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Three Soccer Bet Types You Need to Master

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Three Soccer Bet Types You Need to Master
(Photo by PRAKASH MATHEMA / AFP)

With American sports being suspended, more people are realizing how fun watching and betting on soccer is. Read on for a breakdown of different soccer betting opportunities. 

Betting on soccer is a bit different than betting on other American sports. In a typical soccer match, there are three possible money-line results that you can choose from: Team A wins, Team B wins, or a draw. While this added third option may make a money-line bet less likely to win in soccer, the odds for each possible result are more attractive. Plus, there are a ton of different options for a soccer bet that different SBR-approved sportsbooks offer. 

Because of its expansive menu of betting options and its low juice, I will focus on Pinnacle as I break down my list of favorite soccer betting types. Please note in advance that one’s favorite bet type should typically be game-specific. I am ranking these bet types according to my level of personal enjoyability and to my expectation of long-term profitability.

3. To Win To Nil

You will want to choose this type of soccer bet when you believe that whichever team you’re betting on — let’s call it Team X — will win and that Team X’s opponent will fail to score a goal. I like this type of soccer bet because it may allow me to do two things. One, I may bet on a team to win that I ordinarily would not bet on because of the high juice attached to betting on that team. For example, Arsenal may be -229 to win against Norwich City. -229 is typically too pricey for me. But, Arsenal is +155 to win to nil against Norwich City. That is a huge difference in price.

Secondly, regardless of how expensive or inexpensive a wager on Team X to win may be, if I am additionally very confident in Team X’s defensive ability, then I may want to bet on Team X to win to nil. I would probably be more likely to bet on Team X to win to nil if I expected a lower-scoring game. A lower-scoring game would make me feel more hopeful that Team X would still invest effort defensively after it takes the lead.

Moreover, I would likely grow more inclined to wager on Team X to win to nil if I thought that the opposing team were anemic offensively. Even if the opposing team were not so weak in attack, if I thought that that team would be more likely to focus on playing compact defense and on sitting back, then I could expect that team to struggle for scoring opportunities.

To grow even surer of myself, I would also want to know how that team performs on the counter and how well Team X defends the counter. A sort of dream match-up for this type of soccer bet would be Bayern vs Augsburg.  Bayern likes to dominate possession, it is stout defensively, and Augsburg loves to sit back. So, I would bet on Bayern to win to nil.

Leipzig’s Brazilian forward Matheus Cunha (C) . (Photo by Ronny Hartmann / AFP)

2. Asian Handicap 

At Pinnacle, you can bet on the handicap in respect to the score, to corners, and to bookings. For example, while Arsenal is priced at -229 to win, you can bet on Arsenal at -1.5 at +129 or at -1.75 at +169. You would bet on Arsenal -1.75 instead of Arsenal -1.50 if you were more confident that Arsenal would win by a higher margin.

Here’s how this works: let’s say that you bet $100 on Arsenal to win -1.75. In placing this soccer bet, I effectively place $50 on Arsenal -2 and $50 on Arsenal -1.5. So, if Arsenal were to win by two goals, I would cash half of my bet — since Arsenal -1.5 would cash, while Arsenal -2 would push. The sort of exactness that is required to decide between -1.5 or -1.75 is attractive to me because I like to wager in more precise accordance with my level of confidence in a play.

But there’s a stronger reason why I enjoy this kind of wager: I love to parlay underdogs. Since I can parlay soccer prop bets at Pinnacle, I can overlook wagers with greater juice attached to them. For example, let’s say that I am fairly confident that Norwich City can keep pace with Arsenal. 

If I am feeling insecure, I can stick Norwich City +2.5 at -372 into a parlay. Yes, -372 is very juicy. But I can still do a number of things with this particular wager. One option is that I can place a conventional money-line wager into the parlay and make a greater profit than I would have if I had only invested in the single money-line wager.

1. Corners 

Another soccer bet that Pinnacle offers is corners. You can bet on the handicap — for example, -2 Arsenal means that Arsenal will get at least two more corners than Norwich City. Also, you can bet on the total number of corners in the match. This type of soccer bet is enjoyable to me on a personal level because it injects variety into my betting experience by giving me a break from caring about goals.

Moreover, this type of soccer bet is important to me financially because I find that corners often present a more accurate assessment of the match, one that would more likely reflect how I foresee the match playing out on paper. To reference a prior example, let’s say that instead of Bayern playing Augsburg, Gladbach is playing Augsburg.

In contrast to Bayern, Gladbach suffers a terrible goal conversion rate. So I can’t trust its players to convert their goal-scoring opportunities. But, I do expect Gladbach to dominate the match. So, instead of losing my mind as Augsburg’s goalkeeper makes improbable saves, I bet on Gladbach on the corner handicap.

The Verdict

While I gave my three favorite soccer bet types above, there are a bevy of honorable mentions that may be more appropriate — and personally more enjoyable to you — for a given match.

Similarly, you should take advantage of the variety of SBR-approved sportsbooks — in addition to Pinnacle — by registering at them in order to shop for the best number.