How to Bet on Football – Betting Guide

Football/soccer is the world’s favourite game, and in recent decades, it has become one of the most popular betting sports in the world. If you are a fan of football betting, and you want to learn how to bet on football and win more consistently, then this betting guide is for you. It is aimed at those who enjoy betting on football, but who want to take their betting to the next level.


How to Bet on Football and Win

This betting guide will teach you everything you need to know about betting on football, from the best way to research a team, read odds and choose which leagues to bet on and to how to identify profitable competition trends.


soccer advice betting guide

A Simple Level Staking Plan

If you are a beginner or a novice at football betting, it’s a good idea to understand the most efficient way to bet, in order to maximise your profits. Level stakes plans are often referred to as flat betting, because, regardless of the bet, you always use the same stake. It is widely considered to be the easiest staking plan in sports betting while carrying the lowest risk. Also, it is an important step in understanding how to bet on football and win.

Unfortunately, many people are tempted by the prospects of making lots of money in a short space of time and fail to plan their staking strategy effectively!

We recommend that your stake per bet should be in the range of 5-10% of your betting bank. This way, you avoid the ‘all guns blazing’ approach of using random stake sizes, which can leave you feeling as though you are wandering in a forest without direction. You also avoid the danger of using up a large percentage of your betting bank on the first big bet to grab your attention.

It is an irrefutable fact that betting is not easy. To break even is hard, and to make a profit in the long term is even harder. To do that, you need more than just a good grasp of soccer; you need discipline, and a solid level-stakes betting plan adds an important element of discipline to your betting approach.

A staking plan is simply a method used to determine the amount of money placed on specific bets. There are numerous staking plans out there, and a level stakes plan is only one of them, but it offers a consistent way to capitalize on bookmaker prices.

Every football fan bets differently. However, many bettors choose to operate a level staking plan. For example, in US Sports Handicapping, bettors place bets at fixed decimal odds of 1.91, so a win rate of 55% is necessary for a US Sports Handicapper to make a profit. If his win rate drops below 55% he will no longer be in profit.

Some bettors are tempted to vary their stakes, in the hope of making bigger profits in the short term. This is possible, in theory, but varying your stakes by increasing them also involves the risk of making bigger losses.

If you are new to betting and want to learn how to bet on football it is sensible to start with a level-stakes betting plan, which is safe, easy to understand, and simple to operate. By consistently betting to the same percentage of your betting bank, rather than using up a large part of your bank on the first bet you see, you are more likely to be able to take advantage of the situation that occurs when two or more good bets appear on the same day.

Staking plan for betting


Of course, a level-stakes betting plan on its own will not help you to eliminate risk altogether, and it may mean that you don’t always maximise your profits on particularly good bets, but it remains the benchmark in staking plans.

By adopting and sticking to a level stakes betting plan, you will find that you no longer lose money on inconsistent or inappropriate size bets. While it will not lead to maximal growth, a level takes betting plan will reduce the risk of making huge losses, and will help you to consistently profit from good bets.

Keep Your Football Betting Records

Perhaps the most important rule when betting on football is to keep a detailed record of your betting. Whether you win or lose, record every bet carefully, and do so consistently. This will give you valuable historical information.

A detailed betting record, kept on a spreadsheet, will enable you to look back over your betting history and identify patterns, which will help you to determine future bets, and teach you how to bet on football with more efficiency.

You can develop a spreadsheet yourself or download templates from leading betting sites, whichever you prefer. The advantage of using a template is that it is easy to acquire and can be used straight away. On the other hand, while creating your own spreadsheet can be tedious, it enables you to tailor your records to your needs.

In the long term, keeping a betting record will give you the ability to spot which bets are providing the most profit. This is particularly important if you are making bets across multiple betting platforms. The longer you keep your betting record, the more you will benefit, as, over time, it will yield more and more information to study.

Keep a spreadsheet-based betting record

A spreadsheet-based betting record also comes in handy when you want to bet on multiple games, as you can easily manipulate the spreadsheet to display the information you are particularly interested in.

