- Betting Sites
Football is the global sport that continues to grow - loved by millions, if not billions of people around the world, it’s no surprise at all that football betting is by far the biggest sport for betting on too; especially with the UK online betting sites.
We’ve broken down what you should expect from the best football betting sites, looking at free bets and promotions, bets and markets, odds and accas as well as great betting product features. On top of that, we’ve made choosing an online football betting site really easy by reviewing and listing some of the best bookmakers out there today that offer football as a core sport.
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All of these reviews have been written objectively with an ultimate aim to find the benefits AND the faults of the major bookmakers so that you can make an informed decision.
When reviewing we look at all the major elements that make an online betting site a good one - free bets and promotions, customer support and payment methods, whether a bookie is trustworthy and where they operate.
And of course we look at the actual sports betting product - whether they offer Cash Out, Live Streaming or other cool product features and, more importantly, how many sports, events, markets and betting opportunities they have available. It’s this part that has determined our top 10 football betting sites list and we think you’ll agree that there are some absolutely great options to choose from if football betting is your thing.
With football being the most popular sport for betting on, it goes without saying that the majority of free bets and promotions offered by online sports betting sites are tailored towards football bettors in particular.
That’s not to say there aren’t bespoke promos aimed at horse racing or other major sports events such as tennis or golf majors, but these are generally seen as complementary to the core focus - football.
There are different types of promotion to look out for too. There’s the general promotion that covers all sports, often the new customer welcome offer, or a matched deposit bonus offer where you have to make certain amounts of bets in order to qualify - this is perfect for football bets as they generally turn-around quickly ensuring you qualify for your free bet.
Then there are those promotions that are purely geared up to football betting - a lot of the time these football free bets will be based around major events such as the World Cup or the European Championships but it’s not unlikely to see football-only offers as part of an online bookmaker’s day-to-day marketing campaigns.
Good examples of this have been the recent surge in some bookies of them paying you out when the team you’ve backed has gone 2-0 up. Regardless of what the result is, they’ll pay you out as a winner as long as your team is leading 2-0 - this keeps punters betting on football whilst giving them a little extra but at the same time it keeps the turnover ticking for the bookie.
When you think football betting in the UK, one of the first online betting sites that come to mind are bet365 and with good reason. Our reviewers are long-time customers of bet365 and in their personal experience, they’ve found that betting on football here is one of the best bookmaker experiences.
Firstly they found that it was actually labelled as ‘Soccer’ at bet365, but considering the global presence of this bookmaker, it makes sense - more importantly they found a huge amount of football events were covered ranging from the lower-tier football such as the Kazakhstan Division 2 and Rwandan National League to the premium football betting events such as the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga. You’ll never be lost for football markets here.
To back that up further, they have hundreds of markets for each premium football event too so whether you prefer 1X2 betting, or first goalscorer betting, or even Asian Handicaps, they have it available.
You can even watch some football matches live on their platform as long as you’ve got a funded account or have made a bet in the previous 24hours, although you’re best to read our bet365 review to really understand this.
William Hill are one of the oldest bookmakers around, still with loads of retail shops, but they’re also one of the most popular online betting sites within the UK.
William Hill Football betting is what it's all about - from betting on accumulators in the shop to doing it online, they’ve really pushed forward with their football betting markets recently launching a new page design that really makes it easy.
They offer football-specific enhanced odds markets, allowing you the chance to get a lot more value for your money and they go big during major tournaments such as the World Cup, offering football-focused promotions and free bets throughout.
When it comes to odds, they’re still really competitive too, so whether it's a single bet or you’re making a football accumulator bet, it’s fair to say they’ll be really well priced.
Whilst our reviews aren’t solely focused on mobile apps, they do go into great detail about the different mobile betting opportunities whether it be mobile apps or mobile websites.
Mobile betting has been on the rise since the invention of the smartphone and with screen sizes getting bigger and the quality getting better, never has it been easier to place a football bet from your mobile
This list has picked out the best mobile football betting apps - again they won’t be football-only apps necessarily but we believe these are the best betting apps out there at the moment if your primary use is for football betting.
This means that in the best 3 apps list that you’ll likely find bookies who’ve really thought through the journey for football betting customers - easy navigation, Live Streaming for mobile, a simple bet slip, obvious promotions and free bets and the ability to do accumulator betting from your mobile.
