Fotball Bet Types Explained

You can bet on just about anything happening in
football these days. Goals, corners, bookings, correct
score, first scorer, players to score hat tricks, to
be subbed, to be playing for a different club in six
months time…..etc However, many of these markets
have large profit margins built in by bookmakers
making it extremely difficult to make money from them.
In this article, I will try and explain some of the
main ones we will be using over the course of the
season. Many of you will be fully aware of how these
markets work, but I have had plenty of e-mails over
the course of the season asking me to explain how
Asian handicaps work, what draw no bet means, etc.
Even if you do think you know your stuff, the article
is probably worth a read as there is bound to be
something that you were not previously aware of.


The most straight forward market and the one I will
generally recommend most bets from. You simply select
“Home win”, “Draw”, or “Away win”. When filling out a
coupon in a betting shop you would mark “1” for a home
win, “2” for a away win and “x” for a draw. Most major
bookmakers have a profit margin of between 5-12% built
in. The equivalent market on Betfair is available with
no profit margin but you will have to pay between 2-5%
commission on your winnings.


There are several different markets relating to goals
that we will be interested in over the course of the
season. The main goals market we will be using will be
Over/Under 2.5 goals. This sometimes confuses people
who are new to football betting as there is obviously
no such thing as half a goal. Basically, if you back
over, then you need three goals to win, if you back
under, then you want no more than two goals. The
profit margin on these bets, as well as most other
markets with just two outcomes, is usually between
6-8%. Some bookmakers, as well as Betfair, offer
over/under 1.5 goals and over/under 3.5 goals and
these markets work exactly the same way. “Total
goals”, is another goals market which I sometimes bet
on. Usually there will be three choices, 0-1, 2-3 and
4 or more. These are pretty self explanatory. This
market can sometimes throw up value if the bookmaker
offering the market goes too high or low on his goals
quote. For example, in La Liga last year, some
bookmakers were not factoring in how many goals
Sevilla and Atletico Madrid were scoring in home
games. This resulted in “4 or more” offering value on
several occasions.


Again, pretty self explanatory. It is important to
remember that this is a 90 minutes market only. If you
back a team to win 1-0 in a cup game and it’s 0-0
after 90 minutes then your bet has lost, even if they
go on to win 1-0 in extra time. This is a market I
generally avoid as the bookies enjoy a hefty profit
margin. However, occasionally, correct score markets
do throw up value. Last year for example, the 0-0 draw
was too big in France with Paddypower for a period and
therefore represented value. Unfortunately this period
also coincided with the number of goals in French
games suddenly spiking, and we were unable to take
advantage. Many bookmakers also offer scorecast
markets, in which you have to pick out the correct
score and the first goalscorer. This is very difficult
to do and consequently large prices are often
available. However, the prices are nowhere near large
enough and it is a terrible bet from a value point of


The Half time result is a market I very rarely get
involved in. It’s not that it represents particularly
bad value, it’s just that it is quite tricky to
predict. Trends do emerge from time to time that might
make a bet worthwhile, for example, a team that
doesn’t concede or score many goals might be drawing a
lot of games at half time. If bookies aren’t manually
compiling this market, as many don’t (instead
preferring to use computer programs) then a small bit
of value might emerge.

Half time/Full time is another market I very rarely
bet on. The odds are heavily in the bookies favour and
prices have to be quite a way out of line to become
value. The following is an example of William Hills
halftime/fulltime prices from Peterborough’s pre
season friendly against West Ham:

Peterborough/Peterborough            15/2 (12%)
Peterborough/Draw                    14/1 (7%)
Peterborough/West Ham                20/1 (5%)
Draw/Peterborough                    9/1  (10%)
Draw/Draw                            9/2  (18%)
Draw/West Ham                        10/3 (23%)
West Ham/Peterborough                28/1 (3%)
West Ham/Draw                        14/1 (7%)
West Ham/West Ham                    8/5  (38%)

Total                                    (123%)

As you can see, Hills have built in a 23% profit
margin to this market making it very poor value. There
are occasions when value arises, such as two seasons
ago when a number of Chelsea home games were resulting
in Draw/Chelsea results. Another example of when value
arises is when there is a big move for a team in the
match odds market. Sometimes bookies can be slow to
cut their half time/full time price for a team making
it slight value.


