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Most Popular Markets in football

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A betting market is simply a selection of odds that any bookmaker, sportsbook or betting site is going to be offering you on their respective betting platforms on one type sports betting opportunity. However, you will often find that there are many sub-categories of betting markets available all of which will have different odds and often different wagering opportunities too!

Asian handicap bet

An Asian handicap bet is one in which your selection has a “handicap” to overcome, and what makes the bet unique is that it eliminates the possibility of a draw in betting terms.

The bookmakers give each team a plus or minus figure to denote their handicap. This can be either a whole-goal handicap (such as +1 or -2) or a half-goal handicap (+0.5 or -1.5). 

How each works is best illustrated by a brief example.

Whole-goal handicap 

Liverpool -1, Arsenal +2

The figures next to each team are applied to their score in the match. 

If you bet on Liverpool, you win if they win by a two-goal margin or more. You lose if they draw or lose. And you get your stake back if If they win by a one-goal margin, which is cancelled out by the -1, making the handicap result a draw. 

If you bet on Arsenal, you win if they win, if they draw or if they lose by only a one-goal margin. You lose if they lose by a three-goal margin or more. And you get your stake back if they lose by a two-goal margin, which is cancelled out by the +2, making the handicap result a draw. 

A whole-goal handicap better offers the safety net of your stake being returned.

Half-goal handicap 

Liverpool -1.5, Arsenal +1.5 

If you bet on Liverpool and they win by a two-goal margin or more, you win. A win by one goal, a draw or a defeat and you lose.

If you bet on Arsenal and they lose by one goal, draw or win, you win. If they lose by a two-goal margin or more, you lose.

A half-goal handicap bet eliminates the possibility of a draw altogether.

European handicap bet

A European handicap is similar to an Asian handicap but with two main differences: one is that the draw remains an option and the other is that the handicaps are only ever whole numbers. 

Again, how it works is best illustrated by a brief example.

Liverpool -1, Draw -1, Arsenal +2

If you bet on Liverpool, you win if they win by a two-goal margin or more. 

If you bet on the draw, you win if Liverpool win by a single goal.

If you bet on Arsenal, you win if they win, draw or lose by only one goal.

Half-time/full-time

You can bet on the result of the first half and/or the second half. You can bet on the home team, away team or draw for one or both halves.

This bet is for the more advanced football fan who has prior knowledge to indicate the teams who start or finish matches strongly or weakly.

Knowing the starting line-ups and whether key players are missing through injury or being rested can also be an advantage with this type of bet.

Double chance

You can bet on two of the three outcomes of the match to increase your chance of winning. The combinations are:

Home team or draw

Away team or draw

Home team or away team

If either of your combinations wins you will be paid out. The odds are lower than betting on just a single match outcome as there is more chance of winning, but this bet is good for bettors who want to reduce the element of risk.

Accumulators

Accumulators combine multiple selections into one bet and are among the most popular forms of betting on football. This is because they offer the potential reward of big returns for small stakes because the winnings from each selection are placed on the next one. The obvious risk is that all the bets have to win for the bettor to receive a payout. 

For example, you might identify four teams that you think are going to win matches, all of which are priced at even money. If you were to bet £1 on each of the teams winning in four single bets, your total return would be £8 – £2 for each successful bet including your returned stake money. 

But if you were to place a £1 accumulator on all four winning at even money, the £2 from Team A winning would effectively be placed on Team B, doubling the return to £4, and this would double again for Teams C and D, making the total return £16. If all four teams were priced at 2/1, the return would increase to £81, so it’s easy to see why accumulators are attractive bets.

Goalscorer betting

As it suggests, this is a bet on a particular player to score during a match. 

You can bet on various outcomes, such as your selection to be the first or last goalscorer in the match or to score at any time during it. The odds on them scoring at any time will be shorter because there is obviously a greater chance of that happening.

These bets can be good for if a particular player is in good form or if one team is much better than the other and it becomes likely a player will score.

Correct score/Scorecast/Wincast

A correct score bet is one in which you predict the final score of a match. Remember, that this will be the outcome after 90 minutes in cup ties that could go to extra time and/or penalties. The prices for correct score bets are often attractive but, of course, predicting the exact score is far from easy.

A Scorecast is a bet that combines selecting a goalscorer and the correct score. For example, you can bet on Mo Salah to score and Liverpool to win 1-0. Again, the odds on such bets are higher because you are betting on the likelihood of two outcomes. Some bookmakers will also let you choose the goalscorer in a Scorecast to be the first, last or at any time.

A Wincast is similar to a Scorecast, but involves selecting a goalscorer and the outcome of the match rather than the correct score. The odds will not be as high as a Scorecast because it is easier to predict the outcome rather than the scoreline. 

Over and Under betting

This is a bet on the total number of times an event (for example, goals, corners, yellow cards) will happen during a match. 

Bookmakers allocate a baseline number to a match and you can bet on whether there will be more (over) or fewer (under) than that number. The baseline number will never be a whole number, which guarantees that the outcome will be one of two: over or under. (You can’t score half a goal.)

So in a match where a bookmaker is offering Over or Under 2.5 goals, you win if you bet on Over and three or more goals are scored, but you lose if the total is none, one or two. Likewise, if you bet on Under, you win if none, one or two goals are scored and lose if the total is three or higher. 

Draw No Bet

This is where you bet on the outcome of a match, but if it ends in a draw then you will get your stake back. However, this means the odds will usually be lower than other markets.

Next Manager and Player odds markets

Many bookies will provide special odds on certain events that take place off the pitch. Popular markets include Next Manager to be Sacked, which is self-explanatory, or Next Manager, in which you can bet on the contenders for a vacant position. 

Similar markets operate for which club big-name players will move to next or for the leading goalscorer in a competition or division, for example the Premier League Golden Boot.

You can keep an eye out on different bookmakers’ sites to see what they have to offer.

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