This will largely depend on the bookie you’re betting with as all of them may have different tweaks to the norm but ultimately there are a number of different bets you can make on football.
If you’re interested in the different types of football markets then continue reading below as we go into more detail there.
In terms of the different types of bets you can make on football, you’re really looking at single bets - where one selection is chosen, or multiples bets - often called accumulators and where more than one selection is chosen.
There are a number of different terms that you may see on each online betting site, in particular for the different multiples you can do - ‘doubles’, ‘trebles’, ‘4-folds’, ‘5-folds’ - and it’s really worth making sure you understand what you’re betting on - thankfully most bookies will offer a glossary of terms too to help with that.
All of these different bet types can be made within 4 different areas:
Pre-match betting is quite simply making a football bet on a particular match before it has kicked-off. A good example may be betting on Liverpool to beat Manchester Utd before the match has kicked off. This would be termed as a pre-match single as it was placed before the game kicked off and only had one selection/outcome.
In-Play betting has grown massively over the last few years as online sports betting sites really up their game and improve their systems. Essentially in-play betting is placing a bet or bets once the game has kicked off and is, therefore, ‘in-play’.
Using the above example, it would be betting on Liverpool to beat Manchester Utd when the game was already 20 minutes in and Manchester were winning 0-1. This would be classed as an In-Play single bet as it was placed after kick-off and, again, only has one option.
Outright betting is generally associated with event-level bets rather than at a match level. So rather than betting on Liverpool to beat Manchester Utd, you may bet on Liverpool to win the Premier League instead - this would be the ‘Outright Winner Market’.
Outright betting can be both pre-event and in-play in theory and the odds for the market will change across the duration of the whole event.
Outright betting is also very popular around major tournaments such as the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, or in international football such as the European Championships or World Cup with betting markets such as ‘Outright Winner’, ‘Top Scorer’ and ‘Group Winner’ all being popular choices.
The name specials tends to cover any other style of football bet that doesn’t fit into the more traditional sectors. In recent years there’s been a big increase in punters betting on Manager Markets or Transfer Markets - as an example, this could be ‘Who will Manchester Utd’s next manager be?’
Over the coming years, we suspect you’ll see lots of different ‘Specials’ markets as the increase in request-a-bet style betting comes in and the punter has more control over what she or he can bet on.
This will largely depend on the territory you’re based in - for example in Asia, the Asian Handicap markets are huge, whereas in the UK these are generally not as big unless you’re a really professional sports bettor.
However, in the UK there are some really core markets that people bet on even with the changes in trends and innovative football betting markets such as Request-a-Bet coming out. Some of the most popular betting markets are:
This is the most simple premise of football betting and the market that all betting would have been built from - ultimately you’re picking the result of a football match. Will it be the home team win, a draw, or an away team win that comes through? This market is available for all football matches an online betting site will offer and will also be available throughout the match in an in-play state.
Another staple in the football betting world is betting on first goal scorers - it’s as simple as it sounds, just pick who you think will be the first goalscorer in the match. If they do, then you win. The obvious choice is an in-form striker but always be wary of defenders scoring from corners where you’ll get much bigger odds to begin with.
These days, some online gambling sites will offer promotions around first goalscorer betting, where you may find yourself with double odds if they score two, or your money back as a free bet if they score but it’s not the first goal.
This market became really popular in recent times, thanks in large to Betfred’s Goals Galore coupon in their retail shops - giving customers the chance to put together accumulators with a number of matches they thought would see both teams score.
This then came to online betting and the rest is history, with you now able to bet on this market on pretty much any football match. It’s a great betting market as it doesn’t even matter what the final result is or what the score is as long as both teams score.
This again has become really popular of late - previously you’ve not really been allowed to combine bets from one match but bookies saw a great opportunity for a high margin market that’s attractive to punters and put together the option of betting on a team to win AND both teams scoring.
This market is great if you have a short price favourite in mind but want a bigger price, especially if you think their opposition has at least one goal in them. It doesn’t matter if it ends up 2-1 or 10-1, as long as the team wins and both teams score, then you’re a winner.
A relatively new feature that takes a much more modern approach to football betting sees you being able to request the bet you want rather than just looking at the ones on offer. Originally you would need to request to the bookie’s twitter team but now a lot of sites have this available on site and also publish all other request-a-bets.
