How To Bet On Football


The sports betting industry is worth billions of pounds and football is one of the most popular sports to bet on. In the bettingexpert football betting guide we'll show you how to maximise your chances of making money betting on football. Whether you're placing your first football bet or a seasoned veteran, our detailed guide will enhance your chances of earning genuine profits from your football betting.

Betting On Football: An Introduction

The popularity of football betting has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks mainly to the ever increasing number of online bookmakers. There are literally hundreds of football matches to bet on every week right across the globe, with bookmakers now offering odds on a broad diversity of leagues, from English Premier League games to the Venezuelan Primera Division, from the UEFA Champions League to the AFC Asian Cup.

With hundreds of football betting markets available it can be difficult to know where to begin. The bettingexpert How To Bet On Football guide has been written with both the novice and experienced football bettor in mind. Our guide will show you that through the application of both sound betting theory and football betting strategies designed to spot value betting opportunities, you can make consistent profits betting on football.


1 - Betting On Football Online
2 - Football Betting Odds Explained
3 - Value Football Betting
4 - Football Bets Explained
5 - How To Bet On Football And Win
6 - Football Betting Calculator Spreadsheet
7 - Where Can You Bet On Football
8 - Football Betting Offers
9 - Football Live Streaming
10 - How To Follow Football Betting Tips
11 - Summary


1. Betting On Football Online

If you're new to football betting it's best to start betting on the leagues you are most familiar with, the leagues you know the most about and where news and information is easily accessible to you. In Britain, the most popular leagues to bet on are of course the top four divisions of English football: the Premier League, the Championship, League One and League Two. The Scottish Premier League is also quite popular to bet on in the UK.

Top European leagues also attract great sums of betting money. These leagues include Spain's La Liga, Italy's Serie A, France's Ligue 1 and Germany's Bundesliga. These leagues possess some of the world's most famous and successful football clubs. Clubs such as Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint Germain, Bayern Munich to name but a few.

But football betting isn't just about the big leagues. Most bookmakers now offer odds on football matches from leagues far and wide. For bettors with a deep knowledge and access to information relating to what may be considered more obscure leagues, value football betting can produce tremendous profits.

Football betting does not merely begin and end with domestic league play. There are major tournaments and competitions that are extremely popular to bet on as well. Club tournaments such as the English FA Cup, UEFA Champions League and Europa League; not to mention international tournaments such as the World Cup, European Championships, Copa America and so on.

Top 10 Football Leagues To Bet On

LeagueBetting info
English Premier League 20 teams. 380 matches each season.
English Championship 24 teams. 552 matches + 5 playoff matches each season.
Spanish La Liga 20 teams. 380 matches each season.
Italian Serie A 20 teams. 380 matches each season.
French Ligue Un 20 teams. 380 matches each season.
German Bundesliga 18 teams. 306 matches each season.
UEFA Champions League 32 teams. 125 matches (excl. qualifying rounds) each season.
UEFA Europa League 20 teams. 204 matches (excl. qualifying rounds) each season.
Scottish Premiership 12 teams. 198 matches + 20 playoff matches each season.
Dutch Eredivisie 18 teams. 306 matches + 5 playoff matches each season.

Where To Bet On Football Online?

Selecting which leagues and tournaments that you want to bet on is just the beginning. From there it's a matter of choosing a bookmaker (or bookmakers) for your football betting. Fortunately there are dozens of bookmakers for you to choose from, offering hundreds of football betting markets week on week across the course of the football season. Deciding which bookmaker best suits your football betting needs is a question that we will focus our attention on later in this guide. For now, let's focus on how to make money betting on football.


2. Football Betting Odds Explained

To make consistent profits when betting on football it's vital you understand the odds on offer. The most traditional way of expressing football betting odds in the UK is what are known as Fractional Odds. For example 2/1, 6/4, 9/2. Decimal Odds (also known as European odds), are becoming increasingly popular with many bettors finding decimal odds easier to understand than traditional fractional odds. Decimal odds are presented as 3.00, 2.50 and 5.50 etc.

How Do Football Betting Odds Work?  

So how much will you win if your football bet wins? Let's start with decimal odds. Decimal odds show how much your return would be if you were to bet £1 at those odds. So for example, a win at odds of 3.00 would make your total return £3. This return includes the £1 that your bet. So the profit from your winning football bet would be £3 minus the £1 you bet, leaving a total profit of £2.

Likewise, the fractional odds of 2/1 show that if you were to place a £1 bet you would make a profit of £2.

Decimal Odds Example: West Ham vs Manchester City

Let's consider an example, first with decimal odds. West Ham are hosting Manchester City in the Premier League.

For decimal odds, this is a very simple calculation:

Your Profit = (Stake * Decimal Odds) - Stake

So let’s say that we have placed a £20 bet on West Ham to win their upcoming game vs Manchester City at odds of 3.50. How much profit will you make on your bet if West Ham wins?

Your Profit = (£20 * 3.50) - £20
Your Profit = (£70) - £20
Your Profit = £50

So in our example we would make a profit of £50 on our £20 bet if West Ham wins the match. All very simple.

Fractional Odds Example: West Ham vs Manchester City

Let's consider another example, this time with fractional odds. We will use the same match again, West Ham hosting Manchester City in the Premier League.

For fractional odds, again it's a simple calculation:

Your Profit = (Stake / Denominator) * Numerator) 

The numerator is the first figure in any presentation of fractional odds. So in this example, West Ham are at odds of 5/2. The numerator is then 5. The denominator is then 2.

So let’s consider our previous example and say that we have placed a £20 bet on West Ham to win their upcoming game vs Manchester City at odds of 5/2. How much profit will you make on your bet if West Ham wins?

Your Profit = (£20 / 2) * 5) 
Your Profit = £10 * 5
Your Profit = £50

So just as in our decimal odds example, we would make a profit of £50 on our £20 bet if West Ham wins the match. Aagain, simple.

Football Betting Odds And Their Implied Probability

Understanding how one odds format converts to another is fairly simple. For example 2/1 fractional odds becomes 3.00, 6/4 converts to 2.50 and 9/2 converts to 5.50. The video below explains.

