In this day and age, bookmakers are offering more and more markets for their customers to bet on. You can even bet on who’s going to win your local election, or even your countries national talent competition. The expanding markets are a sign of a growth in popularity when it comes to betting online and a sign that it’s becoming common in a lot of countries.
The general public is placing more and more bets in an industry that’s now valued at £40bn. This number will only continue to grow, especially in the USA, as they recently announced that a bill had been passed in the Supreme Court that will allow sports betting across the nation.
For those just getting started with betting on sports, or looking to refresh your memory, this post will act as a complete and ultimate guide to all of the markets available should you be interested in betting on football, or soccer as it’s unfortunately called in some parts of the world.
When you log onto your preferred online bookmakers, you’ll see a selection of games that are available for you to bet on. These are usually accessed via country or league. With some bookmakers, you’re able to view games that are currently in-play or kicking off in the next hour.
For the examples in this post, I’ll be using Bet365, one of the largest online bookmakers in the world. I also feel that Bet365 has one of the best user experiences of all online bookmakers, making it really easy to find the game you’re looking for after you have done your research.
Once you’ve found the game you’re looking for, you’ll notice that bookmakers will split the markets into different sections. This is done as there are usually a lot of markets and without these sections or any kind fo division at all, things would be very confusing. These sections are usually, but not limited to:
So, what do all of these markets mean? I’m glad you asked, as I’ll be dissecting them throughout this post. If you would like to skip ahead, just click on one of the markets above and you’ll be taken to that section.
Main Betting Markets
This is where the bookmaker will place all of the most popular betting markets, based on their detailed research. It’s also where they place things that they want you to bet on, as the majority of casual gamblers will not explore the depths of a game or its markets. Nor does the casual gambler really do any research, but we’ll leave that for another post.
Main markets will try to answer the main questions on any given game, like who’s going to win, what’s the final score going to be and will both teams score? Here’s a full list of expected main markets.
This is the main market inside the main markets. Who’s going to win this game, or will it be a draw? You’ll have three options with the odds displayed next to each. You can browse strong home teams, or certain trends in results via our Match Search.
Another way of predicting the outcome of the game, although this time you can bet on a team winning or drawing a game. So you could bet on Manchester United winning or drawing against Arsenal, but you will obviously get lower odds as you’re covering both the win and the draw with your bet. Double Chance also allows you to bet on any of the two teams winning, so you could predict that Manchester United or Arsenal will win the game. If it’s a draw, you would lose in this case.
Betting on the correct score is quite tricky, but very popular. Many of the bookmakers will put this front and center as it brings them in a lot of money. One goal can ruin your bet, but the odds do reflect that in most cases with odds usually starting at 5/1 depending on the game. Correct Score betting is quite popular with a lot of gamblers due to the high odds. You can view the most popular correct scores on FootyStats by the league, or by viewing our page dedicated to that market.
The goals market might just be the most popular market for bookmakers, after the full-time results. This gives you the ability to bet on how many goals you think will be in the game, after 90 minutes. The bookmakers work incrementally, so you can bet on there being the following:
- Over 0.5 Goals
- Over 1.5 Goals
- Over 2.5 Goals
- Over 3.5 Goals
And so on… The idea behind working in decimals is so there’s always an outcome. If you were to place a bet on a game that ultimately finished 1-1, and your bet was Over 1.5 Goals, then your bet would be a winner. However, if the bookmakers offered only whole numbers, like Over/Under 2 Goals, then this bet would be void, as two goals are not over or under.
The odds for the goals market depends on the game, and also the league. In some leagues, there’s an average of 4.30 goals per game, whilst others rarely see three goals in a game. That’s why we run FootyStats, so you can find out where the goals are, or aren’t, and place your bets with more confidence. We have a page dedicated purely to Over/Under markets.
Even the most seasoned gamblers are initially confused by the Asian Lines Markets. Also known as Asian Handicap, this market removes the possibility of a draw. In standard bets, you can select the outcome of 1 (Win), X (Draw) or 2 (Win) and each result will have 33% of returning true. However, with Asian Lines, the outcome is 50% as the draw is removed.
