Betting in general is tough. We grind over numbers, look at trends, watch games and make judgements on form. Before all of that, are the basics. Soccer in particular is slightly different than other sports. In this article we’ll explore the basics of betting on SOCCER, or football as the rest of the world calls it!
Let’s take an example from Tuesday’s Champions League game between Barcelona and Manchester United:
There are several items to discuss here.
- On Bovada, the home team is always listed first, or on top. Barcelona are the home team in this matchup and like many other sports receives a slight uptick in win probability to make up for this advantage.
- Unlike in most sports, the potential for a tie (draw) is a potential outcome. This makes betting on soccer extremely difficult and even more of a reason why you should seek as much data and help as available.
- The betting options from the home page include a spread, a 3-way money line and a total listed.
Let’s break those down individually.
3-Way Moneyline (Win)
Every game will have a 3-way money line. This is our tried and true traditional line. In this game, there are 3 potential outcomes. Barcelona win which you can bet at -265. Manchester United win which you can get for +700. The game can end in a draw which you can bet at +425.
It’s important to note that the final score at the end of 90 minutes will be the outcome of the game. Should any overtime or shootouts take place, they will have no bearing on the initial bet placed for the game.
2-Way Moneyline (Draw No Bet)
You will often hear me talk about “Draw – No Bet” when discussing a potential outcome. This is a way to limit the potential outcomes from 3 scenarios down to 2. If the game ends in a draw you get your money back. If your team wins, you win!
The cost of this type of bet is INCREASED juice on your particular game. For example, Barcelona to win the game with a 3 Way Line is -265. They are heavy favorites as is but if you really wanted to eliminate the possibility of tie, you can pay extra juice to -850.
Goal Line (Spread)
These are obviously very similar to goal lines in hockey or run lines in baseball. In the example listed above, Barcelona are such a big favorite that the “goal line” is -1.5. In order for you to cash your +110 bet, Barcelona would have to win by more than 1.5 goals, or 2+. A 2-0, 3-1, 4-0, etc. final score line would win you this bet.
Typically, a total in soccer is similar to any other sport. This is a basic over/under and there will be vig on either side of whatever number is listed. For example, the total listed above is 3 goals. If the game ends 2-1 each better would get their money back. Less than 3 goals and the under wins. More than 3 goals and the over wins.
However, there is another scenario that pops up all the time. Because there is relatively low scoring in soccer, you have to ability at times to get alternate totals that include multiples of 0.25 goals. If the total in this game was 3.25 there would be ways for you to either LOSE your entire bet, WIN your entire bet, win half your bet and lose the other half or lose half your bet and get half your bet back. That’s a bit confusing, right? Let’s talk through those scenarios.
In this example let’s pretend that we took the OVER 3.25. If we bet 1 unit, half of our bet (0.5 units) would be placed on OVER 3 and the other half of our bet (0.5 units) would be placed on over 3.5. Let’s talk through examples.
1-0 = Lose both – Both OVER 3 and 3.5
1-1 = Lose both – Both OVER 3 and 3.5
2-0 = Lose both – Both OVER 3 and 3.5
2-1 = Get back OVER 3 bet and LOSE OVER 3.5
2-2 = WIN OVER 3 and WIN OVER 3.5
3-1 = WIN OVER 3 and WIN OVER 3.5
Alternate Lines & Totals
If you have a particular “feeling” or statistical reason to believe the line or total are severely wrong, there is an opportunity to gain more value through alternate lines. You think Barcelona blows out Manchester United? Why pay -265 for them to win when you can bet them at -2 for +170?
The risk is greater, but the reward is as well. Here is an example from our game listed above.
There are seemingly never-ending props available but the ones that I tend to consistently find value include the following:
First Goal Scorer
Anytime Goal Scorer
1st Half/2nd Half
Both Teams to Score
Down and dirty. Quick and to the point. That is your intro to betting on soccer. If you have any questions you can always shoot me a follow and hit my DMs on twitter @DukeDFS.