Football is the most popular game in the world. While it has never really caught on in America, it is still widely popular in almost every other country. The World Cup is one of the most popular TV events in history, and only the Olympic Games pulls in bigger numbers of viewers worldwide. What is there to know about the sport in which everyone professes to be an expert? The Betting Veteran is here to teach you the bits you might not know.
betting on football

The Betting Veteran is a mystery. An enigma wrapped up in a riddle. We know that he has never lost a bet. But that is all we know. Some say that he invented the small pens you find in the bookies. Others say that he is made from the small pens in the bookies. All we know is that he is the Betting Veteran and no one knows betting like he does.

Football background

Football is widely thought to have originated in England, and this is true in a sense. The game of kicking a ball around is not an English invention, and the earliest known game with formal rules based around this idea originated in China almost 2,000 years before England laid claim to the game. Despite the history of kicking a ball around across the globe, it was in England in the 19th century that the football that we know today was formalised, with rules first being made in 1848. From there, the game has grown into the global phenomenon that it is today. The first World Cup was held in 1930, and from there, it has grown into the biggest single sport event in the world. Despite being known as soccer in America, it is known as football almost everywhere else and is the most popular sport on the planet today. Because of this level of success, it is known almost universally, but it does have some terms that not everyone will know about.

Football terms

Goal – when the ball is kicked or headed into the net, a goal is scored. This adds one point onto the scoring team’s total. In a confusing twist to people who are new to the game, the net where goals are scored is also referred to as the goal.

Goalkeeper – the only players on the pitch allowed to use their hands. Each team has one goalkeeper.

Defenders – the defensive players who are first and foremost in place to stop the other team scoring.

Midfielders – the link players who are generally used to link the defence and attack.

Forwards – the attacking players who more often than not are expected to provide the goals.

Foul – a foul is when a player commits an act that is against the rules on the field of play. This can include, but is not limited to, kicking an opposition player or using their hands to control the ball.

Free kick – when a foul is committed, which can include other offences such as offside, a free kick is given to the team who had a player fouled.

Offside – this is when the ball is played to an attacking player who only has one defensive player, including the goalkeeper, between themselves and the goal line

Goal line – there are two goal lines, one at each end of the pitch. This is where the goals are placed.

Penalty area – the areas, one at each end of the pitch, where the goalkeepers are allowed to use their hands. If they leave the penalty area, then they cannot use their hands until they return inside the area.

Penalty – if a foul is committed inside the penalty area by the defending team, then the attacking team is awarded a penalty. This is a free shot from a spot inside the penalty area that is 12 yards away from the goal.


Types of pre-game bets 

There are a huge number of pre-game bets available to players. As well as being the most popular sport in the world, football also has possibly the largest number of betting markets available. There are three main markets that players tend to choose most often.

The first is a standard moneyline bet. This is where you will choose between the three possible outcomes of a game: a win, a loss or a draw. For example, if Arsenal were playing Watford, it would be possible to place a wager on an Arsenal win, a draw or a Watford win. Depending on the relative form of each team and who was at home, the odds for the game would fluctuate accordingly. There are also moneyline wagers, where the draw can be taken out as a choice. This will lower the potential odds on offer, but will also mean that in the event of a draw, the wager will be refunded.

The second main market is to place a wager on the first goalscorer. In football, there are a number of players who are more likely to score than others. If you place a wager on them to score the first goal in the game and they manage this, then you will win your wager. However, if no one scores or someone else scores the first goal, then you will lose the wager. The less likely a player is to score, the higher the odds will be on them scoring the first goal.

Finally, there is the over/under market. This is usually applied to the number of goals scored in a half of football, but can also be placed on other aspects of the game, such as corners, fouls and yellow/red cards. While they are usually offered on just one half, they can also be offered in relation to the whole game.

Despite these three being the main markets that are on offer to players, this is certainly not an exhaustive list. There are a huge number of team and players markets on offer to gamblers, and a lot of online bookmakers are now offering services where a specific bet can be requested. This means that if the market that you would like to place a wager on is not available, then as long as it is not too outlandish, the bookmaker will create that market for you.

Types of in-play bets

There are also a large number of in-play wagers available to players. One of the biggest ones that people currently use is the ability to place a wager on a team to win after a goal has been scored. This is widely used when the favourite for a game goes a goal down. This is because the odds on the favourite to win will increase if they are a goal down, but as long as there is enough time left, they will still have a good chance to win the game.

Another huge in-play market that players use is the over/under market. This is mainly utilised for goals, corner and cards. This is because all of these aspects can change very quickly over the course of the game, so waiting until the last minute to place an over/under wager can often return large odds for players. Many players take advantage of this to try to win big during the latter stages of a half or of the game itself.

Accumulators or singles?

Accumulators allow players to link together a number of single games to create a single wager that has larger odds. While this does mean that potential winnings can be massively increased, it also means that the overall risk is increased. What does this mean exactly?

Well, three games all at evens, which is 1/1 in terms of odds, would return £20 each from a £10 bet. This means that in total from £30 in stakes, there would be a £60 return, giving a £30 profit. If that £30 was placed as an accumulator, then it would offer a return of £240, giving a profit of £210. However, if only two games were predicted correctly, then the whole bet would lose. If these wagers had been placed as single bets, then this would still give a £40 return from £30 in wagers for a £10 profit.

The choice of whether to use accumulators or single bets is dependent on your own level of risk-taking and confidence in your betting choices. 

Analysing the stats 

When it comes to choosing your wagers, analysing the stats for the game is vitally important. It allows for a wide range of information to be collated and enables a more accurate prediction to be made. While no wager can ever be 100% successfully predicted, unless you are the Betting Veteran, of course, using stats to make your predictions does increase your success rate somewhat. If you are going to begin placing wagers on football, then adopting a stats-based approach will certainly help your chances.

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