Soccer has been the world’s most popular sport for quite some time, though it is only now really beginning to gain some serious traction as a popular sport in the United States.
The domestic league, Major League Soccer, has grown exponentially in recent years. The league started with only 10 teams in 1993, but is now up to 22 heading into next season with two more teams set to begin play in 2018.
While that has helped soccer gain notoriety in this part of the world, it also helps that foreign leagues are being broadcast in the U.S. on a large scale nowadays. NBC has made it easy to watch every single English Premier League game that takes place all season long.
FOX has the German Bundesliga covered, while BeIn Sports has emerged as a home for La Liga in Spain, Ligue 1 in France and Seria A in Italy.
If you want to watch a game taking place in one of Europe’s biggest leagues, you can likely find it somewhere on your television set here in the United States.
FOX held the broadcast rights to the 2015 Women’s World Cup, and it proved to be a cash cow beyond expectations. The event generated about $40 million in ad revenue for the broadcast company, which was more than double the initial projection.
It helped that the American women’s team wound up winning the tournament, but that still shows how much domestic advertisers now have invested in the sport.
While soccer still has a ways to go in this country before it reaches the heights that football or even basketball have in recent years, its popularity is clearly surging.
The domestic expansion of the sport’s popularity has also brought with it an increased interest in gambling on the game. Gambling on this sport is a massive industry around the world, and you’ll even see some clubs with gambling company sponsors on their jerseys.
This is the most popular sport on earth, so naturally it is also the game that garners the most bets on a worldwide scale. According to the BBC, as of three years ago, estimations including both legal and illegal gambling markets on soccer suggested that the industry is worth somewhere between $700 billion and $1 trillion per year.
As of 2013, more than $33 billion had been awarded to more than 61 million people worldwide in soccer betting winnings.
While it may not have that same high profile in the States just yet, you can still find places online to bet on the beautiful game. As usual, you can gamble on the spread, moneyline and implied total if you are so inclined.
There are also countless props and in-game bets from which to choose. If you think you have a game pegged, you can place a bet on what the final score will be. You think Manchester City will beat Everton 2-1? Place a wager on that exact score line and count your cash afterward.
You can bet on the total number of goals to be scored. You can bet on which team will score more goals in either half. You can bet on a team scoring within the first 10 minutes of the game. You can bet on whether a player will be sent off with a red card.
There are also time specific props, such as whether a goal, card, corner or penalty will occur within the first or last five minutes of a match, for example.
Player props are out there, as well. If you think Diego Costa is a lock to beat Hugo Lloris and find the back of the net, then have at it. You can bet on a player recording a hat trick or even parlay a player scoring with a team getting a win/loss result.
Some sites also offer the opportunity to place a wager on when a player will score. If you think Costa will score between the 20th minute and halftime, that is a bet you are able to place.
Some sites will even take bets on the number of corner kicks each team will take. There is really no limit. If you can think of something on which to place a wager, you can likely find it somewhere.
In-play wagering in a game like soccer can be particularly tricky. Scoring typically comes at a premium in this sport. Goals are random and do not tend to come in flurries. Just because one guy is able to score does not mean a deluge of goals will be on the way.
Knowing tendencies of players and coaches will always give you an advantage. Goals are statistically more likely to come in the last 15 minutes of a game than they are during any other period over the course of the 90 minutes. Defensive players tend to get more fatigued as a game wears on, which gives an inherent advantage to those trying to put the ball into the net.
Let’s say, for example, that Liverpool is trailing a game 2-1 in the latter stages and is desperate to even things up. If you know Jurgen Klopp is going to bring on striker Daniel Sturridge in an attempt to get that equalizing goal, you can place an in-game bet on that happening.
A draw may be the most likely result in some matches, but more often than not there is likely to be at least one goal scored in every game. If a game remains scoreless for a while, the odds of the game resulting in a draw will increase. That likely means there is decent money to be made if you place a live bet on one team eventually finding themselves a goal and coming out on top.
Game intensity in a 90-minute soccer match is likely to ebb and flow throughout. Some setting, such as rivalry derby games, tournament fixtures or relegation/promotion battles may be sources of additional intensity. Emotions tend to run higher in games with more meaning, so being aware of external motivators can prove advantageous.
You can find odds for just about any league around the world, but the biggest money will always be in the aforementioned English Premier League, La Liga in Spain and the Bundesliga in Germany.
Those are renowned as the three top leagues on the planet, with the Premier League being the circuit that garners the majority of the interest in the United States.
The Premier League is thought to be the deepest league top-to-bottom in the world. Much of La Liga’s popularity is centered on three teams: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, arguably the world’s two greatest active players, play for Real and Barca, respectively.
“El Clasico”, a game between Spanish rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona, is the most-watched single game worldwide every year. However, the true pinnacle of the world’s game is the World Cup, which comes around every four years.
An estimated 3.2 billion people worldwide tuned in for at least part of the 2014 World Cup, with a whopping one billion people watching the final between Germany and Argentina on television.
The most-watched competition during the annual European domestic season is the UEFA Champions League. This competition pits the top teams from each league around Europe against one another in a midweek knockout format.
The 2016 Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid attracted in excess of 380 million viewers around the world.
The most basic form of soccer gambling is based on the three-way outcome of a game. Team A wins, Team B wins, or they tie.
All soccer bets are settled on the 90 minutes of “regular time” played in a given game. If a tournament game is tied after 90 minutes and heads into extra time, the result of that bet is a “draw”, regardless of which team eventually comes out on top.
Quite simply, if you think both teams will score at least once in any given game, you can place a wager on that. The idea here would be to try and target a game featuring two attack-minded squads going up against one another. If a certain team has a penchant for sitting back and defending, they are certainly not a team you want to be targeting with a bet such as this. The outcome of the game does not matter with this bet. You are just banking on goals being scored.
As mentioned above, the three outcomes when it comes to soccer games are win, lose or draw. A Double Chance bet allows you to cover two of the three. If you think a team has a strong chance at coming out of a game with at least a point, you can bet on them to win or draw. You only lose the bet in this instance if the team on which you place the bet loses the game.
This is a fine option if you are unable to decide whether a certain team has a better chance of winning or drawing. If they manage to get one result or the other, you win. You are just betting on them not to lose. The odds and payout will be lower than if you just bet on that team winning, but money is money.
Assuming you have done some research, you know which clubs out there are capable of scoring goals in bunches and which clubs struggle to break anybody down. Low scoring games are more likely to end in draws, of course, so if you want to bet on a draw choosing a game between two low scoring teams makes the most sense.
If a team struggles to score goals, they are more likely to sit back and try and prevent the opponent from scoring on them, in turn. This strategy can lead to some ugly, goalless games, but those are the ones in which you are betting on a draw. Trying to predict a draw in a game featuring at least one high scoring club is a far riskier strategy.
Picking a team to win may be more fun than hoping for a draw, but there are some instances in which betting on a draw is the smartest strategy.
If you are a soccer fan and you feel like you have a solid grasp on how the game works, then trying your hand at placing a bet could prove fruitful. There are countless possibilities when it comes to gambling on the world’s most popular sport.
If you do not feel confident in predicting the outcome of a given match, then opting for a player prop or a time specific prop is a nice alternative. There are plenty of avenues to explore when it comes to betting on soccer, and it’s never too late to get started.
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