One of the best things about betting on soccer is all the different wagers you can place. One of the worst things about betting on soccer is all the different wagers you can place.
Did you just read those sentences back again? We bet you did! Don’t worry, you probably read them right the first time! The incredible amount of soccer betting wagers is both a good thing AND a bad thing. It’s good because it means we have plenty of different options, and that makes it easier to find good spots to bet. It’s bad because it means bettors often get confused about how all these wagers work. It also makes it tough for bettors to know which wagers to place and when.
The good news is that you don’t HAVE to know every single type of soccer wager there is. It’s perfectly possible to make money using just the most basic ones. With that being said, however, there’s a definite benefit to learning about all the different options. So we recommend that you do exactly that. Even if you don’t end up using them all, it doesn’t hurt to understand them.
On this page we’ve focused on all the different wagers based on the results of individual soccer games. You’ll find details of how they work, along with practical examples. We’ve also provided some advice on the best times to use each one.
The Win-Draw-Win is probably the most popular soccer wager! All quality bookmakers and sportsbooks will offer it, along with our list of recommended soccer betting sites too. It’s usually available for any games that are open for betting on.
This wager is also known as the 1X2 wager, and in the United States it’s mostly referred to as the moneyline wager. It’s a very simple way to bet on the outcome of a game, with just three options to choose from.
Team A to win
Team B to win
Game to be drawn/tied
These three options are what give the Win-Draw-Win its name. Draws are quite common in soccer, so it makes sense that betting on the draw is an option for the primary wager. This MIGHT seem obvious, but it depends if you’re used to betting on other sports or not.
In some sports, such as US football for example, ties are so rare that they don’t really get factored in to the betting. So a moneyline wager on a US football game only has two options – Team A to Win or Team B to win. In the unlikely event of a draw, all moneyline wagers result in a push. This means bettors just get their stake money back.
There are NO pushes with a soccer moneyline/Win-Draw-Win.
It’s important that you understand this point. If we back Team A to win a soccer game that then ends in a draw, we DON’T get our stake money back. Our wager is settled as a loser. The only way to get a return is to pick the exact right outcome.
Here are a couple of other points you need to know too.
These wagers are settled based on the result after regular time (90 minutes plus stoppage time).
The precise final score doesn’t matter.
Most soccer games ONLY have regular time. They last for 90 minutes plus stoppage time and that’s it. The result at the end of the regular time is the official result of the game AND what counts for settling for a Win-Draw-Win wager.
Some games can feature extra time (overtime) and/or penalty shoot-outs though. The result in such games is not official until extra time or the shoot-out is complete. However, the result after 90 minutes plus stoppage time is STILL what counts for a Win-Draw-Win wager. This is true for all the other wagers on this page too.
As an example, let’s say Liverpool were playing Manchester United in an FA Cup semi-final. We place a Win-Draw-Win on Manchester United to win. The game is tied at the end of regular time, and Manchester United then wins the game after extra time. For the purposes of our wager, the only relevant result is the one after regular time. Regardless of what happened in over time, our wager is still considered a loser.
The precise final score is also irrelevant. This applies to ALL soccer games, regardless of whether there’s extra time or not. All that matters is whether we pick the right team to win (or the draw). If we pick Team A to win, for example, it doesn’t matter whether they win by a single goal or by six goals. They just need to win for us to get paid out.
That’s basically all there is to the soccer Win-Draw-Win. Here’s an example to demonstrate how it works in practice.
The 2.87 next to Atletico Madrid represent the odds for this team to win the game. A $10 wager on them would return $28.70 (including stake) if they were to win. We’d get nothing if Barcelona won or if the game ended in a draw.
Barcelona are 2.62 to win, making them the slight favorites. A $10 wager on them would return $26.20 if they won. We’d lose our stake in the event of a draw or an Atletico win.
The draw is 3.10, so a $10 wager would return $31.00 on a tied game. We’d lose if either team got the victory.
The odds for all three outcomes are very comparable here, which is what you can expect to see anytime two evenly matched teams compete against each other. If neither team is significantly better than the other, then they obviously have similar chances of winning. That would also make the draw quite likely.
The Win-Draw-Win odds aren’t always this close though. Here’s an example for a game where there’s a clear favorite.
The odds on Tottenham Hotspur winning are low because they’re a much better team than their opponents. The odds of 1.36 mean a $10 wager on the Tottenham win would return just $13.60 if successful.
A $10 wager on Crystal Palace could potentially return $80.00. Palace winning is obviously considered a very unlikely result though. The draw is slightly more likely at 4.75, but still an improbable result.
