Beginners Guide to Football (Soccer) Betting

There are few sports in the world that have managed to seep into every pore of society, like soccer. But none of them has as widespread of an impact as it does. Every TV station shows it. The magic game is bigger than ever, and NostraBet believes that’s the best excuse to get into soccer betting.

Watching teams battle it out with impressive tactics is a one-of-a-kind feeling. Those last-minute goals, skill displays, and smart decisions stay with you for a lifetime. So, if you want to experience all that, possibly make some money in the process, you’ll love our guide.

Equipped with everything from rules to the best competitions and betting sites, you’ll get it all. The only thing you need to do is study these basics, watch a lot of game footage, and be smart when taking punts. It’s time for liftoff!

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Understanding the Rules

soccer pitch and ball

The best thing about soccer is that its rules are simple enough that you don’t really need an ideal environment to play it. Regardless of whether it’s the Premier League or your weekend league at the YMCA, things are the same. Just to make sure we get the correct info, we studied the official FIFA rulebook. Here’s the outline of the game. Learn ‘em, and you’ll understand all the soccer lines you see.

The Pillars of the Game

Two teams face off against each other in a game lasting a total of 90 minutes. It’s split into two 45-minute halves, with a 15-minute break in between. This break is used for rest, tactical changes, and anything that can help the players perform better in the second half. When both teams have scored the same amount of goals (or a lack thereof), two 15-minute periods of added time are played. In case it’s a draw even after 120 mins, a penalty kick out ensues.

Each team consists of 11 players — 10 outfielders and 1 goalkeeper. They are also allowed to have 7 substitutes on the bench. Only 3 substitutions per squad are allowed (5 by the newest rules for many leagues). If they already made 3 and a player gets injured, they will be forced to play with 10 men.

Each soccer match is played on a grass pitch. This can be real grass, which requires to be cut and treated regularly, or artificial grass — a cheaper option. Take this into consideration when applying your strategies to place a soccer bet online. Also, injuries happen more frequently on artificial grass. It’s 100-130 yards long and 50-100 yards wide. The sidelines (length) and goal lines (width) are marked, along with a 6-yard box, an 18-yard box, and a centre circle with a spot in the middle. There’s an 8-foot tall and 8-yards broad goal in the middle of each goal line.

The only equipment you need is a round ball made out of leather and 58-61cm wide. Along with that, soccer players wear cleats, special shoes with spikes on the soles. It’s to allow for more effortless movement over the unstable grass surface, filled with soil.

3-4 referees make sure the game is going on smoothly. One is the main ref, and he runs wherever the action is. The other 2-3 are assistants behind the sidelines, running parallel to where the ball is. In the late 2010s, a thing called Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was introduced. It’s operated by another ref, who is in the video room. It allows the ref crew to replay a moment that they didn’t see clearly enough to make a proper decision. After VAR footage is watched, a ref’s decision is either confirmed or overturned.

What You Can and Cannot Do in a Soccer Game?

The objective is only to score more goals than the opponent. A goal is when a ball is placed beyond the goal line, between the goalposts and the crossbar. There’s also goal-line technology, which analyzes whether the ball has passed the line in certain situations.

If a team kicks the goal beyond the opponent’s goal line but not into a goal, the opposing team gets to put the ball into play from their box. If they are defending, and it’s their guy/gal that touched the ball before it went past their goal line (not into the goal), it’s a corner kick from the opponent.

The ball can’t be touched with any part of the arm. If this happens, it’s a kick for the other team, and the player gets a yellow card. If you’re not a goalie and touch a ball with your hand in the 16-yard box, most of the times, it’s a red.

Cards are also given out for unsportsmanlike conduct, either repeated or severe enough that a chance of possession and a foul are not sufficient punishment. A yellow is a warning, and two yellows result in a red card. Reds can also be given outright. In any case, this card is an automatic disqualification. The player leaves the pitch immediately and cannot be replaced. There’s usually a soccer bet that lets you wager money on who’ll get a card first. Those are called prop bets.

