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 in Ireland – 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.
The world’s best competitions
Football is the world’s game – its global appeal is undeniable. So whether you’re looking to bet on the Irish Premier Division, English Premier League, or even the Champions League, you should look out for a bookie that provides you with a variety of football betting options. 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
- Irish Premier Division
- English Premier League
- FA Cup
- EFL Cup
- League 1
- League 2
- La Liga
- Serie A
- Ligue 1
A huge range of betting options
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.
- Match betting
- Match result
- Both teams to score
- Result & both teams to score
- Over/under goals
- Double chance
- Outright betting
The fun doesn’t have to stop once the season is over, however, 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.
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 in Ireland 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 English 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
In-play betting options
When searching for your ideal football betting site, you’ll want to make sure it features an array of in-play betting opportunities. Also referred to as live 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, giving 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 Dundalk to beat Waterford, but Dundalk concede early on. They may still be odds on favourites, but the bet will now get far better odds than it did in the pre-game markets making it far better value.
The best sports betting sites allow you to live stream sporting events to go along with the option of in-play markets. Most sportsbooks will require your account to be funded and to have placed a bet within the last 24 hours, but it means that you can watch some of the biggest sporting events in the world without a TV subscription. Live streaming can really enhance your gambling experience – watching the action unfold live means you can make informed decisions when it comes to in-play betting or cashing out. It’s definitely something worth bearing in mind when you make your choice of sportsbook.
What is cashing out?
This is one of the best features of online sports betting. If you’ve placed a few bets before you may already be familiar with how cashing out works. It basically allows you to take out any potential winnings you may have from a bet while the game is still going on. So say you’ve backed Derry City to win but, while they’re 1-0 up, you can sense the momentum beginning to change. A cash out option puts you in control of your bet and allows you to collect a portion of your potential winnings. Similarly, if things aren’t going well, you may want to cut your losses and cash out any sum that you can, rather than losing all of your stake.
One of the most popular forms of football betting is the accumulator, or acca. These allow you to place a single wager on two or more different selections and, in order for you to win, each of your selections must win. The real beauty of accumulators, however, is that the potential winnings can be enormous. The odds of your various selections are all multiplied together, increasing the reward for winning. From an initially small outlay, you could be in for a huge profit should you win.
But as you are likely to have worked out, with a greater potential reward there comes a great risk – losing just one leg of your accumulator will lose you the whole bet. That’s why the best sportsbooks feature acca insurance, which will refund you your stake as a free bet. These aren’t available on all markets and only work on five-fold selections and above, but they’re a great safety net should just one selection fall through.
Specials and promotions
The top bookmakers in Ireland provide fairly similar offerings when it comes to odds, betting markets and features such as cash out. So the very best bookies use their range of specials and promotions to stand out from the rest. Some bookies even offer early payouts and money back specials.
Types of football bonuses
Bonuses are a huge factor for most punters looking for new football betting sites. Bonus funds can help boost your bankroll at the most and, at the very least, get you familiar with a 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 regular bettors too. Let’s have a look at what will be on offer.
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. T&Cs apply, however, which will 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.
In order to stay ahead of the competition, bookies can offer enhanced odds or price boosts on certain markets. These will usually apply to specific games that are likely to have big audiences. So if you’re looking for the best odds on a game that’s covered by pretty much every sports betting site, this is a great way for a sportsbook to stand out.
Betting on the go
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.
An added benefit to betting from your mobile is that push notifications allow you to keep up to date with new promotions and the ever-changing football odds. So with no need to be tied to your desktop, check out the best mobile betting apps today.
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.
The best online bookmakers will take bets through a variety of payment methods these days. Let’s have a look at what you can expect to find.
Almost all online bookmakers will take debit card transactions from a range of providers, including MasterCard and Visa. Debit transactions are one of the most popular payment methods with online football betting and probably the most familiar to punters with your winnings are available to withdraw as cash within a maximum of 5 workdays.
A lot will have e-wallet options available like PayPal, Neteller and Skrill. These e-wallet options are totally free to sign up to, are totally secure and can process your cash faster than ordinary debit cards. A slight issue, however, may be that certain offers and promotions won’t take e-wallet payments so it is really advisable to check the terms and conditions of a bonus or casino to understand their position on e-wallet options.
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 Irish bookies on our list and follow our quick links to register, claim your bonus and start betting!
Your Questions Answered
It might be quicker to tell you which you can’t bet on! There’s an incredible range of options for betting, from the big domestic, European and international competitions, to more obscure leagues around the world. Some of the most popular competitions include the English Premier League, Championship, Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, SPFL, MLS, World Cup… we could go on!
Accumulators are all the range these days – and with promotions like Acca Insurance, they’ve become even more appealing. Most online betting sites offer accumulators, but not all. Refer to our top bookmakers table above and expand to read more – this will tell you whether they could be your new weekly acca destination.
There’s no site that we can definitively state as the best when it comes to football odds. Bookmakers price competitively, so you’ll usually find that the prices on offer are pretty similar, especially for the bookies’ favourite. Plus, with matches taking place across the globe pretty much everyday, new prices are set just as often. So your best bet for finding the best odds is by comparing the prices offered on the markets you’d like to bet on. While small margins won’t make a huge difference in your returns for an individual bet, these do add up over time and when you place accumulators, so it’s well worth shopping around.
You’ll find plenty of sites and social media pages featuring tips from ‘expert tipsters’ across a number of leagues, including the English Premier League and Championship. While there’s nothing wrong with following these tips, it’s important to remember that there’s no guarantee that your bet will win. Even the most successful tipster’s track record has no bearing on their future performance. We’d recommend doing your own research to avoid blindly following tips.
This varies depending on which football betting site you choose to sign up with. Many have requirements that must be met to gain access to live streams. Fortunately, this is usually pretty straightforward; you’ll need to have a funded account or place a minimum stake on the event you’d like to watch.
All licensed gambling sites, including football bookies, are required to provide industry standard encryption technology to ensure that all transactions are safe and secure. So if you use a payment method that requires sharing sensitive information such as your debit card details, encryption makes this data unreadable in the unlikely event it gets into the wrong hands.