Learn to Bet Series: How to Bet on Soccer

Soccer, or futbol as they call it, is the world’s game. It is more popular around the world than the four major professional sports – football, baseball, basketball, and hockey – in North America.

Soccer is also a popular sport to bet on. Betting on soccer is a little bit different than betting on other sports like football and basketball. It takes a little getting used to as there are a variety of ways to bet on a soccer match.

There are a variety of interesting bets on soccer. The UEFA Champions League offers bettors action on matches between Barcelona-Bayern on Friday and Manchester City-Lyon on Saturday. The winners will meet in one semifinal.

RB Leipzig faced Atletico Madrid with the winner playing Paris Saint-Germain in the other semifinal. The UEFA Champions League Final is scheduled for August 23. That gives bettors plenty of time to get in on the action.

Betting the Spread

Like other sports, you can bet on “goal lines” which is the equivalent of betting the spread in football. The goal line is similar to a puck line in hockey.

A goal line is typically set at -0.5 in soccer. For games with bigger favorites, it could be -1.5 or even -2.5. The goal line for a World Cup match between powers like Brazil and Argentina might look like this.

            Argentina         -0.5 (+110)

            Brazil                +0.5 (-120)

Just like a spread on NFL football, there is juice – the +100 for example – involved. In order for a bet on Argentina to win, they would have to win by more than one goal. If you bet on Brazil, they would either have to win or the match would have to end in a draw.

Totals Betting

You can also bet on the total in soccer though it does work a little differently than in other sports. Because scoring is scarce in soccer, oddsmakers usually set the total at 2.25, 2.5, or 2.75. Soccer totals are always set in multiples of .25.

When you place a bet on a soccer total, the bet is divided in half. For example, if you place a bet on the Over at 2.5, half of the bet is on Over 2 and the other half is on Over 2.5.

Let’s say a match ends with a score of 1-1. The result of the bet on the Over 2.5 is a loss. The other half of the bet, Over 2, is a push resulting in a refund of the bet.

If the final score had been 2-1, you would win on both bets.

Where can you place your action? Check our Sportsbook Reviews today!

The Two-Way Moneyline

Another way to bet on soccer is the two-way moneyline where you can bet Double Chance or Draw No Bet. These bets are only good for the 90 minutes of regulation play.

A Double Chance bet is one where you are betting on a team to either win or draw. There are three potential results.

            Team A wins or draws

            Team B wins or draws

            Team A wins or Team B wins

Using Brazil-Argentina again, you could bet on Brazil to win or draw at -215. Or, you could bet on Argentina to win or draw at -165. You could also bet on Brazil or Germany to win at -200.

The Draw No Bet wager just eliminates the draw. Any match that ends in a tie results in a push or a refund of the bet. Draw No Bet wagers look like a typical moneyline bet.

            Brazil                -200

            Argentina         +150

The Three-Way Moneyline

Like the two-way moneyline, these wagers are based only on the 90 minutes of regulation. There are three possible results. Team A wins, Team B wins, or the two teams draw.

The 2014 World Cup final three-way moneyline looked like this:

            Argentina         +255

            Germany          +130

            Draw                +230

After 90 minutes of play, the match was tied 0-0. The Draw at +230 was the winning bet. Germany would go on to win in extra time.

Betting on soccer is fun and exciting. Make sure you are informed before placing that first wager.

About the Author

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.

His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.

When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.