasing Markets

Live BettingThe type of bets available had grown as well and whereas in the past, you could only speculate on a limited number of outcomes, suddenly you could bet on virtually any aspect of a football match. From the result itself, to the correct score and first goal scorer, you could now bet on the number of corners in a match and the number of red and yellow cards.

Bookmakers became more creative and began to develop a wide range of incentives to get you betting. Firstly, there was the free bet offer that enticed you to become a customer in the first place and then they introduced quirky bets where, for example, they would refund your money if a certain player scored.

The biggest development in recent years concerns betting in play where you can actually stake your money after a game has kicked off. Betting in play is great fun and it really tests your skill as an analyst to decide just how a game is developing. With this innovation, you can bet on the result, the time of the next goal, the next goal scorer and a whole host of other wagers at the same time.

The history of betting has evolved dramatically but in the last fifteen years it has exploded and from this point, it can only continue to grow. The question is, what new innovations will be introduced over the course of the next decade.

Football Betting Markets

Result Betting – 1X2 Betting

If you’re a newcomer to football betting then the easiest place to start is with the result market. Essentially, there are only three possible outcomes with a win for either team or maybe a share of the points so this is definitely the place to start.

Enhancing Your Chances

With any football bet, your chances of landing a profit will be greatly increased if you do plenty of research during a game. Which of the two teams is in form? Does one side have a really good record against the other and are there injuries or suspensions which could weaken either of the two squads?

These are the types of basic questions you should be asking yourself before you go ahead and add a selection to your betting slip. For a little advanced strategy, you can also follow the many pundits online, and in the printed media to see who has a greater success rate.


Draw no betOnce you become used to online football betting sites, you can look for slight variations on the result. For example, you could bet on the result after 45 minutes and this will need a little extra research to see which teams start a game strongly and which ones are a little slow out of the blocks.

As another alternative, you could go for a variant which is referred to as ‘draw no bet’. Here, the draw is taken out of the equation completely and if the scores are level at the end of the match, your stake will simply be refunded.

With the draw no bet option, odds on a win for either team may be reduced significantly but some professional gamblers use this system as they believe it can lead to an easy profit over the course of a season.


In many football fixtures, one side will be considerably stronger than the other, particularly in countries such as Spain where a small nucleus of teams – in this case Barcelona and Real Madrid – will dominate their league. This means that the odds on Barcelona to beat one of the lower ranked teams become so short that there’s no point getting involved.

There is a way of increasing these prices however and it’s known as Asian Handicap betting. With this option, you would give the weaker side a notional head start of one goal, two goals, three goals or more and the stronger side – in this case Barcelona – would have to win the game by a greater margin.

Under the Asian Handicap, odds for a win will increase but not all bookmakers have extensive markets for this so if you do want to get involved, you must choose your provider wisely.

Result betting is easiest way to get on board with online gaming but it remains popular with experienced punters who want to turn a quick and simple profit. You can also go beyond this most simple of methods with a range of options that can either increase or decrease your odds but whatever you choose, remember to do as much research and to look out for some expert opinion.

Correct Score Markets

Correct Score - Paddy PowerFootball’s correct score market may sound like a dangerous one to get involved with and while it can certainly be an unpredictable area, the potential rewards can be huge. Odds for the most common scorelines tend to start at around the 6/1 mark but can increase exponentially to the point where they can land some amazing returns.

The Risk Factor

Certain scorelines can attract odds of 100/1 and even more and while few people would have backed Manchester United and West Brom to draw 5-5 back in 2013, you do read stories of the occasional lucky punter who has scored big profits on the most outrageous results.

Coming back to earth however and for most of us, it’s going to be impossible to land or even want to call that type of scoreline. As an alternative, there are some more predictable profits to be had.

Having a System

Statistics show that the most common result is 2-1 to the team who is perceived as the stronger of the two. This type of result will attract odds at around 7/1 – 8/1 and it may be worth trialling this type of bet if you haven’t entered a correct score market before.

In fact, some online account holders will even base a system around this outcome and take a number of 2-1 single bets on any given weekend in the football calendar. Naturally there are no guarantees here so think very carefully before embarking on this type of ‘system’.

Past Performances

In the digital age, it’s easy to do your research and identify any patterns in matches between two sides. For example, a fixture between two particular teams may have finished 1-1 on four occasions out of the last six and while there are no guarantees once again, that type of stat can influence your thinking and potentially help you to land a profit.

Research on the current season is possibly more important as you’ll need to spot who is in form and scoring heavily over the course of the campaign. The loss of a prolific striker to injury or suspension can also have an impact as that will obviously affect the chances of one team finding the net.


Aside from the full time result, the majority of football bookies will allow you to bet on the correct score at half time. This may well be easier to predict as generally, the first 45 minutes of a game is more subdued as the pattern of play is established. Fewer goals come along and the half time scoreline should, in theory at least, be easier to predict.

Overall, perhaps the best way to tackle the correct score market is to treat it as a bit of fun. Maybe you won’t land a regular return but if you have a few pounds spare leading into a sporting weekend, perhaps a small bet on a scoreline at 15/1 or higher can increase your interest in a match and if it comes in, you’ve scored a very healthy profit.

Football Betting Goal Scorer Markets

Individual goal scorer markets are a popular part of anyone’s betting strategy and although they can be notoriously tough to predict, they can be very lucrative at the same time. We all have our favourite footballers who we like to follow but what bets can you take within these markets and how can you harness your research to help you turn a profit?