There’s one last rule, and it’s often difficult to understand for beginners. We’re talking, of course, about the offside rule. It means no player can have any part of his body nearer to the goal than the second-last defender (the last outfielder since the goalie is the last). The rule was added to the game to prevent players from camping in the other team’s box and having an unfair advantage. Offsides are only called when a ball is passed to a player.

You can stand all you want, but you will be called for an offside if you become involved in an active play (running, receiving the ball, etc.) before the ball is passed. Goal picks, throw-ins, and being in the area of your half are some places/situations when offsides aren’t called. When one is, your opponent gets a goal kick.


Basic Football Terms

football stadium playing field

That wasn’t so hard, was it? When you’re picking which soccer moneyline bet is the right choice, knowing the rules can give you a full understanding of everything. Still, the sport is filled with unique slang terms that are used on every betting site. It’s easy to get lost, so we’ve done some research and isolated the most essential terms used in the game of football. Learn them if you want to become a pro punter.

  • Added time – One or two 15-minute periods that are played after 90 minutes, in case it’s a draw. League play allows for draws after 90 minutes, and no added time is played. It’s usually only reserved for knockout tournaments.
  • 12th man – A colloquial term for the fans in the home team’s stadium. Home support can mean a lot and can easily propel the underdog team to victory. Consider the quality of fans when placing a soccer moneyline bet.
  • Header – A goal that’s scored using the head.
  • Brace – When a player scores two goals in one match.
  • Hat trick – Three goals in a match by a single player. Since it takes excellent positioning, hat-tricks are usually only scored by forwards, and sometimes, defenders. A ‘perfect’ hat trick is when a footballer scores one goal each with his right leg, left leg, and head. It’s one of the rarest sights possible.
  • Tackle – A tackle is an effort by a defending player to strip the opponent of the ball by sliding his leg(s) to poke it out. A sliding tackle means a defender is accelerating, and he drops to the ground, sliding to gain momentum. Tackles that don’t target the ball are fouls and usually warrant a card.
  • Handball – Whenever the ball is touched by someone’s arm, either unintentionally or on purpose.
  • Promotion – Used in league play, it’s when a team places high enough in their league, and they get to advance to the next tier, directly or through some form of playoffs.
  • Relegation – The opposite of promotion. Teams that play badly throughout the season are in danger of dropping down a tier. Keep an eye out for relegation candidates when soccer spread betting. Bookies often underestimate the motivation of teams looking to stay up.
  • 3-way moneyline – It’s the most common market in soccer betting. You can bet on one team to win or a draw to occur. Depending on the strengths of each squad, there are different lines for each outcome.
  • Future – Any bet that relates to an event in the far future. For instance, if you’re betting on Manchester United to win the Champions League five years later, it’s a future because there’s no way to tell what’s going to happen. There aren’t any soccer betting tips for this market.

Where to Find Soccer Betting Websites?

Bet365Rating: 5.0/5
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BetfredRating: 4.5/5
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Parimatch UKRating: 4.7/5
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BetTargetRating: 4.5/5
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GatobetRating: 4.5/5
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HopaRating: 4.5/5
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BetitonRating: 4.5/5
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MoPlayRating: 4.5/5
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BetConnectRating: 4.5/5
BetConnect review
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MatchbookRating: 4.5/5
Matchbook review
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Sporting IndexRating: 4.4/5
Sporting Index review
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SportNationRating: 4.4/5
SportNation review
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LucksterRating: 4.4/5
Luckster review
  • Great range of sports betting options
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LuckLandRating: 4.3/5
LuckLand review
  • Great Variety of Sports betting options
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JeffBetRating: 4.3/5
JeffBet review
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If you want to play in comfort and with extra value, check out our list of the top-rated bookmakers for football betting. We’ve tested all the big names in the industry and followed their offers on dozens of leagues, tournaments and rated them in real-time. All of them are 100%, so your money is safe. Choose wisely and have fun!


