Soccer — or futbol as it's known outside the United States — has remained untouched as the world's favorite sport for centuries. However, that popularity hasn't kept pace inside America where the sport trails football, baseball, and basketball in viewership and participation. But there's evidence to suggest that's quickly changing. Major League Soccer has expanded from 16 clubs in 2010 to 23 in 2018 (and more coming soon). With attendance averages of 22,000 fans per match, MLS ranks seventh worldwide.
Even beyond MLS, English Premier League and Liga MX games commonly earn higher TV ratings than the domestic league. All this data points toward soccer becoming the country's third-favorite sport sooner rather than later.
What does this mean to you? Now is the time to add soccer to your wagering arsenal — if you don't currently. Even if you're already a seasoned soccer bettor, this guide will help you navigate through the sport's trickery waters.
Before we get started, you need to pick a sportsbook (or two)! Below is our top-10 online betting site rankings to give you a frame of reference.
Best Soccer Betting Promotions
Sometimes, getting an unbeatable promotional offer is a matter of timing. Sportsbooks usually pull out all the stops with big-time bonuses during large-scale tournaments like the FIFA World Cup or UEFA European Championship. So be sure to check out our website during the summer because the chances are high that a betting site is begging you with free money to join them!
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These rankings were largely formulated based off a sportsbook's reputation and quality of bonus. The latter of which is what drive's our core mission: finding the best bonuses and promotions for bettors.
While nearly all sportsbooks offer promotions to hook new bettors, no two bonuses are alike. Some offers are geared more for the "high-rollers" while others are for the everyday gambler. You need to ask yourself, which are you?
If you have a fairly large bankroll, then BetOnline is for you. The platform's welcome bonus can be maxed out to a jaw-dropping $1,250 in free money. However, with a rollover requirement of 10X, that means you'll need to place $12,500 worth of bets before the bonus is withdrawable.
Don't worry if you don't fall into this category, though. After all, betting isn't about what you start with, it's about what you end with. If your starting budget is more modest, then TopBet is right up your alley. Its rollover rate of 5X means the free sign-up bonus money your rack up on the service is quicker to withdraw.
Word of advice: have a rotation of sportsbooks at your disposal. It's easy to fall into the trap of having a single site handle all your betting action. However, it's wiser to utilize two or three sportsbooks and compare odds against each other. This guarantees you'll be receiving max value on all wagers. With soccer leagues year-round, the savings will add up in the long run, trust us.
Top-Rated Soccer Betting Sites
Up-to-the-minute promotions from some of the United States' most-trusted sportsbooks:
- Bovada — 50-percent sign-up bonus up to $250 (rollover rate 5X)
- BetOnline — 50-percent sign-up bonus up to $2,500 (rollover rate 10X)
- TopBet — 100-percent sign-up bonus up to $1,000 (rollover rate 5X)
- 5Dimes — 50-percent sign-up bonus up to $520 (rollover rate 10X)
- SportsBetting — 75-percent sign-up bonus up to $1,000 (rollover rate 12X)
We've talked a lot about bonus offers, but it's also not the quintessential feature of a sportsbook. Other factors to keep top-of-mind when selecting a sportsbook are odds, betting selection, as well as options for live betting and cash-out. We'll elaborate more on these further down the guide.
Online Soccer Betting Options
Soccer touches every corner of the globe, meaning there's almost always a matchup to wager on. For example, the two strongest soccer leagues in the world — Spain's La Liga and English Premier League — play between August and May. International tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup or UEFA's Champions League span the summer. While MLS covers the calendar from March to December. This sport is very much a 24/7 affair, which could benefit or hurt bettors.
To avoid spreading yourself too thin, it's advisable to really "own" one league — know everything about it and the players that make it up. With the world's best talents centered in Europe, La Liga and EPL would be smart leagues to master. Moreover, the same players making noise in those two leagues will cause a similar ruckus at the international level, so really you're knocking out two birds with one stone here.
Once you know a league in and out, it's time to put money where your mouth is! The following are the most-common bet types you'll find in the soccer realm:
- Full-time Result/Three-Way Moneyline
This wager is as simple as it gets: bet which team will win or if the game will end in a draw. Normally, this is constrained to 90-minute regulation (plus injury time) only — therefore extra time, golden goal or penalty shootout won't affect the bet outcome.
To drive the point home, here's a win-draw-win scenario. Say FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are playing their always-anticipated El Classico matchup. Barcelona could be favored at -120, while Madrid are +155 underdogs, and the draw is +125. It's not uncommon for the tie to have lower odds than the underdog.
- Draw, No Bet/Two-Way Moneyline
Near identical to the previous wager, only with a draw being removed from the equation. With one less betting option, the odds become more inflated between the two teams. Using the same El Classico example, lines could swell up to -175 for Barcelona and +190 for Real Madrid. If you're absolutely convinced an underdog is going to win, it's more lucrative to take their odds in a two-way moneyline instead of three-way.
