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Home » how to bet on football online
Peter Addison
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Football is undeniably the UK’s favourite sport, captivating millions with its thrilling matches and unexpected outcomes. But beyond just being spectators, many are drawn to the allure of placing bets on these games, making football betting a go-to pastime for many. If you’re new to this world and wondering how to bet on football online, you’re in the right place.

This guide will walk you through the essentials of online football betting in the UK. From selecting the best platforms to place your bets, to mastering football betting strategies that increase your chances of a win, we’ve got you covered. Moreover, we emphasize safe betting practices to ensure that your betting experience remains a source of entertainment, without negatively impacting your life. Dive in and discover the exciting world of football betting!

How to Bet on Football Online – the Basics

Placing a bet on football games online is extremely easy. To bet on football games online, you just sign up for an account at a safe and secure betting site that has a valid UKGC licence. Once you have your account up and running, fund it by adding a debit card or eWallet, and then find the event you want to bet on. Click on the odds of the specific wager you are interested in to add it to your betslip, set your stake and hit ‘place bet’ – that really is all there is to it!

Three Most Expensive Football Clubs Hit €10bn in Enterprise Value in 2020, a €900 Million Increase in a Year

Most UK punters looking to bet on football online often aim to select winning teams. This approach is commonly referred to as ‘1X2’. Originating from traditional football pools, ‘1’ denotes a ‘home win’, ‘X’ signifies a draw, and ‘2’ represents an ‘away win’. However, this is just one of many ways to place a football bet. Stay tuned as we delve into the diverse betting options available to you.

How to Place a Bet on Football Online

As an example, we are going to place a BTTS bet (both teams to score) on a Euro U21 match, the Czech Republic v England. We are going to be using bet365 to place our bet.

Once we have logged on to our account, we hunted through the football options until we found the game we were interested in. The ‘1X2’ odds can be seen below:

Example Bet

As the odds for an England win (we think is what will happen) are so tight, we decide to go for BTTS yes instead as we think England will fail to keep a clean sheet. We click on the information as shown above and scroll down until we find the BTTS odds, as shown below.

Example Bet

There are two options – BTTS to score yes, and BTTS to score no. Let’s go for BTTS yes. We click on the odds to put them on our betslip.

Example Bet

The final step is to set our stake. This will be £5, as shown. All we need to do now is click ‘Place Bet’ and that is it, our bet is placed! This example is tailored to bet365, but the principle is the same at most UK betting sites.

Best Football Betting Markets

Beyond the ‘1X2’ market, football betting offers a plethora of options. With the right strategy, you can master the art of betting on football and increase your chances of winning. Here’s a brief overview of the most sought-after football betting markets.

  • 1X2 bet: The quintessential football bet where you predict a team win or a draw.
  • Double Chance: Merge two potential outcomes – choose from ‘1X’, ‘X2′, or ’12’.
  • Goals Over/Under: Wager on the cumulative goals, typically set at over/under 2.5.
  • Both Teams to Score (yes/no): Decide if both teams will register on the scoreboard.
  • Result/BTTS: A fusion of 1X2 and Both Teams to Score bets.
  • Correct Score: Predict the exact scoreline at the final whistle.
  • HT/FT: Foresee the outcome at half-time and then full-time.
  • Draw No Bet: Back a team to win; a draw means your stake is returned.
  • Asian Handicap: Support a team with a predetermined handicap; draws are eliminated.
  • Goal Line: Stake on a specific number of goals, either over or under the set line.
  • Handicap Result: Back a team with a set handicap; draws remain in play.
  • Alternative Handicap Result: Similar to the above, but you choose the handicap.
  • Goalscorer Bets (First/Last/Anytime): Predict if a player will score first, last, or at any point in the match.

While these represent the top football betting markets, it’s worth noting that high-profile football matches, like those in the EPL and UCL, can offer over 200 unique betting options. Even matches with less spotlight typically feature between 50 to 100 bets.

