Popular Football Betting Markets Explained — How They Work

Are you feeling confused by the vast array of football betting markets on offer? Do you want to learn how each of those football markets work?

You’ve come to the right place. In this post I explain each of the main football bet types.


1×2 / Match Result / FT Result / Match Odds

There’s a lot of different names given to the “1×2” football betting market. It varies depending on what Bookmaker or Betting Exchange you use.

When you place a 1×2 bet, you select one of following three outcomes:

  • Home win (“1”)
  • Away win (“2”)
  • The Draw (“X”)

Note that in football, unlike some American sports, the home team is always listed first. So if the fixture is “Tottenham v Arsenal”, then Tottenham are playing at home.

You can only win your 1×2 bet by selecting the one correct outcome from the three available. Winning bets are decided after 90 minutes + stoppage time. Extra time and penalties are off the records, unless the market specifically states otherwise.


Double Chance

Double Chance allows you back more than one outcome from the 1×2 market in one hit.

You can choose between the following:

  • “1x” — for the Home team and the Draw
  • “12” — for the Home team and the Away team
  • “x2” — for the Draw and the Away team.

You win your Double Chance bet whenever one of the two outcomes you’ve covered wins.

Double Chance gives you a greater chance of striking a win — but the payouts are much lower than the standard (riskier) 1×2 bet (without any safety cushion).

Note that while Double Chance market is essentially two bets merged into one, it doesn’t simply split your stake equally (like an EW bet in Horse Racing) over the two 1×2 outcomes; this would give you two different profit scenarios. Instead it gives you one price that equals out the potential winnings for either winning outcome.

Sometimes the Bookmaker offers better value for you to place two bets individually in the 1×2 market than the Double Chance market, and vice versa. But to verify that you’ll need to calculate your stakes and potential winnings. You can use a Double Chance Calculator, or make your own calculations using the information provided by Pinnacle Sports in their article on Double Chance Betting.


Correct Score

In the Correct Score football market you bet on what the score will be in a match, from a list of possible outcomes.

The most likely outcomes for professional games tend to be lower scoring results — such as 1-0 or 2-1. However, the likelihood of any score depends on the two teams in question. Their style of play and how they compare to one another is a key.

The Correct Score market requires great precision; making a correct prediction is challenging. Hence many scorelines — particularly the abnormal/shock results — pay out far more than standard 1×2 market winning bets.


Over/Under X Goals

The Over/Under football betting markets enable punters to bet on there being over or under a particular number of goals in a game, without needing to be specific about the scoreline. The most popular line is “Over/Under 2.5 goals” — but there’s also 1.5, 3.5 and so on.

The reason the Over/Under markets are listed with decimal representations like 2.5 rather than whole goals like 2 is so that all possible scorelines are included. For example, in a “Over/Under 2 Goals” market, a 1-1 draw would be disregarded entirely as it has neither over or under 2 goals; it has 2 goals exactly.

Now imagine you place a bet on “Under 2.5 goals” in the match between Everton and Leicester. In this market the scorelines of 0-0, 1-0, 0-1, 1-1, 2-0, and 0-2 are all winning outcomes (as they each have less than 2.5 goals). For any other outcome the bet loses — it’s as simple as that.


Total Goals

In the Total Goals market you simply have to predict the range of goals scored in a match. The most common ranges are:

  • 0-1 goals
  • 2-3 goals
  • 4-6 goals
  • 7+ goals.

Some Bookmakers may tighten ranges (e.g. changing 4-6 goals to 4-5), which makes it less likely to strike a win. Thus the odds will be higher, and payouts bigger on bets placed within those ranges.

The most likely range to strike a winner depends on the fixture. For example, two highly defensive and evenly matched teams may make for a low scoring game. Therefore the odds may be low for 0-1 goals, and higher-than-average for other ranges.


