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Football betting explained – Beginners guide to betting on football

Football betting is one of the most exciting sports to place your bets on and there are millions of fans around the world that enjoy doing so regularly.

However, those new to the betting scene are sometimes unsure about different football betting terms, how betting on football works and most importantly how to place winning bets.

That’s why we wrote this football betting guide which will explain the key strategies, betting terms and other important information you need to know so you can make more profit from your football bets in 2019.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

Football betting explained

One of the most common questions we get asked is whether you should place your football bets at a bookmaker or a betting exchange.

So to kick off our football betting guide, we’re going to look at the difference between a bookmaker and a betting exchange plus the benefits of each platform when betting on football.

Bookmaker or exchange for football betting?

So what’s the difference between a bookmaker and betting exchange?


A bookmaker or bookie as it’s often referred to is your traditional betting platform. This is the most common and popular type of betting company and one that you’ll probably use regularly.

Examples of a bookmaker include Ladbrokes and Coral. At a bookmaker, you effectively bet against the company when you place a wager.

If you win your bet, the bookie loses and vice versa.

Bookmakers offer a range of features that still makes them the most popular betting platforms in 2019.

Some of their benefits include:

  • Great promotions and bonuses
  • Boosted odds

Great promotions and bonuses

Bookmakers typically offer a great range of promotions to their new and existing customers. They use them to incentivise punters to place more bets. However, you should use them to increase your football betting winnings.

Here’s a great example of a football betting offer you should consider using.

Boosted odds

One of the benefits of using a bookmaker, is you have access to features such as boosted odds whereas using a betting exchange you don’t, as we’ll look at below.

Much like the promotions and offers mentioned above, odds boosts will only help increase your football winnings if you pick wisely and land your bet.

So what about betting exchanges for your football betting?

Betting exchanges

A betting exchange is another common betting term you’ll come across.

An exchange is an online marketplace which matches gamblers together. A betting exchange doesn’t take on any bets like a bookmaker does meaning you don’t bet against the company. You’re betting against other punters. It’s a peer to peer platform.

The betting exchange makes money by charging a commission on players’ net winnings rather than building a profit margin into the odds. This means you’ll generally get better value odds at an exchange like Smarkets as well as other benefits which we’ll look at below:

  • Both back and lay bets available
  • Bet against other punters
  • Better value odds

Back and lay bets

Both back and lay bets are available at betting exchanges which is something not available at a bookmaker. For the majority of football punters, they’re only interested in placing back bets.

However, for the serious bettors who win football bets regularly, they also place lay bets.

Bet against other punters

As a betting exchange is a peer to peer platform, you’re betting against other punters rather than against a bookmaker. This adds another layer of excitement as you always want to beat your ‘opponent’ and win your football bet.

Better value odds

Due to how betting exchanges work, you’re going to get more valuable odds compared to a bookmaker who has to build their profit margin into the odds.

This is great for football bettors as it means you’ll have more winnings when you land a bet.

So, overall what betting platform should you use to place your football bets in 2019? As I said at the start, it’s really up to you and depends on your needs. The right choice for me may not be the same for you.

A mixture of both is generally a solid approach.

When it comes to opening a new bookmaker or betting exchange account, check out this guide.

Awesome, now you’ve got a better idea of the different types of betting platform, let’s look at some football betting types.

Football betting terms – Different bet types

Next up in our football betting guide, we’re going to explain the different kinds of bet you can place on football.

Single bets

Single bets are the most common and popular football bet type in 2019. A single bet simply means you place one bet at a bookmaker or betting exchange.

You’ll probably start off using these bets as they’re the most simple to understand and place.

However, you can’t write a football betting guide without mentioning the incredibly popular football accumulator.

Football accumulators explained

An accumulator is a bet that contains more than four selections. For you to win the overall accumulator, each selection in the bet must win.

Accumulators have become very popular over the last few years, especially when betting on football.

As you can imagine, the winnings can be quite profitable as the probability of all outcomes occurring is quite low.

