Even in the United States the sport of soccer has grown in popularity in recent years, and Major League Soccer (MLS) itself has increased in quality since its first season in 1996 with the likes of Beckham, Gerrard, Giovinco, Zlatan, and Rooney all playing at some point or another on this side of the pond.
Soccer is also an extremely popular sport for betting purposes, as it attracts more betting interest globally than any other sport, a main reason being the sheer volume of matches played daily around the world.
Someone is always playing somewhere.
For example, english football at the professional level has four tiers: Premiership, Championship, League One, League Two. Along with that, there are also inter-league cups such as the Carabao and FA cup.
Although this can often be overwhelming to follow on the surface, it’s actually quite simple. Whether you're new to the sport or have been following the game for quite some time, even with just a little bit of knowledge you can make some decent money betting soccer. There is a lot to learn if you want to make consistent profits, however, and this soccer betting 101 article has been made to help you get started.
Fair warning: Soccer, as we mentioned above, is extremely popular all over the world. The reason? Well, it is extremely volatile. Basic statistics show that upsets occur close to 50% of the time in soccer. Compare that to "American Football," where in the NFL they happen only 35% of the time. This unpredictability, however, can be turned into an advantage for us as bettors. The challenge, of course, is knowing when to bet on an underdog to score an upset. Although it happens at a record rate, this is not easy to predict.
Now, before we bet a soccer matchup, we must know how to handicap it properly. When looking at matchups, one must also be aware of the injury report, as well as formation or tactical changes the manager has made (which is usually released by the press). Something that is also not talked about enough in handicapping soccer is judging a team's "form," which is how that team has performed of late.
Now that we've gone over what to pay attention to, let's break down how to actually make a basic soccer bet. Unlike your typical American football or basketball game, the game of soccer is usually broken up into a three-way line, an O/U, and a "Asian line." A three-way line simply gives you the option of Team A Win, Draw or Team B Win, so that there is no push on any outcome. We also have the option of betting the goal line, which is the equivalent to the run line in baseball or then puck line in hockey - you are simply wagering how many goals your chosen team will win by. Also, a "two-way line" may be offered, which comes in the form of either "Team A Win/Draw or Team B Win/Draw" but also comes at a significantly juiced price.
The Asian line is probably the most common of all soccer wager, however, and it's arguably the most profitable way to bet soccer as well. Lines are given at +/- ".25" or +/- ".75" and what this means, is if you bet a team at - ".75" then half of your wager is placed on -1, and the other half is placed on -0.5. Simply put - if your team wins by two goals, you win both bets. If your team wins by 1, then you push on one half of your bet and win on the other for a half-unit profit. If your team loses or draws, then you lose both sides.
Below is a chart to help break down and better illustrate how exactly betting the Asian line works: