How to Bet on Football

Our guide offers tips on how to bet on football, helpful advice on how odds work, and looks at the different types of football betting....

How to Bet on Football

Football is the world’s most popular sport, with the Premier League alone attracting an estimated worldwide cumulative audience of 3.2 billion*.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that when it comes to football betting, there are now more and more ways to bet.

Our guide below offers tips on how to bet on football, helpful advice on how odds work, and looks at the different types of football betting markets you can bet on with Marathonbet.

*figures according to Nielsen for 2018/19 season.


An Introduction to Football Betting

There’s a huge amount of choice when it comes to betting on football.

The Marathonbet sportsbook offers hundreds of football betting markets on everything from the Premier League and Champions League to the World Cup and Copa Libertadores. With Marathonbet, you can place bets in any number of ways across a huge range of markets.

Below, we’ll run through the most common types of bet.


Let’s start with the basics.

The most common way to be on a football match is the match result bet.

This is sometimes known as 1X2 bet.

What is a 1X2 bet?

For the uninitiated, a 1X2 bet can seem confusing.

However, it’s fairly self-explanatory, simply referring to the outcome of the match.

A match can only have three outcomes – the home team wins, the match finishes in a draw, or the away team wins.

1X2 simply covers off all these outcomes.

1 = Home team wins
X = The draw
2 = Away team wins



If a likely match outcome looks tilted towards one side, some bettors prefer to try their luck with handicap betting.

How does handicap betting work?

Handicap betting takes goal differentials between teams into account, handing one side a supposed advantage before a match kicks off.

Here’s an example of handicap betting:

Liverpool are playing Brighton in the Premier League.

In a handicap bet, you can bet on Liverpool to win the game, while starting the match with a  -1 handicap.

In this example, Liverpool would have to win the match by at least two clear goals for the bet to be successful.

If you opted to bet on Liverpool to win with a -2 handicap, they would need to win by at least three clear goals, and so on.

Handicap betting is often a popular choice in matches involving a heavy favourite.



What is double chance?

Put simply, double chance allows you to reduce the risk when betting on the outcome of a game, by allowing the bettor to place a bet on two different outcomes at the same time.

Double chance bets offer less generous odds, but a far higher chance of winning.

How does double chance betting work?

Here’s a working example:

Barcelona are playing Real Madrid, with both teams knowing a win will seal them the title.

With a double chance bet, you could bet on both of the two sides to take the win.

Provided the match does not finish in a draw, you would win your bet.


Is double chance the same as draw no bet?

No. In draw no bet betting, the outcome of a draw is removed from three-way markets.

That means with the option of the draw removed, the bettor has to pick either the home or away win.

How does draw no bet work?

In the draw no bet scenario, if your selection doesn’t win, but the match ends in a draw, your stake will be returned – in effect meaning you neither win nor lose.

In an accumulative bet, if your selection doesn’t win, but the match ends in a draw, that selection will be void and the bet will stand on the remaining selections.


Marathonbet offers live in-play betting on hundreds of markets on match day.

In-play betting is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to follow a football match, placing the bettor at the heart of the action once the match kicks-off.

How does in-play betting work?

One of the major reasons football is the most popular sport on the planet is the fact, sometimes, form really can go out the window. That’s why live in-play betting has become increasingly popular  – allowing bettors to judge where the value lies at any given moment in a game, and potentially cash out at the opportune moment.

Let’s look at an example of how in-play betting works.

It’s FA Cup third round weekend – a date renowned in the English football calendar for its unusually high number of giant-killings.

Team A, a League Two side, are playing Team B, a Premier League side at home.

Team B, due to their league position and status, are heavy favourites to win the game, but after 60 minutes of the game, the score remains locked at 0-0.

On 65 minutes, the lower-ranked side, Team A, score against the run of play.

The odds will then change accordingly. In this scenario, the favourites, Team B, will see their odds drift as they face a race against time to turn the result back in their favour.

In-play betting is one of the most exciting ways to follow every twist and turn of a football match.

What is cash out and how does it work?

Cash Out offers you the chance to take a payout on a bet for a displayed value whilst the match is still in progress and before the market has been closed.


Football is a sport that’s all about opinions – and that’s particularly true at the outset of every season when excitement about a new season is reaching fever pitch.

That’s where ante-post betting often proves extremely popular as bettors decide which sides are stepping in the right direction and which ones could be in for a struggle.

What is ante-post betting?

Ante-post betting simply involves betting on an event before it officially begins or as it progresses towards its conclusion.

With football, the most common ante-post betting options are league or tournament outrights.

Bettors are usually presented with a series of scenarios from a league or tournament to bet on – from outright winners, to promotion and relegation markets, to top goalscorers and the first manager sacked.

Ante-post betting can often provide competitive odds, particularly in a league or tournament without any outstanding favourites at the outset of the competition.



It’s a sport full of talking points – so it’s perhaps no surprise football specials markets are another popular option for those interested in football betting.

These markets tend to focus on events away from the pitch – offering markets on players, managers and award ceremonies.

With Marathonbet, you can bet on specials markets including the Ballon d’Or Winner, the PFA Player of the Year and next manager markets.