The bookmakers usually add promotions and special offers to accumulator bets, meaning the potential winnings can be even greater.

On the other hand, accumulator bets have to be placed at one bookmaker meaning you may not always get the best odds on each selection.

For more information and how to win more football accumulators in 2019, check out this article.

Football betting explained – key markets

Next up in our football betting guide, let’s look at some common football markets you should consider betting on.


The most basic of football betting markets, you may also see Win/Draw/Win written as 1X2 or match betting. Don’t let this confuse you, it means the same thing.

In this market, you’re betting on the outcome of a football fixture. The first part of the market represents a home team win, the second a draw and the third an away victory.

If you’re just getting started with football betting, I recommend you stick to this market as it’s the easiest to understand and bet on. Once you’ve got this nailed, you can move on to football markets mentioned below.

Both teams to score

This football betting term is pretty self-explanatory. You’re simply betting on both teams to score at least one goal in a fixture.

You should generally expect the odds for this market to be quite low unless a fixture is likely to be incredibly one-sided.

Both teams to score + win

This football betting market is the same as the one above apart from you’re also selecting a certain team to win the fixture. You’ll get better odds than the market above as the outcome is slightly less likely.

Correct score

Another self-explanatory market, in this scenario you’re simply selecting what you think the final score of a football match will be. Guessing the correct score can be quite difficult so you can expect large returns if your bet wins.

Draw no bet

A draw no bet is a football betting market that is voided if the fixture ends in a draw. In other words, your wager is returned if the game finishes level.

However, if your selected team wins or loses, the bet still stands. These markets are great for bettors who think a team may win but there’s also a chance of a draw.

Double chance

A double chance bet allows you to bet on a team winning or drawing a fixture. It essentially has two parts to the bet meaning you have two chances at winning. However, you should expect much lower odds than in the Win/Draw/Win market.

Half time/full time

A betting market where you bet on the outcome at half time as well as the outcome at full time in the game.

Football betting explained – goal markets

Next up in our football betting guide, we’ll look at some common goal markets you can expect to find at different bookmakers and betting exchanges.

First goalscorer

In this market, you’re betting on who you think will score the first goal of a game. You may find several promotions available on these markets, especially if leading goal scorers are in action.

Anytime goalscorer

Similar to the previous betting market, except you’re selection can score at any time during the fixture. The odds will be lower than in the previous goal market.


A betting market that levels the playing field between strong and weaker opponents. The underdog is usually given a head start in terms of goals.

Team to score Yes/No

In this scenario, you’re betting on a certain team to score a goal at any point during the game. If you wish, you also usually have the option to select which half you think the outcome will occur in.


In this football betting market, you’re staking money on who will be the first goalscorer as well as the outcome of the fixture. As you can imagine, winning outcomes are quite unlikely meaning large returns if you land your bet.


Another popular betting market in the online football betting world. There are many different markets that the Over/Under category can be added to. However, here are some of the most common ones you’ll come across.

Over/under Goals

In this football betting market, you’re betting whether you think the actual number of goals will be over or under a certain number.

Over/Under Corners

Similar to the market above, you’re betting on the total number of corners during a fixture. You can select whether you think the number will be higher or lower than a certain figure.

As I mentioned earlier, the Over/Under market can be added to a huge range of categories meaning the potential options are endless.

You can also bet on other types of football market including outrights and specials. However, these markets are pretty self-explanatory.

Football betting terms

Here are a few more key football betting terms you may come across once you begin your betting journey.

Back bets

When you stake money on a certain outcome happening.


The amount of money you have in your theoretical betting balance.


A popular betting feature which enables punters to close and settle their bets before an event has finished.

Football betting explained – overview

That’s it for our football betting explained article.

Betting on football is one of the most exciting sports to place your wagers on. I hope this guide has helped explain the main key terms and information you’ll need to place winning bets in 2019.

Are we missing some key football betting information? Leave a comment below and we’ll update the article.