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Reading Soccer Odds: A Novice’s Approach to Betting Markets

SoccerNews in Soccer Betting Strategies 10 Aug 2023


The world of soccer betting is arguably the most satisfying and nuanced form of entertainment available for engagement from the convenience of a smartphone or tablet.

For uninitiated potential participants new to this highly anticipatory form of gambling, understanding soccer odds can seem challenging at first. However, with some foundational knowledge and expert guidance, navigating the complexities of betting markets and making informed decisions can become second nature.

This article aims to reduce soccer odds to the essential basics for newcomers seeking to analyse weekend football odds and maximise their betting experience.  

Understanding the basics of soccer odds

Put simply, soccer odds represent the probability of a specific outcome in a match. They are typically presented in decimal, fractional, and American formats: decimal odds are the most common format in Europe, while fractional odds are popular in the UK. Meanwhile, as the name suggests, American odds are commonly used in the United States.

Decimal odds represent a bettor’s total payout for every unit wagered; for example, if the odds are 2.50, a $10 bet would result in a $25 payout (including the initial stake). Fractional odds (such as 3/1) indicate the potential profit a bettor can make for every unit wagered; in this case, a $10 bet would result in a $30 profit. American odds (or moneyline odds) can be positive or negative. Positive odds indicate the potential profit for a $100 bet, while negative odds represent the amount required to bet to win $100.

Exploring different types of soccer bets

Numerous types of soccer bets are available, ranging from simple to complex. The most common types include:

  • Match result: Betting on the outcome of a match – either a win for the home team, a win for the away team or a draw.
  • Over/under: Foreseeing the total number of goals scored in a match – whether “over” or “under” a specific number set by the bookmaker.
  • Both teams to score: Gambling on the probability of both teams scoring at least one goal during the match.
  • Correct score: Predict the exact final score of the match.
  • First goalscorer: Anticipating which player will score the first goal in the match.

Decoding the language of betting markets

When exploring betting markets, you may come across various terms and phrases that can confuse beginners. Here are a few common terms and their meanings:

  • Bookmaker: A company or individual that sets and offers odds on sporting events.
  • Stake: The amount of money you will bet on a specific outcome.
  • Odds-on: When the odds are less than even money (e.g., 1/2 or 1.50). 
  • Outsider: The team or player with the least chance of winning, often called the underdog.
  • Handicap: A method bookmakers use to level the playing field by giving an advantage or disadvantage to a team.

Analysing soccer odds: Key factors to consider

For those seeking to analyse soccer odds, it is critical to consider several key factors that can influence the outcome of a match.

Team form assesses recent performances and the form of both teams to provide valuable insights into their current level of play; head-to-head record examines the history of previous matches between the two teams to identify any insightful patterns or trends; examining injuries and suspensions involves checking for key players who are injured or suspended that may significantly impact team performance; home advantage requires carefully considering the home team’s advantage (typically performing better in their home stadium); finally, extraneous factors such as weather conditions can affect the style of play of teams and potentially impact the match outcome.

Common mistakes to avoid in soccer betting

To complete this soccer betting primer, some common mistakes to avoid in soccer betting should be comprehended.

First, avoid chasing losses – attempting to recover these by placing more bets can lead to greater losses and problematic behavioural patterns. Second, while it is natural to support your favourite team and place wagers on their progress, betting solely based on loyalty can cloud judgement.

To be a discerning soccer bettor, be objective and carefully consider all impactful factors. Third, when managing a bankroll, it is vital to set a budget and strictly adhere to the cap to avoid financial trouble. Moreover, always prioritise responsible gambling.

Last, do not limit yourself to popular leagues and teams – exploring smaller markets often presents better value and opportunities.

Concluding remark

Ultimately, soccer betting should be enjoyable and conducted responsibly. It is crucial to gamble within your means and only bet what you can afford to lose. Overall, with the right approach and a foundational understanding of soccer odds, it is possible to fully enhance the overall enjoyment of the game.


SoccerNews is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

You can follow us on Facebook: or Twitter: @soccernewsfeed.



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