Football has long been one of the most popular sports betting markets worldwide. With the rise of major soccer leagues such as the EPL, La Liga, and Serie A, and a slew of television money pouring into the game across the globe, it’s easier than ever to watch and bet on top-flight football action virtually seven days a week, no matter where in the world you happen to be based.
Along with the ongoing explosion in football’s popularity as both a sport and betting pursuit, the last number of years have also seen the arrival of an exciting new way of getting in on the action in real time in the form of live football betting. The introduction of this option has turned what was already a great sport for betting on into a second-by-second source of excitement and punting opportunity.
The rise of live football betting brings with it a number of important changes in terms of how markets are made and can be bet on, particularly when it comes to the area of football odds and many of those new to this type of betting are often slightly confused by the possibilities available to them at the outset. In this article, we’ll tackle that subject head-on with a detailed breakdown of everything you need to know about live football betting odds.
Let’s kick things off with a bit of background.
The arrival of innovative new betting exchanges in the early 2000s fundamentally altered the nature of online gambling in a remarkably short space of time. As operations such as Betfair and others came into being, whole new classes of bets were quickly made possible online as traditional bookmakers struggled to keep pace with the speed of technological development.
One of the main innovations on offer was the ability to be involved with in-play betting across a staggering range of markets including, naturally, football. Around the same time, the global rollout of high speed internet and satellite technology meant that virtually all major football games were available for live viewing. These two broad factors together quickly combined to make in-play soccer betting for cash an incredibly popular option for the millions of dedicated soccer fans worldwide.
The last number of years have seen significant consolidation in the industry as traditional giants of the betting world have moved to take over or merge with some of the main betting exchange players. Ladbrokes were one of the first to make a move here with their 2013 takeover of BETDAQ, and the Paddy Power/Betfair merger followed swiftly on in 2016. It’s now rare not to see live football betting offered on most major bookmaking sites. With that background out of the way, let’s move on to look at live football betting odds in a little more depth.
The basic principles of oddsmaking are straightforward. To put it in simple terms, the person who is offering the bet puts together odds that tell the potential punter both the chances of a particular event taking place, and how much they stand to win if they wager. Naturally, the bookmakers put considerable effort into making sure that the odds they set reflect the chances of something actually happening as closely as possible, otherwise they stand to lose significant amounts of money.
Let’s look at a couple of basic examples using the European Championships in soccer. Germany go into the 2016 tournament as world champions and have a world-class team with excellent strength in depth. The chances of them getting to at least the latter stages of the competition are naturally high. At the mid-way point of the tournament, they are 5/1 to win the tournament. This means for every euro or dollar you wager, you will get five back if they win the tournament outright.
Iceland, on the other hand, go into the tournament as massive underdogs as they are a tiny island nation with no serious record of success in the competition. Though they’ve done incredibly well to make it past the first stage of the competition, it remains very unlikely that they’ll win it outright. The odds are accordingly priced at 150/1. In this scenario, should you place $100 on Iceland to win the tournament, you’d stand to win a staggering $15,000. It may seem like an unlikely possibility but, as the unexpected success of Leicester in the 2015/2106 Premiership season shows, freak results do happen.
Traditional football betting centres around bets placed in advance of events taking place, with odds set around outcomes such as overall result, scorelines, and scorers. You’ll also hear this type of betting referred to as ante post betting. Live football, on the other hand, is on offer at all stages during a match and consequently offers a wider range of markets, and constantly shifting odds as they are adjusted to match in-game events in real time.
In the examples above, you’ll have noticed that the odds were given in the form of fractions. There are actually a number of different ways you’ll see odds in live football betting offered so let’s move on to look at the options in a little more detail.
Fractional odds are the traditional odds we mentioned above. They’re simply to understand when expressed in the form of a particular amount to one, but get a little trickier to parse when more obscure fractions are used.
For example, a 6/1 bet gets you back six times your stake plus the amount wagered. To assess your winnings, you simply multiply by six. A more odds-on (i.e. more likely) bet of 11/13 might be harder to work out quickly in your head.
Decimal odds have become more popular in recent years as they’re fundamentally easier to parse. You’re also more likely to see them on in-play betting and betting exchanges generally. Our previous example of a 6/1 shot would be stated as a 6.0 bet if expressed in decimal terms. You simply multiply the number by the stake to gauge your winnings. For example, a $50 bet on Manchester United to win a particular bet at 1.25 would return $62.5 (plus your stake).
If you’ve spent any time following American sports, you may also have come across the money line system of odds setting. It’s essentially the decimal system with the decimals taken out of the equation! Let’s look at a simple scenario:
- L.A. Lakers: -150
- New York Knicks: 110
A positive number shows how much you’d win if you bet $100. A negative number shows how much you have to wager to win $100. They map to the concepts of odds-against and odds-on in traditional betting.
