How does football betting work? action

How Does Football Betting Work?

By Dan Tracey - Dec 16th 2022

For as long the game of football has been played, there has also been the opportunity to place a bet on the outcome. In days gone by, this may have been more of a surreptitious affair but now placing a wager is as common as buying a bottle of milk or newspaper from the local store.

But for those who have never placed and wonder how football betting works, such commonality is likely to be something that has passed them by. Admittedly to an outsider, it can be a rather confusing concept, as different terminologies are used by those who frequent within betting circles.

However, by coming across this article, it is fair to assume that you have developed a keen interest in betting, and it is something that you want to try for yourself. If that is the case, we are now going to explain just how football betting works.

Ultimately, football betting is a challenge between yourself, and a business called a bookmaker. While the challenge at its most basic level is a test of your football knowledge. A test that also includes potential financial rewards.

Football Betting Has Increased In Popularity Over The Past Few Years

While there are hundreds of ways you can bet on a football match. You can bet before a ball has been kicked, you can even bet while the game is taking place. The more opportunities on offer, the more money you could make.

Then again, the more opportunity to win a football bet, the more opportunities that you can lose as well. A pitfall that you should always be reminded of, as very rarely are you simply handed free money by the bookmakers.

As for the bookmakers themselves, you may wonder what role the play in all of this. They are the facilitator of any bets that you are looking to place. It is your knowledge that will win you money, it is their money that you are aiming to take.

Which means you are probably wondering how a football bet is made. Using the example of the World Cup final, we can highlight the steps involved.

First off, you are going to need some money to bet with. In this instance the money is called your stake. Next, you are going to need a market to bet on. In this instance, we are going to use the 3-way handicap.


Here we are going to bet on who we think will win the 2022 World Cup. To allow us to make a bet, the bookmakers have been kind enough to prepare odds that are connected to the three possible outcomes.

These odds could look something like this:

Argentina 2.80
Draw 2.00
France 2.80

There Are Plenty Of World Cup Betting Opportunities

But what do these odds mean exactly? Say your stake money is £5. The odds are a multiplier of that £5. Whatever you select in terms of eventual outcome, should that outcome be correct, your stake multiplied by the odds will be your winnings.

In this instance, we will now do the calculations of the stake and the odds combined

Argentina 2.80 * 5 = 14
Draw 3.00 * 5 = 15
France 2.80 * 5 = 14

If you believe either Argentina or France would win the World Cup, you would select either nation and then add £5 as your stake. If you selected Argentina and Lionel Messi led them to victory, £14 would be yours.

If you selected Argentina and Kylian Mbappe led the French to a second successive World Cup crown, it is the bookmakers who would collect your original stake of £5 for themselves. Your selection is declared as a losing bet in this instance.

While if you picked either Argentina or France and the game ended in a draw. Once again, your £5 would be collected by the bookmakers. However, there is one additional aspect that needs to be considered here.


With the World Cup final also permitting extra-time and penalties, the game may not be decided after 90 minutes. However, Argentina may have eventually won via a shootout and Messi finally gets his hands on the trophy.

If you backed Argentina to win, you may be celebrating with Messi but you would not be celebrating financial gain for yourself. The reason for this, is because the above odds stipulate that the outcome has to be settled after 90 minutes.

Although Argentina are declared champions of the world, the bookmakers have settled this market as a draw. The fact that France were beaten on penalties is largely immaterial for the purposes of this bet. There was no winner in 90 minutes, there is no winnings for you.

Of course, the World Cup is completely different competition to that of the Premier League. If the same odds were in place for a clash between Tottenham and Arsenal, there would be none of the confusion above.

Tottenham 2.80 * 5 = 14
Draw 3.00 * 5 = 15
Arsenal 2.80 * 5 = 14

If your hunch was that the North London derby was to end in a draw and the two teams played out a stalemate at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, your bet would be a winner. No threat of extra-time in a league encounter, what you see is what you get.

Which is why betting on league fixtures in the 3-way market is the most popular bet of all. Countless of these bets are made each weekend in countless competitions around the world. It is not just the Premier League that sees plenty of activity but the Bundesliga and La Liga as well.


While because there is so much activity on a weekly basis, there is also plenty of knowledge that can be shared across the betting community. Knowledge that comes in the form of tipsters, who believe they have an edge over the bookmakers.

An edge that they feel will allow them to not only win a bet but win on a regular basis and in doing so, they can turn their passion for the game into something that allows them to make a decent living at the same time.

The Better The Information, The Better The Tipster

If a tipster believes they have more information to hand than the bookmakers, they will have something known as the edge. This is something that the tipsters try really hard to find, it is something that the bookmakers do not want you to find.

While because tipsters love to come out on top, they also like to see others come out on top as well. Which is why they are also prepared to share this edge with fellow bettors. Sometimes it comes at a cost, other times it is passed around at will.

Simply put a good tipster is worth their weight in gold. Find one of those and one with a good track record and you can use your newfound knowledge to have a crack at beating the bookmakers. If you do, then the very best of luck.

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