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On a worldwide scale, soccer is as big as it gets. So it stands to reason that it’s one of the most popular betting ventures across the globe. Soccer fans have no shortage of games to bet on, as most of the major online sportsbooks accept bets on leagues in dozens of different countries. Bet limits vary greatly depending on the league and a sportsbook may accept a $5,000 wager on an English Premier League match, but just $250 on a match played in Tunisia.
Sportsbooks may offer several different lines on the same match with “two-way” lines and “three-way” lines. A two-way line will look familiar to you, as it’s essentially the same type of bet you’d place on a baseball game:
CS Cartagines +110
Uruguay de Coronado -130
This is your standard 20-cent line and if you bet on CS Cartagines, you’re risking $100 to win $110. If you wager on the favorite, Uruguay de Coronado, it’s $130 to win $100. If the match ends up a tie, which happens frequently in soccer, all bets are declared no action and your bet is refunded to you. This is no different than betting on the major sports in the United States.
A three-way line offers three different betting choices instead of two, adding an a bet on a draw, or a tie game:
CS Cartagines +165
Uruguay de Coronado +140
Notice that both teams are underdogs, something you’d never see in baseball or the National Hockey League. Now, your team must win the match or your wager is a loss. If the two teams play a 1-1 game, it’s no longer a push, but counts as a loss for both teams, given that you can bet on the draw. In essence, you’re taking a better payout on your team in exchange for losing your bet if the match ends up in a tie.
Depending on the relative strengths of the two teams involved in a match, you may see a spread instead of a money line on a two-way bet. This is frequently referred to as an Asian handicap:
Wolves +1 -105
Hull City -1 -110
This is your basic line in which Hull City is favored by one goal and if you bet on Hull City, you risk $110 to win $100, while those betting on the Wolves are risking $105 to win $100. If Hull City wins by exactly one goal, the bet is a push and no money changes hands. This bet is really no different than a wager on a basketball game in which a team is favored by one point.
On a three-way line, the odds between the same two teams will resemble:
Hull City -195
Once again, if you wager on either team, it must win the match in order for you to win your bet, as a tie results in a loss for the teams and a win for the tie.
Some sportsbooks offer what’s known as a double Asian handicap on some matches and here you’ll see two sets of numbers next to each team:
Wolves +1, +1.5 -140
Hull City -1, -1.5 +125
With a double Asian handicap, your wager is split into two. So a $100 bet on the Wolves becomes 1) a $50 bet on the Wolves +1 at odds of -105, the odds on the two-way wager shown above, and 2) a $50 wager on the Wolves +1.5 at odds of -140. Now, if the Wolves lose by one goal, you push your bet on the Wolves +1 and win your bet on the Wolves +1.5. If the Wolves lose by two goals, you lose both $50 bets. If the game ends up a draw or the Wolves win, you win both $50 bets.
If you bet Hull City, your $100 wager becomes a $50 bet on Hull City -1 at odds of -110, the odds shown above, and a $50 bet on Hull City -1.5 goals at odds of +125. If Hull City ties or loses, you lose both $50 bets, while in a one-goal victory by Hull City, you push the Hull City -1 bet and lose the wager on Hull City -1.5 goals. If Hull City wins by two or more goals, you win both halves of your wager.
You can also bet totals on the majority of soccer matches and they are basically the same as you will see in hockey or baseball. On the Wolves vs. Hull City match, the totals look like this:
Over 2.5 goals +115
Under 2.5 goals -130
This is your basic total, where if the game ends with two goals or less, the under wins and the over loses. If three goals or more goals are scored, the over wins.
You might also see a double Asian handicap offered on totals and it works in exactly the same manner as a bet on either team:
Over 2, 2.5 -115
Under 2, 2.5 +100
On the over, your $100 wager is split into a $50 bet on over 2.0 goals at odds of -115 and a $50 bet on over 2.5 goals at odds of +115, which were the odds posted on the traditional totals bet. A bet on the under becomes a $50 bet on under 2.0 goals at even money and a $50 bet on under 2.5 goals at odds of -130.
The Asian and double Asian handicaps are popular among some bettors, while many others find them to be more trouble than they’re worth. You have to be familiar with them, but only to the extent that they’re available as gambling options.
Your bigger soccer matches, such as the World Cup or English Premier League games, usually post some props to give fans an opportunity to make some fun wagers on matches they’ll likely be watching. These typically include the time of the first goal, the time of the first yellow card, the total number of fouls called, an odd or even jersey number for the first goal scorer, etc.