For example, you can group football team bets into categories according to their respective countries, and then analyse your success when betting on teams from particular countries, identifying which teams are most likely to win you money.

In some countries and states, you are legally obliged to keep records of all betting activity for purposes of taxation, so if you are in one of these jurisdictions, a spreadsheet-based betting record will be extremely useful, and will help to make your end-of-year tax return run smoothly.

It’s also preferable to use a computer spreadsheet rather than a handwritten record. A computer spreadsheet is easy to maintain and can store unlimited entries, as well as allowing you to use formulas and tools to construct all kinds of useful reports.

With a detailed spreadsheet-based betting record, you are no longer betting in the dark. Although a betting record alone will not make you profitable, it will drastically improve your chances of success. Just as a league table tells bookmakers which team is the strongest and which is the weakest, a betting record will be an invaluable guide to your betting strengths and weaknesses, and so help you to raise your game.


betting records soccer


Using a template provided by a third party can be a good way to get started on keeping a betting record, but eventually, you will want to move to a tailored record of your own creation. After all, you are the one who knows your own betting requirements best.

Creating your own betting record also enables you to develop graphs, charts and other infographics to better monitor your progress.

If you are a beginner or a novice at football betting, it’s a good idea to understand the most efficient way to bet, in order to maximise your profits.

Live betting tips football

Traditionally, bookmakers only took bets until a match kicked off, but over the last few years, the betting industry has been transformed, and today, in-play betting – sometimes known as betting in running – is the fastest growing betting sector.

Bookmakers have seen the value of letting bettors place bets during matches, and now, during televised games, you often see current odds displayed on the electronic hoarding. This strategy is a lucrative one for bookmakers, but by reading the advice in this betting guide on how to bet on football, you can also profit by becoming a smart in-play bettor. 

When betting in-play, it is vital to be able to follow the match live, in order to understand the flow of the game, and to make judgements. Your spreadsheet of betting records, earlier mentioned, will also come in handy for live betting, as it will give you a handy and convenient guide to the history of the teams.

The chances of any team winning a match can change just before kick-off or midway through the game. So keep a close eye on both the game and the changing prices.

To follow a live game, you need to understand how the play is developing, which requires an understanding of formations and basic statistics. Watch how the odds fluctuate over time as events occur. There are many factors that can cause the live betting odds to shift, such as red cards, injuries, and weather condition changes. Build up your awareness of how these events can affect the odds.


livebetting football


In addition to being able to read the game as it develops, it’s important to make your bets quickly. By reacting quickly to a particular incident, you can take advantage of the bookmaker’s prices before they change.

The biggest challenge with in-play betting in soccer is that the sport is low-scoring and unpredictable. One team may dominate for long periods of the match only to lose the game in the final minutes, and ball possession and total number of shots do not automatically lead to positive results. With experience of watching and betting live, however, you will become adept at predicting outcomes.

In fact, as an experienced live soccer bettor, you will find yourself operating with the same intuition as a securities exchange trader, constantly assessing the prices of the teams you are watching, just as a trader monitors stock prices.

In theory, you can make a profit through simply backing in the match outcome market, but in-play betting also gives you the chance to lay off your pre-match bets. For example, if you stand to make a handsome profit from a pre-match bet on team x, you may be able to maximise your profit by backing team y or the draw at a suitable moment during the game.

Live betting can be a high-adrenaline experience, which is to the advantage of bookmakers and broadcasters alike, but it can also help you. The frenetic action means that in-play bettors are constantly alert, watching the game and the prices.

The unpredictability of football makes it ideal for in-play betting. It takes mere seconds for the ball to move from one end of the pitch to the other, and a defender making a silly mistake can hand his opponents a golden opportunity to score a goal.

Penalty calls offer another opportunity to profit, if you change your bet quickly before the penalty is taken, and there are many other fast-moving in-play markets to consider, such as the next player to score, next team to score, and time of next goal.

Use different bookmakers

It is hard, if not impossible to find a bookmaker account that ticks all the boxes. The top betting sites are always good, but even the best of those sites will have one or two flaws, and depending on your own personal live betting requirements, you can find your betting activity frustrated by your bookmaker’s lack of flexibility.