These two examples demonstrate how the difference in quality between two opposing teams affects both the odds and the likelihood of the three possible outcomes. There are other factors at play too of course, but the difference in quality is usually the biggest. It’s certainly something you need to consider when deciding whether to place a Win-Draw-Win.
When to Bet the Win-Draw-Win
The Win-Draw-Win is a valid wager to place for ANY game really. It’s always possible to make a reasoned judgement about how likely each possible outcome is, and that’s all you need to do to spot good opportunities.
Just bear in mind that the goal isn’t to simply bet on whatever outcome you think is the most likely. Instead, your goal should be to identify where the VALUE lies. It’s vital that you remember this, as it applies to ALL the types of wager you can place.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of value in betting, please take the time to read this article. It explains everything you need to know, and will make the rest of our advice here much easier to understand.
Once you understand value (or if you already do), you’ll realize that the best time to use the Win-Draw-Win is basically WHENEVER you think you’ve identified value. If a specific result appears more likely than the odds suggest, then it’s time to get your money down.
The Win-Draw-Win is an especially powerful wager in the following scenarios.
When you’re confident that a big favorite is extremely likely to win.
When you think there’s a good chance of an underdog winning.
Backing big favorites on the Win-Draw-Win can be a profitable strategy. The returns are typically small for each individual wager, but it’s very likely that you’ll have a high win-rate. Finding games where an upset is unlikely doesn’t seem to be too difficult either.
Don’t start backing big favorites just for the sake of it though. You still need to consider value, so make sure you pick your spots carefully. Look for games where you think the odds on the favorite are a little higher than they should be.
The same basic principle applies to the second scenario on our list. The Win-Draw-Win is a great wager for backing underdogs, as the potential returns can be very attractive. You should never back an underdog JUST because the odds are high though. You need to look for spots where you think the underdog has a genuine chance of winning. That’s when you’ll find the value.
Before we move on to the next wager, we should make a point about backing draws. As a general rule, we don’t really like backing the draw in soccer games. This is simply because it rarely seems logical.
If we think that there’s a good chance of a game being tied, then it follows that we must also think the two teams are quite evenly matched. There are some exceptions to this, but not many. And as games between evenly matched teams are among the hardest to call, we generally prefer to simply leave them alone completely.
Despite our reluctance to back draws, there are SOME scenarios where it’s the right thing to do. The best example is when we think two opposing teams will play a very defensive game. A draw becomes more likely when both teams set up defensively for a game, as there won’t be many chances for a goal. That’s when backing the draw becomes a sensible option. It’s always important to check and make sure there is value in the odds first though.
Half Time Result
This is essentially the same as the Win-Draw-Win, but it’s a wager on the result at HALF TIME rather than full time. So if we backed Team A on the half time result, we’d win our wager if they were ahead at half time. We’d lose if the scores were equal though, or if Team B was winning.
Here’s an example of what a half time result market looks like. It’s for the same Atletico Madrid versus Barcelona game we used earlier.
If you compare the odds here to the odds for the Win-Draw-Win, you’ll notice that they’re higher for each team. The odds for the draw are significantly lower. This is usually the case for most half time result markets. Can you guess why? It’s because a game is generally more likely to be tied at half time than it is at full time.
There’s not much more to say about this wager really. Once you’ve learned how the Win-Draw-Win works, you pretty much know how this one works. The ONLY difference is that it’s the half time result that counts. What happens after half time is completely irrelevant.
When to Bet the Half Time Result
This is not one of our favorite soccer wagers. To be honest, you wouldn’t be missing out on much if you NEVER bet the half time result. There are very few scenarios where it’s the best option.
There may be a few exceptions, but in general we only give this wager serious consideration when one or both of the following are true.
One team has a tendency to start games fast, and regularly scores goals in the first half.
One team has a tendency to start games slow, and regularly concedes in the first half.
It should be obvious why it might be favorable to bet on the half time result in these scenarios. If a team tends to start games first, then there’s a good chance that they’ll be winning at half time. If a team tends to start games slow, then there’s a good chance that they’ll be LOSING at half time.
Although these scenarios CAN be suitable for betting the half time result, it’s worth bearing in mind how closely the bookmakers analyze soccer games. They’ll know if a team has tendency to start fast or slow, and they’ll factor that into the odds for the half time result. This usually eliminates any value that might otherwise have been there.
All in all, this is just not a great wager. It’s worth considering in the right situations, but it’s not one you’ll want to use too regularly.
Half Time/Full Time Combo
This is basically a combination of the Win-Draw-Win and half time result wagers. It’s a bet on what the half time result AND the full time result will be. We have to get both components of the wager right to win.