But what is even more crucial to successful football betting is in understanding the probabilities behind the odds on offer. Why? Because value football betting (as we will discuss shortly) is very much a product of understanding betting odds and the probability that they reflect.

Converting Decimal Odds

To convert decimal odds to their implied probabilities we use a simple formula. Let's for the purposes of illustration, use our West Ham vs Manchester City example again. West Ham are at odds of 3.50 to defeat Manchester City. Based on the odds we are being offered, what are the chances that West Ham will win the match?

Implied probability = 1 / decimal odds
Implied probability = 1 / 3.50 = 0.2857

Multiplied then by 100 to express as the implied probability as a percentage, we see that the odds of 3.50 suggest West Ham are a  28.57% chance of winning the match.

Converting Fractional Odds

Now let's look at how to convert fractional odds to their implied probability. Again, let's use the example of West Ham at odds of 5/2 to defeat Manchester City.

Implied probability = denominator / (denominator + numerator)
Implied probability = 2 / (2 + 5) = 2 / 7 = 0.2857

Multiplied then by 100 to express this implied probability as a percentage, and we see that the odds of 5/2 suggest there is a 28.57% chance that West Ham will win the match.

Further Reading

There is much more to understanding betting odds than what we have time available in this guide. However to learn more about betting odds, implied probability and bookmaker margins, please read the following articles:

How To Convert Odds
How To Calculate Bookmaker Margins
How To Calculate Betting Commission


3. Value Football Betting

The key to making consistent profits from your football bets (or betting on any other sports for that matter) is in finding what we call value bets. A value bet is when we believe that the chances of a particular event happening are higher than what the odds suggest. It cannot be expressed clearly enough. You should only bet when there is betting value. This is why understanding the implied probability reflected in football betting odds is so important to understand. Why is it so important? Let us repeat ourselves to make it clear - we should only bet when we believe the chances of a particular event happening are greater than what the odds on offer reflect.

An Example: Liverpool vs Sunderland

Value football betting is where your knowledge of football comes into play. Let's consider two Premier League clubs in this example, Liverpool at home to Sunderland. The bookies are offering the following odds for the match result market:

  • Liverpool 1.50
  • Draw 4.50
  • Sunderland 6.50

We are keen Premier League viewers and have undertaken additional research on these two clubs including the possible team line ups for this game, knowing that Liverpool will be without their leading goalscorer and their best defender. We also know that Sunderland need a win to avoid relegation and their leading goalscorer will be starting this match after a couple of weeks rest. We have also taken a close look at some football data and have seen that Liverpool tend to underperform when expected to cruise to a comfortable victory at home.

Given all of this information we believe that Sunderland have a good chance of winning this game, making the odds of 6.50 well worth a bet. The odds suggest that Sunderland are a 15.4% chance to win. We believe their chances, will still slight, are closer to 20%. This is a value bet because we believe the chances of Sunderland winning are greater than those reflected in the odds being offered.

Calculating A Football Value Bet

As discussed, the odds of Sunderland winning the match are 6.50, which means there is a 15.4% implied probability of them winning. But through our knowledge and analysis, we believe Sunderland's chances are greater than that, we believe that they have a 20% chance of winning.

We calculate betting value with the following formula:

Value = (Decimal odds * Our Assessed Probability) - 1

So in our example, we have Sunderland at odds of 6.50 and our assessed probability of them winning is 20%. Do we have a value bet?

Value = (6.50 * 0.20) - 1
Value = 1.30 - 1
Value = +0.30

When the calculation provides as with a + figure, we have a value bet. In this case we believe Sunderland are an excellent value bet at +30%. If the calculation returns a figure equal to or below 0, there is no betting value and we should not place a bet.

The point should be clear. To be a successful long term football bettor, it's important to expand your knowledge of both football the game, while likewise expanding your knowledge of football betting markets. Developing both in unison will enhance your ability to recognise football betting value.

How Much Should You Bet?

Now we come to the topic of sound staking. The main purpose of betting is to make money. Yes, some people bet just for a bit of fun and that's fine, but here we're interested in earning genuine profits from our football betting.

However, regardless of whether you intend to be a serious football bettor or a fan who enjoys a punt on the weekend, there are three crucial things to remember when it comes to your staking:

  • only bet what you can afford to lose
  • never chase losses
  • don't up your stakes when on a winning or losing run

The topic of calculating the perfect bet stake and bankroll management is a topic that requires deeper discussion that what is available in this guide. To learn more about value betting, staking strategies and bankroll management please read the following articles.

How To Find Value Bets
How To Calculate The Kelly Criterion
How To Manage Your Betting Bankroll


4. How To Bet On Football Matches

A common question, especially from those new to football betting is 'What's the best way to bet on football?' There is no simple answer to this question. What suits one football bettor may not suit another. It all comes down to what works best for you. The good news is that most bookmakers offer a broad range of football betting markets for you to exploit through analysis and hard earned experience. Football betting odds are available on almost everything you can imagine, from manager sackings to how many corners in a game, from the time of the first throw-in to who gets relegated. Let's begin by looking at the most popular football betting markets:

4.1 Match Result 1X2

If you're asking 'How can I bet on football teams?', the match result is the most common answer. Match result betting is often referred to as 1X2 betting, with the 1 signifying one team (usually the home club), the X signifying the Draw and the 2 signifying the opposing team (usually the away club). Match result is the most common form of football betting (along with Asian handicaps).

Below we can see an example of 1X2 betting at bet365 for an upcoming Premier League match between Burnley and Swansea. We can see that Burnley are the home team (1) at odds of 2.50, the draw (X) is at odds of 3.25 while Swansea are the away team(2) at odds of 2.80

1X2 football odds

It's important to note, that when betting in knockout tournaments, there is often the potential for extra time to be played. If this is the case, 1X2 betting only covers the regulation 90 minutes. If you have bet on the match to end in a draw, then your bet is a winner even though extra time will be played. If you have bet on either team to win and the game goes into extra time, your bet is lost. 

4.2 Asian Handicap

Another popular way of betting on football is the Asian Handicap (AH) market. In recent years the popularity of Asian handicap betting has exploded with tens of thousands of pounds being bet on football handicaps everywhere weekend. To the uninitiated, Asian Handicap betting can appear a little complicated at first glance. The video below provides a basic introduction:

To put it simply, Asian Handicaps give both teams a goals handicap, either a goals advantage (+) or a goals deficit (-),.

