How to Bet on Soccer

On a global scale, soccer betting is one of the most popular forms of sports betting activities that takes place. Many Americans would be surprised to know that in Europe soccer betting is the equivalent of football wagering in the United States. It's that popular and is getting more popular on a continuous basis as it makes steady inroads into American culture.

The majority of soccer bets are made using the money line, but there are several different choices for bettors. What makes soccer betting a bit different than many other sports is that in soccer, not only can you place a bet on either team; you can also wager that it will end up being a tie game. Since you can wager on a tie, your team must win the game or you lose your bet. A tie bet in most other sports will result in your wager being refunded, but that is not the case when it comes to soccer, or any other sport that allows you to wager on a draw.

The typical odds on a soccer match may look similar to this:
Spain - 160
Uruguay +420
Draw +260

In this example, if a bettor wagers on Spain, they will be risking $16 to win $10, while those backing Uruguay stand to win $42 for every $10 wagered if their team comes through and gets the win. Bettors also have the option of wagering that the game will be played to a draw and those bettors will risk $10 for the opportunity to win $26. Remember, as you can wager on a tie, your team must win the match or you will lose your bet.

Many sportsbooks will also offer the opportunity to place a wager using a spread, which can be from 0 goals to 3.5 goals depending on the perceived difference in strength between the two teams. In the match above, the spread was Spain -1 goal and those bettors who took Spain -1 received odds of +110, while those bettors taking Uruguay +1 goal were asked to lay -140.

The odds on another soccer match may look like:
Mexico + 220
Italy +125
Draw + 205

In this example, both teams are underdogs, something that could never happen in baseball or the NHL, because of the possibility of a tie match. The spread on this match was 0 goals, as the two teams are relatively even in strength. Using the spread, the odds were Italy -160 and Mexico +130. There were no odds offered on a draw, so if the match ended up tied, a bet using the spread, even though it was 0 goals, would be considered a push and no money changes hands. The drawback here is that the payoffs are quite a bit lower for both teams, as a tie match will no longer result in a loss.

If one team is vastly superior to another team, the only betting opportunity you may have is to wager against the spread, which will most likely be between 2.5 and 3.5 goals.

On many soccer matches there may be a total (over/under) posted, so that a bettor may wager over a certain number of goals or under a certain number of goals. A typical number for these types of bets is 2.5, so that a bettor wagering on the over would need at least three goals to be scored to win the bet, while a person wagering on the under could have no more than two goals scored to win their wager.

Because there is relatively little scoring in soccer compared to most other sports, the over/under lines will often be tilted towards the over or the under. The total in the match between Spain and Uruguay was 2.5, with bettors who wanted to wager on the over asked to lay -105 and bettors liking the under asked to lay -125. This is commonly referred to as "2.5-under," meaning that the under is the favorite.

A number of soccer matches also will have proposition bets available, such as the time of the first goal, the team to score first, or the team ahead at halftime. As a general rule, the bigger the match is, the more betting opportunities you will find.

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