Here’s how the half time/full time market looks for the Atletico Madrid and Barcelona game.
You can see that there are nine possible outcomes to bet on here. This makes the half time/full time combo a hard wager to get right. The flipside is that the odds are pretty good.
A bet on Barcelona – Atletico, for example, has odds of 29.00. This means a $10 wager could potentially return $290. This particular selection would require Barcelona to be winning at half time, and then Atletico to be winning the game at full time. If any other combination of results occurred, we’d lose our wager.
Each of the other possible selections works in the same way. A bet on Atletico – Atletico would require Atletico to be winning at both half time and full time. A bet on Draw – Atletico would require the game to be tied at half time, and then Atletico winning at full time.
Clearly this is one of the more complicated soccer wagers. Hopefully you understand how it works now, but when should you use it? Let’s take a look.
When to Bet On Half Time/Full Time
This is another wager that we don’t like to place too often. It’s too hard to make accurate assessments of all the possible outcomes. Regardless of how much research and analysis we do, betting on both the half time AND the full-time result is simply too hard to predict.
There’s only really one scenario where we give this wager serious consideration. If we really like the favorite to win, and think that that they’re likely to start well, backing them to win both halves SOMETIMES offers the best value.
For example, let’s say we like Barcelona to win the above game. We’re confident that they’ll beat Atletico Madrid with relative ease, and we expect them to start quickly and go for an early goal. We COULD back Barcelona on the Win-Draw-Win, but we’d only be getting odds of 2.82. Backing Barcelona – Barcelona on the half time/full time combo would give us odds of 4.20. These are significantly higher, so we’d stand to win a much bigger payout.
Are the higher odds worth the extra risk?
That’s what we have to decide!
There are no definitive rules when it comes to these kinds of situations. No two games are exactly the same, and there are always multiple factors to consider. So it’s really just a case of trying to determine where the best value is, and then betting accordingly.
An alternative to consider is splitting our stake between the two different wagers. We could stake $5 on Barcelona on the Win-Draw-Win, and $5 on Barcelona – Barcelona on the half time/full time combo. This compromise would give us a good balance between risk and reward.
This is one of our favorite soccer wagers. We use it a lot because it’s great for managing our risk. It basically allows us to bet on TWO possible outcomes as part of a single wager. We then have double the chance of winning, which is how the wager got its name.
A lot of people think that the double chance is more complicated than it really is. Once you understand its basic concept. The easiest way to demonstrate is to use an example, so here’s what the double chance market might look like.
We’ve got three choices here. If we pick “Atletico Madrid & Draw,” we’re essentially betting on both outcomes. We win our wager if Atletico wins or the game is tied. The only way we’d lose is if Barcelona happened to win.
If we pick “Barcelona & Draw,” we win if Barcelona wins or the game is tied. We only lose if Atletico wins the game. If we pick “Atletico Madrid & Barcelona,” we win no matter which team wins the game. We only lose if the game ends in a draw.
Does that seem complicated to you? It’s no more advanced than the Win-Draw-Win wager really. We just get to back two possible outcomes instead of one. This greatly improves our chances of winning, which is why the odds are so much lower.
The low odds are the biggest disadvantage of using the double chance. However, the wager can still offer value in many situations.
When to Bet the Double Chance
The double chance is worth considering for virtually any soccer game. It’s certainly recommended for those of you who prefer a risk-averse style of betting. It’s the ideal wager for “playing it safe,” and you should be able to pick up lots of small wins if you use it regularly.
There’s a downside to using the double chance too frequently though. Because the odds are so low, you’ll potentially leave a lot of value on the table. You’ll win more often for sure, but you won’t necessarily win more money overall. As with anything in life, the safe option isn’t always the BEST option. Sometimes it’s better to accept the bigger risk of using the Win-Draw-Win in exchange for better potential payouts.
Now, there aren’t any definitive rules about when to use the double chance and when to use the Win-Draw-win. This is something you have to figure out for yourself. You need to judge each situation individually and consider the risks involved. Then you must try to determine which offers the better value.
With that being said, there are two particular scenarios where we almost always prefer to use the double chance. These are as follows.
Evenly matched games where we think one team has a small edge.
Games where we like a big underdog to win.
In the first scenario, the double chance makes perfect sense. If we think that our preferred team only has a small edge, then we’re obviously not expecting an easy victory. This means the draw must be a strong possibility. Backing our team to win AND the draw is therefore a sensible approach. We can expect a lower potential payout, but our chances of actually getting that payout increases. This typically provides the better overall value.
The second scenario doesn’t arise very often. There’s a reason why teams are made big underdogs with the bookmakers, and it’s because they only have a very small chance of winning. So it’s rare that we find spots where we genuinely think a big underdog is going to cause an upset.
