Soccer Betting Guide

Soccer is the biggest sport in the world, by far. If you have only bet on American major sports like football and basketball, you’ll be astounded by the number of wagering options that American sportsbooks have for soccer. BonusFinder US is here to guide you through the basics of soccer betting.

Soccer betting 101 by BonusFinder

Are you new to soccer betting? Our basics of soccer betting will help you get started.

Guide to Soccer Betting

Soccer, undoubtedly the biggest sport in the world, attracts fans and players from all corners of the globe. Soccer is still overshadowed in the US by other major sports like football and basketball. Nonetheless, all major sports betting platforms host an extremely impressive selection of soccer games to bet on.

Understandably enough, most American sports bettors prefer placing their wagers on sports they’re passionate about. Although soccer admittedly attracts a smaller audience of avid sports fans in the US, there’s still a massive amount of dollars placed on different soccer bets. Betting on soccer is somewhat different from other major sports, and understanding the alien odds can feel daunting. This guide introduces the basics of soccer betting.

Soccer Rules – the Basics of the Sport

Before betting on soccer, it’s crucial to understand the basics of the game (unless you feel like going in blind and betting on whatever catches your eye, though we don’t recommend this approach).

A soccer game consists of two halves of 45 minutes, bringing the duration of the entire game to 90 minutes. Generally speaking, soccer games are often low-scoring. The scoring system is straightforward: one goal equals one score. Unlike many other sports, a soccer game can end in a draw; games ending in no-score ties are not an anomaly. This adds an aspect to soccer betting that many other sports lack: a game could end without a team being crowned the victor, so you can also bet on a tie.

Soccer events, like tournaments or league cups, bring exceptions to the no-score tie rule. In these soccer events, determining a winning team is essential in order to narrow down the teams proceeding to the following rounds. These so-called knockout matches introduce a concept of extra time: if, after the full 90 minutes, the score is still a tie, the teams will play for two additional 15-minute rounds in order to have a winner. If the extra time still isn’t enough to determine the winning team, the match proceeds to penalty kicks.

Penalty kicks, or shootouts, are a pretty rare treat. The concept is similar to penalty shots in ice hockey: one player at a time tries to make a goal against the opposing team. The teams will take turns, and the penalty kicks will continue until the winner has been determined. Soccer shootouts often offer dramatic, exciting moments and are some of the most memorable scenes for fans and players alike.

Introducing Major Soccer Leagues

Seasoned soccer bettors probably know that the number of professional soccer teams globally can make soccer betting a bit overwhelming. In fact, there are more professional leagues for soccer than there are leagues for any other sport. Different soccer contests don’t really differ other than the teams involved, but the odds for different leagues can vary quite a bit when you bet online. Here are the most common major leagues and soccer betting markets and which sites you should use to bet on them.

MLS – Major League Soccer

Most Americans are most likely familiar with the US soccer league, Major League Soccer. MLS is a reputable soccer league with many talented players. The MLS season starts around February or March and runs until October.

The MLS also features teams from Canada, and although the level might not be on par with the professional soccer in Europe, Major League Soccer often attracts big names at the end of their careers, like Zlatan Ibrahimovic or David Beckham.

From the aspect of sports betting, Major League Soccer offers some of the best betting opportunities in the US, as mobile sportsbooks often have somewhat skewed lines as people bet on their home teams. Therefore, you should always choose the online platform that has the best odds for the soccer games you want to bet money on.

Liga MX and South American Leagues

There’s some very high-quality soccer played in the Mexican league, Liga MX. The Liga MX season is divided into two annual tournaments, the first of which (Apertura or opening tournament) runs from July to December, and the second (Clausura or closing) runs from January to May.

Compared to, for example, European soccer games, South American games start at a reasonable hour for American soccer bettors and are pretty competitive. Every now and then, Spanish or Portuguese speakers could also find good soccer wagers that the betting sites have missed for whatever reason. Soccer fans will also enjoy seeing the future talents that often come from these leagues.

Now, while these American leagues offer high-quality soccer games, the top leagues and the best players can be found playing on European soil.

Top Soccer Leagues for Sports Bettors

The Europeans love their soccer and have the best soccer clubs in the world. There are dozens of top-notch teams from various European leagues to wager on.

European Soccer Leagues – The Best Football in the World

There’s a huge concentration of major soccer teams and leagues in Europe. From the English Premier League to German Bundesliga and Spanish La Liga, these major soccer leagues attract an astounding amount of loyal fans worldwide. And it’s no surprise, as the teams and players showcased in these leagues are indisputably the best in the world.

