How to bet on soccer: Totals, futures, parlays and more
Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates a goal. Photo via PA Photos Limited.

If you have ever wondered how to bet on soccer, you've come to the right place.

A sport played around the world, soccer reaches its highest level in European club play. Whether it's Canada's Alphonso Davies, Egypt's Mohamed Salah, or Argentina's Lionel Messi — the best players find their way to Europe's top leagues.

There are extremely talented leagues in every country, each of which can be wagered on, but for this purpose, we will be focusing on European club soccer, which follows a promotional system.

How to bet on soccer

There are many ways to bet on soccer, from game outcomes to player-specific results. When betting on a match, there are plenty of variables to consider. Is a starting player injured? Who holds the tactical advantage? Which club is in better form? These are all important questions to ask.

We will cover the many different markets available to soccer bettors and how to capitalize on them in this piece.

Full-time result

Betting on the full-time result is the most popular way to wager on soccer. Think of it as three-way moneyline betting since games can end in a tie — something seldom seen in North American sports.

There are three possible bets for you to choose from under this scenario: Team A, Team B, and Draw.

Since a draw is possible, the favourite will not always be denoted with a minus (-) symbol but can also be labelled at plus (+) money.

Typically, in an evenly matched contest, the odds are skewed in favour of the home team, while a draw sits slightly higher than either team to win.

This, of course, changes based on who is competing. For example, if Manchester City were playing at home versus Burnley, they would surely be favoured around -700 on the moneyline. A draw, meanwhile, could sit at +600, and a Burnley win at +1100.

Sportsbooks are placing an 87% implied probability of Manchester City winning the match at -700. You would have to wager $700 to win $100.

Here are some other examples of how odds work:

OddsWagerWinImplied Probability
-250$250$10071.43%
-110$110$10052.38%
+175$100$17536.36%
+300$100$30025.00%

When deciding what to bet, some important factors could include injuries, team form, location, and weather.

Draw no-bet

If you wish to bet on a soccer moneyline without the option of a tie, choose the draw no bet option. This returns your stake if a draw occurs, but also lowers the odds on either team to win.  

Let’s use the famed North London derby as an example of what these odds could look like with two teams competing.

Betting MarketArsenalDrawTottenham
Three-way+130+250+190
Draw no bet-140 +110

This removes the risk of losing your bet on a last-second goal to tie or a 0-0 snoozefest.

The North London Derby has produced many memorable moments, such as Erik Lamela's Rabona goal. Photo by Dan Mullan/AP.

How to bet on soccer: Goal line

Goal line betting isn't as popular in soccer as result betting. Similar to the puck line in hockey, or run line in baseball, the goal line allows bettors to capitalize on markets where one team is significantly favoured. Think of it as betting against the spread (ATS).

Let's use the Manchester City vs. Burnley example again. City was -700 for a full-time result win, so there's very little value on betting them on the moneyline.

However, their goal line may be set at -2.5, meaning if they win by three or more goals, they would cover. If Burnley, on the other hand, lost by two or fewer goals or won straight up, they would cover.

Goal lines are generally set at even -110 odds, but there can be some variance.

If you believe Man City was going to blow out Burnley, taking the goal line at -110 odds would make far more sense than betting them to win at -700.

Totals

Betting totals in European soccer is extremely popular and is the simplest of all wagers. You are choosing the total amount of goals scored in a contest. This can also be referred to as the O/U or over/under.

Let’s say the O/U is set at 1.5. If two or more goals are scored, the over wins. The under would require one or zero goals to cash.

The total for most European league matches is commonly set at 2.5 but can vary from 1.5 to 4.5 at the high end depending on who is playing.

In other sports, the O/U is typically set at even -110 odds per side. In European soccer, however, there's more variance. For example, an over set at 1.5 could be -175, while the under would be listed at +140. A 3.5 total could be presented at +150 for the over, and the under at -160.

There's also an option to move the total higher or lower. This is known as an alternate total. If you believe a match will be a shootout and the over is set at 2.5, you could move the line to 3.5 or even 4.5 — and the odds would similarly change.

 TotalOverUnder
1.5-450+300
2.5-130+105
3.5+175-250
4.5+450-700

In addition to game totals, you can bet team totals, which follow the same principles but only applies to one team.

How to bet on soccer props

There are almost as many soccer props as there are teams in the FA (there are a lot of teams). It would be impossible to delve into all of them, so we’ll be brief.

For the most part, props can be divided into two categories: player props and game props.

Player props are relatively straightforward, let’s use Salah as an example. You can bet on how many shots, passes, or tackles he would have. Beyond that, there are props on his chances to score a goal or receive a card, among others.

The odds for Salah, a striker, to score a goal would be significantly higher (around +130) than his teammate Virgil van Dijk, a defender (+900).

Game props involve both teams, and you can bet on anything from the number of total cards to how many free kicks or offsides there will be.

As mentioned, the props market is extensive, so familiarizing yourself with what you’re betting on is key to success.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah is one of the most prolific goal scorers in the Premiership. Photo by Jon Super/AP.

Parlays

Parlays are a way to combine multiple selections into one larger ticket for a greater payout. A parlay consists of two or more bets, each of which is known as a leg.. For the parlay to be successful, each leg must win or else the entire parlay loses.

This drastically increases payout possibilities while the bettor assumes more risk.

You can parlay props, full-time results, totals, and more into one ticket. Here is an example:

Draw full-time result, Juventus v. Roma +280
Liverpool full-time result, Liverpool v. Chelsea -105
Son Heung-min anytime goalscorer +160

Odds of combined selection: +1728 ($100 bet would win $1728).

Outside of multi-game parlays, some sportsbooks have the options for same-game parlays where you can combine multiple props and markets from the same game into one ticket.

Live Betting

Live betting is a way to wager on a game after it has started. While you can typically find all of the aforementioned markets when live betting, the odds could drastically change.

Let's say Bayern Munich was playing BVB Dortmund. Prior to the game beginning, Bayern was priced at -140 full-time result, while Dortmund was listed at +150 and a draw at +280.

If Dortmund went up 1-0 early, the odds would shift and Dortmund would become favoured. If you believed Bayern had a chance at coming back and winning, you could likely find their live full-time result odds at +300 or more.

Live betting player props are also a popular option. If Lionel Messi was +130 to score a goal before the game and went into halftime without finding the net, his odds to score would rise to around +250.

How to bet on soccer futures

The futures market within European football is incredibly robust. When placing a future, you are essentially predicting an event that will take place further down the line.

Since European football is comprised of so many leagues, we'll just stick to the Premier League for this section.

You can bet on who you believe will win the Premier League before the season starts. The usual suspects such as Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool will likely be favoured in odds, while mid-table clubs would have a much lower chance of winning.

Perhaps the most famous futures bet in soccer history is when Leicester City won the premier league in 2015-16, having opened at +500000. Yes, you read that correctly, 5000-1. A $100 bet on this would have paid $500,000 and, yes, there's more than one instance of this occurring.

You can place similar bets on who will win the Carabao Cup, FA Cup, as well as multi-league competitions such as the Champions League.

Furthermore, the futures market has options to bet on if teams will finish in the top-half, top-6, or top-4 of their respective league tables. These odds are great opportunities if you think a team will be competitive but are not yet good enough to win the league.

There are also futures markets available for player props. One popular bet is who will win the Golden Boot (top goal scorer) in the Premier League. Players such as Harry Kane, Salah, and Cristiano Ronaldo would sit atop the odds here.

NorthStar Bets editorial Insiders have no influence, direct or otherwise, over the setting of odds advertised on our platforms.