The whole purpose of this site is for me to tell you about different bookmakers that I think are worth having an account with. You can read in-depth reviews of each and every one of them, so you’ll be able to see in detail why it is that I recommend them. You’ll also be able to see whether or not you think the bookie is for you, given that I break down the features that they offer and the sort of things you can expect to get from them for each individual sport.

However not every bookmaker covers every sport to the same extent. A bookie that is good at horse racing, for example, might not quite be as tip-top at covering football. Whether it be that the features of that site tend to lend themselves to one bookmaker over another or that the odds are just slightly better because they have more close ties to the sport, it’s always worth matching the company to their speciality. On this page I’ll tell you all about the best bookies for football, giving you a brief description about why I think they’re good as well as explain some of the terms you’ll want to know before you go to place a bet.

BetVictor
Offer specialised bets, excellent coverage from abroad, acca promise and some of the best odds you’ll find.
Coral
Player Bet feature is handy, really good market coverage, high street stores available.
Betfred
Owned by football supporters who know their topic, loads of decent features, top offers.

The above should give you a quick glipse into what I feel are the best football betting sites. I have also written a bit more about each website further down the page.

Betting On Football

The footballing world is split up into six different federations. According to the most recent information I’ve been able to find, there are more than 250 professional football clubs that come under the jurisdiction of CONMEBOL, the South America federation. CONCACAF, which represents North America, Central America and the Caribbean, has over 200 clubs registered. There are more than 300 in Asia, over 450 in Africa and the smallest federation of all, the Oceania Football Confederation, has still registered nearly 50 clubs. The largest federation is UEFA, which rules over European football, and there are more than 1,000 professional football clubs registered there.

When man landed on the moon in 1969 around 530 million people tuned in to watch. That’s about 200 million people less than the number who regularly tuned in to watch the Miss Universe contest. If you combined both of those figures and doubled them then you still wouldn’t come close to the 3.2 billion who watched the World Cup Final in 2014. Considering there are roughly 7.5 billion people living on the planet at any given moment, that’s not an insignificant number.

Football Viewing Figures

Comparison of viewing figures for moon landing, Miss Universe pageant and World Cup 2014

What I’m trying to say is this: football is big business. It is one of the most popular sports in the world, with more than 2,000 professional clubs registered to the official federations that rule over it. Add in youth teams, local sides and non-professional clubs and you’re probably talking in the region of a million football clubs around the globe.

It’s little wonder, then, that bookmakers decided early on that targeting football would be a sensible business model. There’s barely a bookie in existence that won’t let you place some sort of bet on football matches and the very best ones will let you place a wager on almost anything to do with the sport. Given that this site is about me recommending bookmakers to you, I thought I should also have a look at which of them are best for some of the sports you’re most likely to want to bet on. Whether you’re looking at a major event like the final of the Champions League or a less followed division such as the Czech Republic First League, knowing that the bookie you use has the knowledge to offer you a decent set of bets is invaluable.

The Best Bookies For Football

As you’ll no doubt have gleaned from reading through the pages of my site, there are a vast number of bookmakers out there for you to choose from. Each of them are trying to win your business and it is very much a ‘buyer’s market’ when it comes to who to bet with. Yet it’s also true that some bookies are stronger in some areas than others, so there’s no point in placing all of your football bets with a company that is stronger at horse racing, tennis or any other number of sports. Here, then, I’ll tell you the companies I think are best for football betting and why I think you should look to them when you’re hoping to have a flutter.

BetVictor Screenshot

BetVictor

Another one of my favourite bookies for football games is BetVictor. Now sponsorship of a team or event doesn’t automatically mean that a company knows what they’re talking about, but the fact that BetVictor have been the official betting partner of both Liverpool and Chelsea during the Premier League era gives you a good indication of how seriously they take their connection to the sport. Whatever you think of those two clubs, one of them has a rich history of being the most successful football club in British history and the other is representative of the new wave of clubs that is just rich, so I don’t believe that either of them would link up with a bookmaker that doesn’t know its onions.

Much like with Sky Bet, BetVictor offer in-play betting and the ability to Cash Out your bets. I find their in-play betting to be somewhat hit and miss if I’m being honest, but it’s still more than good enough to keep you interested. The only let down when it comes to features is their live streaming, which is pretty much non-existent as far as football is concerned. They don’t offer anything as interesting as the Request A Bet feature that helps Sky Bet to stand out, but their link with Liverpool allows them to offer specific bets on games involving the Reds, so they’re worth keeping an eye out for.