Understand Football Betting Odds

Football betting odds represent the probability of a particular outcome occurring in a match. They indicate how much you stand to win based on your wager. There are three main types of odds:

  1. Fractional Odds: Common in the UK, they represent potential profit. Odds of 5/1 mean you’ll win £5 for every £1 you bet, plus your stake.
  2. Decimal Odds: Popular in Europe, these odds show the total return for a £1 bet. For instance, odds of 3.00 mean you’ll get £3 back for every £1 staked, including your original bet.
  3. Moneyline Odds: Used in the US, positive numbers show potential profit on a $100 stake, while negative numbers indicate how much you need to bet to make $100.

Bookmakers set these odds based on various factors, such as team performance, injuries, and historical data. As the match approaches, odds may shift as circumstances change. Understanding how odds work is crucial for informed football betting.

Early Cash Out in Football Betting

The advent of the internet introduced the dynamic world of live betting in football. This allows punters to place bets on ongoing matches, ranging from predicting the final outcome to more specific events like which team will get the next throw-in.

A notable feature of live football betting is the ‘cash-out’ option, available on some platforms. This lets you settle a bet before the event concludes, although at reduced returns.

Imagine you’ve backed Arsenal to triumph over Fulham. With a 1-0 lead and just 15 minutes left, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale gets a red card, making way for Rúnar Rúnarsson. As Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic starts to pose a threat, you doubt Arsenal’s chances. Your potential win stands at £20, but a cash-out offer of £12 tempts you, and you accept.

In a twist, Mitrovic nets two goals in the final moments, handing Fulham the win. By opting for cash-out, you salvaged £12. Had you waited till the end, your bet would’ve yielded nothing. Thus, cash-out can be a strategic move to secure returns from bets that might have otherwise been lost.

Use Football Accumulators

Football accumulators, often referred to as ‘accas’ or ‘parlay bets‘, are a favorite among football enthusiasts. Essentially, an acca links multiple single bets into one combined wager, typically offering higher odds. For the acca to be successful, every single bet within it must win. If even one falls through, the entire acca is lost.

Calculating potential returns from an acca is straightforward with decimal odds. For instance, if your acca comprises five bets with odds of 2.0, 1.5, 2.5, 3.0, and 4.0, simply multiply these numbers to get an overall odd of 90. This means a £1 stake could yield £90. If you’re more comfortable with fractional odds, you’d need to work out each step separately and then add your initial stake.

When it comes to football accas, it’s wise to keep your stakes modest and the number of bets manageable. Predicting football outcomes isn’t always straightforward, so banking on eight correct predictions might be overly optimistic. A balanced approach would be to limit your acca to around six bets, though the final decision rests with you.

Enhance your acca experience with profit bonuses and acca insurance, features provided by many UK online bookmakers. A profit boost slightly increases the winnings of your successful accas, while acca insurance offers a stake refund as bonus money if just one bet in your acca fails. These perks can be valuable, especially when you keep the number of bets reasonable and stakes conservative.

Look for Value in Football Betting Odds

The key to football betting is finding value in betting odds. This where the odds offered by a bookie do not match the probability of an outcome occurring.

For example, let go back to our Arsenal v Fulham example above. You might think that Arsenal have an 80 percent chance of winning that game. To convert from probability to odds you just divide one by the probability, which in this case is 1 / 0.8 = 1.25, or 1/4 in fractional. Therefore, if a bookie is offering more generous odds (say, 1.50) then that becomes a value bet and is worth a punt.

Finding value bets can be hard though, as bookies are very exact when it comes to calculating their odds. They have amassed huge databases of past performances and use them to work out probabilities. They also employ people to tailor the odds should some real world factor be an influence, such as Tottenham’s chances of winning if Harry Kane is injured, or a team suddenly under-performing due to fatigue or some other factor, such as Arsenal towards the end of the 2022-23 season losing the title to Manchester City after leading the EPL for so long.

