With football being the world’s most popular sport, followed by millions of fans all over the globe, it’s no surprise that football betting is big business, attracting around £400 billion (yes, with a ‘b’) in bets each year. From minor local league matches to the World Cup, people want to reap financial reward from their opinions and analysis and bookmakers have responded by offering a huge range of betting markets, options, promotions and tools.
Success in football betting is all about getting an edge and taking advantage of value opportunities - that’s why we’ve taken the time to put together this comprehensive guide to the top football bookmakers in the UK. We’ll be covering everything you need to know about each bookmaker, from the range of markets and types of bets available to their special offers. If you’re serious about increasing your profits this season, make this your go-to resource for online football betting.
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Top Online Football Betting Sites in the UK
Virtually all online bookmakers offer markets on football, but that doesn’t mean they’re all the same. Some sportsbooks are definitely better than others, and many have their own specialities. Let’s have a look at each bookmaker’s best football betting offers in the UK.
Bet with bet365
bet365 have become synonymous with football betting in recent years. The bet365 site covers hundreds of leagues and competitions with great depth in terms of markets too. Alongside the usual match odds and over/under goals markets you’ll find extensive Asian handicap odds, providing more ways to get higher odds for backing a winner.
bet365 are excellent for in-play football betting too, providing live streams for many matches and a handy one-click cash out facility so you can take your profit early.Try In-play betting at Bet365
*Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply, #AD
Rely on William Hill
Founded in 1934, William Hill is one of the oldest names in the betting world and are currently the world’s biggest bookmaker. They have a number of special offers which will help the profitability of your football betting.
Check out their enhanced odds markets for extra value too. These usually combine events from different matches. One recent example had William Hill offering 12/1 (13.0) - up from 9/1 (10.0) - for Kane, Abraham and Rashford to all score that weekend.Enhanced odds at William Hill
*New customers using Promo Code P30 only, min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15 (30 days expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
Back and Lay with Betfair
Every serious football punter has to be using Betfair. The ability to lay bets (bet against something happening) makes it easy to lock-in profits or reduce your exposure on bets - even if the original bet was placed with another bookmaker. While all betting exchanges have this feature, Betfair have the best liquidity by far.
Add in live streaming on many top football matches, including Serie A and La Liga, plus a convenient cash out button and Betfair are easily one of the best sites for football betting in the UK.Bet at Betfair
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Bet on Football with Paddy Power
Paddy Power have earned a reputation as one of the most innovative online sportsbooks around, and they have a strong focus on football. Like William Hill, they regularly offer enhanced odds, usually on specific treble accumulators. Their Acca Insurance offer is one of the best in the business, requiring only 4 legs and minimum odds of 1.2 per selection.
Don’t Forget about Betway
Many people miss out on Betway as they’re better known for their US sports and eSports betting markets. However, they have a couple of offers that could help improve your profitability.
If you have not bet with them before, there is a £30 Free Bet Welcome Bonus to take advantage of too - a great way to kick off your football betting.
Bet Better with Betfred
Betfred are another often-overlooked football betting resource. They have a number of promotions that add value to your picks, including acca insurance and free bets if your “Pick Your Punt” bet builder wager loses. Then there’s the “Double Delight/Hat-trick Heaven” offer: choose the first goalscorer in selected matches and, if they get the first goal, you will get automatically get paid out double if they score again! If they hit a hat-trick, you get paid treble.
Unibet Rewards Your Football Betting
Unibet are well-known for their excellent in-play football betting platform and extensive live streams. However, Unibet also has a number of promotions that reward you for betting with them. First up is their “In-play Free Bet Club” which gives you a £10 free bet (to be used in-play) if you make at least 5 in-play bets of £10+ at Evens (2.0) or higher between Monday and Sunday.In-play free bets at Unibet
Get Top Odds with BetVictor
BetVictor are another favourite sportsbook for betting on football. They can be trusted to provide some of the best odds in the business, meaning you don’t have to waste time checking whether another bookmaker has a better price. BetVictor has Asian handicap markets on most matches and offer Acca insurance if your accumulator bet misses out by 1 selection. There are various terms and conditions around this insurance offer, mainly that your acca must be made up of at least 5 legs and contain only match odds and/or “both teams to score” selections. The insurance payout is £10 worth of bets to be used on 5-fold (or higher) accumulators.
Live Online Football Betting
The development of Live Betting – also called in-play betting – has been made possible by faster technology and internet speeds. Undoubtedly, it has been one of the success stories of the online betting industry, allowing punters to take positions as the action unfolds.
Live Betting is a dynamic and volatile form of betting that can be rewarding for those with the knowledge, strategy and reflexes to make it pay. Most pre-match football betting markets are turned in-play with most money staked on the following markets:
- Match result.
- Over/under goals markets.
- Correct score.
- Asian handicap markets.