The most famous league is most likely EPL (English Premier League), with clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea. And of course, there are Real Madrid and Barcelona (Spanish La Liga), Juventus and Milan (Italian Serie A), and Bayern Munchen and Dortmund (German Bundesliga), as well as a host of others.

The top teams from these leagues play against each other in the biggest soccer league in the world, the Champions League. Among the most popular leagues, the Champions League is undeniably the brightest star of European soccer, and most people betting on soccer choose to bet on this competition.

The Champions League

The Champions League features the best teams and players from all the top European leagues. This is where you can see the cream of the crop, players like Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Mohammed Salah, and Erling Haaland, all during the same day. All major US online betting sites offer betting markets for the Champions League.

The Champion League games are interspaced with the regular seasons of the major European leagues, as the teams playing in the Champions League are also playing the games of their respective major leagues. Therefore, Champions League games are played throughout the year.

If there’s one downside to betting on European soccer, it’s the time difference: the games are taking place during European television primetime, which isn’t necessarily the most optimal time for American viewers or bettors.

International Soccer Tournaments

Held every four years, the soccer World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world. Amassing viewers from everywhere in the world, the World Cup is considered to be the crown jewel of tournaments between national teams. The tournament spans the course of approximately four weeks, and there are countless betting opportunities for these games. The current World Champion, Argentina, took home the World Cup trophy in December 2022 after winning against France in one of the most exciting soccer finales ever played. The next World Cup will take place in 2026.

The second most-watched soccer tournament in the world is, somewhat unsurprisingly, the European Championship tournament, hosted every four years. Given the number of major leagues and top players stemming from Europe, this tournament between European soccer nations showcases some of the best soccer games you can find. The next tournament will be played in Germany in 2024. The defending 2020 champions, Italy, could have a hard time defending their title, as the team didn’t make the World Cup.

In addition to the tournaments above, the South American soccer cup Copa America is especially renowned in the Americas. South America has a concentration of big soccer nations and the unwavering support of extremely passionate fans.

Soccer Betting Lines

As mentioned at the very beginning of the guide, betting on soccer is quite different from betting on other sports in many ways. First, a draw is a real possibility and happens very often. Furthermore, soccer matches often have a far smaller spread, and they may use a feature called an Asian Handicap. We’ll go through the main soccer betting opportunities here.

Moneyline and Draw No Bet

Three-way moneyline is one of the most popular soccer betting methods. The soccer moneyline bet has three options: there are odds for both of the teams to win, but also odds for a draw. Online soccer betting sites also have the DNB or draw no bet option, which resembles a money line. If the game ends in a draw, you will get your stake back in full.

Typical three-way moneylines look something like this:

Liverpool +105 Draw +270 Real Madrid +250

1x, 1/2, and x2

Soccer betting sites also let you make double-choice bets (with worse odds, of course). You have three different moneyline options; the home team will win or draw, the away team will win or draw, or one of the teams will win. American betting sites aren’t very keen on this real money betting option, but they’re often seen on European betting platforms.

Spread Bets

Followers of the NFL, MLB, and NBA are used to seeing spread bets like -6,5 or even -12,5. This never happens in soccer, where the games are low scoring. The most common spreads are -0,5 and -1,5.

The Asian Handicap

The Asian handicap lets you choose the line anywhere between -0,25 to around -4,75. The system for Asian Handicap is admittedly complex, as it involves splitting the wager into smaller fractions and introduces handicaps of 0.25, 0.50, and 0.75.

For example, let’s say there’s an option of over or under 1.75 goals. If you choose to bet over 1.75, you’re placing half of your wager on over 1.50, and the other half on over 2.0 goals. If there are two goals scored, you’ll win half of the bet and push the other half. If there are more than two goals, you’ll win both wagers. Less than two goals and your bets lose.

The system is admittedly complex and takes some time to learn. However, internalizing this option is worth the effort for true soccer fans. The wagering options for a soccer bettor increase drastically after learning the handicap system.

Over / Under Bets (Totals)

Totals bets work like every other totals stake in sports. However, you can have total wagers on a lot more than just points. On online soccer betting sites, in addition to goals, you can wager on the number of corner kicks, offsides, and the number of warnings given out by the referee.