Their coverage of football from around the world is where BetVictor really stand out. I’ve placed bets on Ukrainian Under-21 matches in the past, as well as the Thai Premier League and the Chinese Super League. In other words, a lot of random stuff. If you like to branch out away from the English top-flight then this is a bookmaker you’ll get on well with. Their odds are also some of the best in the business, offering better ones than their competitors in more than 70% of the market in seasons gone by. As with Sky Bet and the Soccer Saturday Super 6 game, BetVictor’s Golden Goal competition is something I’d recommend for everyone to check out.

Coral Screenshot

Coral

Joe Coral initially set up his bookmaking business on racecourses, so don’t be surprised when you read my review of the best horse racing bookmakers and find Coral in there, too. If horse racing was the company’s first love then football has since become their mistress, with Coral offering odds on teams and leagues that I didn’t even know existed. They’ve grown into one of the biggest and most influential bookies in the industry over the past few years, combining the company’s know-how gleaned from its high street shops with the growth of online betting to create a genuine behemoth of a bookmaker.

That can only be considered to be a good thing for us punters, as Coral’s coverage of football rivals the likes of Bet365 and Sky Bet to ensure that there’s plenty of things for us to have a wager on. In the main review I mention the fact that there are just shy of 150 different in-play bets I could have placed on a Copa Libertadores match between Emelec and FBC Melgar; not bad when you remember that Bet365 tend to offer around 120 bets on Premier League games. Coral’s live streaming is decent, too, and all you need to do to take advantage of it is have a positive account balance.

I mentioned Partial Cash Out when talking about Bet365 and that’s something that Coral also offers. It gives you the ability to take some winnings out of your bet but leave part of your stake still running, so I like to take advantage of it when I’m not 100% how an event is going to work out. It’s the sort of feature that appeals to me, as is the Player Bet function that they offer. That’s similar to Sky Bet’s Request A Bet feature, though it’s only for football. It allows you to ask for odds on things like 'player X to complete 50 passes' or 'player Y to win more than 10 headers'. It’s fun, different and well worth having a look at.

Betfred Screenshot

Betfred

Completing my list of bookies that fit into the 'a link to football doesn’t mean they’re brilliant but' category is Betfred. Founded in 1967 by two brothers named Fred and Peter Done, Betfred is a pleasant combination of a bookmaker with high street shops as well as an excellent online presence. A Manchester United supporter, Fred Done has twice paid out on the Red Devils winning the Premier League before the result was official, only for the club he loves to lose out on the title to Arsenal in 1998 and Manchester City in 2012. You may not be able to take for granted that they know their stuff when it comes to football, but the prospect of an early payout should appeal!

Betfred are a solid, reliable bookie when it comes to their features. They live stream a decent amount of games from across Europe and offer plenty of in-play betting options to ensure you don’t need to look anywhere else to place your bets if you don’t want to. They have also joined the club in offering Cash Out opportunities on most wagers you can place with them. There’s not necessarily a lot here that makes them stand out from the crowd, but there’s enough to mean that you should definitely have an account with them. I don’t like their website as it’s not very easy to navigate, for example, but when you get there their football coverage is solid.

When it comes to odds Betfred aren’t going to set the world alight anytime soon, but they’re very rarely way off the pace. Where they exceed expectations, in my opinion, is in their promotions on football. They often run offers that will appeal to football supporters, such as their Double Delight / Hat-Trick Heaven one. That states that a winning First Goalscorer bet will receive increased winnings if the player goes on to score two or three. Given that your winnings are paid out in real cash as opposed to free bets, that makes that promotion even more appealing.

How To Bet On Football

When you set up a site like this there is something of a delicate tightrope to be walked. On the one hand I don’t want to patronise long-term bettors who know what they’re doing and have come here just to see which sites to use, yet on the other I also want to help people who don’t bet much get into the game a little. Here, then, I’ll explain some of the main bets you can place on football games with bookmakers.

