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By Jacob Johnson | Published On: Aug 18 2021

Guide to Betting on Soccer

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BParlay have compiled this handy Betting on Soccer Guide for our readers to enjoy.

Soccer or “football” is arguably the most popular worldwide sport. Its reach truly knows no limit, and its fan base is spread far and wide. Spanning from the United States to Europe, the Middle East, and the continents of Asia and Africa. With a sport being so well-known throughout the globe, it only makes sense that it’d be a popular sport to bet on. The trouble is, what’s the best way to go about betting on it?

There are over fifty leagues that are among professional soccer, but you can’t bet on all of them. In the U.S there are regulations in place as well to keep bettors from placing bets on certain sports. The group in charge of those regulations is PASPA, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Many states have fought back against this act and have brought sports betting to their state. To make sure you understand all the rules and guidelines regarding betting on soccer, let’s first get you acclimated to the leagues available.

Various Soccer Leagues Available for Sports Betting

This is going to vary based on location as some states don’t allow for betting on certain leagues. To make it easier, the ones listed are actively available for betting in places that offer betting on professional soccer. Keep in mind that you should check with your local sportsbook as some don’t allow in-person betting on soccer. 

    • MLS: Major League Soccer is among one of the most common soccer leagues to place wagers on. This is mainly due to them being sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation. Major League Soccer represents the highest level of soccer in the United States and Canada. Most of the lines you’ll find at local sportsbooks will have MLS games available for betting. 
  • La Liga: This is the most popular league in all of the Spanish football league system. You’ll find twenty clubs situated inside of this league including the popular, Real Madrid. Over 76 million viewers watched the 2018/2019 season, making it one of the most popular leagues in the world. 
  • French Ligue 1: This is the premier men’s soccer league in France. Much like La Liga and MLS, Ligue 1 has risen to the top in its native country. There are twenty clubs inside of Ligue 1 that work off of promotion from Ligue 2. This might be a tougher league to find sportsbooks that carry it though so keep that in mind. 
  • English Premier League: This is by far the most popular league in all of soccer. The English Premier League is host to twenty clubs and the matches are among the most broadcasted. With a reach of over 212 countries, the English Premier League or EPL is likely the easiest soccer league to find wagers on. 

Soccer Seasonal Format

The seasonal format of soccer isn’t similar to any other professional sport, as leagues are operating throughout the entire year. This makes it a tough sport to predict as you have to take into account which league is operating at the moment. To make this easier for you to figure out, let’s look at the format for each of the popular leagues. 

  • MLS: The MLS format is pretty simple to navigate as they operate in similar ways as other American sports leagues. The regular season begins in late February or early March, with each team completing 34 games. The team with the best record is rewarded with the Supporters’ Shield. Fourteen teams compete in the postseason, culminating in the leagues’ championship game, the MLS Cup.
  • La Liga: La Liga runs at a different time than MLS but there is some overlay there. When MLS is bringing its regular season to a close, La Liga is beginning. La Liga starts in the second week of August and running until the end of May. There are 38 matches in the season with each club playing the other clubs twice. Teams are ranked by points with the highest-ranked team crowned champion.
  • French Ligue 1: The French Ligue 1 season runs along the same time as La Liga. From August to May, 20 clubs face each other with teams from Ligue 2 having the possibility of promotion. Clubs play two matches against the other clubs from the same league, with a ranking system determining the champion. 
  • English Premier League: Much like the other leagues operating in Europe, the English Premier League runs from August to May. The game format follows La Liga and Ligue 1 as well, with each club playing the other clubs twice. This results in a ranking system that sees the top team crowned league champion. 

Types of Bets to Make on Soccer

Betting on soccer can be tricky because it’s not like many other sports. This leaves multiple ways for you to make money though. Where most sports offer only a winner and a loser, soccer can often end in a draw. That’s great news for you because you can capitalize on draws as well as a winner or loser. To simplify it, here’s a list of common bets you can make on soccer matches. If you would like to learn more about these betting types, visit our Soccer Parlay page.

    • Draw No Bet: This is a way to avoid some of the other riskier bets in soccer. By placing a Draw No Bet, you essentially turn the wager into a traditional moneyline bet. When placing this wager, if the match ends in a draw, you’ll have your money refunded. This ensures the only way you’ll lose money is if the team you picked loses. The unfortunate part of these bets is the odds are much worse. 
    • Three-Way Bets: Although the odds are better in this format, you run the risk of losing the bet entirely if the match draws. The better odds usually attract bettors that are planning on taking favorites though. This way, you can bet on either team to win the match along with the match ending in a draw. 
  • Double Chance: This form of bet gives you two ways to win the bet, with only one chance of losing. You could take Real Madrid, and the draw, with the only chance of losing being if Real Madrid loses the match. Double Chance bets should really only involve underdogs though, that way you get better odds. 

What to Watch for When Betting on Soccer

Something you’ll really want to pay attention to is the over/under when betting on soccer games. By watching trends of clubs that often go under the total, you’ll give yourself a great chance to capitalize on over/under bets. This is the most simple format of betting in soccer because it mimics other professional sports. 

What you’ll really want to avoid is betting on unknown sports leagues. You likely won’t have to concern yourself with this too often if you follow only the most popular leagues. Using the guide above will lead you to the most popular leagues to bet on. If you’re unfamiliar with the clubs in a league and how they perform, you should leave them off your wager.  

Keep an eye on the leagues throughout the year. The great part about professional soccer is that it goes through the entire year. You can watch a particular league for a couple of months and get a good idea as to how the team will perform before betting. Pay attention to the teams that are favorites when the league begins, that way you might be able to win a futures bet. Our simple soccer stats resources offer more insights into all areas of betting, including the league data.

As always, nobody goes 100% for every bet. Don’t be discouraged though, just keep doing your research and you’re bound to win. Soccer is a tough sport to bet on with so many different options when betting so be sure to familiarize yourself with the format first. 

FAQ’s about betting our Betting on Soccer guide

How old do I have to be to bet on soccer?

You have to be at least 21 years of age to bet on professional soccer.

Is betting on soccer legal?

It is, providing your state has legalized sports betting. Most states are on their way but some have still not got past the PASPA. 

What leagues can I bet on?

The most popular leagues to bet on are MLS, La Liga, French Ligue 1, and the English Premier League. Be sure to check what matches and leagues are available in your sportsbook.  

How much research does it take to bet on soccer?

Sports betting is a game of chance, but soccer does require some research to make intelligent bets. Be sure to do your homework before heading to your sportsbook to place wagers on soccer. 

How many soccer leagues are there?

There are twenty-one professional men’s soccer leagues around the world. Be sure that your betting platform, be it online or in-person covers the league you’re planning on betting. 

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