Soccer betting has been one of the backbones of traditional bookmaking for decades now, but the last ten years has seen a revolution take place in the amount of markets available to wager on.
In addition to coverage of the beautiful game going truly global thanks to the explosion of the internet, it’s also now possible to bet on matches while they happen – a true game-changer in terms of moment-to-moment excitement and the range of betting opportunities on offer.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about live football betting for real money, from the basic principles and major markets all the way through to how best to fund your account.
Let’s kick things off with a little bit of background.
The rise of real-time betting opportunities in soccer has been fueled by a number of factors. One of the main developments has been the staggering influx of cash that’s come into the global game since the turn of the millennium; best illustrated in the enormous amounts of money being pumped into the Champions’ League and English Premier League by a mix of broadcasting giants such as Sky and wealthy owners from Russia and the Middle East.
The new riches associated with football arrived at the same time as global betting exchanges started to emerge in the form of Betfair and other early innovators in the space. With the simultaneous emergence of global broadband, it wasn’t long before fans worldwide were suddenly able to take advantage of live football betting for real money from the comfort of their local computer whenever they wished.
More recently, the mobile revolution and arrival of a thriving global app economy have taken things a step further and football fans can now choose from a huge variety of cutting-edge in-play soccer betting apps to add a little spice to even the most boring of 0-0 draws.
Let’s move on now to a quick look at the general ideas behind real money live soccer betting.
The basic idea behind in-play football betting is straightforward – you’re able to bet on action as it takes place rather than having to place your bets before kickoff and wait for the action to unfold.
The implications of this are fairly broad. First of all, it dramatically expands the range of betting options available. It also makes for a substantially more fluid betting environment in terms of odds and opportunities.
With in-play betting very much established as a legitimate option for football fanatics, you’ll find no shortage of top-tier providers competing for your business when it comes to picking a partner to go with. The problem is narrowing down your options rather than finding someone who offers the service.
Begin by researching the main provider sites to get a feel for the general setups and range of offers available. Industry giants such as Paddy Power, William Hill and Ladbrokes all offer a full suite of in-play possibilities to explore. These aren’t necessarily the providers you’ll end up going with, but reviewing their options will give you a quick overview of what to expect from solid partners.
With a bit of background to draw on, you should then take some time to research the reputation of the partner you’re considering on betting forums and other specialist websites. You want to be sure your potential partner has a solid track record in terms of payments and general account functionality. Getting feedback from other punters is one of the best ways of doing some due diligence in this regard.
Also be sure to compare bonuses and promotions across sites. You should be able to see sign-up and ongoing bonuses clearly listed on the sites in question. A bit of digging around the blogs and social channels of these sites should also give you a feel for what sort of ongoing special offers and promotions they tend to go with. These shouldn’t be the main factors driving your decision, but they’re certainly something to take on board.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of candidates using the tips above, it’s time to actually go about opening an account. Before you pull the trigger, make sure there’s a full set of customer support options in place and that you’ve reviewed the site’s terms and conditions in detail.
Don’t be afraid to raise any items you find unclear directly with the site before signing up. Any worthwhile provider should be more than happy to answer your questions up front.
Once you actually start signing up, be aware that you’ll be required to prove your identity with the majority of reputable providers. Though it may seem intrusive at first sight, this step is really there to protect everyone and helps sites stay on the right side of the regulators when it comes to enforcing things like minimum age requirements.
As a responsible gambler, you should also make sure you’re operating in accordance with the local laws that apply where you happen to be based. What’s tolerated varies wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction – as an example, in-play betting is currently not permitted across Australia – so always check the local situation before taking the plunge.
As a sensible gambler, you’ll naturally want to put some thought into your overall budget strategy and tactics when it comes to in-play soccer betting. With the sheer range of markets and opportunities on offer, you need to be operating within some sort of well-thought out framework to give yourself the best possible chance and stay focused.
If you’re new to the game, an excellent starting tip is to kick things off with bets on paper while you’re still getting a feel for how things work generally. This is a tactic from the world of stock picking known as paper trading and is a great way of getting your feet wet without risking any actual capital.
Once you’re ready to actually risk some real money, one of the first things to establish is a weekly or monthly stack – i.e. the amount of money you’re prepared to actually risk on an ongoing basis. Committing to this figure before you actually start betting enforces discipline and keeps things firmly based in reality.
Remember, you want to avoid chasing losses wherever possible. In-play betting radically expands the amount of items you can bet on, but it demands discipline to really profit over time. You want to be certain at all times that you’re only wagering with amounts you can actually afford to lose and avoid drifting into negative tactics.
The range of markets available for live football betting is enormous, but here are some of the more common ones to consider to whet your appetite:
- Next scorer, next team to score: As the game ebbs and flows, you’ll naturally see obvious candidates for both the next scorer and next team to score emerge. In-play betting lets you back your intuition in real time with constantly updated odds.