In-Play Football Betting

We have already delved into in-play football betting a little, but now it is time to take a closer look. In-play betting is only really available at UK betting sites online, and it allows you to bet on a match that has already started. In-play betting is actually permissible on most sports at UK bookies, except for horse racing, greyhounds and a handful of others.

To bet ‘in play’ you just head to a site and find a game that’s already begun. Most markets available pre-match will still be available unless they’ve already settled. For example, you can’t place a ‘BTTS yes’ bet if both teams have already scored. You will though be able to bet on the match winners right up until the final whistle.


There will be plenty more to bet on. Indeed, most aspects of a football match that are measurable can be bet on, such as the number of corners, yellow cards, red cards, total cards and so on. You can also bet on the next team to score, the last team to score, whether a team will keep a clean sheet – any live football match in-play at a UK bookmakers will commonly have between 100 and 200 in-play markets.

In-play football betting is a very good way of betting success if you really know your football. Don’t forget the ‘cash out’ option when it comes to live football betting, as described above.

Best Football Betting Strategies

Betting on football is not just about betting on football – the aim of placing a bet on football games online is to bet on football and win, and you will only do that if you come up with a successful and consistent football betting strategy. Below are listed some factors that you should give consideration to:

Analyse Football Matches and Teams

There is no going away from it – you will only bet on football and win if you do your homework. Stick to what you know, consider current form and other factors, take into consideration the human factor (football is played by human beings, after all) and … well, that’s just the start.

Take Forest v Arsenal towards the tail end of the 2022-23 season. On paper, second-placed Arsenal were hot favourites to beat relegation-haunted Forest. But! Forest were on their best run of form for the season with striker Taiwo Awoniyi on a rich scoring-streak, and Forest had been decent at home all season. Arsenal, having fallen behind title rivals Man City despite leading the EPL table for most of the season, were looked tired and lacking in confidence. A wise man would therefore have thought this an unlikely Forest win, and they would have been right, with no prizes for guessing who scored the only goal of the game!

Look for the Best Odds

No matter how accurate your football predictions become, you will only get the best returns when learning how to bet on football in the UK if you get the best odds. Use odds comparison sites to pick the bookies who consistently deliver decent odds. In addition, look for enhanced odds deals or profit boosst to add a little extra cash to your returns.

Football Betting Bankroll Management

With all forms of betting, bankroll management is key. You should never let your betting eat into money you’ve reserved for other factors in your life, such as rent, mortgage payments, utility bills and money for entertainment and your interests.

It’s a good idea to come up with a monthly figure – the amount of money you are comfortable with losing should you experience a betting nightmare. Once that money is gone, then wait until next month before you start betting again.

If you find it hard to not bet on football games online, then you may be developing a gambling issue. Please consult our responsible gambling page for information.

Managing Emotions and Making Rational Decisions

Football is an emotive aspect of life in the UK, with fans becoming maniacal about the successes and failures of their favourite teams and players. It is crucial that you keep emotion out of the decision-making process when it comes to football betting. Emotion leads to bad decisions more often than not, so it is important that your betting remains rational at all times.

Emotional betting is another sign of potential responsible gambling issues, and organisations such as GAMSTOP can help.

Creating a Football Betting System

People who just randomly pick football teams to win games on a haphazard basis seldom remain profitable, which is fine if you just consider football betting as a fun and unimportant part of your life. However, if you want to bet on football and win, you are going to need to create a football betting system.

Consider all potential betting options, not just ‘1X2’. BTTS yes/no and over/under are also good options, as are draw not bet wagers. Think about where your football betting talents may lie.

Spend at least one month or even longer placing football bets ‘on paper’ using your system and see how much money you would have made (or lost) if you had actually placed bets. If you are in the black, then put your football betting system into operation, but keep your stakes small at first. Don’t be swayed by thoughts of big stakes on outlandish odds. The key mantra to remember is ‘win small but often, not big but infrequently.’

