Football – that’s right, the beautiful game – is the world’s most popular sport for betting. Everyone has an opinion and their opinion is always right – until it isn’t. That’s what makes the temptation to have a flutter on the football so great. But which bookie should your loyalties lay with? That’s the question this page is designed to answer.
There are dozens of online betting sites on the market – from the big name usual suspects, to bold new entrants looking to steal their crown. What doesn’t help is that practically every bookie offers football markets. You’ll have to narrow down your selection some other way – whether it’s the biggest bonus, the most free bets or the best mobile app. Once you’ve checked out our reviews you’re sure to have found a favourite.
How to find the best football betting site
Our list of top licensed football betting sites features some of the best options available online, but it’s up to you to decide which one is your ideal bookie. Let’s take a look at what you should expect when picking out a top betting site.
Football is the world’s game – it’s global appeal is undeniable. So whether you’re looking to bet on the English Premier League, or even the Champions League, you should look out for a bookie that provides you with thousands of betting options every week. The best bookies provide coverage of mens, women’s and youth football matches across the globe, but at the very least, you should expect comprehensive coverage of the following major football leagues and competitions:
- UEFA Champions League
- UEFA Europa League
- Premier League
- FA Cup
- EFL Cup
- League 1
- League 2
- La Liga
- Serie A
- Ligue 1
The fun doesn’t have to stop once the season is over, with international competitions including the prestigious World Cup, European Championship and Copa América, you’ll have the chance to win throughout the summer months too.
Gone are the days where you simply place a bet on your favourite team to win and hope for the best – there are a huge range of markets for punters to sink their teeth into everyday. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can take advantage of great prices throughout the season.
The most popular type of football bet are ones placed on a single match. These are placed before kick off and winnings bets are only paid out once the final whistle has been blown. In some cases, your wagers are placed on the outcome after 90 minutes, while others include extra time and penalties, should they occur. This is always clearly stated beforehand. Let’s take a look at the most common pre-match betting options available to online punters.
The most attractive option for many is the match result. It’s as simple as it sounds; pick a winner, or the draw.
Both teams to score
Some matches are too tough to call down the middle, even for the bookies. If two teams have a similar price to win the match, it means there’s no clear favourite. This is good news if you feel confident about making a pick, but you’ll want to steer clear of the match result bet if you’re uncertain. A great alternative is betting on both teams to score.
Result & both teams to score
The ability to combine the match result with both teams is a relatively new addition to football betting. You’ll find great value here, but as you might have guessed, it’s much harder to land a winner when wagering on two outcomes.
Much like the both teams to score market, betting on the over/under is a great alternative to wagers on the match result. This is simply the amount of goals the match will feature. Not only is it useful for close contests, though; you can also use it to find better value in matches where the price on the bookies favourite isn’t favourable to punters. Most bookies allow you to bet over or under on 0.5, 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5 goals.
This market involves some compromise from both the punter and the bookie. Punters can cover two of three possible outcomes, such as ‘win or draw’ or ‘home team win or away team win’.
The handicap market is arguably the best place to find value when there’s a huge gap in quality between two teams. An FA Cup match could see a Premier League side pitted against a League 2 team, for example. In this instance, there’s little chance of the League 2 side winning and a bet on their Premier League opponents are likely to provide minimal returns. To provide incentive for bettors to wager on these events, bookies use handicaps to level the playing field for bettors.
The handicap is applied to the scoreline, so if you were to bet on ‘Team A -1’, they would simply have to win by more than 1 goal.
You don’t have to restrict your betting to the events of a match. You can bet on the outcome of leagues and competitions, too. Outright bets are usually placed before the season kicks off, but are usually available throughout the season too. Here are a few common examples of outright betting markets:
• Competition winner • Top Goalscorer • Promotion and relegation
When searching for your ideal football betting site, you’ll want to make sure it features an array of live betting opportunities. Also referred to as in-play betting, these markets give you the chance to place wagers on a match that’s already underway. So, if you didn’t place your pre-match bets in time, or didn’t fancy the odds on offer, in-play betting is a solid alternative. Odds change in real time, based on the events of the game. This gives you a chance to gauge the momentum of the game and make a more informed decision.