Both Teams to Score

The “Both Teams to Score” football betting market is a very simple. You’re given a “Yes” or “No” selection:

  • “Yes” — for both teams to score
  • “No” — for all other outcomes (neither, or only one team, to score)

Basically 1+ goals for both teams will win the bet.


Half-Time Result

This is exactly the same as the 1×2 market except the bet is settled at the end of the first half. As before, you select Home, Draw, or Away. The HT score decides whether your bet wins or loses.

For example, backing the Home team to win at Half Time and then reaching the break with a score of 1-1 means the bet loses.

Note that there’s also a Double Chance HT result, which allows you to pick two of the possible HT outcomes at reduced odds. This market works just the same as it does with the standard FT Double Chance (see “Double Chance” above).


Half Time/Full Time Result

This football market is a combination of the HT market and regular 1×2 market. To win a HT/FT bet you must correctly predict the outcome (Home, Draw, or Away) at both Half Time and Full Time.

It’s important to note that HT/FT betting markets are not like Double Chance where you are rewarded for selecting either the HT or FT result correctly. With HT/FT you need to correctly select both.

For example, if the match West Ham v Crystal Palace was 1-1 at HT and 2-1 at FT, then to win the bet you need to have selected:

  • The Draw (X) at HT and
  • Home (1) at FT.

This specific combination is represented as “X/1”. The other (losing) combinations were: 1/1, 1/X, 1/2, X/X, X/2, 2/1, 2/2 and 2/X.

The Half Time/Full Time combination is tricky to predict, and less likely to produce a winner than splitting the bet down into singles for each half. However, that lower chance of winning is of course reflected in higher payouts.

You’ll learn more about Combo Bets later on this in article.


Draw No Bet

The Draw No Bet market reduces football fixtures down to two winning outcomes (Home or Away), and refunds any bets placed on the Draw (X). This means that there’s much less chance of losing your stake.

However, the trade-off is that the odds you accept on either team will be much lower than if you took on more risk by backing them in the standard 1×2 market.



Goalscorer betting markets are fairly intuitive. They enable punters to bet on individual players to score a goal in a game (but own goals don’t count!).

Strikers tend to be favourites to score. Other players, such as defenders, tend to be complete outsiders.

There are variations on goalscorer markets:

  • “Anytime Scorer” — bet on a certain player to score in the game, no matter when.
  • “First Scorer” — bet on a certain player to score the first goal in the game.
  • “Last Scorer” — bet on a certain player to score the last goal in the game.
  • “To Score 2/3/4…” — bet on a certain player to score at least two/three/four/more times in the match. Scoring more goals than the amount you’ve selected will still win the bet.

It’s worth noting that Bookmakers have different terms for when your chosen goal scorer doesn’t feature in the game (e.g. not selected, injured, ill, banned). Some Bookies will refund your stake, others will count it as a loss.



Corners markets are popular in spread betting, utilising the Under/Over format to full effect. However, in regular fixed odds betting there are many other Corners markets on offer.

Here’s some examples of Corners markets you’ll find at Bookies and Exchanges:

  • “Under/Over/Exactly X corners” — to bet on there being under/over/equal to a given number of corners in a game (e.g. 10).
  • “Between X-Y corners” — to bet on the total number of corners being between a given range (e.g. 5-10)
  • “First half corners” / “Second half corners” — to bet on how many corners will happen per a specific half of the game.
  • “Most corners” — to bet on which team will get the most corners
  • “First team to reach X corners” — to bet on a race between the two teams, where the winner is the first to a total number of team corners (e.g. 5)
  • “Time of first corner” — to bet on specific timings relating to corners.

Corners markets can also involve an Asian Handicaps.


Yellow/Red Cards

Much like corners, you can also bet on how many cards (and specifically Yellow or Red) will be shown during a football match.

The most popular betting market for cards is “Number of Cards in Match” — where the Bookmaker will set an estimated total for the number of cards and punters can bet on whether the final total will be Over or Under that amount. Typically you might expect the line to be 2.5 cards, although it could be much higher for some fixtures (e.g. derbies).