Match Odds

This is the most basic type of bet you can place when watching a football match – who will win? Sometimes referred to as a 1X2 bet, Match Odds betting in its most simple form allows you to bet on the winning team or on whether you think the game might end in a draw. 1 is the home side, X is the draw and 2 is the away team. You can place this bet before the match has kicked-off or, if the company you’re betting with allows for live betting, once it’s underway. Obviously the odds will fluctuate mid-match depending on what’s going on, so if the home team has already scored and the away team are down to ten men you’re unlikely to get great odds on the home team picking up all three points.

Match Odds betting can be combined with other variables to give yourself better odds, too. So, for example, you might want to place a combination bet on the winner of the game and whether or not both teams will score. You can also bet on the ‘result’ of each individual half, so perhaps you think the away team will win the first-half and the home team will win the second. In essence this is the same type of bet as a Match Odds bet, but you’re changing the parameters of what constitutes a ‘match’.

Correct Score

This is a somewhat self-explanatory bet, allowing you to have a wager on what you think the Correct Score of the match you’re watching will be. Think the home team have got this locked as a 2-0 win? Or are you convinced it’s going to be a high-scoring game that the away team are going to emerge victorious from with a 5-2 scoreline? They’re the sort of bets you can place using this method. Much as with the Match Odds betting, you can also bet on the Correct Score just from one half rather than the match overall, should you wish to.

Something else that I think fits into this bracket is the ability to bet on the Over/Under. With that type of bet you’re giving yourself a bit more leeway with what you think might happen. As an example, say you think it’s going to be a high-scoring game but you aren’t totally confident on the exact score, you can bet on Over 4.5 Goals. The odds will be slightly lower than if you bet on 5-2 specifically, but you’ll win your bet if there are more than 4.5 goals in the game. Other variations include handicaps, picking a team to score more than X number of goals and so on.

Goalscorer Bets

This is one of my favourite types of bets, mainly because of the variation within the same theme. Again, the title makes it pretty clear what you’re betting on, but for the avoidance of doubt I’ll explain a little further. You are placing a bet on which player will score a goal during the game, with the main difference in bets being on when you think they’ll score. The more specific you are the longer the odds are that you’ll be offered. Say you decide that Gemma Bonner is going to score for England Ladies but you aren’t sure when in the match it’s going to happen, you’ll want to opt for the Anytime Goalscorer bet. Should you be convinced that she’s going to open the scoring, however, the First Goalscorer bet will give you greater odds.

One of my favourite tricks is waiting until the team news is announced and looking at who hasn’t started the match. There has been more than one occasion when Sergio Aguero has been on the bench for Manchester City so I’ve placed a Last Goalscorer bet on him that has subsequently earned me a decent bit of money. Variations on this theme include bets like ‘X player to score more than 2 goals’, ‘Y player to score in the first-half’ and ‘Z player to score and team A to win the match’. Depending on the bookie you’re using you’ll be able to place other types of bets involving the goalscorer, so keep your eyes peeled in case any of them appeal to you.

Ante-Post Bets

Ante-Post betting is a lot less prevalent in football than it is in other sports, but it’s still available depending on what you’re hoping to bet on. The most obvious example is placing a bet on who will be relegated from a league well before the season has started, or which country will win the World Cup next year. If a bookmaker covers a league or competition then there’s a real chance you’ll be able to find odds on Ante-Post betting for it if you look far enough in advance.

Equally, if you know that a competition recognises certain achievements then you’ll likely be able to place a bet on the outcome of it. What I mean by that is that major competitions such as the Premier League and European Championships make a note of who the top scorer is and which goalkeeper has conceded the fewest goals. Placing a bet on those outcomes well ahead of the competition starting will give you the best odds available in virtually all instances. Once the fixtures have been announced for an upcoming competition you can even place bets on the winners of the first matches months before they’re due to take place. They’re the sort of bets that can provide you with a nice profit if you call them correctly early enough.

Rules To Be Aware Of

Each any every sport has its own eccentricities and football is no exception. There are certain rules that are written clearly in the small-print of bets but that are worth drawing your attention to before you wager a load of money and then wonder why you didn’t win. Here I’ll explain the most obvious.

90 Minutes Only

Football is somewhat unusual compared to other sports, insomuch as some matches can go on for longer than scheduled depending on the circumstances. League matches almost always need to be concluded within the allotted 90 minutes, but cup matches can often go to extra-time and penalties. The majority of bets placed on football games are considered to be for the original 90 minutes of a match, so if you bet on the First Goalscorer and he puts the ball into the back of the net five minutes into extra-time then, sadly, your bet won’t win. Obviously this is not the case if you bet on the likes of the match being won on penalties. Unless otherwise specified, however, your bet has to happen within the original 90 minutes if it’s to be a winner.