Below we can see an example of an Asian Handicap betting market, with odds at BetVictor for an upcoming match between Arsenal and Liverpool. Arsenal have a handicap of -0.5 goals while Liverpool have a handicap of +0.5 goals. What does this mean? It means that if you bet on Arsenal -0.5 goals, Arsenal must win the match for you to win your bet. On the other hand if you bet on Liverpool, then either a Liverpool win or a draw will be enough for you to win your bet. 

Asian handicap football odds

The easiest way to understand handicap betting is to take the full time result and adjust the scoreline to incorporate each team's handicap. If a team has a minus handicap (as Arsenal does in the above example) we deduct that handicap from their fulltime score. If they still lead after the handicap has been deducted, then that is a winning handicap bet.

On the other hand, if a team has a positive handicap (as Liverpool does), then we simply add the handicap to their fulltime score. If they then lead after the handicap has been added, then that is the winning handicap bet.

Calculating Asian Handicaps: Two Examples

So let's say you have bet on Arsenal with the -0.5 handicap. The fulltime result is Arsenal  2, Liverpool 1. Is your handicap bet on Arsenal a winner? We simply deduct Arsenal's -0.5 goal handicap and we have an adjusted scoreline of Arsenal 1.5, Liverpool 1. With their -0.5 goal handicap deducted, Arsenal still "win" the match by half a goal. In this case, your handicap bet on Arsenal is a winner.

But what if we bet on Liverpool with the +0.5 goal handicap? In this example, let's then say that the match ended in a draw 2-2. Is our Liverpool handicap bet a winner? We add the +0.5 goal handicap to Liverpool's score, giving us an adjusted scoreline of Arsenal 2, Liverpool 2.5. With this adjusted scoreline, Liverpool "wins", meaning our handicap bet on Liverpool is a winning wager. 

Asian handicap betting is a great way to bet on football, making even the most lopsided contest suddenly a thrilling match, not to mention the potential to find hidden value in football betting markets.

There is also the possibility of betting on what are known as Quarter Asian Handicaps. 

To learn more about Asian Handicap betting, please read our guide to calculating Asian Handicaps.

4.3 Goal Total Over/Under

Betting on goals over/under is another very popular form of football betting. Over Under betting doesn't require you to pick the result of a particular game, but rather to determine whether a game will have over or under a certain number of goals. The standard bet is 2.5 goals, though some bookmakers will offer anywhere from the 0.5 goal line up to 7.5 goals.

Below we can see an example of an Over Under 2.5 goals betting market, with odds at Paddy Power for an upcoming match.

over under odds

As you can see, Over Under betting is one of the simplest forms of betting. If you bet on Over 2.5 goals, then so long as there are a minimum of 3 goals scored in the match, you're a winner. If the match ended with 2 goals or fewer, then your Over 2.5 goals bet is lost. If you bet on Under 2.5 goals, then your bet is a winner so long as there are a maximum of 2 goals scored in the match. Any more and your bet is lost.

The table below shows the winning results based on basic Over Under goal total lines and the total number of goals socred in a match. 

Over Under0 Goals1 Goal2 Goals3 Goals4 Goals5 Goals6 Goals
0.5 goals Under Over Over Over Over Over Over
1.5 goals Under Under Over Over Over Over Over
2.5 goals Under Under Under Over Over Over Over
3.5 goals Under Under Under Under Over Over Over
4.5 goals Under Under Under Under Under Over Over

Full Goal Over Under Lines

There are also Full Over Under lines. An example would be Over Under 3 goals. If you bet on the Over, then you require at least 4 goals to be scored in the match for your bet to win. If you bet on the Under, then you require a maxium of just 2 goals to be scored for your bet to win. If the match ends with exactly 3 goals scored, your bet will be voided and your stake refunded.

The table below shows the winning results based on full goal Over Under lines and the number of goals scored in a match.

Over Under0 Goals1 Goal2 Goals3 Goals4 Goals5 Goals6 Goals
1 goal Under Refund Over Over Over Over Over
2 goals Under Under Refund Over Over Over Over
3 goals Under Under Under Refund Over Over Over
4 goals Under Under Under Under Refund Over Over
5 goals Under Under Under Under Under Refund Over

Quarter Over Under Lines

Although not as common as Asian Handicaps, there are also Quarter Over Under lines. An example would be a line of Over Under 2.75 goals. Just like Quarter Asian Handicaps, this can be consider a 'split bet'. So if you bet on Over 2.75 goals, your bet is split into two halves, with half of your stake on Over 2.5 goals, and the other half stake on Over 3 goals (and conversely if you bet on Under 2.75 goals). In this instance, if you bet on the Over 2.75 goals, then so long as there are 4 goals scored, your bet is a winner. If the match ends with 3 goals scored, you will win your Over 2.5 goals half bet with the other half bet on Over 3 goals beng refunded. If you had bet on Under 2.75 goals, then so long as there are just 2 goals or fewer, your bet wins. If there are 3 goals scored, you would lose your Under 2.5 half bet, while your Under 3 goals half bet would be refunded.

To learn more about Over Under betting, please read our guide to betting on Over/Unders.

4.4 Both Teams To Score

Both Teams To Score (BTTS) betting is another market gaining in popularity. This bet type is a simple proposition bet and doesn't require you to predict the winner of the match. You can bet on both teams in a given match to score at least one goal (YES), or bet on only one team  / neither team to score (NO).

both teams to score odds

Above we can see an example of a Both Teams To Score betting market, with odds listed by Ladbrokes. You can bet on either Yes, both yeams will score or No, they will not both score. So a simple exampel would be a match in the Premier League between Manchester City and Tottenham. If you bet on Yes, both teams will score, your bet is a winner so long as both teams get on the scoreboard. What the fulltime result is does not matter. All we care about is both teams scoring. If you bet on No, both teams will not score, then your bet is a winner so long as only one team or neither team scores.

An additional market is the 1X2 Result AND Both Teams To Score market. This market is popular with longer odds on offer as you must predict both the fulltime result  and whether or not both teams will score a goal or not.

