Soccer – or more specifically, the English Premier League (EPL) – is one of the most popular sports in the world. The excitement of sporting events like the World Cup is unrivalled, with millions around the world tuning in to watch the biggest clubs compete for the biggest prizes.
The betting markets for soccer games – particularly for EPL matches – are well-established. Gamblers flock to online platforms like Betfair to build up massive bets on the outcome of games, with many betting shops also operating inside traditional bookmakers like William Hill and Ladbrokes.
What Are The Soccer Betting Lines Like?
While the EPL is one of the best leagues in the world, its official gambling channels aren’t perfect. Just like with any other sport, the odd spot of controversy and corruption can pop up – and it has.
Among the more baffling examples of match-fixing that have engulfed the EPL in the past are Portsmouth vs Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers vs Newcastle United in 2016, with the latter becoming the impetus for the formation of a new anti-corruption unit within the EPL. Before their suspensions in April 2018, both sets of directors were charged with various counts of misconduct and found guilty in February 2019.
These incidents, alongside a general perception among fans and players that certain games are more suspicious than others, has led to an atmosphere of trepidation whenever the Premier League features in the betting. It’s made the task of the casual soccer bettor more complicated; with linemakers like Oddsmonkey attempting to filter out uncertainty from their sportsbooks while providing the best odds available for fans who want to back a team they believe in.
How Does The Spread On Soccer Games Work?
It’s not just the suspicion of corruption that makes soccer games such as the EPL so difficult to bet on. Simply put, the margins for error are huge, with a single point deciding a game in the top flight. Even at the bottom end of the scale, a single goal can make the difference in a relegation battle.
Take Burnley vs Wolverhampton Wanderers from December 12, 2018 as an example. The Clarets had only won four times all season, with their worst performance coming in the 13th match of the season. As the scoreshed showed, they were a side on the up, having notched up eight wins and two draws from their final nine league appearances. Yet they were still five points behind Wolverhampton at the time of the match. A 1-0 victory for the Clarets would have seen them leapfrog their opponents and set up a play-off spot, but even that would have been a huge shock.
Similarly, Leicester City’s 2-0 win over Norwich City on January 12, 2018 was one of the most intriguing games of the entire season. The Foxes had been relegated the previous year and had spent most of the campaign stuttering between survival and oblivion. They’d won just twice in the league, with both victories coming early in the season, yet they’d nearly pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history. A dramatic winner in the 88th minute gave the Foxes a much-needed lift as they raced to the 2019 season’s final European spot, while at the same time shocking Norwich City – and the rest of the football world – with one of the greatest shocks in sports history.
What Is The Margin Of Error In Soccer Betting?
While the absolute size of the margin for error in soccer betting is difficult to gauge, it’s safe to assume that a team’s performance over the course of a single league game represents a fairly substantial chunk of that error. This is further complicated by the fact that, on occasion, teams can come back from seemingly inevitable loses to produce thrilling – and occasionally, controversial – results. Here’s a guide to how soccer betting margins work, and the different ways you can make money from them.
The Over/Under (O/U) On Soccer
The over/under (O/U) on soccer is one of the most popular bets in any sport, with lines ranging from nil-started selections to sizeable over-the-odds bets. The idea behind an over/under wager is relatively simple: you’re placing a bet on the total number of goals that will be scored in the game (the over) or the total number of goals that will be scored by either team (the under).
For example, if you bet on Manchester United to score exactly two goals in the upcoming EPL match against West Bromwich Albion then you’re agreeing to make a profit if the Red Devils score exactly two goals or if Albion score exactly two goals but don’t manage to beat the 2.0 maximum given to them by Law 10.6 in the EPL regulations. The over/under is a terrific way to hedge a bet without needing to be an expert in sportsbetting, and it provides maximum flexibility for the layman sportsbook operator, giving them the potential to offer odds that reflect the vast majority of games in the EPL.
The Exactas/Alerts On Soccer
An exacta (exacta means ‘two wins’) or alerter (alerter means ‘three losses’) is a bet placed on two or more outcomes within a single event, with the intention of profiting from a combination of them. In alerter/exacta betting on football, for example, you might bet on Manchester United to win the Premier League title and on Liverpool to win the FA Cup. As long as both teams win their respective matches, you’ll make a healthy profit from this bet. If only one of the teams you picked wins while the other loses then you’ll lose your bet, but you’ll gain either the points or combination of the wins that your alerter/exacta bet pays out on. These kinds of bets are a great way for the casual fan to get involved in the action, while still guaranteeing a profit – as long as they’re done right!
Futility And Voidability On Soccer
Wherever there’s money to be made in sports betting, there’s always someone willing to take the other side of a bet. This is doubly relevant in the world of soccer, with many casual fans betting on matches as a way of making money out of something, even if it’s just to keep the entertainment value of the game. With this in mind, many sportsbooks will actually pay you to take a bet, with some even paying out bigger dividends than the initial line you bet on!
These are some of the main differences between traditional and online sportsbooks when it comes to soccer betting. While there are a number of other complexities that could be discussed in greater detail, these are the basics of what you need to know. As long as you’re aware of these distinctions, you’ll be able to navigate the world of football betting confidently and profitably – even if it’s just to have some fun.