I should point out that this does not include stoppage time. For those not overly familiar with football, the referee is supposed to stop their watch when there are stoppages within the game, resulting in time being added on at the end of the first-half and the end of the second. This sometimes results in games not ‘ending’ until the 90 something minute, but as long as that time has been added on by the referee and is not extra-time, which is a different thing entirely, then your bet will win. Wagered on a 2-0 scoreline and the second goal is scored in the 96th minute of normal time? It’s a winner.

Dead Heats

Because you’re normally betting on a binary outcome in football games, dead heats are quite a rare occurrence. After all, if a match finishes 0-0 then you will either have bet on that or on another scoreline, so your bet will have been settled one way or another. Dead heats can occur, though, and it’s normally with the likes of a Top Goalscorer bet in a competition or the outcome of a Golden Gloves bet. The usual rule of thumb for dead heat bets in football is that your stake will be split between the number of winners. As an example, say you placed a bet of £15 at 5/1 on the top scorer of the Premier League and three players all finished on the same number of goals, your stake would be split into three with one part winning and the other two parts losing. That would mean you’d get paid £5 x 5, or £25.

Abandoned Matches

It’s not all that common an occurrence, but sometimes football matches do get abandoned. When that happens any bets that have already been settled – such as First Goalscorer – will be allowed to stand. Any other bets that can’t be settled, like Correct Score, will be declared void. If your bet is void then your stake will be returned to you and it will be as though you’d never placed it. Things become slightly more complicated if you’ve bet on an accumulator, but it’s still relatively easy to understand. Essentially, however many legs there are in your acca will be reduced by one should a match be abandoned, so a double will become a single on the bet that’s still in play, a treble will become a double and so on. Bets will normally be voided regardless of the scoreline at the time of the abandonment, so if it’s abandoned at 2-0 and that was your bet it won’t win. That’s the case even if the governing body later say that score will officially stand.

Postponed Matches

When it comes to matches being postponed for some reason, things aren’t quite as simple. Different bookmakers apply slightly different rules, but the most common is for bets to be allowed to stand and to ‘move’ with the match as long as it’s rescheduled to take place within 48 hours of the original kick-off time. Confirmation of that rescheduling needs to come in within three hours of the original kick-off time, too. For multiple bets you can request a refund if you’d like, or the match will simply be removed from your bet if it doesn’t take place in time to be counted. If matches don’t meet the postponement criteria then your bets will be voided. One thing worth mentioning is that none of that applies to matches that are moved for television coverage as they don’t count as postponed games.

Own Goals

Own goals can be one of the most frustrating things to occur in a football match as far as bettors are concerned. You might have placed a bet on player X to score first, for example, and they do exactly that – only it’s in the net of their own team. In that instance it will not count as a first goal, with goals scored for the correct team being the only ones that are included. It does mean that a goal has been scored, however, so all other First Goalscorer wagers will have lost. What own goals do count towards is the likes of Correct Score bets, Both Teams To Score and so on. As long as there is no specificity within your bet regarding who needs to score, an own goal can count towards the outcome.

Bet Own Goals Count?
First/Last/Anytime Goalscorer No
To Score No
Both Teams to Score Yes
Correct Score Yes

Goalscorer Bets

There’s an interesting set of rules that come into play for goalscorer bets, depending on which variation of the bet you opt for. Should you opt for a First Goalscorer bet on a player who doesn’t start and someone else scores before they come onto the pitch then your bet will be voided. In fact, you can place any type of goalscorer bet and it will be voided if your player doesn’t make it onto the pitch at all during the game. If you bet on an Anytime Goalscorer and they come on to the pitch after the first goal has been scored, however, you’ll lose your bet.

Things get decidedly more complicated if you’ve placed a goalscorer bet combined with another outcome. Say you’ve bet on Cristiano Ronaldo to score first and Real Madrid to win, Ronaldo is on the bench but comes on to score the first goal which is also the winner. Some bookmakers will automatically change your bet to just ‘Real Madrid to win’ as soon as it’s revealed that Ronaldo isn’t starting the game. Again, different bookies handle this in different ways so don’t be shocked if this isn’t what happens to your bet with a particular bookmaker.