Beginners Guide to Football Betting

This is a beginners guide to football betting, written by a beginner!

You might not know this about me, but whilst Ian is a football betting expert with a long history of placing football bets, I am not! I know the web and how to make things on it, but I don’t know a lot about football.

I do love this site though, so I wanted to learn more about football betting so that I can better contribute to the conversations on it. I have been researching things for some time and thought I would write them up as a guide to football betting.

You might wonder why I didn’t ask Ian to write this guide, him being the expert, the truth is I thought it would be better coming from someone picking up the ropes. Ian knows so much he might assume you know something you don’t, I don’t know anything so that can’t happen!

Something that you might benefit from is our free tipster email course. It is a free email course that takes 7 days to complete and by the end of it you should be a bit of an expert!

Some Football Betting Terms

I figured I would start off with some football betting terms.

  • Stake – This is the amount of money you place on a bet, in other words the amount of money you stand to lose if you don’t win.
  • Accumulator – A football accumulator is a series of single bets grouped together, if each of the bets comes off then the odds accumulate together. Normally when you hear of people putting a fiver on something and winning a couple of thousand it is because of accumulators. Because each bet needs to win though they can be risky.
  • Handicap – This is a bet that is offered when one team is the clear favourite – Think Brazil vs your local old boys team! The handicap gives a small advantage to the underdog. For example, there may be a one goal head start given to the underdog. I am going to explain Handicapping more later in this article.
  • Half Time/Full Time – This type of bet is split into two, when you predict the winner of the first half then of the entire game. So you could predict a draw at half time but for the home team to win by full time.
  • Banker – This is basically the closet thing to a certainty as you can get, the tipster is very sure that the bet will land if they consider it a banker. For example we give banker tips to our members.
  • Scorecast – This is when you bet on a player to score the first goal along with predicting the correct score.
  • Wincast – Very similar to a scorecast but you bet on a player to score and then predict the winner of the game.
  • 90 Minute Betting – This is mentioned a lot when people bet on individual players (maybe as goal scorers) normally if the player doesn’t make an appearance the bet is called off, but if the player appears during the normal 90 minutes of the game they are eligible for the bet.
  • 24 Hour Rule – Most betting websites have a rule like this where if a match is postponed the bet only becomes void if the match doesn’t get played within a 24 hour period. So for example if a match was just put back 2 hours the bet would still stand.
  • Over/UnderOvers and Unders are when you bet on the amount of goals being scored, normally it will be over or under an amount, for example over 2.5 means if there are 3 or more goals. Under 2.5 would be 0, 1, or 2 goals being scored.
  • DNB – This stands for Draw No Bet. What this means is if the score is a draw you get your money back for your bet. This can be seen as a safer option but you should understand that the odds are usually lower when this is selected.
  • Double Chance – A Double Chance bet is one where you pick a winner and if they win OR it is a draw, you win the bet. If the team you pick loses then you lose the bet. Like DNB the odds are generally lower but it is a safer bet as a result.
  • Bankroll – how much money you have to bet with. We’ve written more about what the bankroll is.


Handicaps are something that confused the heck out of me for the longest time, so I want to spend a while looking at them in detail. This is such a common question that I have written up a guide to the Asian and European handicapping.

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Accumulators Vs Singles

These are the two most common way to place bets these days so I wanted to cover them in a little detail. We don’t hide that fact that Ian prefers singles but that doesn’t help you if you don’t know the main differences.

When you bet with an accumulator, all your bets need to win in order for you to be able to claim the money. This makes it much harder to win but of course the reward is far greater. As a new football bettor it is very tempting to bet on accumulators because you could see your £10 stake spiral into big bucks pretty quick.

Singles on the other hand are not effected by other bets. So if I place £10 on three different matches as singles and 2 of them come in, then I make money on those two bets. The odds aren’t as good if I was to role up all my bets into an accumulator, but the odds of me walking away with some money are much higher.

The main advice here is to find what it right for you. Just because some people swear by accumulators and others swear by singles doesn’t mean you should listen to the loudest voice. Do some research, maybe put some small stakes on a few different ways and see what felt good and what had a good return on your investment.

Getting your way with the bookies

Something you will encounter when you start football betting is a range of different online and offline bookmakers. All will have their own way of dealing with things and all will want you to work with them differently. This can seem daunting but we’ve written up a guide on what to look out for and how to state your case if you think a bookmaker has wronged you.

Generally accepted good tips

A guide to football betting wouldn’t be complete without sharing some good tips! Here are some generally accepted good tips that I have gleaned from my research and also from interviewing football tipsters!

Don’t bet with your heart, bet with your head

This means don’t bet because you want a team to win, bet because you think they will win!

Likewise don’t bet against teams you don’t like just because you don’t like them, bet against them because you think they are going to lose.

Try not to get greedy

There are two things I have caught myself doing related to being greedy, the first is adding extra teams into an accumulator just because it will bump up my maximum payout. This is almost always a terrible idea!

The second thing I have done is bet more money on a team than I initially was going to. You should have a plan for how much you are going to bet and stick to it.

Have patience

You are not going to win every bet, if you want to become successful at betting on football you need to be patient and pick the right bets for you.

Never bet more than you can afford to lose

Before I place a bet I always think about the money I am going to be placing on it and think, if I were to lose this money right now would I be OK with that. If the answer is no I won’t place the bet.

Seek help if football betting is becoming a problem

If you think gambling might be becoming a problem for you then my advice is to seek help. GambleAware might be worth a visit!

Don’t bet on friendlies

They are too unpredictable, you don’t know how much effort the respective teams are putting in and reserve players may get an outing that you weren’t counting on.

If the friendlies are before the start of a new season (they often are) players will be very aware to not pick up any injuries so might not play as hard as they normally do.

Know Team Motivation

What I mean by this is that two teams can look a certain way on paper, but if one of those teams has already won the league and the other is fighting to stay in the league there is a very good chance that the team good on paper will be on auto pilot whilst the team playing to stay out of relegation is going to be fighting for their life!

Some North American football betting terms

If you’re visiting our site from North America then some of the terms I highlighted at the start might be confusing. Here is a quick translation.

  • Locks – are what we call “bankers”
  • Parlays – are what we call “accumulators”
  • Straight Bets – are what we call “singles”
  • Wagering Event – are what we call “fixtures”

Questions about our guide to football betting?

If ever there was a post to comment on with your questions this would be it! The only stupid question is the one not asked.

We’re also really keen on hearing where we can improve this article, so if you still have questions or something wasn’t clear, it was because we’ve done a bad job and we would love you to tell us how to do better.

If you’re hungry for more, I can highly recommend our free email course.

Know someone who would benefit from a beginners guide to football betting?

Unfortunately a lot of money is wasted because people place bets without really knowing too much about what they are doing. If you know someone like that please feel free to share this with them. The social media share links are below if you’d like to share on Facebook etc.

Next Steps

If you feel confident enough to start actually betting on football matches, then might I suggest you sign up as a member.

You can get a sample of our free tips here.

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