Let's say the game does indeed end in a draw, you'll neither win or lose your bet. Instead, your stake is returned for a "push." So in a way, a draw result is insurance for your bet.
- Goal Spread
Not unlike the usual point spreads found in American football and basketball, each team is given a goal-spread to cover. The favored team is "handicapped" and will need to win by a certain margin, while the underdog can't lose by that same margin or more.
With goals coming at a premium in soccer, spreads are usually low. A slight favorite will be given a 0.5 spread, whereas a 1.5 spread and higher are reserved for big favorites.
For example, let's say Brazil and Peru are playing a World Cup qualifying match. Brazil could open as -1 favorites, meaning Peru would enter as +1 longshots. In this case, Brazil needs to win by at least two goals to win the bet. Peru has more ways to cover, either by winning outright or tying. If the game ends 2-1 in favor of Brazil, both sides push and receive their wager back.
- Goal Totals
This one's pretty self-explanatory, but a sportsbook will set an over/under on total goals scored between both teams. Again, with scoring being low in soccer, this number usually hovers around 2.5. For the over to hit, three goals would need to be netted, while two or fewer results in an under. If the over/under is set at a whole number — 3 for reference — finishing with that exact number equals a push.
- Correct Score
The riskiest soccer bet and with that, the most lucrative, too. You're betting the exact outcome of a match — not only who wins, but also by what score. Obviously, the added difficulty is reflected in the odds available, which will largely be plus-money lines all around.
This is the ultimate high-risk, high-reward wager. It's a guaranteed thrill ride, but don't attempt to become rich off these. Getting them right is a crapshoot more than anything so consistency is practically nonexistent.
And not unlike other sports, soccer is dotted with future and prop bets, as well. The former is for patient bettors that are willing to wait months for a result, such as which team will claim the league championship. The latter offers propositions on numerous games that don't directly relate around who wins. Case in point, which player will score first or if a red card will be given out. Prop bets are the perfect way to heighten a game.
Soccer Betting Sites With Cash Out
Wouldn't it be a game-changer if you could cut your losses mid-game and earn a small portion of your wager back? Well, the game has already been changed because the cash-out feature has become a staple of online betting sites.
It's not a feature you'll find everywhere (yet), but as mobile internet speeds continue to climb, it'll become more and more common. At the moment, sportsbooks vary widely in its use, as in how many games or leagues come with the betting option.
Without question, Bet365 are leading the cash-out movement. The sportsbook offers the usual partial cash-out option, giving bettors the ability to earn an adjusted price on their ticket. This price fluctuates depending on the score and time remaining.
However, Bet365 has gone one step further with their introduction of automatic cash-out. This option works similarly, only it's self-activating (meaning you won't have to physically make the bet in-game). Bettors can set their parameters for cashing out — say once a team goes down by two goals — well in advance and instantly earn back their money. This is a must-have feature if you aren't going to be following the game play-by-play.
When Should You Use Cash Out
- On the last leg of the parlay — the agony of losing on the final wager of a multi-bet parlay is unmatched. But with cash out, you can avoid that excruciating pain, while guaranteeing most of the payout. If you're feeling uneasy about your final leg, just cash out. No need to get greedy and hold out for the max payout.
- When your ticket is all but toast — Say you bet Chivas-America to draw, but Chivas has "parked the bus" with a 1-0 lead, just mail it in. Admittedly, if your bet is on the verge of losing, your cash-out winnings won't be substantial, but our philosophy is "some money is better than no money." Sportsbooks usually cut-off the cash-out option if five minutes or less are remaining, so be wary of the game clock.
- If news breaks — Has a star player suddenly been ruled out with an injury? Has a scandal been uncovered that'll surely disrupt team preparation? If such details arise after you placed a wager, call it quits — preferably before the game even kicks off. Cash-outs before a match gets underway almost always pay the highest.
Sportsbooks all have their respective pros and cons. The easiest way to select which platform suits you best is to really understand what you're looking for. Unbeatable odds? Large selection of betting options? In-play betting? To make it easy, here's the top sportsbooks for each of the following criteria:
The Best Odds For Soccer
We've spent a big chunk of this guide breaking down bonus offers and promotions, but Pinnacle doesn't offer any. Now, that's completely by design and actually what makes Pinnacle second-to-none in offering best-value odds.
Instead of dangling free money for new bettors, Pinnacle plays the long game by offering the lowest margins on odds among online betting sites. Over time, these low odds end up being more lucrative than any sign-up bonus. Pinnacle is consistently ranked number-one in payouts for a reason.