Bookies provide various other cards markets that are self explanatory. For example:

  • Number of cards for each team
  • Which team will receive the most bookings
  • Whether a red card will be shown in the game…
    • For a particular team…
      • In a particular half (1st or 2nd)
      • At a particular time.

Once again, Asian Handicap markets are popularly used in the Cards markets.


Score/Miss Penalty

Bookmakers offer odds on penalties taking place, and being scored. The bets you can place on penalties tend to be in a standard Yes/No format, such as:

  • Penalty to be awarded?
  • Penalty to be scored?
  • Penalty to be missed?
  • 1st Goal to be a scored penalty?

For many of these markets you can also specify the team. For example “Penalty to be scored by Team A?” or “Penalty to be missed by Team B?”.

Bare in mind that penalties will not occur in every game — so many of these markets will offer high odds.


Combo Bets

Combo bets are simply a combination of two (and in some cases more) football bets. Combining different bets increases the risk, and therefore the payout, since you need to correctly predict two parts to win.

Some of the most popular Combo bets include:

  • Correct score Half Time-Full Time — predict the score both at halftime and full time. This popular example is detailed in its own section earlier in this article.
  • Winner & Number of Goals — predict which team will win and how many goals will be scored in a match. Similar bets exist for draws (e.g. “draw & under or over 2.5 goals”).
  • Winner & Both Teams to Score — predict the full time result and whether both teams will score or not.
  • Total Goals & Both Teams to Score — predict if both teams will manage to score (or not) and how many goals will be scored in total.
  • Scorecast — predict which player will score the first goal and what the final score will be at full time. You can also find combinations such as “anytime & final score”, or “first scorer & winner”.


European Handicap

The simplest form of football handicap bet is the European Handicap or EH. In an EH market, the match starts with a predefined goal advantage for one of the teams (e.g. -1/-2/-3 etc). Punters can bet on any of the three outcomes of the game, given the goal handicap.

For example, EH -1 for Man United at home against Brighton means the game starts at 0-1 for the visitors. So Brighton have a theoretical 1 goal headstart. Here’s every scenario for this bet:

Losing bet scenarios:

  • Man United Lose —  the handicap exaggerates their loss by one goal (e.g. 1-3 becomes 1-4).
  • The game ends a Draw — the handicap produces an away win (e.g. 1-1 becomes 1-2)
  • Man United win by one goal —  the handicap produces a draw (e.g. 2-1 becomes 2-2)

Winning bet scenario:

  • Man United win by 2 or more goals — the handicap produces a home win (e.g. 2-0 becomes 2-1).

By reducing the superiority of one team (and needing them to score more to win the game), a bettor’s outlook on the fixture changes. Strong favourites, when handicapped, are forced to prove their superiority — which gives more chance to the weaker opponent. This has the effect of evening out the odds in uneven fixtures, rather than backing the extremes the favourite at low odds or the underdog at high odds in the 1×2 market.

Many value bets arise in football Handicap markets. Handicap odds aren’t as efficient as the 1×2 odds; Bookies often have prices with a player edge.


Asian Handicap

Asian Handicaps (AH) can be treated an an extension of European Handicaps (EH) — they’re almost the same deal. The main difference is that Asian Handicaps reduce football games down to only two outcomes (win and lose). If the bet ends in a Handicap draw, then the bettor’s stake is refunded.

For example, an Asian Handicap market might exist for a cup fixture offering odds on two outcomes (no draw):

  • Man City (-2)
  • Oxford United (+2)

If Man City were to win by two goals, betting on either team would give no winner, and the bettor would have their stake returned. As a result, Asian Handicaps are often quoted in half-goals which eliminates the draw.

There’s also several other Asian Handicap bet types to learn. AH Markets are easily the most complex football bets you’ll encounter, and cannot be summarised in one short section. I’ve written a full-length article “Asian Handicap Betting Explained“, which explains everything you need to know.

Toby @ Punter2Pro
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments