Beginners guide to betting on the football markets

Football betting is hugely popular all over the world, but despite that, there are many newcomers to football betting, who all need to learn the basics. On the face of it, placing a bet on football can look to be something that is complicated, with many different bet types favoured by different people, and a lot of jargon to learn and understand. There are over 100 different ways to bet on an individual football game that takes place in one of the top leagues in the world, and that is a huge amount of work just to look at them, never mind to work out which ones are worth betting on.

There is so much to learn and work out for newcomers from football betting odds, and which football betting sites to go with, all the way to where to look for football betting tips to help you place winning bets. To understand the basics, here is our beginners guide to football betting, something which will hopefully put you on the right track, and allow you to begin placing free bets on football with confidence that you can win.

Betting Markets

There are many different betting markets available and the bigger the game the more markets you will be able to choose from. The choice for football punters has never been so good, so make sure you take advantage of this and you explore the different markets that are available. You don’t have to bet on everyone, but knowing what is available and learning about the different markets will only enhance your football betting knowledge, and give you more options when moving forward.

To Win the Game

The most common way to bet on a football game is also the simplest, which makes getting involved very easy for new punters. The easiest way to place a bet is to place a bet on who will win the game. This is a three-way market, with the home team, away team and the draw your options to choose from. By sticking to a market like this, the football betting odds may not be great, but the chances of winning are, with only three possible outcomes you have a good chance of dropping on a winner straight from the off.

When betting on a team to win the game, you can use any type of bet you wish, this is another reason why this is the most popular way to bet. You can bet on one game, or you can place a bet on numerous games, which is known as an accumulator. More on bet types later, but when betting to win the game, you have the flexibility to place any type of bet you want.

Common Alternative Betting Markets

If you don’t want to simply bet on who will win the game then there are a number of alternative markets you can use to either bet in a different way or enhance the odds on your bet. Some of these markets don’t even require you to select who will win at all, and these are becoming increasingly popular with punters.

One of the most common ways to bet is on goals, and a bet on goals does not require you to also state who will win the game. The two main markets for goals betting are the both teams to score market and the over/under 2.5 goals market. Betting on these markets is simple, you need to predict whether both teams will score in the game or not, or whether there will be over or under 2.5 goals in the game.

Elsewhere, if you do want to place a bet that involves picking a team to win, markets like correct score betting, half time/full time betting and handicap betting are all available. Correct score betting is exactly what it says, instead of backing a team to win, you back them to win by the score you nominate. This is obviously hard to do, but the rewards on offer are usually big. Half time/ full-time betting involves predicting the result at both half time and full time. For example, you may bet that the game will be a draw at half time, and the home team will win the game at full-time. Again this is harder to do, but the rewards are bigger.

Handicap betting involves a fictional line that the bookmakers create to try and make a game more even for betting purposes. For example, if you think a team is going to win easy, and they are huge favourites to do so, betting on the handicap market will give you a lot more value than the standard market. However, they will have to win by more than the line suggests, so a handicap line of -2 will need your team to win by three goals or more. The odds are far better by using this line, but the risk is bigger as you need your team to win easily.

Bet Types

When betting on football you can place a huge range of different bets. Depending on which of the betting sites you sign up to as some will have more markets than others. From singles to accumulators and many different multiples in between, there really is something for everyone.


Accumulators or accas are the basic football bet that many people place. The aim of the bet is simple, you group together numerous games, put on a small stake and try to win big. Millions of accumulator bets are placed each week around the world on football games, they are the clear number one choice of football gamblers, and the number one place to start for new punters.

When placing an accumulator you can select as many different teams as you want to, although it is advisable to keep the number realistic, to give you a chance of winning. While 15 team accumulators may pay out a six-figure sum for just £1 staked, the chance of them winning is extremely small, so it is advised to stay away from bets like that.

Despite so many people placing accumulator bets, they do have a huge rise attached. No matter how many teams you choose, every single one of them must win if you are to be successful. This means that even if you do manage to pick 14 correct out of 15, you will see nothing in return. Accumulators can be used on any market, although the standard win market and goals betting is where they are most commonly used by punters.


Betting in singles is the easiest way to place a bet, and here you also have the most chance of winning because you are relying on just one team to win. However, your returns will not be as high as when you place an accumulator because there is little risk involved. Those who place singles on football either have a long-term plan and they want to win very often, or they use one of the alternative markets to give them a value bet.

For example, instead of placing many teams together in an accumulator to get value, a person backing singles would look at an alternative market like the correct score market to gain value, and place a single on that market.

You can place a single bet on anything you like, although sometimes the odds on the selection may make the bet have little value, and it is probably not worth placing. If you are looking to place singles then watch out for bigger priced teams to win their games, or explore the alternative markets to add value that way. The one positive is that with a single, you just need one team to win and you will win, so no hard luck stories where seven of your eight accumulator teams win, but you don’t get a return.

Jargon Buster

There are many phrases and words used in football betting that you may not know what they mean. Our jargon booster will help you work your way through, and give you a basic understanding of what everything means.

Acca: this is an accumulator bet. It is one bet but involves multiple teams and they all must win for you to have a return.

BTTS: This refers to the bet ‘both teams to score’ and is a popular bet with punters. You don’t have to select a game winner on this bet, simply bet that both teams will score at least one goal in the game.

Handicap line: This is a fictional line that is created by the bookmakers. When betting on this line, not only does your team have to win, but they also have to win by a margin big enough to cover the line.

Over/Under:  This is how you bet on a goal line. The line will be set, with the most common being 2.5 goals. For over you are backing that there will be three or more goals in the game, and for under you are saying that there will be two goals or less in the game.