When betting on football in-play, it’s crucial to have access to accurate, live stats and, ideally, a stream of the match. For this reason, many bookmakers offer live streaming of top football leagues (usually La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1) plus live stat updates for things like shots on target, corners and, of course, goals.
If you’re serious about football betting, it’s worth using other live score apps too, not just relying on the bookmaker’s stats service.
Popular Football Betting Markets in the UK
Football betting is popular all over the world, but is huge in the UK, thanks to the legal status of sports betting plus, of course, the UK being the birthplace of football.
When football betting was legalised in the 1960s, bets were originally confined to multi-leg accumulators. By the 1990s however, bookmakers were offering odds on single matches, and the variety of football betting markets has just continued to grow. Nowadays, the most popular markets include:
- Match Odds: Bet on the result of the match, home/away win or draw.
- Competition Winner markets covering everything from the World Cup to FA Cup.
- Correct Score markets offering high odds for those who can predict the exact score.
- First and Anytime goalscorer markets.
- Over/under markets for number of goals, corners or bookings.
Given the popularity of football betting, sportsbooks add new markets all the time in an effort to meet the demands of punters and stand out from the competition.
Types of Online Football Bets
While there are now hundreds of markets to bet on, most football bets tend to fit into one of three broad categories:
The Single Football Bet
The most common form of football bet is the “Single”. With a single bet, you win or lose depending on the result of one event. The most popular single football bets are placed on the outcome of the match or the over/under 2.5 goals market.
The Football Acca
Once the only way to bet on football, the accumulator (or “acca”) remains popular in football betting. The big advantage of the acca is it gives you the chance to make bigger profits from small stakes. For instance, you might be sure Chelsea, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are going to win their home games that weekend, but the odds of 1.2-1.4 don’t excite you. Combine the 3 wins into an acca, and you might be getting 2.0 for what you see as near-certain wins.
The downside is that you lose your bet is just one selection fails to come in. Look out for “acca insurance” that protects you against this eventuality.
Asian Handicap Betting
While many Asian Handicap bets are binary win/lose markets, some will give all or half your stake back in certain situations. For example, if you back Bayern Munich -2, victory by a 3 goal margin will see you win your bet, a 2 goal margin will return your stake, and anything less is a loss.
How to Bet on Football Online
Modern online sports betting companies make it as easy as possible for you to get your bets on, using a simple online betting slip. Although the exact process will vary from site to site, most sportsbooks use a similar system. Clicking on your selection adds it to the online betting slip and allows you to change your stake and, if using a betting exchange, your desired odds. Click “Ok”, and you will receive confirmation of your bet being accepted.
Top Football Betting Events
The Premier League is, naturally, the top competition for football betting in the UK. Founded in 1992, the Premier League has grown to be the wealthiest league in Europe, with a global audience and arguably a greater degree of competition for the title than you will find in Ligue 1, the Bundesliga, Serie A or La Liga.
Billions are wagered on the Premier League each season, but there is plenty of betting interest in the lower English leagues and Scottish leagues too.
The big Champions League and Europa League matches are always among the most popular events, especially when they involve English teams, as they often do.
Useful Tips for Football Betting
As with any form of financial activity online, betting on football games is something you should do with care and never with money that you cannot afford to lose. Here are some tips that can help you to get more out of your football betting:
Specialise for Profit
There are so many football matches taking place every day that it is impossible to be informed about all of them. Thankfully you have a big advantage over the bookmaker here as you don’t need to have an opinion on every single game and tournament. Focusing on one league or specific teams makes it easier for you to build up the knowledge that will give you an edge.
Keep Your Own Records
Arguably the most important tip when it comes to football betting is to keep an accurate record of your bets. This may not sound particularly exciting but is one of the simplest things you can do to improve your profitability. Without a betting record, you will have no idea whether your betting is profitable or not long-term. A record of your wins and losses will highlight any issues with your approach and allow you to see whether your stake sizes are too big or too small, what your win rate is, whether you are more profitable with odds-on or odds-against bets and so on.
Watch the Games
Watching as many games as you can in your chosen league will also pay dividends. The live stats don’t always tell the full story. Possession may be 50:50, but all the action could be taking place in one team’s final third. Shots on target won’t always be equal in how close they are to being goals either. Watching the matches will also help you gain insight into the strengths and weaknesses of teams and players.
While many football punters focus on picking winners or finding value, the biggest factors in football betting success are often psychological. Making sure that you keep a level head whether you are winning or losing, and avoid chasing losses, can be hugely beneficial. And be alert to the possibility of problem gambling. Betting is not a short cut to riches, and if you or a family member or friend feel that your football betting is getting out of hand, it is important to seek help.
Keeping accurate football records will help here too. You will be able to see in black and white how you’re doing. Many sportsbooks offer links to gambling charities and advice, which are designed to ensure that those who are at risk of problem gambling get the help they need.