Build a winning football betting strategy | The Sun
11th September 2023

FOOTBALL is, without doubt, the most popular sport when it comes to betting in the UK. Millions of punters back teams and players throughout the season. With the Premier League and many other major competitions having recently started once again, it has never been a better time to wager on the beautiful game.

If you are looking to make the most of the football markets, promotions and features available online today, this guide is for you. This football betting strategy will look at some of the systems to consider. We will also discuss available markets and how to find the best odds. 

Why build a football betting strategy?

The most successful bettors all have some kind of strategy. Whether you are a beginner or something of a seasoned pro, it is important to have a system in place. Those who fail to do so and use a scatter-gun approach will likely lose money in the long term. While you may alter your strategy from time to time, based on your level of success, we recommend building your own strategy before getting started. 

Is there a “safest bet” in football betting?

Unfortunately, there is no bet that guarantees success when it comes to football. The competitive nature of the sport, especially the Premier League, means that even the top teams are never guaranteed to win. However, beginners often stick to simple 1×2 markets. 

Here, you are betting on the outcome of an individual match, whether it be home win, draw or away win. However, you may find that the odds here are not so appealing. This is why many turn to over/under goals, anytime goalscorer or handicap markets.

Check out our recommendation for the safest betting sites in the UK.

⚽ What are the most popular football betting strategies?

We will now outline some of the most popular and best-known strategies that can be used when betting on football. Consider the pros and cons of each before utilising one: 

Matched betting

This strategy uses the free bets and promotions offered by many online bookmakers today. You must place two bets that cover all potential outcomes. Using back and lay bets, there is no risk involved. For example, let’s say that you are betting on a Premier League clash between Arsenal and Aston Villa. You would place a back bet on Arsenal to win. 

As well as this, you must place a lay bet on Villa. As such, you will receive winnings whatever the final result is. However, this strategy requires significant research and patience, and the returns are not always large. 

Kelly Criterion

The Kelly Criterion strategy helps punters decide how much they stake on a football bet. This system will recommend that bets should only be placed if there is a difference between the bookie’s odds and your estimated odds. While it takes time to get your head around, Kelly Criterion is actually relatively simple. 

Let’s look at an example using a Champions League match between Real Madrid and Inter Milan. Using percentages, you believe Madrid has a 65% chance of winning. However, the odds from your bookie imply that Madrid has a 55% chance of winning. You will then use the equation – f* = [(b x p) – q] ÷ (b). Based on this, the strategy suggests betting 22.31% of your budget. 

b = 1.82 – 1 = 0.82

p = 0.65

q = 0.35

f*= [(b x p) – q] ÷ (b) = [(0.82 × 0.65) – 0.35] ÷ 0.82 = 0.2231

Arbitrage betting

With arbitrage betting, you wager on all potential outcomes of a match, with different bookies. However, you must be prepared to be patient in order to find value. You are looking for a market where the odds on offer are not in line with the probability. Find the highest possible odds for each outcome, before calculating how much you need to stake on each. 

Are there any football betting strategies that don’t work?

Now that you have an idea of the strategies that are popular for football fans, it is important to look at the systems that are not suited to this form of gambling. 

Fibonacci method

With this strategy, you will increase your stake after each unsuccessful bet. The thinking is that when you do make an accurate prediction, you will recuperate your losses, while also earning a small profit. However, this is not suited to beginners, as well as those betting on football. 

Martingale method

With the Martingale method, you will double your stake after each loss. Based on logic, this strategy will bring about a profit when you place a winning bet. However, you could well lose many times before you win, which makes it more difficult to gamble responsibly. 

🏟️ Is there a special football betting strategy for live betting?

Most strategies work the same way once matches are underway. With online bookies today, it is possible to bet on football games that have already kicked off. Odds are constantly changing, based on goals scored, red cards given and other factors. However, you will need to be much quicker with your calculations. This is because the price may well have changed since you first considered the market. 

💰 Which football bet has the biggest payout potential with UK bookies?

Many punters place accumulator bets in the hope of winning big. Also known as an acca, this is a single bet that features multiple selections. Each pick must win in order for your bet to be successful. The odds will increase with each selection added. As such, you can potentially earn significant payouts when wagering on multiple teams/players. 

Meanwhile, many have achieved success by placing long-term outright bets on football. For example, Leicester City’s Premier League title win in 2016, when they were 5,000/1 outsiders at the start of the season. 

📋 What to focus on when researching your football betting strategy

Before confirming any football betting strategy, there are a number of factors that you should consider. The following are among the points to focus on: 

  • Recent form – Be sure to look at the recent results of the teams involved. You may find that a club has failed to win any of their last 5 matches or are on a winning streak. 
  • Head-to-head record – Also consider the head-to-head record of the teams in question. While going back 30 years may not be so helpful, results over recent years may well be of interest. There are plenty of teams who seemingly have the Midas touch over some of their rivals. 
  • Team news – Is a star striker out with an injury? Is the captain missing out through suspension? Team news is hugely important to consider before placing bets. Even the smallest change to a team’s starting XI can have a significant impact on the eventual result. It is easy to find details surrounding player availability online today. 
  • League table – Finally, study the standings ahead of kick-off. League position shows how a team has performed over the season so far, including their goals for and against. 

What are the most lucrative football betting markets?

As we have already mentioned, there is no one football betting market that offers punters a better chance of winning than others. However, there are some that come with higher odds and therefore greater returns. Examples include first goalscorer, correct score and win both halves. Due to how difficult it is to be accurate when making predictions in these areas of a match, bookies will offer more potentially lucrative prices. 

How to pick the best football betting odds – a step-by-step guide

When betting on football, you will always wish to take advantage of the best odds, regardless of your strategy. In order to ensure that you can find the most attractive prices at all times, follow the step-by-step guide below:

  1. Browse football betting markets.
  2. Select a market that suits your strategy. 
  3. Use an odds comparison platform in order to locate the best odds for that market.
  4. Register an account with the bookie in question.
  5. Place your bet. 

Should I use betting exchanges in my football betting strategy?

Some of the football betting strategies discussed on this page require you to sign up on a betting exchange. So, is it worth registering an account with an exchange? Firstly, betting exchanges often offer greater odds when compared to traditional betting sites. 

Meanwhile, they facilitate “lay” bets, which means wagering on an outcome that will not occur. However, betting exchanges are not as easy to find, and they also generally come with lower liquidity. As such, you must weigh up the benefits and limitations before making a decision. 

What are the best bonuses for football betting?

Part of the appeal of betting on football online is the range of bonuses that are offered by bookies. All of our top-ranked betting sites come with a welcome offer. Meanwhile, there are a host of ongoing promotions to take advantage of, many of which are specific to football. Examples include price boosts, free bets, money-back specials, acca insurance and early payouts. When the terms and conditions are realistic, it is well worth utilising such deals. Just be sure to read the small print first! 

Football betting strategies – closing thoughts

If you didn’t understand the importance of having a football betting strategy before, you most certainly will now. Given the nature of sport, and football in particular, picking winners is not easy. As such, having a system in place that deals with both wins and losses is key. Whether you are looking to bet on the Champions League final or a National League clash over the weekend, be sure to take on board the details discussed on this page. 

About the author

James Fuller

James is an experienced copywriter with over a decade’s worth of experience in the iGaming industry. He is an avid sports fan, following football, tennis, Formula 1 and golf in particular.

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  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chase their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry, or depressed
  • Gamcare –
  • Gamble Aware –

For help with a gambling problem, call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or go to to be excluded from all UK-regulated gambling websites.

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