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Betting on Football Online in the UK

We’ve already covered a lots of errors that you could fall foul of when you bet on football games online in the UK, but just for your convenience we have summed them up (and added a couple of others) in the bullet list below:

  • Not Managing Your Bankroll – only bet with money you can afford to lose
  • Irrational Betting – don’t bet when irrational, or ‘under the influence’
  • Not Doing Your Homework – successful punters study the form
  • Using Insecure Sites – only bet online using sites with UKGC licences
  • Not Having a System – ill-considered bets are not the key to success
  • Not Looking for the Best Odds – you’ll only get the best returns from the best odds
  • Ignoring Advice, Not Seeking Help – if someone says you have a gambling problem, then you do. Seek help before it’s too late

Football Betting Terminology

Here now is a quick guide to some important football betting terms that you are likely to encounter in your football betting journey.

Term Definition
Asian handicap Handicapping system where the draw is eradicated
3-way handicap Handicapping system that includes a bet on a tie
Over/Under Bet on the number of goals scored in a match
HT/FT Bet on the ‘result’ at half-time, and then at full-time
Double chance A wager on two possible match results
Accumulator (Acca) A string of combined single bets
Outright Overall winner of a competition
Each way A bet on a team to win a competition, or finish second
Scorecast A wager on the final score and a goalscorer
Wincast A wager on the final result and a goalscorer
No Goal No Bet A bet where your stake is refunded if the final score is 0-0
Draw No Bet A bet where your stake is refunded if the result is a draw
Early payout Usually, a bet that is settled if your selection goes two goals up
Team to go through A bet on a team to go through to the subsequent round of a competition
Spread betting A bet where you win more for accuracy, or lose more for inaccuracy
Betting exchange A betting site where your bet is exchanged with punters betting the opposite way
Bet builder An acca created by betting on single outcomes in the same match
BTTS Both teams to score, you can bet yes or no
Odds-on A price that’s less than Evens and you win less than you bet
Returns Money from a winning bet, winnings + returned stake

Where to Place a Football Wager Online in the UK

Every single safe and secure, properly UKGC-licensed betting site available in the UK will accept bets on football. You will never have any issues wondering where to bet on football online in the UK, as all UKGC-licensed sites have multiple football markets.

The choice can be a little overwhelming though, so take a look at our list of recommended sports betting sites.

Wrapping Up

So, know you know how to place a bet on football, including how to bet on football accumulators, and where to bet on football online. You should also have received some valuable tips on the best ways to attempt to bet on football and win, and common mistakes you should be wary of when you bet on football games online.

The best of luck with your football betting, but please remember to always gamble responsibly.


What is the most popular bet on football games online?

That would be the straight '1X2' bet. It's a bet on the home team to win, the away team to win, or for the game to end in a draw.

My team won AET but I didn't get any winnings? How come?

Football bets are settled after 90 minutes + time added on for stoppages. If your backed team was level after 90 minutes but won in extra time, then the bet will be settled as a draw.

What does over/under 2.5 goals mean? How can a team score half a goal?

They can't. A half goal is used to create a definite split between two goals and three goals. 0, 1 or 2 goals is under, 3 or more goals is over.

Do penalties count for first/last/anytime goalscorer?

Yes, but only during game time. Goals scored in penalty shoot-outs do not count for first/last/anytime goalscorer bets.

What's the best way how to bet on football accumulators?

Keep the legs to a minimum (three to six) and the stakes small. Accas rarely win but when they do, they win big. These is no pointing risking a large stake on a high number of selections in the hope of winning millions.

Peter Addison

A vastly experienced sports betting specialist, Peter joined SafeBettingSites in 2021 as a sports editor. Peter has been focusing on the iGaming realm since 2013, and had written millions of words on all aspects of online casino play and sports betting since then. His articles have been featured in numerous high-profile online publications. When not writing, Peter can be found playing his electric guitar. He is such a talented guitarist that his next-door neighbours often join in, adding percussion by banging loudly on the walls.

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