Football betting has simply exploded in recent years. In fact, we’d say it’s more popular now than ever before. Advertising for it is absolutely everywhere, from our TV screens, to our magazines, to the shirts of our favourite football clubs.
Betting has become an integral part of football culture too. For many fans, the weekly bet is as much a part of football as going to the match. Nothing helps soften the blow of your team’s humiliating home defeat quite like your cheeky £5 accumulator bet doing the business for you.
Some supporters even take an emotional approach to hedge-betting by wagering against their time to ensure that they either have a win to celebrate or plenty of winnings to help drown their sorrows. Others would never consider such a treasonous act as betting on their team to lose.
Betting apps for iPhone and Android have revolutionised the football betting markets though. As Ray Winstone and co. are keen to remind you, the options for in-play betting are almost limitless. Watch any given game closely enough, develop a good feel for the game and the teams involved, and you’ll invariably be able to find some great in-play value.
Next, first and anytime scorer bets; first and next booking; times of goals; half-time result; number of corners; last team to score; Asian handicaps and a host of other popular betting markets are available to choose from.
Sometimes the choice of where to put your money can be a little overwhelming, but at OTP we tend to keep it as simple as possible and point you in the direction of flutters that we fancy in some of the more traditional or simple betting markets.
Best Betting Events to Take a Punt On
The Champions League
The familiar violin strings that waltz us in to the beginning of every game, followed by the by the infamous choir projection brings any die hard football fan’s hairs on end when watching the Champions League. For the clubs it offers the chance to compete for more than €60m in prize and TV money, for the fans and players it is glory on the highest stage in professional football.
The attraction for bettors is the possibility for some pretty juicy accumulators in the group stages featuring a lot of big names. The knockout format allows for a wonderful air of unpredictability that those playing the long odds love. Many will remember a relatively unknown Porto side managed by Jose Mourinho defying expectations and winning the competition in 2003, doubtless making a couple of investors significantly richer.
There’s a reason why the Premier League recently sold viewing rights in the UK for £5bn. It is without a doubt the most entertaining league in the world. While it is perhaps safe to say that the best club teams in the world reside outside the EPL, the speed of play is frenetic and the level of competition is decidedly higher than La Liga and the Bundesliga, where you can expect one of two teams to win the title year on year.
The unpredictability adds to uncertainty, which is always good for betting, but most importantly as the English Premier League has become such a global brand, no matter where you are in the world you are always likely to find a place to watch a game. If you’ve placed a cheeky bet on Stoke to upset an Arsenal run but happen to live in China, chances are you are going to be able to watch the game unfold. This is particularly important if you are utilising in play betting, or cash out.
Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot
While OTP is unreservedly and unapologetically dedicated to football, we are partial to a bit of horse racing as well. The link between football and horse betting is known to be quite strong. Michael Owen, is known to have gambled (and almost certainly lost) quite a large sum of money on horses, but he is now a successful stable owner. Alex Ferguson is consistently photographed at racing events, and is also involved in owning champion horses.
There is a lot to love about horse racing: the history, the silly hats, the famous faces… and that’s without placing a bet! The great thing about horse racing festivals is you can truly have a flutter while having a really good party.
The FA Cup
The FA Cup is arguably the most prestigious domestic cup competition in the world. It draws international interest and TV viewers like few others, and has a history that stretches all the way back to 1871, making it the oldest ongoing football competition on the planet. The magic of the FA Cup lies in its endless possibilities. Over 700 clubs from all manner of leagues enter, and the single-game knockout format ensures that glorious upsets are seen every single year.
This incredible unpredictability also makes the FA Cup an excellent event to bet on. Anything can happen, in literally any tie, with Premier League “giant-killers” often netting big payouts for brave punters. Underdogs can even go on to win the whole thing – another brilliant thing about this competition – with Wigan and Portsmouth being two recent examples.
The Europa League
For a long time, the Europa League was panned as being a pitiful, second-rate competition compared to the Champions League. We won’t argue that it lacks the glitz and glamour of that contest, but actually – when the knockout rounds begin – the Europa League has some serious star power of its own.
That’s partly because, once the Champions League group stages have finished, the third-placed teams from each group get placed into the Europa League. Every year we see at least one or two top teams dropping down to the Europa League, with recent examples including Sevilla and Atletico Madrid… both of whom went on to win it. Add in a few big teams who aren’t quite good enough for the Champions League – like Arsenal, Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund in recent years – and the latter stages of the Europa League can be very exciting indeed to bet on.
Our Favourite Betting Sites
When it comes to picking who to bet with, you really are spoiled for choice in the UK. There are dozens of bookies out there, and trying to choose just one is enough to make your head spin.
We recommend doing plenty of research and taking the time to find the bookie who’s right for you. Read reviews, look at a few signup offers, and make an informed choice that will serve you well in the long-term.
To get you started, here are three bookmakers that we highly recommend:
Betway are somewhat of an emerging online bookmaker. To date they have purely functioned as an online presence since 2006, however they have recently been making quite a splash in making themselves known. Under the mantra of making betting epic, they were the principal sponsor of the biggest British boxing bout in years for Froch vs Grove and most notably became West Ham united shirt sponsor in a multi-million pound deal.
For punters, what they do have is an excellent betting interface, and the website itself is one of the best looking, user friendly products in the online gambling industry
Paddy Power have been at the forefront of combining controversy and bookmaking for quite a while, and are doing a pretty good job of it, too. They have often exchanged lawsuits for publicity but it normally makes for great entertainment all round.
They offered odds on the outcome of Paralympian Oscar Pistorious’ murder trial stating “5/1 if he walks” (geddit), and upset and duped environmentalists by pretending to cut down parts of the Amazon rainforest to offer a message of support to England in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Their Twitter account is genuinely amusing, and has an astonishing 500,000 following. Find more information about the Irish bookmaker here.
William Hill is elder statesman of the sports betting industry. Founded in 1934, it is as old and venerable institution as any bookmaker can possibly be. Even if you know nothing about gambling, you have doubtless come across one of their many high street betting shops while taking a stroll.
Elder brothers, parents or even grandparents are also likely to have used them to place bets (if they were so inclined to place the occasional flutter). We like William Hill because it is reliable and trustworthy, and almost forms part of our ancestry.