Sunday, March 3, 2024

Winning Margin Bet in Football Explained

Stefan Budur in Soccer Betting Strategies 2 Oct 2023


Winning Margin is a type of single sports betting market that focuses on the final goal difference. It has a lot of similarities to Correct Score due to the many possible outcomes and wagering options. Like Correct Score, though, it’s notoriously hard to get right – even more so if you want to be consistent. As a relatively high-risk bet, though, it can contain surprising value for the perceptive punter.

In this Winning Margin betting guide, we’ll take a close look at this often-overlooked market and consider if it’s worth your time.

What Is a Winning Margin Bet

A Winning Margin bet is a type of wager that attempts to predict the exact difference in goals between the winning team and the losing team. ‘Exact’ is the keyword here because the possible options can be anywhere from 1 goal to 4 or more.

This wager can be found in a variety of sports. Some sporting events offer a range of possible selections, such as 5-10 in basketball. However, we’ll be focusing on Winning Margin bets in football. For our favourite sport, your options typically look something like +1, +2, +3, and so on.

We’ll wager you don’t need much of an explanation as to what these selections mean. A +1 Winning Margin bet simply means that the winning team will have 1 goal over their opponents at minute 90. This covers a range of possible outcomes for the match itself – 1:0, 2:1, 3:2, and so on. All of these would confirm your +1 Winning Margin football market.

However, notice how we didn’t say 0:1 would win the bet though. That’s because selecting the winning team is also a part of this wager. For example, let’s say you’re betting on a Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool. If you wanted to back the Reds for a +2 win, the full selection would be marked as Liverpool +2. In this example, your bet would win if the final score is 0:2, 1:3, 2:4, and so on.

As you may have gathered by now, predicting how a game will go with such detail is not easy to do. That’s why Winning Margin betting odds are often quite long, rarely going below 3.00 even for ‘safe’ options. As such, we don’t recommend burying them in Multiples of any kind. It’s also not the best market for beginners.                                              


On the whole, the bet is specific enough not to warrant many variations. That said, some punters consider it a natural extension of Correct Score betting, but that’s neither here nor there.

There are, however, some markets that go hand-in-hand with Winning Margin betting. The first of these is the No Goal bet, which predicts that the final result will be 0:0. That feels more like Correct Score, though, so we won’t discuss it more.

You can also predict that the goal difference between the two teams will be 0. This is otherwise known as the Score Draw bet. However, since you don’t need to specify a team for Score Draw, it’s also functionally closer to a Correct Score. 

Whatever you choose, though, it’s important to keep in mind that the Winning Margin betting market only considers 90 minutes of the game. Extra time and penalties are not taken into consideration.

How to win margin bets

This type of betting is not for the faint of heart. The reason we don’t recommend it to beginners is because of the in-depth research and insight required. Just picking margins at random is not likely to get worthwhile results. If you feel like you don’t have good reason to predict this exact difference, don’t be afraid to just play a different market.

Like any other bet you place, pre-match analysis will always be the most important factor that will make the difference between winning or losing your bet. Let’s have you set on the winning path. 

To predict the correct margin of the team we are backing we need to determine:

  • the full-time result 
  • how many goals each team will score and concede.

Fulltime Result and Goals Analysis

The full-time result is usually determined by a team’s value, seasonal results and current form. The top teams will win 9 out of  10 times when they play against bottom-table teams. Predicting the full-time result (win, draw, lose) is the starting point of any winning margin bet.

How many goals each team will score and concede is the tricky part since there are many variables to consider. Let’s have a look at the most important ones.

The attacking strength of one team will collide with the opponent’s defense.

Key attacking and defending players missing.

Weather conditions can benefit the weaker team ( in the case of a wet pitch the more technical team will lose its advantage since it will be more difficult to control the ball).

A red card received by a team can shift the balance of play and give a significant advantage to the other team. Let’s say Real Madrid is playing away at Celta and they are 2-0 up at half-time, looking to score the 3rd. In the 60th minute, Real receives a red card, and Celta gets back in the game scoring a goal. The final result is 2-1 for Madrid and you just lost your +2 on the visitors.

How to win +1 margin bets

When you consider backing a team with a 1+ margin always choose games that are considered to be very tight (derby games, matches between teams that have similar market value, tight knock-out matches, finals of competitions like Champions League, Europa League, etc.). 

Let’s break down the pre-match analysis of the Serie A fixture between Empoli and Salernitana played this midweek, and see why the home team got a narrow win (1-0).