It’s worth noting that each online betting site tends to have its own name for it - ‘Your Odds’, ‘What Odds’ etc - however, the premise is the same for all - it’s an interesting one as you can have short-priced bets and huge odds priced up for bets that seem realistic. And the bookies love them as it adds a lot more margin in for them with every selection added in.
There are obviously too many markets to mention individually especially with some matches having 170+ markets to choose from, but ultimately you’ll find betting markets in the following categories for football:
This is again a relatively new feature within football betting but as well as betting on transfers or players, you can also bet on manager markets. In a world where most managers don’t seem to last a year, there are opportunities to bet all the time, whether it’s working out who Real Madrid’s next manager may be or which team Arsene Wenger may manage next, there’s plenty of different options.
Be wary though, as it doesn’t take a very big bet to ‘move the market’ - meaning if the bookies get a big enough bet on a manager, they’ll shorten the price for fear that someone knows something. This may make you think to bet on them too when actually it was just the bookie being a bit trigger happy. Either way, these football betting manager markets can be a lot of fun.
Football Accumulators are now one of the most popular ways to bet and it’s pretty obvious to understand why - it gives the everyday, casual punter, the opportunity to get massive returns on their money when compared to placing a single bet.
Whether it’s loading lots of short-priced favourites into a bet slip, or going all out and finding some huge bets to roll up together for that massive price payout, the options for football accumulator betting are endless.
Online betting sites understand this and, frankly, want you to bet on them as it provides them with a big margin as, mathematically speaking, they’re less likely to happen. However, there’s nothing better than beating the bookie with a decent acca on the Saturday football.
As bookies want you to bet on accumulators, they’ve ensured you can do really easily and this is where site layout and navigation really comes in to play - if you can’t find a list of football matches or markets easily then it’s much harder to place lots of bets to form your accumulator. Likewise, if the bet slip isn’t great then it’ll be much harder to understand how to place it.
When it comes to the best online betting sites for accumulators in the UK, you’re really looking at a lot of the ‘big boys’ of betting - bet365, Betfair, Paddy Power, William Hill and 888Sport are just some of the sites that will offer good value here.
You really need to find a bookie that has the navigation side sorted out, offers good odds value so when it multiplies in the acca you get a much bigger price and ideally offers you a further reason to make your accumulators there - a lot of the suggested bookies run ‘Acca Insurance’ where they’ll give you a free bet should your acca lose by only one selection losing. Make sure you check out our reviews to see who offers this.
Every online gambling site these days will offer In-Play or Live Betting on football - meaning that as soon as the match has kicked off, they’ll still offer betting markets on it for you to bet on.
Our reviews cover this topic for each individual betting site in great detail, looking at the varying live betting products that they offer.
In an ideal world, you’re looking for a football betting site that offers lots of matches and markets when live betting but also offers you additional value. Preferably on mobile as well as desktop.
This can be in the form of live match data, data visualisations where you can track the game, Live Streaming videos or even bespoke live betting free bets and promotions - an offer that you get purely because you’re betting in-play.
If your online betting site offers this, and all of our top 10 offer the majority of these things, then you’re in a really good place for live betting on football.
Not all football betting sites have a Cash Out feature, but it is becoming much wider available and is a useful way to lock-in a profit early in a match. You’ll find cash out icons across both desktop and mobile apps, generally in the form of a £ sign.
Cash Out lets you cash your bet in early during the match or event you’ve placed it on. If your bet is winning, then you can take the profit at that point in the game rather than waiting until the end for a bigger profit, but potential loss.
The bookies like this feature too as they’ve locked their margin into the Cash Out calculations, but with some bookies offering Cash Out on accumulators, then you really could be in a great position during some bets.
You can watch live football at some online betting sites within the UK using their Live Streaming service - it also means that you can bet in-play easily and efficiently too whilst watching the action unfold.
This is never a free service though as some people think - you must have a funded account or have placed a bet in the last 24 hours and it’s worth checking with each individual bookie how they have it set up.
You will also never get to watch the Premier League or key events like that as from a rights perspective, it will always be too expensive to get the live video for bookmakers. However, at the time of writing, there are online bookies offering La Liga on their live streaming service as well as other Tier-1 matches from other leagues and cups.
The great thing though is exploring other leagues and cups you weren’t aware of, with football being live throughout the day and night thanks to the coverage from various time zones. Football betting doesn’t really get much better or simpler than that.