One solution to this problem is to use more than one bookmaker for your betting. This is something that many gamblers are reluctant to do, especially if they have a favorite betting site that they trust. However, using different bookmakers’ accounts has numerous benefits for bettors, and if you are serious about making substantial profits through betting, it is something you should seriously consider doing. Also, using more than one bookmaker will actually help you get better value for your live bets.

One of the best ways to maximize your winning chances from live betting is to make sure you take the best odds you can get. In live betting, odds on the same market can vary significantly between bookmakers.

By having different accounts with multiple bookmakers, you will be in the ideal position to check out the different odds and get the best price for your bet!

Although the differences in prices may not appear that significant when it comes to individual bets, they can amount to significant returns over time. By using multiple bookmakers, you will also be able to profit from bookmaker rewards and bonuses, which are one of the biggest benefits of live betting. These rewards and bonuses are generally based on your betting activity or deposits and vary between bookmakers.

These perks are usually available to new and existing customers, and by having accounts with multiple bookmakers, you have the potential to increase your rewards and bonuses substantially.

Most bookmakers offer signing-up bonuses, which you can claim when you join a betting site. These bonuses may be in the form of extra funds, which are deposited into your account or free bets, usually offered when you make your first deposit. These are good incentives for trying new bookmaking sites, of which the shrewd soccer bettor should definitely take advantage.

Maintaining accounts with more than one bookmaker means that you can use different sites according to your needs. In general, the leading sites have an excellent performance in all the key areas, and provide a solid allround betting service. Nevertheless, it is not surprising that all of them are lacking in some area.

For example, some bookmakers focus on particular sports. This is fine if you live bet mostly on those specific sports. However, it may not be so great if you would like to bet on sports that they don’t cover in-depth. Having accounts with several bookmakers will give you a greater range of options in your betting, enabling you to bet on one sport with Bookmaker A, and switch to Bookmaker B for a different sport.


Different bookies


Keeping accounts with multiple bookmakers is particularly useful when it comes to live betting. You may have a favorite bookmaking site that is ideal for your pre-match bets, but it may have a weak live betting platform in comparison to other sites and may even fail to be compatible with your smartphone, so it makes sense to have a range of alternative sites for placing wagers during an event.

There is no right or wrong number of bookmakers to use, but no matter how many you choose, it is advisable to stick to trustworthy and reputable sites.

How to research a team effectively

If you don’t want to lose money, take the time to do your research. If you really want to learn how to bet on football then it’s important to carry out your research by using all of the available resources. Utilize your television and the internet and watch live games and highlights shows such as the Championship and Match of the Day. By putting in this time, you will build up a comprehensive picture of the form of different teams, enabling you to place an informed live bet.

The commentators on these programmes will often provide detailed analysis, which will help you to understand a team’s current performances. It is a good idea to gather information from as many sources as possible. You may want to check on the form of a team from a previous match, or research into returning players or suspended players, all of which could have an influence on a team’s current and future form.

If you intend to live bet on a particular team, you should also check out the team’s official site. Most football clubs now have a comprehensive and detailed website on which they highlight their latest news, events and everything to do with the team. You should also take the time to study supporters’ sites, which can be excellent sources of team reviews, match previews, injuries and valuable tips. A Google search will show you the most relevant supporters’ sites.


Soccer betting research


Another useful source of information on the internet is the local newspaper site. Local papers tend to cover their teams in more detail than the national papers, offering more extensive coverage, and the comments sections underneath local football stories can also yield valuable information. Local news stories can provide crucial facts on key players and significant backroom changes.

It is very important to avoid taking odds and statistics at their face value. By doing your homework extensively, you will gain important insight into the form of relevant teams. You will also avoid falling for the hype of odds, which in some cases are deliberately set by bookmakers to lure bettors. With sufficient research under your belt, you will be able to avoid the hype and steer clear of losing bets.