Which Are the Most Popular Tournaments?

football game players in a match

Even though you can find hundreds of thousands of soccer betting markets each day, not all of them are suitable. Some are low-level and often have a lack of coverage or good odds. That’s why the best way to learn the ropes is to bet on these tournaments. Everybody knows them, and there is an abundance of stats and other betting tools.

World Cup

Organized every four years, it’s the pinnacle of soccer glory. 32 teams play 3 matches each, in 8 groups of 4, with the top-2 in each group advancing to a knockout stage.

UEFA Euro

A European version of the WC, the Euros feature 24 national teams in a battle for the trophy.

Copa America

South America’s continental competition. Currently, it’s been held every 3 years, but this has changed multiple times in the past.

UEFA Champions League

Europe’s top club competition. The best teams from all the top European leagues qualify, directly or through a series of play-ins. Features groups and a subsequent knockout tournament.

UEFA Europa League

The second-tier European competition for clubs. Composed of teams who didn’t manage to qualify for the CL or have been relegated in the CL group stage.

Copa Libertadores

South America’s Champions League equivalent. It also features some North American clubs and is organized by CONMEBOL.

Premier League

Believed by many to be the best national league in the world. 20 teams compete every year, with the bottom three dropping down to the Championship.

La Liga

Spain’s top tier. Usually always contested by Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid. Some even think it’s better than the Premier League.

Bundesliga

Germany’s finest, the Bundesliga, is a fan-oriented league, with even the worst team having tens of thousands of passionate Tifosi in the stands.

Serie A

The Italian league, rich in tips and exciting battles.

Ligue 1

Often underrated, the French top tier is becoming increasingly competitive.


Short History and Facts

There’s no direct ancestor of football. It’s similar to dozens of games in ancient societies all across the world. Old peoples in China, Canada, Greece, Korea, and many other regions have enjoyed sports similar to modern-day soccer. The game as we know it today comes from 1848’s Cambridge rules. Sheffield FC is the oldest team, having been founded by students in 1857. It still exists!

Nowadays, the interest of billions of people has turned soccer into a proper cash cow. And soccer betting is right at the centre of what’s going on. You can even bet on minute details due to this interest. That’s the beauty of this sport.


Final Thoughts

Soccer betting is one of the most accessible punting niches to get on. Resources are everywhere, and many of them are free. Combine your knowledge and research with NostraBet’s recommended bookmakers, and you’re in an ideal position to make a profit. Keep in mind that it’s still gambling. Respect your budget, and don’t chance losses. It’s a game. Have fun!


FAQ about Football betting

How to bet on soccer?

Find a league or competition that’s to your liking. Learn its history and follow the teams. Combine markets and devise a strategy. That’s about it.

Is soccer betting hard?

Not at all. The sport is simple, and you can bet just about anything.

What is a double chance when betting on soccer?

Unlike the 3 way moneyline bet, a double chance lets you pick 2 of the possible three outcomes (team 1 wins, team 2 wins, or draw).

What are prop bets in soccer betting?

A prop bet is any bet not relating to the result. It can be ‘whether Messi will score a goal’ or something completely random, like the colour of a player’s shoes, who’ll get the first card, etc.

Should I watch game highlights before betting on a team?

Ideally, you should watch the whole game. It lets you see both their strengths and weaknesses, not just the best moments.

Can I earn from soccer betting?

Why not? It’s never a guarantee, but you can minimize your risk and get some good returns.

Should I always bet in the form of parlays?

Not really. If there’s a good line on a single, you can focus on it entirely.

Author

Leona Melvin
Leona MelvinLeona is part of the Content Writers team behind Nostrabet. With 6+ years of experience within the iGaming industry, she has an in-depth knowledge of casinos and games.