Live betting can also provide more value for your betslip. For example, let’s say you wanted to bet on the favourites, Team A, but they concede an early goal to their opponents, Team B. They may still be odds on favourite, but the price will be higher. If you fancy them to win despite conceding, you’ll usually get better odds than you would have found in the pre-match markets.
Just about every good bookmaker features some form of in-play football betting, so you’ll want to look out for the following features when narrowing down your shortlist:
- Large selection of betting options, including team to score next, next goalscorer and match result
- In-play consoles that display real-time statistics and events, such as corners or dangerous attacks
- Live streaming
- Cash out on in-play bets
Specials and Promotions
The top bookmakers provide fairly similar offerings when it comes to odds, betting markets and features such as cash out. The very best bookies can use their range of specials and promotions to stand out from the rest.
If none of the existing markets give you what you’re looking for, you can request prices for your own custom bets using Twitter with bookies like William Hill and Ladbrokes, which offer #YourOdds and #GetAPrice markets.
It might sound too good to be true, but some bookies also offer early payouts and money back specials. PaddyPower’s ‘2 Up You Win’ promotion is a great example; you’ll receive your payout if your chosen team is winning by two goals at any point during the game, regardless of the final score. You could very well receive winnings for a losing bet.
Bonuses are a huge factor for most punters looking for new football betting sites
Using bonus funds can help boost your bankroll, and at the very list, allow you get familiar with your new betting site. Every football betting site wants to attract new customers, so there are a bunch of welcome bonus offers out there, but there are also a few bonuses for returning football bettors too.
The matched deposit bonus is pretty straightforward; make your first deposit and your bookie will match it, up to a certain amount. You might find a football betting site that welcomes you with an offer of 100% matched first deposit up to £300, for example. In this instance, you’ll be able to bag as much as £300 in bonus funds. There are usually wagering requirements that come with such large bonuses, so be sure to read the terms and conditions before claiming your football betting bonus.
Free bets are the most commonly found bonus at football betting sites. They’re offered to new players and existing punters alike, and you’re likely to find one at just about every good bookmaker. A common free bet offer is ‘bet £10, get £10’. Here, all you need to do is deposit and bet £10 to receive your free bet. There are usually terms and conditions which limit your use of the free bet, so be sure to keep an eye out for those.
Money back offer
More of a consolation prize than a reward, the money back offer gets your stake back if you don’t land a winner. You’ll usually have your stake returned as a free bet coupon, plus there’s almost always a cap on the maximum amount refunded. Despite this, it’s a decent offer, especially if you’re looking to back the underdog.
Online betting sites have allowed punters to bet online from the comfort of home for years, but you’ll want the option to place your bets when you’re out and about too. So if you’re at the game, you’ll want to have access to a mobile betting app. You won’t have compromise when taking your betslip to the smaller screen – you can sign up, claim bonuses and place your bets all from the palm of your hand.
Pretty much every good football bookie offers a mobile web app these days, with no additional registration required. Some betting sites also offer free native mobile apps, most commonly to Android and iPhone users. You’ll be able to get to your favourite betting markets lightning quick – perfect for in-play betting, where every second counts. Keep an eye out for bookies that offer exclusive mobile promotions and live streaming on the go too.
Football Betting Tips
With so many options at your disposal, filling your betslip can often be a daunting task. You might be lucky enough to win off a hunch, but many turn to betting tips when it’s time to place football bets. There are plenty of football betting tips sites and social media pages out there, but they should always be approached with some caution.
While there’s nothing wrong with backing a tip on your betslip, we’d always recommend doing your own research too. A quick look through the league table, head to head stats and recent form is a great way to remain in the know, even if you do follow a tip. It’s also important to remember that no result is guaranteed —even by the most successful tipsters— so never bet more than you’re willing to lose.
If you’re looking for an introduction to betting on English football, our top tips for betting on the Premier League and Championship are sure to give you a nudge in the right direction.
Compare & Bet
Now you know exactly what to expect from the best football betting sites, it’s time to pick out your favourite. All you need to do is compare the featured bookies on our list and follow our quick links to register, claim your bonus and start betting!