The importance of statistics

Watching football regularly and seeking out the latest team news and information will put you in a strong position as a football bettor, but much of this analysis is subjective. Taking an objective approach can build on your knowledge and help to take your betting to the next level, and that means getting to grips with statistics.

This betting guide has already touched on general statistics, such as the information you can gather from a league table and trends analysis, but the modern football bettor can take things a step further, and this section aims to give you a guide to using statistics to make your football betting more successful. Also, stats are the vital part of learning how to bet on football.

In earlier decades, bookmakers had the advantage, as they were able to access vital information that was not available to the public, but those days are gone. Now the bettor has many statistical tools at his advantage, thanks to the internet, which offers hundreds of site and blogs offering every kind of footballstatistic.

The advantage of taking a statistical approach is that it can bring clarity where there was previously confusion. It is possible to put a number on any phenomenon in football, from the overall strength of a team, to the tackling ability of a defender, which can be vital when you are trying to analyse multiple pieces of information, particularly in the dynamic world of live football betting.

So what statistics should you use?

Much depends on your betting style, how comfortable you are with numbers, and how deeply you are prepared to go into the subject, but even a passing familiarity with the main football statistics will make you a better live bettor.

One of the most commonly used statistics is possession. You will often see this statistic in match reports. It simply refers to the percentage of playing time in a game that each team has the ball, but can reveal a lot about the teams. For instance, home teams tend to have more of the ball than visiting teams, while you would also expect stronger teams to have higher possession stats than weaker opponents.


Betting Stats


Possession stats can also reveal a team’s playing style. Teams that sit back and defend, hoping to hit their opponents on the counter, will often have less of the ball, while teams with a number of technically adept passing players in their midfield are likely to have high possession stats. Once you are familiar with a team’s normal level of possession, you can look for fluctuations during live games that might suggest the team is playing in a different style, or struggling to carry out their usual game plan.

When you are using statistics, never treat them as a miracle solution. For instance, a high possession figure may indicate that a team has been dominant or it could mean that they have spent at lot of time passing the ball around, without threatening their opponents. Sometimes when a team is behind in a game with time running out, they can have a lot of desperate long-range efforts to score, which makes their shots on goal statistic look impressive, but that number may not reflect their performance.

Some inventive football statisticians take these stats to the next level and analyse the quality of the shots taken, or the ratio of expected goals based on shot position to actual goals scored, providing a more detailed picture of a team’s performance.

This is the beauty of football stats and learning how to bet on football. You can choose to go deep into the subject if you choose and get involved in such concepts as Poisson distribution or negative binomial distribution, or you can play around with the statistics to come up with your own ratings or measurements.

Every successful football bettor uses statistics in some form, and in live football betting, statistics offer clear, unambiguous pieces of information which can enable you to reach the quick conclusions you need in a fastmoving live betting environment.

Although predicting the outcome of any football match with certainty is impossible, by using statistics, the task of assessing the strength of the teams involved will be made much easier, and your football betting will become more profitable and more efficient.

How to read odds appropriately

It is hard to be a successful football bettor if you don’t know how to read and understand the various betting odds. Without this important skill, you will not be able to progress from casual betting and learn how to bet on football.

To fully understanding what betting is, you first need to understand the concept of chance. Chance deals with the likelihood of a particular event occurring, which is often expressed in the form of a percentage or a probability. For example rolling a dice produces a 1 in 6 possibility for every outcome. In percentage terms, this translates to 16.66% probability of any of the six outcomes.

The three main types of odds you will encounter in football betting are:

  • decimal
  • fractional
  • US odds

The bookmaker that you are using and the market in which you are betting will determine which of these odds formats you will use, but understanding what these odds represent will make it easier for you to compare odds across formats, place bets correctly, and generate higher profits.

Decimal odds

Decimal odds, also known as European odds, are very popular in football betting. Almost every bookmaker in the world offers odds in this format, which simply state the total return that you will gain from a bet of one unit

Odds are simply another way of expressing probabilities, and decimal odds are just inverted probabilities, which are easy to calculate. For instance, decimal odds of 2.50 give you a 1.50 return on a 1 unit stake. Most decimal odds are displayed to more than one decimal place, for accuracy, and it is important to double check what unit stake your bookmaker uses, as it could be 1, 10 or 100.