Two quite different markets in terms of value. First
goalscorer is generally one best avoided as the margin
is again very big. Forwards are nearly always
artificially short and it is difficult enough
predicting which player will score in a game let alone
who will score first. The introduction of each way
betting with first goalscorers by several bookmakers
in the last couple of years has improved things to
some extent. With each way terms covering the first
three scorers it is fairly similar to an anytime
goalscorer bet. With Anytime scorer bets there often
seems to be value with certain firms, especially
William Hills. It is a relatively new bet and Hills do
not seem to be getting their prices right. I suspect
they are using a computer program and a glance at usually shows them to be best price by
quite a way on most players. Anytime scorer bets
should only be considered when there is a high goals
quote as obviously, the more goals there are in a game
the more chance your player has of scoring. One note
of caution however, different firms have different
rules when it comes to anytime goalscorer markets. The
majority class a player as a runner if he takes part
in any part of the game and therefore it is very
important that your player is starting. If he comes on
for the last five minutes and fails to score then your
bet will stand and have very little chance of winning.
William Hills rules on the other hand, state that if a
player does not start the game then he is a non runner
and you get your money back.


This is a variation on the correct score market and
only a few bookmakers tend to offer it. Basically, you
are backing a team to win by any score to nil. It is
best used when you want to back a short priced team
who are solid defensively, or maybe playing a team who
don’t score many goals or who have injury problems up
front. Chelsea are a good example from last year, they
were solid defensively and ended up winning eighteen
league matches “to nil”. This is another market that
is often computer generated and value prices do
occasionally appear.


Does exactly what it says on the tin. You are backing
a team and taking away the risk of a draw. If the game
finishes level then you simply get your money back.
This market is best used when you fancy a side to win
but they tend to draw a lot of games, or maybe you are
betting in a league where there are a lot of draws
such as the French league. You are sacrificing the
bigger price you would get backing the team to win in
the match odds, for the insurance of getting your
money back in the event of a draw. Exactly the same
bet is available on the Asian handicaps.


A market that causes a great deal of confusion but
often offers very good value. It got the name “Asian
handicap” because it is the preferred form of betting
in the far east. Profit margins are far lower than
most other markets, often just a couple of percent. I
will try to explain how they work as simply as I can.
Don’t worry if you don’t understand it straight away,
many people don’t, take your time and read over what I
have written a couple of times. You can play around
with it on Betfair too, just pick a game, click on
Asian handicaps and click the “back” box. A bet slip
will appear on the right hand side explaining what you
win or lose from each outcome.

The simplest type of Asian handicap is exactly the
same bet as draw no bet. Both teams will appear with a
+0 next to them, the bet is void in the event of a

Another type of Asian handicap is to back a team +1 or
-1. You might back an outsider +1 or back a strong
favourite -1. Backing a strong favourite -1 is
basically backing them to win by more than one goal.
If they win by exactly one goal then you lose nothing
and your stake is returned as the one goal margin they
have won by is cancelled out by the -1 handicap. If
they win by two or more then your bet is a winner.

A slightly more complicated Asian handicap is backing
a team to win +1.5 or -1.5. This should be thought of
in exactly the same way as over/under 2.5 goals. If
the team you are backing -1.5 wins by two goals then
your bet is a winner, if they win by only one goal
then your bet is a loser. It is the same as backing a
team -1 only you have no insurance if the team wins by
one goal. Remember if you back a team -1 and they win
by one, then you get your money back, but if you back
them -1.5 and they win by one then the bet is a loser.

The most complicated Asian handicap is when the
previous two bets are combined and you are given the
option of backing a team -1 & -1.5. Although it looks
very complicated it is actually quite simple. All you
have to do to understand it is split the bet in two.
Half of your bet is for “team A” to win -1 and the
other half of your stake is for “team A” to win -1.5.
If we back team A at evens to win -1 & -1.5 for a £100
stake, then the following will happen:

Team A wins by 2 goals or more = win £100 (Both parts
of the bet have won)

Team A wins by 1 goal = lose £50 (you get your money
back for the first part of the bet but lose £50 on the
second part)

Team A does not win = lose £100 (both parts of your
bet have lost)

Asian handicaps are most useful if you want to back a
short priced favourite to win by a big margin or for
an outsider to only lose by a small margin or to draw.
For example, if you back a team +1 then you have both
the draw and them winning as positive results.

To conclude, the above bet types are the main ones you
should be familiar with. The vast majority of bets
that I recommend will be in the match odds or from one
of the goals markets. There are many other weird and
wonderful markets out there but they are generally
poor value and best avoided. If you would like me to
clarify anything I have written above then please do
not hesitate to contact me

Best Wishes

The Oracle


The Oracle works as an odds compiler for a major uk bookmaker.

He retired from his moonlighting job as a tipster to free up more time for his family. You can read more sage advice from him however in the free soccer betting course available at

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