4.5 Draw No Bet

Draw No Bet (DNB) is another intriguing market on offer. Draw No Bet simply means you place a bet on one team to win the match and if the game finishes as a draw you will have your stake refunded (i.e there is no bet).

Below you can see an example of a Draw No Bet market with odds listed at bet365 for an upcoming match between Chelsea and West Ham:

Draw No Bet odds 

It's a fairly simple bet as you can see. You can bet on either Chelsea or West Ham to win the match, with your stake protected should the match end in a draw. With the potential for a draw eliminated from the market, the odds are lower than if you bet on either team in the 1X2 match result market.

4.6 Double Chance

A Double Chance bet allows you to bet on two out of the three possible outcomes of a football match in one bet. In a Double Chance bet, you can bet on the following fulltime result combinations:

  • Home Win / Draw
  • Away Win / Draw
  • Home Win / Away Win

Below we can see an example of a Double Chance betting market, with odds at Paddy Power for an upcoming match between Manchester City and Borussia Dortmind.

Double chance odds

As with the Draw No Bet market, the odds offered on Double Chance are typically far lower than if you were to bet on just one result, as with Double Chance your bet is covering a combination of two possible results.

4.7 First Goalscorer

A First Goalscorer bet is an incredibly popular bet. First Goalscorer betting simply involves picking a player and betting on them to score the first goal of a given match. Below we can see an example of a First Goalscorer betting market, with odds at BetVictor for an upcoming match:

first goalscorer odds

It's important to note that if you pick a player to score first and they don't start the match, i.e. they're a substitute, your stake will be refunded if a goal is scored before they enter the pitch. It's also worth noting that you can actually bet on No Goalscorer, which is essentially the same as betting on a 0-0 draw.

4.8 Anytime Goalscorer

Similar to First Goalscorer betting, Anytime Goalscorer betting involves picking a player to score at any stage of a given match, regardless of whether a goal has been scored already. Below we can see an example of an Anytime Goalscorer betting market, with odds at BetVictor for an upcoming match:

anytime goalscorer odds

The odds are typically shorter than First Goalscorer betting as with Anytime Goalscorer it does not matter when your player scores, just so long as he does score.

To learn more, please read our guide to Anytime Goalscorer betting

4.9 Correct Score

A Correct Score bet is betting on the exact fulltime scoreline of a given football match. These bets are popular with casual bettors as the odds on any selection are usually long.

Below we can see an example of a Correct Score betting market, with odds listed at bet365 for an upcoming match in the Premier League between Everton and Tottenham:

Correct Score odds

A popular Correct Score betting strategy is to bet on a combination Correct Scores. This is often referred to as 'dutching'. For example, if you think a particular match is going to finish 2-0 to the home side, you can pick this as your Correct Score bet. But you can also cover a range of potential scorelines, not just the 2-0. You could for instance place additional bets on 1-0, 1-1, 2-1. Your overall returns will be shorter but in covering a range of Correct Scores, you're providing yourself with some insurance should your initial bet of 2-0 fail.

4.10 Halftime / Fulltime

Another popular football betting market is the Half-Time / Full-Time result. This involves selecting both the halftime result as well as the fulltime result. Below we can see an example of a Halftime / Fulltime betting market, with odds listed at Paddy Power: 

halftime fulltime odds

In this example, German club Hertha Berlin are hosting Danish club Brondby. What makes the Halftime / Fulltime market so intriguing is that it doesn't simply involve picking the fulltime result, but rather involves predicting how the match will playout across both halves. For example, we may believe that Hertha Berlin will win, but we may also believe they will get off to a slow start. So we will back a halftime Draw with Hertha leading at fulltime. We may even believe Brondby will lead at halftime with Hertha coming on strong in the second half to snatch the victory, in which case we would bet on a Brondby / Hertha result at odds of 23.00.

In this way Halftime / Fulltime betting can prove to be profitable, particularly if you possess an intimate knowledge of both a team's tactical approach and psychological tendancies. .

4.11 Outright Winner

At the start of each competition, whether it be a league or a cup tournament, bookmakers offer odds for every team involved to win that competition. These outright odds change throughout the competition as matches are played. As such it's possible to bet on who you think will win the competition right through to its completion.

Below we can see an example of a League Outright Winner market, with odds posted at Ladbrokes for each club heading into the 2016/17 Premier League season.

Premier League winner odds

Possibly the most famous outright odds in the history of football were Leicester City's odds heading into the 2015/2016 season. Most bookmakers were offering odds of around 5001.00 for Leicester City to win the Premier League. As each unlikely victory followed,  towards the end of the season when Leicester were clear at the top of the table you could still bet on them to win the league but at odds of just 1.29. This is the most extreme example of team's odds shortening as the league season progressed but it makes clear just how dynamic a market outright league or tournament winner odds can be.

Other Popular Outright Bets

Outright betting doesn't begin and end with league or tournament winners. Depending upon the competition format, there are many variations of outright betting to wager on. These include:

  • Betting on a team to finish bottom of the table
  • Betting on a team to qualify as top of a tournament group
  • Betting on a team to qualify for the knockout stage of a tournament

4.12 Relegation

A hot topic of discussion amongst football fans at the start of the season and throughout is who's going to be relegated come the end of the season. This betting market is most commonly used in English Premier League betting, but most bookmakers offer this market throughout all European Leagues and worldwide.

Below we can see an example of a Relegation betting market with odds at bet365 for each club heading into the 2016/17 Premier League season.

Relegation odds

Just as with outright league winner odds, relegation betting comes down to which league you know the best. Again, as with outright winner betting, the relegation betting market is available all season round. Depending on a team's standing, the odds will drift or shorten throughout the season. While many typically expect the newly promoted clubs to feature prominently in relegation betting, it's not always the case, with many promoted teams doing more than enough to keep their place in the league.

It's also important to note that the relegation process can differ from league to league. For example, in the Premier League the bottom three clubs at the end of the season are relegated to the Championship. However, in the German Bundesliga the bottom two clubs are automatically relegated, while the team finishing third from bottom plays a relegation / promotion playoff against the third place finishing club in Bundesliga 2. Before you place your relegation bets, be sure you understand the league's relegation process.. 