Fractional odds

UK bookies commonly use fractional odds. These have the same basis as the decimal odds in that the bookmakers work them out to a 1 unit stake, but unlike with the decimal odds, fractional odds express the profit a bettor will get rather than his total return. If a bookmaker offers 2/1 fractional odds, the payout will be two times the unit stake. With fractional odds of 5/1, your payout will be five times the unit stake, so if the stake were £10, the payout would be £50.

US odds

US odds – sometimes referred to as money lines – can be a little more confusing than fractional odds. These are usually based on a 100 stake and are either positive or negative. Essentially US odds show how much you need to stake for you to earn a $100 profit or your payout if you stake $100.

Negative odds show a bettor how much they will have to stake to get a profit of $100. For instance, if a particular team has odds of -150, it means you will need to stake $150 to achieve a profit of $100. On the other hand, if a team’s odds are +150, you will require a $100 stake for a profit of $150. US odds of +150 translate to 2.50 in decimal odds.


Betting odds soccer


As you have discovered, betting odds express a chance or probability of an outcome occurring. Implied probability refers to the probability that a team’s odds express. You can calculate implied probability by dividing 100% by the decimal odds. It is vital to understand how to calculate the implied probability of a given set of odd, as this knowledge will help you in identifying the value of your live bet. Once you properly grasp the concept of odds, you are on the right track to better learn how to bet on football.

How to read the league table

Any bettor needs to have essential information regarding the teams that they intend to include in their bets. This helps them to place bets with a small margin of error, increasing their chances of winning. Such valuable information can be found on lists of league standings, known as league tables. Knowing how to correctly read a league table is therefore one of the crucial aspects of the betting process.

Several criteria may be used to rank teams in a league competition, but the most common method is to rank the teams according to points gained in games that have already been played.

Apart from the positions occupied by a team in the league as a result of the points gained in that league, any league table will include certain statistics. In the case of football, the most typical statistics shown are the following:

Goals played football


First comes the number of games played, which is often abbreviated as P in the league standings. This indicates the number of games which the team has participated in and is usually the first column of the league table after the teams’ name. A team which has participated in fewer games and is ranked highly in the table is likely to be a strong team and could move further up the table when it has played its games in hand. Such a team can present a great opportunity for a bettor when scheduled to play with a team ranked near the bottom of the table.

There then follow three columns abbreviated W, D, and L which stand for win, draw and loss respectively. These statistics indicate the performance in all the games of individual teams, and can be handy in weighing up a bet. A team with many wins has a greater possibility of another win going by its previous record, while teams with a lot of draws to their name may offer opportunities for future draw bets.

goals scored league table


In most football league tables, there are often three further columns:

  • GF
  • GA
  • GD

although the first two are sometimes omitted and replaced by the GD column. These abbreviations stand for goals-for, goals-against and goal-difference. GF is the total number of goals scored by the given team in the tournament. GA is the total number of goals conceded and GD is the difference between goals scored by the team and those it has conceded. A team that scores many goals and concedes few is likely to have both a good striking force and a strong defence and could be a good bet.

The final column in football league tables indicates the number of points earned by the team so far in the season. These statistics are important when a bettor is trying to predict the outcome of a fixture to determine whether to make a bet.

Conclusion on How to Bet on Football properly

In order to help you to clearly understand betting and teach you how to bet on football we have approached the subject in a step-by-step manner. After all, the language of betting odds and prices is not one which many people understand. Always have in mind that every bet is a unique product, and good bettors know and recognise this fact, remembering to consider every match as a discrete situation.



Bookmakers manipulate odds to balance their books and to come up with odds that fit with public opinion. The latter practice works to their advantage as it becomes a marketing tool that is designed to attract customers. It’s important to remember that betting odds are simply prices, not true probabilities. You can convert betting odds to implied probabilities; however, you must understand that odds have nothing to do with actual or expected outcomes. If you remember this, then you are on the right tracks as far as profitable football betting is concerned.


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