What is over/under 1.5 goals?

Total goals markets are one of the most popular types of football bet away from the Match Result / 1X2 bet.

If you bet on over 1.5 goals in any given game, that means the match must have at least two goals for your bet to win.

Alternatively, a bet on under 1.5 goals means only a scoreline of 1-0, 0-1 or 0-0 will see your selection win.

The .5 figure is simply used to help eliminate any unnecessary confusion – given teams cannot score ‘half a goal’.

What is over/under 2.5 goals?

This type of bet works in the same way as the example above – only with 2.5 goals as the over/under figure needed to guarantee a return.

So, by betting on over 2.5 goals in a game, at least three goals will be needed for a winning return.

For a selection opting for under 2.5 goals, any more than two goals in the game would result in a losing bet.

What is an accumulator?

An accumulator is a combination bet that involves the bettor combining multiple selections within a single wager.

For an accumulator bet to be successful, all the individual selections included in your accumulator bet slip must win.

Accumulators are a popular form of bet as winnings are much higher than with a standard single bet – provided all the selections come in.

What is a double bet?

A double bet Is the simplest form of multiple bet.

It’s a multiple bet made up of two selections.

Both selections must be successful to win the bet.

What is a treble bet?

A treble bet is a three-selection accumulator.

All three selections must be successful to win the bet.

What is a 4-fold bet?

A 4-fold bet is an accumulator bet made up of four selections.

All four selections must be successful to win the bet.

What is a 5-fold bet?

A 5-fold bet is an accumulator bet made up of five selections.

All five selections must be successful to win the bet.

What is a straight forecast?

A straight forecast is a bet where you must correctly predict the finishing order of the top two places in a sporting event. Straight forecast betting tends to be more common in horse racing and greyhound racing markets.

What is a reverse forecast?

A reverse forecast combines two bets where you must correctly predict the top two finishers in a given sporting event. However, the order in which your selections finish is immaterial – provided they both finish in the two.

As with other forecast betting, reverse forecasts tend to be more common in horse racing and greyhound racing.

How does a Trixie bet work?

A Trixie bet is a wager involving four bets on three selections that are combined into one wager.

In essence, it’s a treble to which three doubles have been added, with some form of return guaranteed even if one selection fails to win – allowing the bettor to effectively ‘hedge their bets’.

How does a Yankee bet work?

A Yankee bet is a four-selection wager.

It consists of 11 bets:

  • 6 doubles
  • 4 trebles
  • A four-fold accumulator

A return is guaranteed provided two or more selections win.


How does a Heinz bet work?

A Heinz bet is a six-wager selection which gets its name from the legendary food company.

Why? As, like the Heinz varieties, it consists of 57 bets that combines every permutation across the six selections into a single wager.

A return is guaranteed provided two or more selections won.

What are the advantages of Yankee/Trixie/Heinz bets compared to traditional accumulators?

These types of bets may be more complicated than traditional double, treble or four-fold accumulators, but offer bettors more chances to win and help to spread the risk, as not all selections need to win to guarantee a return. However, as the risk is spread, the payout will be less than with the equivalent bet on a traditional accumulator. Please bear in mind, however, when placing a Heinz bet it will cost 57 times the unit stake – i.e. a 10p Heinz will cost £5.70.


Football Betting Advice – More FAQ

What is the difference between added time and extra time?

Added time is the additional time added on at the end of each half of a standard football match to compensate for injuries and stoppages during that half (e.g. 90 minutes + 4).

Extra time is the additional period of a game played after full-time if the match requires a winner and has not been settled after 90 minutes and added time. In most instances, penalties will be used to separate sides if the score remains deadlocked after extra time.

Always check if your bet includes or excludes extra time/penalties before confirming your selection. Please note, unless specified most prices will be based on normal time only.


Decimal and Fractional Odds

What is the difference between decimal and fractional odds?

Fractional odds – historically, these are more traditional in the UK marketplace, with odds displayed as fractions – e.g 2/1, 10/1, 5/4.

How fractional odds work – an example

If you bet £10 on Team X to win at 2/1, you would receive £30 back – (£10 stake, plus £20 winnings).

Decimal odds – Unlike fractional odds, decimal odds will incorporate your original stake into your winnings and are becoming increasingly popular with UK bettors.

How decimal odds work – an example

If the decimal odds are 4.00 and you bet £10, simply times the stake by the decimal odds to calculate your return.

£10 at 4.00 = 10 x 4.00 = £40


Why do football odds from Marathonbet sometimes look different from other bookmakers?

Because we believe better odds mean bigger winnings.

That means we bet to low margins to offer our customers consistently good value.

Read our extended guide to ‘funny fractions’ here.


General Football Betting Advice

  • Bet with your head, not your heart

Take time to study the form and explore where the value lies in a particular market.

  • Consider the implications of the result

Is there much riding on the game?

Will teams set up to defend or attack to get their desired result?

Consider just how much pressure could impact on a team’s performance.

  • Please gamble responsibly.

Learn about responsible gambling and find out more about the common problem signs of gambling.

View our latest Football Predictions here.

See more Betting Guides here.

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