Close mobile menu

The sport known as “football” in most parts of the world (association football, to be exact) used to be frowned upon in the United States, but Major League Soccer has helped change all that; now stadiums across the continent are packed with eager fans – and eager bettors.

You can join the fun by betting on soccer at Bovada Sportsbook. There’s tons of soccer odds available; it doesn’t have to be the MLS brand either. All the major professional leagues from around the world are on tap, as well as international matches – with the quadrennial World Cup at the top of the mountain. To help you get the most out of your wagers at Bovada, we’re proud to present the best 9 soccer betting tips, starting with the most important tip of all.

1. Don’t Bet Money You Can’t Afford to Lose

No matter what sport you’re betting on, and no matter how sharp you are, it’s vitally important to keep your bankroll at Bovada Sportsbook separate from the rest of your money. There’s a lot of luck involved in sports – especially in soccer, where goals are harder to come by than in other sports. You can do all the right things as a bettor and still go through downswings where things just aren’t going your way. Be sure to set yourself, and stick to, an appropriate bankroll.

2. Size Your Bets Appropriately

Once you’ve got your betting bankroll cordoned off, some smart money management will go a long way towards growing your balance over time. As with other sports, if you’re good at soccer betting, it’s like flipping a coin that will land on Heads about 53% of the time. You want to bet Heads, of course, but you also want to spread that other 47% around by placing a large number of small bets, instead of risking your entire bankroll on one big bet.

As a beginner, the easiest way to do this is to divide your bankroll into 100 units, and bet one unit at a time. As your bankroll goes up, you can make bigger bets; if your bankroll slides, make sure to downsize your bets accordingly.

3. Be a Contrarian

A key tip for soccer betting is to profit from the “recreational” bettors in the marketplace by doing the exact opposite of what they do. Most of the people who bet on soccer are just doing it for a thrill, and aren’t putting too much thought into it. For example, if casual bettors are on the LA Galaxy just because Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez plays for them, you’re almost certain to get a good price on whichever team the Galaxy are facing. If you do the correct research, then you can find real, profitable scenarios similar to this example.

4. Do Your Research

If you’re serious about betting on soccer, you’ll take the time to widen the information gap between you and the recreational bettors as much as possible. Again, most fans don’t put too much research into their wagers; most fans form their opinions by listening to mainstream soccer commentary, which is weighted more towards bluster than sharp analysis.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of smart commentary out there on the internet – and much of it is free. You’ll also find advanced statistics like Expected Goal Difference per 90 Minutes (xGD/90), which will give you a clearer picture of how well a team is performing than simple wins and losses. It’s like Moneyball, but for soccer.

It’s also important to research players’ availability. While 11 players make up the team, missing even just one of them can influence a team’s performance on the field. Keep your eye on an major injuries being reported before placing your bet.

5. Seek out Small-Market Value

As a general rule, casual fans don’t pay too much attention to the teams outside the big media markets. That doesn’t necessarily mean teams like New York Red Bulls aren’t good enough to beat the odds, but it does mean you’re more likely to find betting value with teams from smaller markets, especially as you get farther and farther away from the Eastern Time Zone.

6. Big Games = Big Money

The more important a match is, the more likely casual bettors will be coming out of the woodwork to throw a few dollars at their favorite team. The World Cup is about as big as soccer gets; the quadrennial UEFA Euro tournaments also bring in tons of bettors, as do the Champions League and other major events.

As more of these casual fans come in and bet with their hearts on Team A, the book is incentivized to move the odds and offer a better price for Team B, trying to balance the action. Again, it doesn’t always happen this way, but it’s most likely to happen when there’s a ton of money flooding in on a “public” team in a big-time match.

7. Bet Early (or Maybe Late)

The odds for each soccer match at Bovada Sportsbook are posted well in advance, and remain on the board until just before game time. You’ll usually find the most betting value the moment the odds hit the board; bettors haven’t had time yet to move in and influence the market, which means these lines are about as “soft” (i.e. exploitable) as they’ll get.

You also might find some last-minute betting value on match day. Most casual fans don’t bet until game time draws near, especially if it’s the weekend. If they come in and dump a lot of money on one side, like in Tip No. 6, the other side could be available at a good price just before betting closes.

8. Scoreless Draws are Value Picks

Recreational fans tend to bet on outcomes that they want to see happen, like their favorite team winning, or the score going Over the posted total – people want more goals, not fewer. As a result, the “0-0” Exact Score bet is often a good target for value-minded shoppers. To most soccer fans in the United States, but elsewhere as well, the next-worst thing after losing is a scoreless draw. Take advantage of these bargains where appropriate.

9. Have Fun

Finally, we come to Tip No. 9, which ties everything together. If you’re good enough to be on the winning side 53-54% of the time, you can make a profit betting on soccer, but as they say, it’s a hard way to make an easy living. There are other, much easier things you could be doing that will make you a lot more money.

The thing is, most of those aren’t nearly as much fun as soccer. Focus on the entertainment value you get from betting the matches; anything you earn on top of that is gravy. This will keep you from suffering when you go on one of those inevitable downswings – and it will help you keep things in perspective when you’re on a hot streak.


Sign up to Bovada today!