Football betting types explained

Football betting markets are many and varied offering lots of entertainment for punters.  This guide offers an explanation for goal betting markets, match betting and handicap betting.

Goal betting

Betfair trading systems and strategies often focus on goal betting as a reliable market (discussed in detail on the trading blog).  Total number of goals produced per match in various leagues can be predicted due to past histories of goal data with accuracy.  Goal betting is easier to predict than match betting.

Total Goals

Over under 2.5 goal betting

Typical Odds
Under 2.5 Goals 10/11
Over 2.5 Goals Evens


Punters can bet on whether the total number of goals in a match will be more or less than 2.  The less than 2 goals option includes 2 goals so the bookmaker advertises the market as 2.5 goals.  Put another way a punter can choose 2 or less goals in the under 2.5 goals option and 3 or more goals in the over 2.5 goals option.

Let’s Compare Bets recommends Betfair for goal betting. One reason is because it is possible to ‘cash out’ bets on Betfair early to guarantee a profit, or reduce a loss, before the event starts or during the event. That’s one reason but the other benefits of Betfair are explained on the website (click here).

Goals Brackets

0-1 Goals 15/7
2-3 Goals 14/6
4+ Goals 11/4


Betting on a range of total goal numbers means that predictions can be less specific.

Correct Score

Team A Win Draw Team B Win
1-0 11/1 0-0 9/1 1-0 11/2
2-0 25/1 1-1 13/2 2-0 7/1
3-0 14/1 2-2 18/1 3-0 12/1
3-1 50/1 3-1 14/1


Predicting the scoreline at full time is a hard job.  There are so many things that decide what the score will be.  But, it is possible to predict approximately what the score will be so it is possible make a book out of the top three most likely outcomes.

Correct Score at Half-Time


Choose what the score will be at half time.

Which half had the most goals

First Half 16/1
Second Half 2/5
Tie 9/4


Predict which half will produce the most goals.

Clean Sheet betting

Team A to keep a Clean Sheet(Team B not to Score) 4/1
Team B to keep a Clean Sheet (Team A not to Score) 6/5


If you think a team will not concede any goals a clean sheet bet is best.  Great for football teams with strong defense.

To Win to Nil

Typical Odds
Team A to Win To Nil 7/4
Team B to Win To Nil 11/2


This bet is if you think a team will win the match and the other team will not score a goal . For example: 1-0, 2-0, etc.

First Team to Score

Team A 21/10
Team B 9/2
No Goals 8/1


Who do you think will score the first goal in the match?  No goals is also an option.

Football betting tip

bookmakers will price no goals differently to a correct score of 0 – 0.  This is the same bet but you can often get better odds by betting on no goals in the first team to score market.

Time of the First Goal


What time frame do you think the first goal will be scored? Most bookmakers offer one market which is Before/After 27 minutes.

Some bookmakers will let you bet on 10 minute blocks as well, which is harder to predict.

  • 0-10
  • 11-20
  • 21-30
  • Etc, up to 90.

Goalscorer market

Instead on betting on the time of the goal this involves betting on whether a team or player will score first, last or at anytime at all.


Bet that a single player will;

  1. to be the First Goal in the game
  2. to be the Last Goal in the game
  3. to score at Anytime during the game

The First and Last scorer bets are more difficult to predict, but offer bigger odds. Some bookmakers will offer Each-Way odds on First Goalscorer bets, paying out a fraction (usually 1/3 or 1/4 of the odds) if your pick is the second or third scorer.

Shirt Numbers

Total (all scorers from both teams) Odds
0-36 10/11
37 and over 10/11


Add together the shirt numbers of the players that score goals and you have a betting market.  Knowing which players a most likely to score the bookmaker makes a prediction of the total shirt numbers for the match.  Punters can bet higher or lower than that number.

So, if there are 3 Goals in a match scored by 3 separate players wearing the numbers: 8, 9 and 20. The total would be 8 + 9 + 20 = 37.

Bookmakers may also offer you other options.