Full-time result prediction

Empoli and Salernitana found themselves at the bottom of the table before the game kicked off, a win was a must for both sides. Although looking at the above screenshot we can say that Salernitana would have a slight advantage since they managed to get 3 draws compared to Empoli who lost all of their 6 Serie A matches.

This apparent advantage of the visitors was cancelled by 3 important factors:

  • Playing home is a big advantage in these tight games where the fans put a lot of pressure on the opposite team and the referees, cheering for their favourites fanatically for the entire match
  • Empoli’s schedule was difficult playing against giants of Italian football like the reigning champions, Inter Milan, Juventus and AS Roma
  • The owners decided to part with manager Paolo Zanetti and appoint Aurelio Andreazzoli as the new manager, who already improved the team by losing narrowly to Inter at home, 1-0.

Goals scored and conceded by each team- prediction

Because Empoli changed its manager it is recommended to look only at the results the team had under Aurelio Andreazzoli who knows very well the club being in his 3rd spell at the team. 

Despite Inter dominating the game and winning the 3 points, Empoli showed significant improvements defensively dropping from a prior average of 2.56 goals conceded/match to just 1 goal conceded against the champions.

Failing to score in the last 6 games and playing against Salernitana, a team that is at the same level as Empoli, would indicate Empoli would score and get narrowly the first win of the season.

 How to win +2 margin bets

To position yourself favourably on winning +2 margin bets try to pick games between a strong team that scores goals and rarely concedes but has a difficult game away. Let’s have a look at the difficult game Atletico Madrid won 2-0, away at Osasuna.


Full-time result prediction

Osasuna is struggling at the beginning of this season recording only 2 wins from 8 games played. Fans are surely disappointed considering that their favourites finished strong last term and qualified to play European football.

On the other hand, Atletico Madrid had their confidence boosted after winning the Madrid derby against Real, 3-1. Looking at both teams’ results choosing the winner was a rather obvious choice.

Goals scored and conceded by each team prediction

Osasuna struggles to find the back of the net when playing at home, scoring only 2 goals in their 4 matches played in front of their fans. Atletico Madrid’s defence is known to be very strong so scoring against them was highly unlikely.

Diego Simeone’s players have an impressive 2.83 goals scored per match this season and are coming from an impressive win in the derby match with Real, 3-1 (+2 Atletico). Another win at 2 goal difference was quite obvious considering the recent results.

How to win +3 margin bets

Wagering +3 margin bets is extremely difficult since there are too many variables in play that we can’t control. Finding and backing top teams that play home against weaker sides will be your best bet. Let’s have a look at what can go wrong when backing a team to win at a 3-goal difference.

  1. The manager can substitute his best players once the 3 points are already bagged. This can give a chance to the opposite team to score
  2. Having a 3 goal lead can make some players relax and think about the next game
  3. The weaker side can get crushed and concede more goals than expected if they already have a 3-goal deficit after 30 minutes of play 

If you want to increase your chance of winning, choosing to back teams like Manchester City, Liverpool, Barcelona, and PSG is the way to go. Don’t neglect other less popular domestic leagues where the likes of Dinamo Zagreb, Sparta Praga, Ferencvaros, and Salzburg are dominating their domestic competition.

How to win +4 margin bets

I find it easier to win a +4 margin bet than the previous 3 selections because the score difference doesn’t need to be exact. A few examples are Barcelona hammering Betis and Antwerp in the same week 5-0, the demolition of Marseille on Parc de Princes by PSG (4-0). Bayern Munich topped this impressive results winning 7-0 at Allianz Arena with Bochum.

As for the +3 margin I recommend you have the same strategy: choosing top teams who are at their peak form against weaker sides. 

Other important factors to consider when placing margin bets

  • Research Head-to-Head records. These are your biggest asset if you’re placing Winning Margin football bets. Usually, the two teams’ previous engagements are your best indication of how things are going to flow. Ideally, you want to have stats from multiple matches during the current season.
  • Matchups with close games are slightly safer. You’re looking at +1 and +2 margins most of the time. In such cases, the biggest risk is that the team you’re backing will lose or draw. Games with high goal margins are often much more volatile and unpredictable, and this market is an exact science.
  • Stay on top of current football news. Injuries and such details can throw the entire calculation of your wager off.

Stick to the safer selections. Most of the time, options with shorter odds are shorter for a reason. That +4 margin on a Champions League match may look juicy, but it’s rarely worth it.


Stefan Budur

Former owner of Betting Mojo, experienced bettor and former punter at Betadvisor, Stefan has done it all when it comes to soccer betting. With more than 15 years of experience in the gambling industry, he gained a lot of knowledge that he'd like to share with readers so you can position yourself better every time you place a bet.



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