Introduction to Soccer Betting – By The Kicks and Picks Podcast Creators
The world’s game. The beautiful game. The boring game. Whatever you call it, chances are you have a strong opinion on soccer. Every year **unofficial research coming in hot** we’re told its popularity is rising in the United States. Seems true. Who are we to argue with unofficial research? It was just a World Cup Year. We’ve got Messi (you’ve heard of him) in the MLS. There are endless tournaments between now – when the WC Comes to the US in 2026. We’re calling it a fact. Most importantly, we’re here to tell you (for the 26th consecutive year) why soccer is the next big thing in the United States. The widespread legalization of sports betting.
You’re here on Happy Hour. You’ve seen and read the great sports content available to you. Now, the Kicks and Picks crew has you covered with your new obsession. Basics, key terms and some strategy awaits!
If you’ve made a wager before, odds are (pun game on fire) it was on a great American sport. Football. Baseball. Basketball. Pretty simple. Pick a team to win outright. Pick a team to cover the spread. Bet on the amount of total points/goals/runs. Lately, player props (personal performance of a player) have been all the rage. The HH team has a ton of coverage on this. Follow them for some winners. But throw all of that shit out the window for soccer. Yes, some of the bets are the same – but the nuance couldn’t be further away.
Let us familiarize you with some soccer bets, what to look for, what to avoid, and why placing money (that you can afford to lose) on a team 7,000 miles away in a city you’ve never heard of will be the most thrilling experience of your betting lives.
Soccer Moneyline bet
- You’ve heard of that right? WRONG! In soccer, this is also referred to as a 3-way bet, due to 3 possible outcomes. This is picking the outright winner, with a twist. Team A to win, Team B to win, or the third option – a draw (tie). Soccer is played for 90 minutes, and if the score is tied, that’s all she wrote. The game (in tournaments) may go on to extra time, but all of these wagers are graded as 90-minute bets. Bets to look for here are evenly matched teams with value. Think anyone between -130 and +200. Anything more than that, and you are either risking too much of your bankroll, or chasing an unrealistic outcome. +500 teams do win sometimes, and maybe you know something the bookies don’t, but it’s not a long-term betting strategy. As far as the draw goes, that particular outcome is more likely than you’d think – but I typically look for anything that is +250 or better. Again, the key difference here is the draw – which doesn’t happen in any other sports moneyline bet. Possible 33% edge lost right off the bat.
Goal Line Bet – Betting on Soccer
- Goal line bet. Think “the spread”, similar to American football. Team A is -1.5 goals. They have to cover the goal line – win by 2 goals. Goal lines usually incorporate half a goal (0.5, 1.5, 2.5), however sometimes you will see even numbers like -1, -2 or PK. PK = pickem (sometimes referred to as “Draw No Bet” – see below). If a team is -1 and wins the game 2-1. The bet would be graded as a push. When teams are evenly matched, always check the difference in value on the goal line vs the moneyline. Team A may be -140 on the moneyline, but -0.5 and -110 on the goal line. In that example the result of team A needing to win by a goal or more is the same, but one has significantly more value to the bettor. Happens more than you think.
Over/Under – What it means in Soccer Betting
- Over/Under. Betting on the number of total goals to be scored, regardless of team. 75% of games (unofficial percentage) have an over under set at 2.5 goals. 2 goals would lose, 3 or more goals wins. Higher scoring teams or leagues have higher lines. A team like PSG, Real Madrid, Man City, or many games in a more open league like the MLS, can see lines around 3.5. Worse matchups have lower lines – like O/U 2.0, and typical examples are lower table teams in Spain and France.
Playing Fantasy Sports? We Recommend Underdog Fantasy.
Two Way Moneyline
- This is a type of moneyline bet that eliminates the draw as a losing bet. Two common examples of this are:
Draw No Bet (Footie Betting)
- This is our favorite type of bet, because it means the draw is refunded. This can give the bet a ton of value, taking a loss and turning it into a push. Pick one team or the other. If they win, you win. If they lose, you lose. If there is a draw, the bet is refunded. The catch here is the odds are always lower. A team may be +200 on the 3-way moneyline, but all the way down to -110 on the draw no bet line. Sometimes it is worth laying odds and giving yourself an out if the game is a draw. Anything can happen in soccer (more on that later), and the draw no bet is one of the most forgiving bets around. Always take a look at the lines.