Total (all scorers)
0-21 11/9
22-42 inclusive 10/6
43 or over 6/4


For instance the bookmaker may offer a prediction on a middle spread of shirt numbers, as well as a lower and higher spread.


First Scorer Result Odds
Player A 1-0 to Team A 17/1
Player B 1-0 to Team B 19/1
Player A 2-0 to Team A 21/1
Player B 2-0 to Team B 23/1


This is a combination bet joining a correct score bet with a first goal scorer bet.  Basically it is a ‘double bet’, which means the odds are higher, making it popular.

Match betting

Who do you think will win?  Back your opinion.  Could there be a draw instead?  Home teams are always advertised first and often has shorter odds as they may be favourites, taking the home team advantage into account.  Perhaps the visiting team has played very well away and offers good value because the home team has been advertised as favourite.

No bet if there is a draw

Typical odds might look like,

Team A 5/11
Team B 2/1

This is a simple win/lose bet which is cancelled if the games ends in a draw.

Double Chance

Example odds

Team A and the Draw 1/5
Team B and the Draw 4/6
Team A or Team B 3/9


This bet gives you two chances to win out of the three possible outcomes. You can either back a team to win or the match to be a Draw (so you only lose if your pick loses). Or if you can bet on both teams to win (so you only lose if the match ends a Draw). Because you are covering more options, the odds are shorter than on Match Results.

Handicap betting

Handicap betting involves betting on a team that has been given a handicap that they must overcome before the bet will pay out.  This attempts to make the betting more level between the favourite and the underdog.

Typical odds might look like this,

Team A (minus 1) 5/2
Team B (plus 1) 13/5
Tie (Team B plus 1) 5/6


Team A been deducted a goal before the match starts because they are the favourite.  Team B has been given a goal. If neither team scores team A would lose because they have been deducted a goal.  Team A would need to score at least two goals more than team B to win because the difference between handicaps is 2.

You will see handicap bets applied to Goals (see Asian Handicaps) and Corners.  The team has to overcome their handicap so that they can win the bet.

If the favourite is playing a really poor opponent they may be given a minus 2 handicap.  In this case the winning margin would need to be 3.

Asian handicap  bets are different.

An example of an Asian Handicap bet may look like this,

Team A (minus 0.5 Goals) 2.0 (Evens)
Team B (plus 0.5 Goals) 1.73 (8/11)

Boookmakers commonly use decimal odds for for Asian Handicap bets.


A popular form of betting in Asia.  The handicap system removed the draw outcome.  Either your team wins or loses, it can not draw.  Often giving better odds for match betting markets because there is no draw option.  In the example below the handicaps are shown in brackets. These handicaps can vary from match to match and are advertised in a similar way to the under over goal market.  For example, a 0.5 handicap means that the team must win by a least one goal.

  • A team with a (-0.5) handicap means the team must win the match by any score. Any other result and the bet is lost.
  • A team with a (-1) handicap means the team must win the match by 2 Goals. By 1 Goal and the bet is void and stakes are returned. Any other result the bet is lost.
  • A team with a (-1.5) handicap means the team must win by 2 Goals. Any other result and the bet is lost.

Split handicaps

Different to Asian Handicaps, a ‘split’ Handicap, such as: (0, -0.5) splits the bet into two, for example:

A team with a (0, -0.5) handicap must win the match by any score. If the match is a Draw – half the stake is returned and half is lost.  If they other team scored mores goals then the bet is lost.

A team with a (-1, 1.5) handicap must win by 2 Goals. Win by 1 Goal and half the stake is returned and half is lost. Any other result and it loses.

And so forth..

Half time result

As the name suggests, this is the win, lose, draw result at half time rather than full time.

Half time / full time result

This allows you to bet on the result at Half Time AND Full Time – more difficult as predicting the outright winner, but offering bigger odds.


Team A – Team A would be for team A to win both the first half and second half. Draw – Team B, indicates that you are betting for a draw in the first half and for team B to win the second half.