Note: The Sportsbooks listed below are ordered by the potential monetary benefit for World Cup betting and are not necessarily listed according to SBR Ratings. Although all sportsbooks listed below are in good standing, players may wish to view the SBR Rating Guide for overall ratings and utilize the SBR search feature for detailed sportsbook history.
There are two common ways to bet on the winner of a World Cup soccer match. A handicap bet is similar to a spread bet in football or basketball.
You select a World Cup team with a game spread, and if your team "covers", you win
your bet. For example, if you bet "USA +1? versus England, there are three possible
wagering outcomes: USA soccer wins outright (winning your wager), USA loses by exactly
one goal (your wager "pushes" or ties, and is refunded), or USA loses by more than
one goal, and you lose your wager.
The other common way to bet on a game is with a moneyline (ML).
On a game moneyline wager, you pick one of three outcomes: either World Cup team
to win, or that they will tie, a draw. One big difference between betting on soccer
and most other U.S. sports is how draws are handled. If you place a moneyline wager
on a soccer team and the game ends in a draw, your bet loses. A moneyline determines
the odds paid out on a winning bet. For example, if you bet on USA soccer +350,
$100 would pay winnings of $350 (plus the return of your original $100). A moneyline
of -200 risking $100 would pay winnings of $50 (plus the return of your original
$100) if it won.
Another interesting way to bet on a game is on the total, which
works similar to a total on any other sport. If you bet over 2 goals, there are
three possible outcomes: 3+ are scored (and your wager wins); exactly 2 goals scored
(your wager pushes, and your money is refunded); or fewer than 2 goals are scored
(your World Cup total bet loses).
Bets on handicaps, moneylines and totals in soccer have a major
difference with U.S. Sports. In Soccer, the result of your bet is decided by the
score at the end of regulation time before overtime is played. Regulation includes
time added for injuries (which is often an extra 2-4 minutes). Goals scored in overtime
(or a shoot-out) do not count towards those wagers. For example, if you bet on a
draw at +300, the game was tied 1-1, and England Soccer scores a goal in overtime,
your draw bet still wins.
In-game betting (or live betting) is a wager placed while the World
Cup game is being played. The spreads and/or prices are constantly changing as time
elapses and the situation changes. The spread and total offered on this normally
refer to the final score, including goals that have already occurred. For example,
if the USA is up 1-0 and you bet on USA -0.5, your bet will win if no more goals
Second half betting treats the second half as a separate game.
Similar to game bets, it does not include scoring from overtime. Any spread or total
offered does not include any scoring from the first half. For example, if you bet
over 1.5 goals for the second half when the score was 2-0, there must be 2 more
goals scored in the second half of teh World Cup match for your bet to win.
When placing any type of bet, a player should be aware of the house hold,
or advantage. The sportsbook hold is what percent of a player's money will be lost
on average. For example, if a book offers a handicap of Britain -0.5 -110 / USA
+0.5 -110, the hold is about 4.5%. If you risked $110 to win $100 on both sides
of the same game, you would win $100 and lose $110, for a net loss of $10 out of
$220 risked. $10 / $220 = 4.5%.
Another way to describe the house hold or edge is by describing
the line in "cents". A 20-cent line is the normal rate, and has a house edge of
4.5%. Any rate less than this (for example Pinnacle Sportsbook's 6-cent line on
game day) is known as reduced vigorish (or reduced vig) because the house's edge
is smaller. The less vigorish a player pays, the more likely he is to win in the
Another common bet on a game is a half time / full time wager.
This is basically a 2-selection parlay. For each of the first half and game, you
must select a team to win or draw. Just as in moneyline bets for the game, a draw
in the first half makes any team pick a losing play for that time period.
A Clean sheet bet is whether your team will shut out the other
team. For example, if you bet "Will the U.S. have a clean sheet", your bet will
win if the other team does not score any goals; if one or more are scored, it will
Proposition bets (or prop bets) are wagers on something other than
a spread/moneyline/total. There are all sorts of prop bets available in World Cup
soccer, including bets on yellow and red cards, corner kicks, off-sides, first goal
scorer, and just about any other event that can occur in a soccer match. Proposition
bets frequently have sportsbook specific rules, so it is important to actually read
those rules if you are taking part in prop betting.
A Future bet is any wager on how far a team will advance. For example,
you could bet on whether the U.S. will advance out of its group stage, or whether
Brazil will advance to the final match. An Outright is a bet on who will win the
World Cup. A bet on how many wins a team will finish with, in any league, is often
categorized as a futures bet. Futures betting usually has its own sportsbook category
but is considered a type of prop bet, as it is not one of the three standard ways
(side, moneyline or total) of wagering on an event.
A lot of sportsbooks give out special World Cup bonuses. A sportsbook bonus is incentive for a player to try a new sportsbook (or keep
playing if he has lost his balance). There are two common forms of sportsbook bonus.
The first is a cash bonus. This is money that is immediately added to your account
after depositing. For example, if you deposited $100 and received a 100% cash bonus,
your betting account would immediately have $200 after your deposit. A second type
of bonus is a free play. This bonus gives you money you can wager
one time, and the free play risk amount will disappear whether you win or lose with that wager.
With any bonus, there is a rollover requirement. Most books add your bonus and deposit,
and multiply that by the rollover requirement to come up with the
total amount needed to wager before cashing out. For example, if you deposited $100
and collected a $100 World Cup bonus, your rollover base is $200. If your had 8x
rollover, you would multiply your base of $200 times 8, giving you a requirement
of $1600. Until you give that sportsbook $1600 in bets, you have not earned the
bonus. Most books do not allow withdrawals or have significant penalties for withdrawing
until you meet this rollover.
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