- Red/yellow cards: Got a feeling a particular player is about to lose his cool? Or that one team is operating right on the edge of what’s allowed in terms of tackling? Think this is going to be a particularly fiercely contested game? The red/yellow cards markets are there for you to profit on.
- Penalties, throw-ins and corners: Football is a game of stops and starts. The beauty of in-play betting is that it turns each one of these into a betting opportunity in its own right by giving you the ability to wager on events such as penalties, throw-ins and corners.
- Handicap markets: Not every matchup is a fair one in the world of soccer, but handicap markets keep things interesting at all times with a constantly shifting set of scenarios for you to bet on.
Fans of football these days are blessed with a virtually complete selection of major leagues to bet on. Gone are the days of only being able to catch occasional highlights from teams in faraway places. These days even the most obscure matches are covered in real time and streamed live more often than not.
There is definitely a top-tier of major leagues that attracts most of the action, however. Let’s briefly review the main locations you’ll be spending most of your time:
- English Premier League (EPL): The EPL remains the most popular league globally and it’s not hard to see the reasons why. The combination of a host of globally famous teams such as Manchester United and Liverpool with the unique passion and unpredictability of English soccer is hard to beat. You’ll find EPL covered in depth at all major in-play providers.
- La Liga: Spanish football is very much in the ascendancy of late. Whether in the form of traditional giants such as Barcelona and Madrid, or the incredible success of the national side over the last decade, some of the best football on earth is currently being played in Spain. The presence of living legends of the game like Messi and Ronaldo is simply the icing on the cake!
- Seria A: Though Italian football has been somewhat in the doldrums over the last decade, traditional giants such as Juventus are still flying the flag in Europe and the national team can always be relied on to be tough to beat. Seria A still provides plenty of excitement for footballing purists with its mix of defensive nous and technical ability and there’s no shortage of ongoing in-play markets to explore.
- Bundesliga: The ongoing excellence of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund over the last decade has opened many gamblers’ eyes to one of European football’s best kept secrets – the excitement and relentless pace of the German premier league. Renowned as one of the most fan-friendly leagues, there’s also plenty of action there for in-play soccer fans to get to grips with.
- Other European leagues: If you’ve got the time to research them, you’ll also find full coverage of smaller leagues such as French, Dutch and Portugese at most major in-play betting providers. They may not have quite the glamour or reputation of the major leagues but, for an informed in-play punter, they can provide plenty of tempting betting opportunities.
As a concept, in-play betting isn’t limited to live football matches. Far from it. You’ll also find in-play action and a full range of markets on a number of other popular sports. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most common ones:
- Tennis: With its quick turnover of games, tennis matches are ideally suited for the concept of in-play betting and the sport is a popular one for live betting worldwide. You’ll find options on most ATP events for both sexes and the full coverage of all the Majors throughout the year.
- Golf: Golf is another sport that lends itself well to in-play options and most events on both the European and American PGA tours can be bet on using in-play options. Major events such as the Masters and US and British Opens are also popular choices for gamblers worldwide.
- Cricket: Cricket’s ongoing popularity in both the Asian sub-continent, Australasia and the UK make it a popular choice in those markets for in-play betting. The sport also offers a range of individual markets you won’t find in other sports so it can be an interesting one to explore if you’re new to the game.
- American sports: Though the legality of gambling generally varies wildly from state to state in the United States, you’ll find an incredible range of markets available on sports such as baseball, basketball and American football worldwide.
Effectively managing the money coming and out of your in-play soccer betting account is one of the cornerstones of success when it comes to live football betting for real money. Here’s a quick rundown of the most popular funding methods you’ll come across.
- Wire transfer: Old-fashioned direct bank transfer is still an incredibly effective and transparent way of getting money in and out of betting accounts, and supported by the vast majority of providers. You’ll need to keep a close eye on applicable charges, but it’s an option that’s always worth having to hand.
- PayPal: Online wallets have more than proven their worth over the last two decades, and PayPal remains the leading provider worldwide. They’re accepted as a funding method by virtually every provider and hard to beat in terms of speed of funds transfer in and out, along with wider convenience. Options such as Skrill are also worth a look.
- Credit Cards: Traditional cards such as Mastercard and Visa will be accepted by nearly every in-play provider and bring the added benefit of attracting bonuses for their use. Naturally, you’ll need to exercise a little more discipline when using them to ensure you’re not dipping into the red when gambling.
The in-play revolution means there’s never been a better time to back your intuition and potentially cash in big by betting on live soccer action in real time. We hope our introduction above has whetted your appetite and set you on the way to exploring further options. Good luck over the course of your next ninety minutes!
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