4.13 Top 4 Finish

The Top 4 Finish betting market is especially popular with English Premier League bettors as the top 4 places offer teams a Champions League place for the following season. As with outright tournament winner and relegation betting, top 4 finish markets are available at the start and throughout the season, with each team's top 4 odds fluctuating depending on a team's standing.

Below we can see an example of a Top 4 Finish betting market with odds listed at Paddy Power for each Premier League club heading into the 2016/17 season: 

Top 4 Premier League odds

Teams that consistently finish in the top 4 will have shorter odds than teams who rarely or never finish in the top 4 places. In terms of the Premier League, it can be worth looking at sides who consistently finish 5th, 6th or 7th but who have spent big on players in the summer and who in your opinion stand a good chance of competing for a top 4 finish deep into the season. For example, in the early 2000's Manchester City were consistently finishing mid-table in the Premier League until they were subject of a takeover in 2009. That summer they spent money on excellent players but their odds of finishing top 4 were still longer than the traditional top 4 finishers above them. City went on to finish third.

There are a number of top 4 finish variations. You can also bet on teams to not finish in the top 4. Spotting a traditional top 4 club that is set for a dissapointing season can prove to be quite profitable. For example, Manchester United finished top 4 every Premier League season under Alex Ferguson. However the season following his retirement they finished seventh.

You will also find similar markets across any number of football leagues. You can bet on top 2, top 3, top 6, top 10 finish as well as league promotion markets in leagues such as the Championship, Bundesliga 2, La Liga 2, Serie A and Ligue 2 to name just a few. 

4.14 Other Popular Football Betting Markets

We have now covered the most popular football betting markets, but there are any number of markets for you to bet on. The majority of these additional markets are variations on or cominations of the markets discussed above. Popular markets include:

  • Exact Goals: Betting on the total number of goals scored in a given match
  • Halftime 1X2: Betting on the result of the first half
  • Halftime Correct Score: Betting on the exact score at halftime
  • Halftime Goals Over Under: Betting over or under total goals at halftime
  • Halftime Asian Handicap: Betting on a handicapped halftime result
  • Winning Margin: Betting on the margin of victory in a given match
  • Team To Score First: Betting on which team will score the first goal
  • Win To Nil: Betting on a team to win the match without conceding a goal
  • Team To Score: Betting on a team to score at least one goal
  • Time Of Goals Scored: Betting on the timing of a goal
  • Highest Scoring Half: Betting on which half will see the most goals scored
  • Over Under Corners: Betting on over or under a number of corners in a match


5. How To Bet On Football And Win

Whether you're new to football betting or a seasoned veteran, the key to successful betting is to bet when there is value and only when there is value. While the basic principles of profitable betting remain true for all, the development of a successful football betting system or strategy comes with time and experience.

At this point, some of you may be wondering if there is a foolproof way to bet on football. The question 'How to bet on football without losing?" is a common one, especially from beginners. Unfortunately there is no such football betting strategy that will guarantee you profits. But there are a number of things you can do to enhance your chances of making money betting on football.

In this section we will provide you will the fundamentals of profitable football betting as well as introducing you to advanced techniques for identifying value betting bets.

5.1 Bet Only When There Is Value

By now you're probably tired of hearing this. But it's a point that many football bettors fail to recognise. If you place bets without recognising genuine betting value, you are only going to lose money in the long run. It's as simple as that.

If you skipped over the section on Value Football Betting, please read it now before continuing with our guide. 

5.2 Be Prepared To Learn

A mistake made by many novice bettors is to believe that because they possess an intimate knowledge of football, that this knowledge immediately translates to a nuanced understanding of football betting markets. The reality is that understanding football and understanding football betting are two very different things.

Yes, of course, without an understanding of football, you will not be able to grasp the nuances of football betting, and yes, in time an understanding of both football the game, and football betting will compliment one another. But only in time will you come to appreciate the dynamics of football betting markets and how approaching a football match as a fan differs greatly from the approach of a seasoned football bettor. The best way to develop this understanding is to begin with the leagues you know best and to keep your bets small. In fact some of the most successful football bettors began their journey by not placing real bets at all, but rather by 'paper trading' where you keep a record of ficticious bets so as to gain experience without the risk of losing any real money. These successful bettors only began placing real bets once they had developed a deep understanding of football betting markets,  .

Humility is a good thing, particularly when it comes to football betting. Sure, you may possess a deeper knowledge of each Premier League club than many media pundits, but don't confuse this knowledge for an understanding of football betting markets.

To learn how to approach a range of football betting markets, leagues and tournaments, please refer to our detailed series of how to bet on football guides.

5.3 Bet The Leagues You Know

As stated previously, the best way to develop a genuine understanding of football betting markets is to start with the leagues you know. But even once you have developed an understanding of these markets, remained focused on the leagues your understand best. If there is no action in those leagues this week, then take a break. Or use that time to research other leagues you may want to bet on in the future. But by no means should you go hunting for a bet just for the sake of having a bet. This will only lead to ruin or at the very least, diminished profitability.

Many of the most successful football bettors and the most profitable bettingexpert tipsters focus solely on two, three, maybe four leagues. They study everything there is to know about those leagues and through time develop an understanding that exceeds that of the bookmakers. Think about it this way, bookmakers have some of the most cutting edge analysis tools at their disposal, tools that incorporate dozens of variables enabling to them to set what are for the majority of the time, incredibly accurate odds. Do you really think you're going to outwit them with half an hour of 'analysis' on a league you have at best only a broad understanding of? The answer, is clearly no.

5.4 Bet The Markets You Know

As discussed above, there are literally dozens of football betting markets, each with their own quirks and nuances. As you develop your understanding of football betting, you'll find yourself attracted to particular markets more than others. Put simply, some betting markets make more sense to us than others. So go with your intuition and develop a rich understanding of these markets.

Many of the most profitable bettors focus on one or two markets. There are many successful football bettors who bet only on Asian Handicaps, while others focus on 1X2 match results. Others look to exploit in-play markets by betting on the team to score first, while others keep their focus solely on first half markets. In fact the quirkier the market, the more your experience will provide opportunity. So don't be afraid to specialise. So long as you can get a reasonable sized bet down, limiting your focus to a few markets can reap great rewards. Specialising is often the path to profit.