There are different levels of handicaps, such as -0.25, -0.5, -0.75, -1 and so on. If you were to bet on a game, let us say Brighton vs Stoke, with Stoke to win but with an “AH” of -1, this means that Stoke are starting with a goalless, so they will need to win by two clear goals in order for your bet to return as a winner. If Stoke were to win by just the single goal, you would get your money back. Many feel you have a better chance of winning bets if you stick to AH, but we encourage you to take some time and start small in order to get your head around how much you will win, and when.
One of the most popular new markets, or certainly an emerging market with casual gamblers is the cards market. This allows you to bet on how many cards you think will be awarded in any given game. If you have the stats to back this up, it can be very profitable.
Again, we have a page dedicated to just card stats from all of our supported leagues. What’s interesting is that at the time of writing this article, the top fifteen teams for average cards per game are all from South America. There are just more cards there than anywhere else. Fact.
Online bookmakers will allow you to bet on how many cards are in your game, but also to whom they are given. Odds for individual players usually start at ~3.00 (or 3/1 for those of you still using fractions) for your average defender and increases the further you go up the pitch. If a player has a poor disciplinary record, the odds will reflect this. I like to bet on wingers to get booked, as they’re often tracking back, tired, and not the best at tackling. At the time of writing this, the team with the most cards per game is Real Potosí in Bolivia. They average 4.70 cards per game.
As I mentioned previously, Bet365 leads the way with unique markets and inside of the cards section you’ll be able to bet on the time of the first card, and for some games, you can bet on there being a card inside the first minute of the game. Most recently, with Uruguay vs France, this market was valued at ~100.00 with a card being shown inside 10 minutes at 6.50.
Our users love this market, and we can see why. The odds are often very favorable and we really do have the data to back it up. Betting on corners is pretty simple. Like most markets, you can bet on if you believe that there will be more or less than a specified amount. The average, depending on the league, is usually around 9 corners per game.
Unlike other markets, online bookmakers will use full numbers as they also allow you to be on there is an exact amount of corners. So for any game, you can bet on there being: Under 9 Corners, Over 9 Corners or Exactly 9 Corners. Alternative corners allow you to select an amount that suits you, usually starting at six. The odds will reflect this, with a bet on there being over six corners in a game being close to ~1.30 on average.
This seems like a low offering but when you consider that some of the teams in our database regularly average over twelve corners a game, you can see why this is quite a popular and profitable market for so many gamblers around the world. As with most markets, you can also break your bet down by half. So you could bet on the number of corners in the first half of a game, or just the second. Like with cards, Bet365 and other online bookmakers will allow you to bet on the time of the first corner in a game.
I’ll always have a bet on there being a corner in the first 10 minutes of a game, especially if it’s a strong home team that will likely dominate possession from the kick-off. Manchester City is a good example of this, leading the corner charts for the Premier League. At home, when they attack and don’t score, they usually get a corner.
At the time of writing this, the Wide Bay Buccaneers in Australia currently lead our charts, with 15.63 corners per game on average. Closely followed by a couple of team from Iceland. We have a full page dedicated to corners stats that you can view here. You’ll be able to see who’s averaging the most in the world right now, what leagues have the most corners on average and the most frequent corner count across our whole database of matches.
Ah, goals. Football would be much more boring without goals and that’s why we always hope for plenty. As we mentioned previously, bookmakers will allow you to bet on the number of goals scored within the main markets that they offer but inside the specific Goals section, there’s a lot more you can do and much more variety to pick from, such as:
Will both sides score? It’s a simple question with some great value. Check out some of the lower European leagues on FootyStats for some leagues with high percentages for both teams scoring. I like to look for an away side that’s in good form against a home side that’s also got respectable form but has conceded more than ~1.50 goals per game in the campaign. We also have a dedicated page just for BTTS.