Double Chance (In Soccer/Football Betting)
- Instead of betting on one outcome, you are betting that one of two takes place – you have a “double chance” to win. Examples: Bet 1-Team A or Draw. Bet 2-Draw or Team B. Bet 3-Team A or Team B. The draw (in examples 1 and 2 here) would count as a win. In the last example, you are betting that either team wins. Odds here are usually astronomical (big favorites can be -500 or more) but 2/3 decisions are graded as a win. If you like an underdog, this could be a bet to consider depending on the odds.
Other Soccer Bet Types to consider:
Both Teams to Score (BTTS)
Bet on both teams scoring a goal. 1 each is enough. A game can go under 2.5 with both teams scoring. You expect a shootout but sometimes the ball doesn’t find the net. To a team losing 1-0 for 80 minutes, getting that elusive goal is almost as euphoric as a win. You know they are going to give everything to get that tying goal and walk away with points.
Similar to football, you can take many of the above bets for the first half or second half.
There are tons of options here as well. Team to score first/last. Highest scoring goal half. Odd/Even goals. Time of the next goal. Etc.
Here is our biggest gripe in soccer betting (listen to the podcast and you’re guaranteed to hear us complain about it). The odds don’t ever reflect how hard it is to score a goal in a soccer game. You can watch a player do everything right, hustle his ass off for 90 minutes and not score a goal. A player may get hurt halfway through. The manager may change formations and sub them off after 60 minutes. We almost NEVER advise betting anyone that is less than +200 to score. Rare exceptions. Maybe Cristiano Ronaldo is playing against a tiny European nation like Malta. Guy is a top 5 all time player. If his odds to score are -120, you can see why. The Malta players are probably playing part time. Ronaldo trains more hours in a week than they do in half a year. Maybe give this a look. If the situation isn’t exactly as we’ve outlined it – move on. There are better options. Of note, you can also bet players to get shots, cards, assists and a few others.
There are many more bets to be made, but let’s all walk before we run.
You have to listen to at least 8 episodes of Kicks and Picks before you bet on corners or cards.
We don’t make the rules. So, why is betting on soccer so great? There is a rollercoaster of emotions packed into every 90 minutes. While some of the bets described are straightforward, the games themselves are far more unpredictable.
Some additional thoughts on soccer betting concepts:
It’s a factor. With another outcome besides win and loss, it adds another layer into your strategy. To some teams, a draw is as good as a win. Consider the circumstances of the game (injuries, place in the standing, weather) and remember it’s not always win or lose.
Home Field Advantage
It can be massive. Teams may be evenly matched on paper or in the standings, but with 70,000 die-hard fans who have been drinking since 7am cheering for every pass shot and tackle, momentum can shift in a hurry. Teams at home have the edge more often than not. Think college football, but with even more advantage.
We don’t mean Tim Donaghy. Refs aren’t throwing games, but the amount of influence they have on the outcome can be insane. If you have a player thrown out (red card), he doesn’t get replaced. Teams can be down a man for half the game or more. Maybe a player made a mistake. Maybe the ref made a bad call. Either way, a perfectly placed bet can be thrown out the window due to a decision made by the guy who maybe never kicked a ball in his life. See also: penalty kicks. Given for a foul in the box. The problem is, these are typically subjective calls. Nothing worse than a 50/50 challenge in the box in the 90th minute that the referee decides is worthy of a penalty kick. VAR (replay) has been implemented over the last few seasons, but they still get it wrong (ask anyone at Happy Hour about Liverpool)…
Soccer coaches are hired, fired, re-hired, re-fired more than in any other sport. Sometimes a team that has been mediocre all year can get a boost with a coaching change, even if only for a few games. “New Manager Bounce”. Keep up with the news to identify opportunities as there will be a ton throughout a season.
Maybe team A is fighting to stay in the top division. Maybe Team B has nothing to play for. Maybe Team A has already been eliminated from the tournament. Keep this in mind, not all games are played with the same intensity.
Come along for the ride with us, as we’ll be discussing and handicapping games from Italy, England, and all of the can’t miss international games from here on out. Hopefully this gave you enough of a nudge to check the lines this weekend. Or next. Check us out on twitter and youtube – @KicksPicksPod, or wherever you get your podcasts. Tons of great content for you to explore to help get an edge. We look forward to cashing with you all!
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