When we DO find those spots, the double chance is an excellent choice of wager. We use it to cover the underdog winning and the draw. Backing the underdog on the Win-Draw-Win would give us better odds of course, but covering two possible outcomes is favorable in this scenario. It gives us a better balance between risk and reward.
Draw No Bet
The draw no bet is another wager that helps with reducing risk. It’s similar to the Win-Draw-Win, but betting on the draw is not an option. Instead, we can only bet on one of the two teams to win. If our selection does win, we win our wager. If the other team wins, we lose. But if the game ends in a draw, we get our stake money back.
This basically gives us a “safety net.” In return, we have to accept slightly lower odds than we’d get on the Win-Draw-Win. Take a look at the following market to make this easier to understand.
In case you don’t remember, Atletico Madrid were 2.87 to win on the Win-Draw-Win. Barcelona were 2.62. There IS a significant difference here, but there’s a lot less risk involved too. It’s another simple tradeoff between risk and reward.
When to Use the Draw No Bet Wager
The draw no bet is basically a direct alternative for the double chance. Our advice for when to use it is exactly the same as our advice for when to use the double chance. It’s worth considering for virtually any game, and it’s a particularly good option in the two scenarios we outlined earlier. You just need to decide which of the two wagers you prefer.
While this decision isn’t necessarily an easy one to make, it isn’t necessarily an important one either. In the long run, the overall payouts for the two wagers would probably be quite similar. We get better odds with the draw no bet, but we don’t actually cover the draw with our wagers. Instead, we just get our money back when games are drawn. The overall level of risk is essentially the same with both wagers; it’s just distributed differently.
These two soccer wagers are slightly different from each other. They follow the same basic principle though, which is why we’re covering them both in the same section. We’ll start with the handicap.
With the handicap wager, we still have to choose whether to bet on Team A, Team B or the draw. The difference is that teams are awarded or deducted goals for the purposes of the betting. When a team has a negative handicap (-), it means they’ll effectively be deducted goals when settling a wager. When a team has a positive handicap (+), it means they’ll effectively be awarded goals when settling a wager.
Don’t worry if you’re starting to get confused. This is one of the more advanced soccer wagers, and it’s hard to explain. We’ll use an example to make things clearer. Here’s the handicap market for the Atletico Madrid versus Barcelona game.
You can see that there are several different options here. This is typical for a handicap market, as bookmakers and betting sites like to give us plenty of options. Let’s take a look at what some of them actually mean.
If we chose to bet on Atletico (+2), we’d basically be placing a Win-Draw-Win wager with one major difference. Atletico would be awarded two extra goals for the purposes of the betting. We’d still need Atletico to win, but only AFTER those goals have been added.
If the result was 1-0 Barcelona, for example, the result for the purposes of our wager would technically be 2-1 Atletico. So we’d WIN this wager, even though Atletico lost the actual game.
If the result was 2-0 Barcelona, we’d lose. Even with the two goals added, Atletico still haven’t won (it’s 2-2). If the result was 3-0 Barcelona, we’d lose as well. The two goals added just make it 3-2 Barcelona.
Now let’s say we backed Barcelona (-1). This would mean we’re backing Barcelona to win with one goal deducted. So if they only win 1-0, our wager is a loser. The “net” score is 0-0, which is a tie. If they win 2-0, however, the net score is 1-0. This means we win our wager.
Does it all make sense now? It’s not THAT complicated once you see how this wager actually works. The only other thing we should explain is that the numbers for the draw always apply to the home team. Backing the draw (+2), for example, means you’re betting on the game to be a tie after the home team has been awarded two goals.
The point spread wager works on a similar principle to the handicap, but there’s no option to bet on the draw. There are no options for different numbers of goals being awarded or deducted either. The “spread” is set at a fixed level by the bookmaker or betting site.
Here’s the point spread market for the same game.
The spread here is half a goal. If we backed Atletico (+0.5), they’d be awarded half a goal for the purposes of the betting. We’d win our wager if Atletico either won outright or drew, but we’d lose if they lost the game. If we backed Barcelona (-0.5), they’d be deducted half a goal for the purposes of betting. We’d win if they won the game, but lose if they lost or drew.
Since both handicap betting and point spread wagers are complex wagers, they aren’t recommended for soccer betting beginners. It’s better to gain some experience before trying these out.
If you already have the experience, and want to start using these wagers, we suggest reading the article listed below. It goes into detail about how to use them effectively.
Soccer Betting Strategy: Handicap Betting*
For detailed strategy advice on the other wagers covered on this page, please take a look at this article.