Online bookmakers love to offer you combinations of bets, as it enhances the chances that your bet will lose and at the same time gives you higher odds. The above mentioned BTTS is often combined with the Over/Unders market to create BTTS & Over 2.5 Goals. This, and BTTS & Full Time Result are two very popular combination bets. Look out for teams who score plenty but have trouble keeping it tight at the back. One of my favorite leagues in the world, the Eerste Divisie, is a great place for this kind of bet. You can use our BTTS pages for even more research.
First Half Goals
I love this market and its one that I visit often in-play. You can check our stats on any team to see how many goals they have scored in the first half of games in their current season. Some teams are winning at HT for the majority of games, whilst some teams have never scored before HT. These stats help you make better choices when it comes to betting on goals at HT. Like the main goal markets, you can bet on if you think there will be Over/Under a certain amount of goals in the first 45 minutes.
This is an emerging market for many but a profitable one it seems. You can bet on the way a goal is scored, the options are usually the following:
- Own Goal
- Free Kick
- No Goal
It might seem like a long-shot at first, but if there’s a team you have researched that tends to play long ball, or focus on set-pieces, then it might be worth a percentage of your bankroll to bet on them scoring from a header, or even a free-kick if they have a set-piece specialist.
Half With Most Goals
Another popular market with gamblers who take things a little more seriously. What half do you think will have the most goals? This is another 50/50 bet really, and the odds can fluctuate based on the league and team that you’re betting on. A lot of lower, obscure leagues will have plenty of goals in the first-half and the odds would reflect that. More popular leagues will offer ~1.70 for a goal to be scored in the first half.
When you have the data available to you, it makes things a lot easier. If you can see that one side has not conceded many first-half goals, whilst another has scored the majority of their goals in the second stages of games, then a bet like this makes perfect sense.
That’s right, you can bet on if you think a team will keep a clean sheet or not. Again, if you have the stats available to you then making this kind of bet will make more sense. Take Sporting Lisbon for example. They conceded 0.70 goals per game last season at home and went eleven games from December to May without conceding a single goal. You might think this is the same at BTTS market, but this bet can still be a winner even if the score finishes at 0-0. Look out for the teams with the strong home records and superior defenses! Odds usually start at ~1.70 but this will depend on the league and team that you’re thinking of betting on.
Bookmakers recently started allowing more and more markets that are based on what happens before or after half-time. They take some of the markets that they currently offer for full time and put a single half restriction on them, boosting the odds for you but decreasing the probability. Here are a few markets that Bet365 offer based on the half:
- Who Will Kick Off
- Half With Most Goals
- And Many More
Many bookmakers now allow bets on individual players. Will they score, will they be booked, how many times will they be offside? All of these questions and more are now up for answers on many of the available online bookmakers. The most popular inside the player’s markets would be scorers. You can place a bet on a player to score once, twice, first or anytime. Depending on the player, you’ll get varied odds.
For example, in the hight of Salah madness last season, you could get him to score anytime for ~1.60, so £100 returned £60. However, if you bet on Dejan Lovren to score in the same game, you could expect odds anywhere between ~15-40.00. Did you know that the season before last, if you placed £5 on Patrick van Aanholt to score anytime every single time he played, you would have been profitable.
Quite recently, online bookmakers have been creating more complex markets, giving the gambler even more ways to win (and lose). These kinds of bets are contained inside their own section on Bet365, and it’s the same with many other online bookmakers. Here’s a selection of what markets you might expect to see inside here:
- Team To Win from Behind
- To Score A Penalty
- To Miss A Penalty
- Red Card In The Match
- Most Shots on Target
- Match Shots
- Team Offsides
- Player Shots on Target
- Player Tackles
So, in conclusion, there’s a lot of things you can bet on in this day and age and we predict that those markets are only going to increase. However, we might see them simplified as more and more people begin to consider betting on sports as a hobby. This post will be updated with new content as and when we find new markets, so please feel free to comment or get in touch if you feel we have missed anything or if there’s any markets that you would like us to cover in the future.