5.5 Apply Sound Money Management

Key to betting on any sport is in applying a sound money management strategy. This primarily involves applying a consistent staking strategy, a strategy that will make the most of the value you have identified while suggesting a stake size that will protect your betting bankroll. If you're serious about your football betting, then you need to be serious about how you manage your money. Randomly betting a tenner here or a fiver there is only going to lose you money in the long run. To be a successful football bettor you need to approach you staking like a financial planner.

The saying 'Only bet what you can afford to lose' is as true as ever and any money management strategy should take this very seriously. Begin with a sum of money that you would be comfortable losing. Of course, we are aiming to make money betting on football. But even in possession of the sharpest football betting strategy, things can and will go wrong from time to time. Only through the application of a proven staking plan and money management strategy can you endure the worst of losing streaks and exploit the greatest of winning streaks. 

To learn more, please read our guide to bankroll management as well as our guide to calculating the perfect bet stake using the Kelly Criterion.

5.6 Keep A Record Of Your Football Bets

If you're serious about making money betting on football, then you must, we repeat, must, keep a record of your betting. This record should include the following:

  • Date
  • League/Tournament
  • Bet Type
  • Bet Details
  • Bookmaker
  • Your Stake
  • Your Odds
  • Profit/Loss
  • Comments

If you're not keeping such records, then you are doomed to failure. In keeping a detailed record of your football betting, you will be able to review your results. You'll be able to see which leagues you're making money on, the leagues that are diminishing your returns, not to mention the bet types you are most suited to and those markets that are consistently losing you money.

Fortunately we've done the hard work for you and created the bettingexpert Football Betting Spreadsheet. You can download it now and read more about the spreadsheet below.

5.7 Assess Performance Potential Accurately

Pundits like to talk about form. 'This team is in great form'. 'That team's form has been terrible.' You've not doubt heard it many times. But what is problematic about 'form' is that it is fleeting. Just because a team has been in great form, is no indication that this form will continue or even that the 'form' was based on anything other than perhaps a run fixtures against lowly clubs, or more allusive yet, a run of good fortune.

When it comes to football betting, what we are really interested in is not so much whether or not a team is in form, but rather, what is their performance potential heading into a given match. There are many things to consider in this assessment:

Home vs Away performance

It's no secret that on average, clubs perform better at home than away. In fact it has been shown that an average team is roughly a +0.8 goals better at home than they are away. Despite this, the subject of home vs away performance is a debated issue. While some clubs may display a distinct ability to perform better at home than away over a given time frame, the reasons for this may have little to do with home ground advantage. Some analysts believe that what may often appear to be a distinct home field advantage, may merely be a run of better than expected performance.

When you're assessing a team's potential to perform in a certain environment, be wary of falling prey to glib cliches such as 'Oh this team is always tough at home'. The reality is that every team is better on their field than others, but the belief that certain clubs hold a distinct home field advantage that exceed the average is often misleading.

Injuries & Suspensions

It's obvious that we should consider both injuries and suspensions when assessing a team's potential. But many people misjudge the affects of such absences. When it comes to both injuries and suspensions, what is key isn't so much that a team will be missing a player, but who will replace that player. Is the replacement a significant downgrade? Or is the missing player easily replaced in the lineup?

This is where a deep knowledge of each team's squad comes into play. Yes, many may know of the injured centre back but how many bettors know the performance potential of his lesser known replacement? Further to this, how many bettors know how such an absence will impact a team's tactical approach? In both regards, a thorough understanding of a team's squad can profoundly assist us in the project of value football betting. Betting markets can often over estimate the impact of a missing star player as opposed to the absence of a lesser known but durable and consistent performer.

Fixture Demands

As we get deeper into the football calendar, the demands of fixture commitments come into play. This is definitely a key area of consideration for all football bettors. And just as we discussed previously in terms of injuries and suspensions, developing an intimate knowledge of each club's squad will often help you spy value betting opportunities.

A Premier League club may for instance have a run of league commitments, with both Cup and European duties in between. What fixtures are they likely to take more seriously than others? How may they alternate their line up and how may a distinctly alternate lineup perform, both in terms of tactical approach and team chemistry? The ability to answer these questions accurately will more often than not provide you with value betting opportunities.

Tactical & Personnel Match-ups

There's a saying in boxing that styles make fights. And this is also true in football. We will often see teams that we consider to be of inferior quality take it right up to more highly ranked opponents, often claiming unlikely victories or at the very least, causing headaches for their more fancied opponents.

When it comes to football betting, what we want to discern is whether or not such performances were the result of the inferior team providing a difficult tactical match up for their opponents in terms of personnel, whether such results were merely a matter of the superior team perhaps being in the midst of a congested schedule or whether or not such performances were a matter of random good fortune. To evaluate these performances accurately we must not only be familiar with each club's squad, but likewise be familiar with how each club likes to set up tactically and how team's personnel may impede their gameplan. If we can do this, and come to an accurate assessment of which inferior teams match up well with their more highly regarded opponents, betting value can easily be found.

5.8 Find Value Betting On Underdogs

Consistently betting on value opportunities is what will make you a successful football bettor in the long term. Yes, a team may be at long odds and yes, we still believe that the chances of them winning the match, while greater than what the bookmakers are suggesting, are still unlikely, but it is in repeatedly betting on situations such as these that will see you turn a profit betting on football in the long term.

It's for these reasons that underdogs are typically better value than favourites. Why? Because most people betting on football are thinking short term. They want a winner today. Not next week. Not next month. They want a "sure thing" now. So they place large bets on short priced favourites. This excessive betting money on short priced favourites often disorts betting markets, which in turn artificially inflates the odds for underdogs, making such underdogs great value.

Let's consider an example, England are playing a World Cup qualifier at home to San Marino. England, with their array of star players, are massive favourites and are priced at 1.10 to win. San Marino, being only semi-professional footballers and very rarely beating anybody, are priced at odds of 21.00. Who in their right mind would bet on San Marino to win? Well yes, it's extremely unlikely that they will. The odds of 21.00 suggest that San Marino are roughly a 4.8% chance to win the match. But through our research and analysis, we believe San Marino are closer to an 8% chance. Yes, even at 8% a San Marion win is still very unlikely. But we still believe the chances of them winning are greater than what the odds of 21.00 would suggest. Based on our analysis and our assessed probability of 8%, we believe the odds should be closer to 12.50.  However unlikely that it is to be a winner, a bet on San Marino is a value opportunity and we should take it.