Moreover, Pinnacle is very liberal about its max bet limit. For soccer games, Pinnacle is known to accept as much as $15,000 and $45,000 wagers on moneyline and spreads, respectively. That's almost unheard of for online sportsbooks.
Between the lowest odds around and crazy-high bet limits, there's no sportsbook that is more lucrative for winning bettors than Pinnacle. And we mean none!
Akin to Pinnacle, Betfair achieves player-friendly odds thanks in part to their own unique site feature — betting exchange. The option allows bettors to wage against other bettors, not the actual sportsbook itself, which is far from the norm.
Sportsbooks typically earn their money from "the juice" off odds (e.g. needing to bet $110 to win $100). If sportsbooks can get even money on both sides of a wager, they'll earn profit on the juice regardless of who wins or loses. However, with betting exchange, the "juice" is significantly lowered and bettors come closer to earning true odds on each wager.
This peer-to-peer model has been perfected by Betfair. Data suggests that betting exchange offers up to 20 percent more value than the traditional sportsbook model. With thousands of registered players, finding an opposing bettor on Betfair is almost a given.
Largest Selection For Soccer Betting
No online betting site handles more volume than Bovada. Despite the high traffic, Bovada never flinches. Money goes in and out of the platform completely hassle-free.
With a decade-plus existence, Bovava has become a reputable name among betters. And the reason players keep coming back to the platform is its vast betting selection, which is comparable to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Seriously!
You won't ever run into issues with Bovada in finding a soccer bet. The platform has lines for dozens of leagues and all the games in it. Plus, Bovada specializes in prop betting, which can make even the most mundane match a must-see affair.
Not only does BetOnline have a plethora of bets to choose from, their biggest advantage over other sportsbooks is getting lines up first. Almost no one beats BetOnline in the race to put up odds. If you're one of those bettors that likes to get ahead of the injury report or "smart money" then BetOnline is tailor-made for you!
Another strength of BetOnline is its ease of use. When you offer as much betting options as BetOnline, it could become problematic finding them listed in a neat and orderly way. Not with BetOnline, though! Just click the sport, league, game, and your bet is in safe hands within seconds.
Live Betting On Soccer
If it was up to us, live betting would be mandatory on all sportsbooks. It's a groundbreaking way to wager on sports, giving you the opportunity to get a feel for the matchup and teams mid-game. Unfortunately, in-play betting isn't commonplace (yet).
Still, Bettson is dedicated to the feature moreso than any other online betting platform. Not only can you bet on the usual desktop website, live-play is also available on mobile devices. This is crucial for on-the-go gamblers that can't always watch a game from the comfort of their own home.
Furthermore, Bettson separates themselves from the competition by having a large selection of soccer games available for live betting. All in all, you can't really go wrong with Bettson if in-play betting is a must for you.
We've already lauded Bet365's cash-out feature so it comes as no surprise that live betting is also their calling card. The two features go hand-in-hand and Bet365 has mastered the user experience on both ends.
Like Bettson, Bet365 also offers in-play betting for mobile users. This is especially important if using cash-out because timing is everything with the feature. If you're at the bar and your England moneyline bet is in danger, hit the cash out and save some winnings!
Live Streaming Soccer
Just when you thought our praise of Bet365 was over...nope! If you haven't realized it by now, Bet365 is the undisputed leader for online-savvy players. The platform's technology and features are created and honed to perfection with a digital-native bettor in mind.
Thousands of soccer matches across every continent are streamed on Bet365, which solves two common issues bettors come across in soccer:
1) Finding a game between foreign opponents — If you're in America, there's no guarantee you'll find an overseas game on TV or online. Unless its Arsenal or Manchester United, NBC isn't in a hurry to broadcast all Premier League matches. The same goes for other networks and their respective TV rights deal with international leagues.
2) Cable and satellite TV fees — Piggybacking off the previous issue, do you know how expensive TV packages become when you include networks like beIN (carries La Liga and Serie A), Univision (La Liga MX), FOX (MLS & World Cup), plus others? Take our word for it, it gets pricey in a hurry.
Thankfully, we have Bet365 to save us boatloads of money and become the go-to spot to stream games. Having a reliable and quality stream on-hand really enhances the live-betting experience, too.
Latest Betting Sites For Soccer
- Leo Vegas
- Royal Panda
- Mr Green
With such a high demand for sports wagering, the sportsbooks market has and always will be crowded. The aforementioned platforms are a few of the new entrants that have caught our attention. Thanks to soccer's massive following, you can almost guarantee every sportsbook, new or old, will have lines for the sport.
Word of caution, though: always look up a sportsbook on our site before signing up. We're committed to informing bettors on the best sportsbooks available, along with top-of-the-line bonuses and promotions. If we haven't reviewed a betting site, perhaps it's because it's not worth your attention or money.