Despite its immense popularity all over the world, soccer has never really captured the imagination of sports fans in the US. The reasons for that may range from its low-scoring nature or because the rules seem complicated. But for serious sports bettors, soccer represents an untapped opportunity to make money, particularly during the World Cup when soccer fever is at its highest pitch and the sports books are doing good business taking wagers on the various teams. If you are interested in making a sports bet on soccer, here are a few basics you need to know.
Because of the low-scoring nature of soccer, sports books don’t use point spreads to handicap the two teams. Instead, they use money lines that require the bettor to make a larger bet if they are betting on the favorite. To illustrate, let’s say the UK is playing Germany with Germany being the favorite. Hence the money line is Germany -1.2 UK +1.5. This means that if you bet on Germany, you have to bet $ 120 to win $ 100. On the other hand, if you bet on the UK, you win $ 150 for every $ 100. Unlike in point spread bets, the bettor simply bets on which team he believes will win, regardless of the final score.
For tournaments such as the World Cup, you can choose from two-way or three-way betting. In two-way bets, you merely bet on which team you think will win and the payoff is based on the money line. If there is a tie, your bet is returned. On the other hand, in a three-way bet, you can bet on the game being a tie. A money line is also set for the tie option. When the tournament reaches the knockout stage, when teams are eliminated, you can simply bet on which team will advance to the next stage. However, if the game proceeds to a shootout, your bet is a loss since a shootout win is not considered a goal.
Finally, there are also total or over/under bets in soccer, with the total commonly set by the oddsmakers at 2 or 2.5.
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