5.9 Follow Football Betting Tips

Following football betting tips can be a great way of generating profits especially if you can find a genuine expert in a league you may not normally bet on.

But let's be clear. You should not follow any football tipster, expert or pundit blindly. There are literally hundreds of so-called expert football tipsters on the internet. Some even charge high subscription fees for the privilege of following their service. Some are legitimate, but most are not and will not only see you lose money through following their tips, but likewise waste money through their excessive subscription fees. There are also services claiming to have inside information on fixed matches, willing to sell that information for a price. Don't be fooled by their claims. 

Before you follow any football tipster, you should do your research. For example, there are hundreds of football tipsters at bettingexpert. And while each is sincere in their attempts to turn a profit from their football tips, the majority do not. There are however a select few who are profitable, often due to an intimate knowledge of a particular football league. You can identify these expert tipsters by using our Tipster Stats Tool, where you can sort tipsters by league, rank and profitability.

To learn more, please read our guide to following betting tips.

5.10 Have Accounts With A Number Of Bookmakers

Many football bettors limit their chances of making money by limiting their ability to take the best odds available. Yes, there is a certain simplicity with using just one bookmaker for all your betting. But the reality is, if you want to make money long term, you need a number of bookmakers for your football betting.

Why? Because in limiting your bookmaker portfolio, you're restricting yourself in terms of the odds available to take. For example, take a look at odds comparison site Smartbets. Below are the Asian Handicap odds for an upcoming match between Tottenham and Atletico Madrid. 

Smartbets odds comparison

This is but a simple example, but we can see that by merely have two competing bookmakers at our disposal, we can take the better of the odds available. By continually taking the best odds available among competing bookmakers, we severely increase our chances of turning a profit long term.

To learn more, please read our guide to calculating bookmaker margins.


6. Football Betting Spreadsheets

As previously stated, keeping a record of your football betting is incredibly important if you want continually improve your betting returns. Only through keeping track of each of your football bets can you see what you are doing right and where you are consistently making errors in both judgement and discipline. To help you with this, we have created the bettingexpert Football betting spreadsheet. It's free and you can download it now.

Download the bettingexpert Football Betting Spreadsheet.

It's free and it's easy to use. Just enter the league or tournament you are betting on, the date, the bet type description, your stake, the odds and the bookmaker you placed the bet with. Once the match has been completed or the market closed, select either Win, Loss or Refund from the Result options and the spreadsheet will calculate your profit or loss plus your running profit/loss and your overall football betting ROI. 

football betting spreadsheet


2016/2017 Football League Fixture Excel Spreadsheets

If you're looking for football fixtures spreadsheets for leagues across the UK and Europe, look no further. You can now download free football fixtures in Excel format for the upcoming 2016/2017 season. Simply click the league to download the spreadhsheet:

Austria Bundesliga Fixtures Excel sheet
Belgium Jupiter League Fixtures Excel sheet
Bulgaria A PFG Fixtures Excel sheet
Croatia 1 HNL Fixtures Excel sheet
Czech Republic Liga Fixtures Excel sheet
Denmark Superliga Fixtures Excel sheet
England Premier League Fixtures Excel sheet
England Championship Fixtures Excel sheet
England League One Fixtures Excel sheet
England League Two Fixtures Excel sheet
England National League Fixtures Excel sheet
Finland Veikkausliiga Fixtures Excel sheet
France Ligue 1 Fixtures Excel sheet
France Ligue 2 Fixtures Excel sheet
Germany Bundesliga Fixtures Excel sheet
Germany Bundesliga 2 Fixtures Excel sheet
Greece Super League Fixtures Excel sheet
Hungary Liga Fixtures Excel sheet
Iceland Pepsideild Fixtures Excel sheet
Ireland Premier Division Fixtures Excel sheet
Italy Serie A Fixtures Excel sheet
Italy Serie B Fixtures Excel sheet
Latvia Virslīga Fixtures Excel sheet
Netherlands Eredivisie Fixtures Excel sheet
Netherlands Eerste Divisie Fixtures Excel sheet
Northern Ireland Premiership Fixtures Excel sheet
Norway Tippeligaen Fixtures Excel sheet
Poland Ekstraklasa Fixtures Excel sheet
Portugal Primeira Fixtures Excel sheet
Portugal Segunda Liga Fixtures Excel sheet
Romania Liga 1 Fixtures Excel sheet
Russia Premier League Fixtures Excel sheet
Scotland Premiership Fixtures Excel sheet
Scotland Championship Fixtures Excel sheet
Serbia Super Liga Fixtures Excel sheet
Slovakia Fortuna Liga Fixtures Excel sheet
Slovenia Prva liga Fixtures Excel sheet
Spain La Liga Fixtures Excel sheet
Spain La Liga 2 Fixtures Excel sheet
Sweden Allsvenskan Fixtures Excel sheet
Switzerland Super League Fixtures Excel sheet
Turkey Super Lig Fixutres Excel sheet
Ukraine Premier League Fixtures Excel sheet
Wales Premier League Fixtures Excel sheet


7. Where Can You Bet On Football?

Choosing the right bookmaker for football betting is important. But selecting the right bookmaker for football betting involves more than simply asking yourself 'Where can I bet on football?' There are many dozens of bookmakers online with most offering appetising welcome bonuses to attract new customers. At bettingexpert, we have comprehensive reviews for dozens of the world's most popular bookmakers. But before you choosing the right bookmaker for you, there are a number of things you need to consider.


The first thing to consider when asking yourself 'Where to bet on football online?' is the issue of trust. Trust that they consistently offer the best odds, there are no issues with deposits or withdrawals and they offer good customer service.

Available Markets

It's important that your bookmaker offers a large range of different football betting markets. Some bookmakers offer more markets than others, so it's worthwhile once you begin betting and discover what your favourite bets to place are that you find a bookmaker who consistently offer these bets.


You'll find when you look around for bookmakers that they offer different odds for the same bet. When you start betting it's a good idea to look into doing a football betting odds comparison. It's important to look for which bookmakers consistently offer the best odds to ensure you're making the most profit you can.

Welcome Bonus

Most online bookmakers offer welcome bonuses for new customers. This is to draw customers in and keep them betting with them. Most welcome bonuses involve depositing a certain amount to which the bookmaker then adds to, such as bet365's 100% welcome bonus where they match your deposit up to £200. Others involve depositing and betting £10 to which the bookmaker will give you between £20-£50 in free bets to use on whichever markets you desire. One thing to watch out for though is if you win a bet using the free bet you were given as a bonus, you have to meet certain criteria to withdraw your winnings with some bookmakers. Definitely check out the small print when setting up an account with a bookmaker for the first time.


You don't realise how important this is until you start betting regularly, but it's important when betting online that your bookmakers' website is user-friendly, safe and quick to load. It's frustrating when you spot a late bet and try to place it but your bookmakers website takes too long to load and you miss the kick-off, so try out various bookmakers' web pages and see which one works for you.

Most offline bookmakers, by which I mean bookmakers who have high street stores, offer online services too such as William Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral. Some, like bet365, are exclusively online. Most bookmakers are aimed at the 'casual' gambler, those who bet for fun rather than trying to make a living from betting. Others, such as Pinnacle, are aimed at professional punters, those who bet consistently with the aim of making a living from it. Professional bettors are attracted to Pinnacle because they don't have limits on how much you can wager and offer a wide variety of markets. As well as traditional bookmakers online, there are also betting exchanges such as Betfair, where your betting experience is slightly different. On a betting exchange, you have the ability to 'lay' a bet, that is where the punter can play the role of bookmaker and offer odds to other punters themselves rather than just backing bets.


8. Football Free Bets & Promotional Offers

As well as welcome bonuses, most bookmakers offer free football bets with no deposit required, free bets or other offers at any time. These include SkyBet's Price Boost, BetFred's Double Delight and Hat-trick Heaven to various money back specials. It's definitely worth your while to check out our list here for the latest offers available. We'll discuss the most popular here.

Money Back Specials

Most bookmakers offer money-back specials in one form or another. This is where if your bet loses you could have your stake returned depending on the bet you place. For example, some bookmakers will offer you your money back if one leg of a five team accumulator you place loses. Others will give you back your stake if the team you've backed to win the game draw 0-0. Bet365 offer excellent in-play money back offers on many matches which are worth checking out too.

Bet Insurance

Some online bookmakers offer bet insurance. Typically, this is where if one leg of an accumulator lets you down, your stake is returned as cash. Sometimes the odds are reduced when you choose this option, so make sure you are comfortable with the odds on offer should you choose the insurance.

Enhanced Odds

Many bookmakers offer enhanced odds for particular matches. This is where if a team is priced at 2.50 to win, the bookmaker will enhance the odds to 7.00 for example. These offers only usually last for a limited time and the extra profit you'd make from the enhanced price may be paid in cash or in free bets, so make sure you understand exactly what the enhanced odds are offering you as a payout.


9. Football Live Streaming

Many bookmakers now offer football live streaming on their websites. A football live stream is where the bookmaker will broadcast a football match on their website that you can watch legally without the need for a subscription. These are free football live streams. A drawback to live streams is that no bookmaker has the broadcasting rights to broadcast streams to the host country of the teams that are playing, but some offer a wide range of European and Worldwide football matches that they can offer live streams for. Sometimes, to gain access to a football live stream you have to place a bet on the match in question, though usually this is just a small wager you have to place. I'll list the best three bookmakers who offer this service.


Bet365 are one of the better bookmakers for live streaming for football. They offer a mixture of audio only and audio/visual streams each day. The advantage of bet365's service is you don't have to bet on the game you want to watch. They can't offer visual English football streams to UK customers, though they do offer audio only streams. They also offer visual streams European games to their UK based clientèle. You do have to have a funded account to access their streams and to have placed any bet with them in the 24 hours previous to the stream you want to access.

William Hill

Like Bet365, William Hill are unable to offer live streaming of English football due to broadcasting regulations. They do however offer streaming of live games from all over the world. You don't have to have placed any bet with them prior to the stream and your account doesn't have to be in credit.


Betfair offer a huge range of live video streams from across the world. They have many language options too, most commentary is in English but they have a range of options for commentaries in other languages, plus a 'No Commentary' option. You can watch multiple games at the same time too, though this depends on your internet speeds. To access these streams, you need to have a Betfair account and your account needs to be in credit.


10. How To Follow Football Betting Tips

Wondering who to bet on this weekend's football? Asking yourself 'What to bet on today's football action?' Here at bettingexpert, we offer free football betting tips from thousands of experts who offer match previews and football predictions. These expert football tips will help you find the best bets with the best football odds, including football odds for Premier League matches, and help you on your way to becoming a successful bettor. What separates bettingexpert from the other football tipster sites is that you can access each user's statistics to see how successful their football predictions have been in previous matches via the user statistics tab. There are previews of matches worldwide. To find our football betting tips and predictions, head to our football betting tips page..


11. How To Bet On Football

Profitable football betting requires both discipline and a sensible bankroll strategy but most importantly the ability to identify betting value. If you're able to apply each of these consistently while developing an understanding of what factors influence team and individual form, you should see a genuine improvement in your overall football betting returns.

To improve your chances of being a long term profitable football bettor always remember:

  • Whichever sport you're betting on, betting odds reflect the probability of a particular outcome. It's no different in football  betting e.g a team winning an upcoming match or perhaps winning a league or cup competition.
  • Crucial to long term betting success is in finding betting value. A value bet is a bet where you believe the probability of a team winning the match is greater than the probability reflected in the odds offered by a bookmaker.
  • Exploit as many football betting markets as you can. Seek out  value betting opportunities away from just betting on match results. Use handicaps and alternative markets to exploit betting value.
  • Research and develop an understanding of what factors influence both team and individual performance.
  • Sign up with at least three bookmakers, each offering both attractive odds, a deep menu of football betting markets as well as regular free bet and promotional offers.

If you keep these five points in mind whenever you are placing a football bet, you should soon see your football betting returns improve and see you earning consistent profits betting on football. Good luck.

Read more bettingexpert How To guides