First and Last

goalThe first goal scorer and last goal scorer betting always carries the higher risk and therefore the higher prices. In form strikers will carry the lower odds but naturally they will give you more consistent returns and if, for example, you had followed Luis Suarez in 2013-14 or Sergio Aguero at the start of the 2014-15 campaign, you would have enjoyed regular profits.

As an alternative to the main centre forwards, have a look at the players further down the pitch. Who takes a team’s set pieces – free kicks and, more importantly, penalties? Men such as Steven Gerrard of Liverpool and Everton’s Leighton Baines, are a constant threat from dead ball situations and they will command much higher prices in the goal scorer betting.


The anytime goal scorer market of football betting sites is essentially self explanatory. Here, you can back your chosen player to find the net but their strike can come at any point in the 90 minutes, plus injury time, of the selected match.

He doesn’t have to score either the first or last goal and while odds for this bet are naturally shorter, many punters prefer this as it is a much safer option. Once again, you could take a prolific centre forward and if they are on form they can provide some regular returns but don’t forget those outside punts that score more than their fair share over the course of a campaign.


In addition to the single goal markets, it should be possible to bet on many of the players to score twice or three times in a given match. This type of bet isn’t necessarily made available for defenders but top strikers and potent midfield players should always be listed.

Obviously these are going to drop in on rare occasions but a prolific scorer against one of the weaker sides in the division may stand a good chance of finding the net more than once.

Team Goals Markets

Individual goal scorer markets are always popular among the football betting fraternity but focussing on team goals can also bring its rewards. Team goal bets will generally attract smaller prices and in many cases these can be at an odds on figure but some solid research can help to turn a consistent profit over the course of a season.

The Options

There are a number of different alternatives to consider but the most obvious of these are the total goals markets. These will start at the 0.5 line where one single goal can secure a profit and they can climb, depending on the bookmaker, up to 8.5 and beyond.

Naturally, you won’t receive too much by way of a profit if you bet over the 0.5 line but the more you extend that punt, the better your odds will be. The 2.5 bet is felt to be an average and is certainly the most popular so if you feel that a game will yield at least three goals, this is a good place to start. Don’t forget, you can also back under those individual goal lines.

No bet is safe but this is certainly one area where studying form and stats will give you an edge. Does either team carry an in form striker, is there a history of goal-laden games between the two sides? Information such as this is readily available across the internet so make use of it and you can give yourself a better chance of beating the odds.

Variations of Team Goals Markets

The examples that we’ve used concentrate on the full time result and the goals scored by both teams will count towards the overall result. However, there are variations on this theme which will be a little more risky, but will increase the odds and your potential to return a better profit.

For example, you can take the combined teams’ total goals bet and apply this to either half. So, backing over 2.5 can take place in either the first or the second period and the odds will be higher. In addition, you can increase the risk further by betting on how many goals one team will score in 45 or 90 minutes. There are plenty of variants and once again, researching the stats could help you to gain an edge.

Statistics based websites will show if a team is more potent in the first or second half and often, sides don’t start to find the net until the last 45 minutes. Study this type of information and you can definitely help to tip the odds in your favour.

Finally, the both teams to score bet is arguably the most popular of all and it’s a completely self-explanatory option. Alternatively, you can bet on either the home or the away team as the only side to find the net.

Study form to aid you and look out too for promotions centred around the team goals market as these appear quite regularly from various bookies to give you the chance of enhanced odds or perhaps even free bet, money back specials across this type of punt.

Discipline Markets

As the demand for online betting has increased, so has the number of available markets for anyone wanting to get involved and now there is a range of options surrounding red and yellow cards. This is a fun, and certainly interesting set of side bets and it’s one where research can prove a very profitable ally.

Card Happy

The most obvious and popular bet within the discipline area is to speculate on the amount of yellow cards and on whether one or more reds will be issued in the course of a match, but how can you harness that research to give yourself an advantage?

Statistics will show that certain referees are far more ‘card happy’ than others and while some officials are happy to overlook a number of tackles and let the game flow, others appear to blow up for every offence, no matter how minor.

There are websites out there that can help you identify who those referees are and that can help the odds in any discipline market to work in your favour as it should increase the likelihood of more yellow cards and a possible red.

Bad Blood

Certain fixtures can also produce more cards than others and this is another area where research can give you a better chance of beating the odds. Local derby games are a good example of occasions where crowds can be hostile, players can react to that hostility and in turn, ill feeling can turn into a match where yellow and red cards appear in abundance.

But it doesn’t have to be a local derby, although these are certainly worth looking out for. Sometimes, even the most innocuous looking fixture can display bad blood between the two sides which leads to a rash of indiscipline and a glut of cards which give you a healthy profit. Naturally, there are no guarantees but if there is a bit of ‘history’ between two teams or two individual players, it’s worth considering a bet.

Market Alternatives

On occasions, there can be red card markets that are aimed at one individual player. These will depend on the game involved and it could be restricted to individual bookmakers but it’s worth looking out for.

In addition, discipline markets can be released ahead of a big tournament such as the World Cup or the European Championships. Here, the popular bet involves deciding on which team will receive the most reds or yellows in the competition.

You can also speculate on who will receive the earliest yellow card in terms of minutes from the first whistle. Once again, all of these options can be tricky to predict but a glance at discipline records from previous tournaments can help to give the punter an advantage.

All of these options can also be applied to in play betting and they can certainly be a fun way to enhance your overall strategy. Whatever market you choose, research is vital if you are looking to beat the football bookies and turn a regular profit based on yellow and red cards.

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