In addition to the attractive in-play football betting odds on offer, there are a number of reasons why football makes for such a great live betting experience. The first is the sheer excitement it provides. With a host of top-flight games to bet on, multiple markets per game, and the ability to follow the action live as it unfolds, it’s a genuinely thrilling betting experience.
The enormous range of games available also makes football a great candidate for live betting. From the hustle and bustle of the English Premier League to the regular high-profile encounters thrown up by the likes of the World Cup, European Cup, and Copa America, there’s a constant range of live action available to take a stance on.
Live football betting also rewards niche knowledge to a spectacular degree. If you’ve established genuine local expertise in, for example, Bundesliga teams, you’re in a great position to capitalise on that throughout an average top-flight German game and bank some winnings as a result.
Finally, the range of markets available means you’ll never get bored or be at a loss for an excellent betting opportunity. Even if your luck is running out on markets such as next scorers or next goals, there are always other options such as corners and free kicks available to take a punt on.
There are, of course, a few things you’ll need to be careful of with live football betting. As we mentioned earlier, it’s important not to get carried away and bet too much too soon. You’ll also need to pick a provider with a great betting interface. In a live betting environment, it’s more important than ever that you’re able to navigate all sections of your account quickly and easily.
Finally, you’ll also obviously need access to the games in question in order to successfully bet on them. Luckily, many of the best live betting providers make this possible as part of the deal and offer live streaming to customers.
As with any type of betting, there are several things you can do with in-play betting to maximise your overall chances of success. Start by knowing the market and limiting yourself to leagues and teams that you have an existing interest in. The nature of live betting means that expert knowledge is rewarded more than other forms so stick to areas where you have an information advantage.
The second point to stress is not to chase losses. This applies across all forms of betting of course, but its importance is even more crucial in an environment where the next bet is only ever seconds away. If luck and circumstances are against you, be careful not to make a bad situation worse by throwing good money after bad.
Managing your overall budget is also crucially important. It’s very hard to predict just when you’ll have a perfect opportunity to cash in big with live betting, so it’s critical that you have access to a decent amount of funds at all times so that you can strike when the iron is hot.
You should also be on the lookout for certain opportunities which naturally present themselves during games. 0-0 results at halftime are the classic example here, and many savvy in-play gamblers have learned to keep a close eye out for scenarios like these where the odds on a next goal being scored tend to be particularly favourable.
Our final tip is to make strategic use of cashouts. The majority of sites will offer the ability to cash in on a currently winning position at various stages with in-play bets. Naturally, you’ll usually have to sacrifice a portion of your winnings to take advantage of it, but be prepared to do so. It’s a safety-first approach that can considerably boost your winnings over time.
As we mentioned previously, there are a large amount of markets you can look to make a profit on in the course of live football betting. The most popular are standard match betting options where you can pick overall scores, next scorer, and overall result at any stage during the match.
Betting on corners and one-off events such as yellow and red cards, penalties and free kicks is also a great way of being able to back your feel for how a match is progressing. Other popular in-game betting opportunities include taking a position on over/under goals and Asian Handicap betting. The latter is a great way of adding excitement to even lopsided contests.
Though it’s by far the biggest live sport betting market, football is a long way from being the only one. Gamblers are also able to take advantage of vibrant in-play markets across a range of other popular sports worldwide. Here’s a quick list of some of the most popular:
- Tennis: With its constant shifts in play and highly structured format, tennis is a perfect candidate for live betting and enjoys popularity with punters worldwide. Regular tour events and a sprinkling of high-profile majors throughout the year provide plenty of opportunity to bet on your favourite players.
- Golf: Golf also enjoys worldwide popularity with gamblers though the main events remain on the American and European tours. As with tennis, a combination of major events such as the US Masters and marquee tournaments such as the Ryder Cup add an extra level of interest throughout the year.
- Cricket: Cricket’s popularity is limited to a smaller group of countries, but where it has a following it tends to be a fanatical one. It’s also always traditionally attracted huge betting interest in Asia and the arrival of in-play betting options has only reinforced that trend.
- American sports: Though the legal situation regarding gambling in America remains in flux, American sports still attract a huge amount of betting interest around the world, particularly when it comes to live betting on events such as basketball and American football.
We hope our guide to live football betting odds has helped clear up any confusion you might have had about the subject, and given you some useful tips for when you’re enjoying in-play soccer action online. Be sure to check out our list of recommended bookmakers and good luck with your betting!
Check Out Our List Of Sites With The Best Live Football Odds!