Soccer Proposition Bets

Sports betting options for any event include prop bets or proposition bets. Soccer betting sites are no different in this regard, and soccer prop bets are often found on bet slips. However, online soccer prop bets are a bit different from other sports. These are some of the options you’ll most likely discover at any betting site.

  • 1st Player to Score: Betting on the first player to score in a game
  • 1st Player to Receive a Card: Betting on the player who’s the first to get a yellow or a red card from the referee
  • Number of Cards/Fouls Points in the Game: The number of cards treats every foul as equal. The number of foul points, however, scores every yellow card as a 1 and every red card as a 2
  • Number of Corner Kicks: Betting on the number of corners
  • Whether there will be a Penalty Kick: If the referee calls a penalty kick to either of the teams

In Play Betting

In-play betting, or live soccer betting, is one of the most popular wagering methods. Soccer offers one of the best live betting opportunities for a casual player. The betting options are basically limitless: you can bet on essentially anything. Will the following action be a foul, goal, side throw, or an offside? Soccer online live betting offers the opportunity to bet on any and all of these options.


Soccer parlays work just as they do in other popular sports. You pick multiple soccer games and hope you get them all right. However, one thing to remember when you bet on soccer: although the strongest teams usually win their games, the level of competition, especially in Europe, is very high, and even mid-level teams can often get a draw, so be very careful with your soccer parlay bets. Of course, you can also use this to your advantage, as the best sites have betting options where you can bet x2, 1x, or 1/2 on the money line.

Soccer Odds

Soccer is a global sport, so there are various ways to present the betting odds. In the US, however, the most prominent odds are the American odds. If the odds for the favorite are at -125, you’re winning $100 by wagering $125. If the underdog team is sitting at +320, you’ll win $320 by betting $100. Likewise, if the odds of a draw are at +270, by betting $100, you’re looking at potential winnings of $270.

If you’re feeling unsure about your odds, you can visit our odds calculator.

Soccer Betting Tips & Strategies

So, how should a new soccer bettor approach this complex sport? Like with any other sport, betting on soccer isn’t easy, and even the smallest things could alter the outcome of the match. Here are some soccer betting guidelines to keep in mind.

Know Your Teams

In order to place educated bets, knowing the teams and players is crucial. A top-ranking team could struggle against an underdog due to their defensive strategy, and an underperforming player could drastically change the outcome of a team. Likewise, staying on top of injuries and lineup changes could make or break a winning bet. Sports news sites like ESPN provide pretty decent soccer coverage for this purpose.

Having a look at statistics isn’t a bad idea, either, as they might shed light on a recurring struggle a team could have.

Familiarize Yourself with the Rules of the Sportsbook

Sportsbooks might apply different rules on various wagers. Before placing any soccer bets, make sure you know what exactly you’re betting on. For example, with knockout games, check if your bet includes extra time or penalty shots: a moneyline bet could only consider the 90 minutes of game time, whereas player props might take extra time into consideration.

Tournament Tactics

Know if you’re betting on games that have significant value. Especially in tournaments, there are games that don’t altercate the standings of either of the teams. If one of the best teams in a tournament has already confirmed their spot in the next rounds, they’re probably not going to include their best players in the lineup of a game that doesn’t hold any potential value for the team. A top team benching its best players could mean better winning opportunities for the underdog team.

Browse the Sportsbooks

Check which online betting platforms provide the most value specifically for soccer bets. Some of the top sportsbooks in the US might have surprisingly worse betting lines or prices for soccer than other sports. Likewise, if you’re especially interested in live betting, it’s probably beneficial to choose a betting platform that offers the best live betting experience.

Betting States in the US

So, where exactly can you bet on soccer? Numerous states in the US have regulated sports betting, and we’ve listed them below for your convenience. The links will redirect you to state-specific sports betting pages where you can find information about the sportsbooks available in each state.

Soccer Betting FAQ

Is soccer betting legal in USA?

Yes. There are over a dozen states where online gambling regulations allow sports betting. You can find extensive reviews of different soccer betting sites in legal sports betting states on BonusFinder.

Can I bet on the US National Team?

Yes. Whenever the Stars and the Stripes take part in international event like the World Cup, Copa America, or qualification for these tournaments, their games are available at online sportsbooks.

Can I bet on Premier League in the US?

Yes, you can. You can also bet on other fan favorites like La Liga, Bundesliga, and the top-tier Champions League are available in all major sportsbooks.


Riku is the Editor in Chief at BonusFinder and is a global expert in casino, sports betting and poker.