Soccer is a hugely popular sport worldwide and betting on the game is on the rise throughout Canada. There are hundreds of leagues around the world all varying in quality and interest. Whichever league, event or tournament you follow, online sportsbooks now offer more opportunities to wager on the sport than ever before. It’s growing in popularity throughout Canada with a number of teams represented in the MLS (Major League Soccer) including Toronto FC and Montreal Impact. Sportsbooks are continually updating their markets and adding new betting opportunities to their websites. Wagering on soccer through Mobile and App is also on the rise. Many sportsbooks will offer their customers enhanced odds and special money back promotions tailored towards those who bet regularly on soccer and it can be a profitable experience if you have the knowledge and know-how to find value.
Odds & Markets
With the majority of Canadian Bookmakers, there will be a number of lines across a number of markets. Similar to NHL, these will be displayed in the Money-line format – for example – +110 or -450. These can be converted into decimal or fractional format.
Each team’s chances will be decided by the sportsbook and an ‘Outright’ market is formed. If you placed a wager on Team A to beat Team B at -110, Team A would need to win the match inside 90 minutes in order for you to collect some winnings. Outright markets do not include extra time and penalties in cup competitions or play-offs.
Some matches will be priced up similarly – Team A at +150 with Team B at +180, this often occurs when the sportsbook traders cannot decide which side is favourite to win the match. A draw is likely.
There are hundreds of other markets priced up for each match. If a contest is televised or between two popular sides, the sportsbook is likely to offer alternative markets or ‘Enhanced Odds’ on particular selections – William Hill is particularly keen on this.
NHL bettors will be familiar with this market. Sometimes it’s difficult to work out which team will win and many soccer fans prefer to wager on the number of goals across 90 minutes.
The bar is usually set at Under/Over 2.5 Goals, but most online sportsbooks will offer 1.5, 3.5 and even 4.5 as alternatives.
If the match ends 2-0 to Vancouver Whitecaps for example, Under 2.5 Goals will land and you can collect your winnings. If it’s 2-1, Over 2.5 will land. Some bettors like to hedge their bets and wager Over 2.5 goals pre-match. When the first goal goes in, they place a wager on Under 2.5 in-play.
Both Teams to Score
As simple as it sounds. Will both teams find the net during 90 minutes? Most Sportsbooks offer the chance to wager on ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ in this market. These markets are popular for accumulator bets, where four or more selections are made.
Bigger returns are on offer in this market. Bettors can choose a player to find the back of the net during the 90 minutes in the anytime goal-scorer market or select one who is likely to score the first goal of the game. The returns are much greater for first and last goal-scorer. Strikers & penalty takers are usually the shortest prices in the market with defenders and defensive midfielders offering huge returns from small stakes.
Correct Score Betting
What is says on the tin – choosing a correct score from the list provided by the sportsbook. If Team A are known for their defensive prowess and have a tendency to see out 1-0 wins at home against lower ranked opposition, wagering on a 1-0 correct score-line may be the best way of playing this market.
The returns can be handsome but this market has the tendency to frustrate with a late goal often scuppering correct score wagers.
Handicaps will often be displayed as -1/+1 etc, but Asian Handicaps are also provided by some online sportsbooks – notably Pinnacle & Bet365.
Betting on the handicaps is a way of giving one side a head start. Backing Toronto FC -1 on the Handicap would require TFC to win by 2 clear goals. 2-0, 3-0 or 3-1 and you would win. 1-0 (-1) would make the score 0-0 and you would lose your stake.
+1 is often a popular bet when the away side’s odds look too big. If the home favourite isn’t as strong as the market suggests or the star striker is a last minute absentee, wagering +1 on the away side gives them a goal head start.
Simply take -1 or +1 from the score-line to work out whether your selected team is still winning.
Handicaps can also take the form as +2 and -2.
There are a staggering amount of other markets available for each match with many online sportsbooks offering customers the chance to place wagers on the amount of corners in matches or ‘5 minute markets’ where you can predict what will happen between minute ‘A’ and minute ‘B’.
Like all sports betting, the main tip is do your research.
Some bettors get lucky occasionally with guess-work, but it takes hours of dedication from those who make a regular profit.
There are more resources online than ever before. Always check a team’s social media page and website for injury news. If there has been an illness sweeping the training ground and Montreal Impact have a number of key players struck down by it, you could wager against them.
There are a number of ‘Soccer experts’ online who make money from suggesting bets, but you can’t beat the feeling of calculating your own winner.
There are many websites dedicated to statistics which break down individual team performances and we would recommend visiting them. Watch as many teams as possible throughout the season and get an idea of their playing style and the squad members who are key components to their good performances. This will help when reading injury news pre-match.
Soccer Season & Tournaments
Every league runs for around 9-10 months of the year. The MLS competes from March until late November. The climate in Canada doesn’t lend itself to playing throughout the winter months.
Play-Offs feature at the end of the campaign and decide which of the top teams picks up the overall honours. These often take a ‘Knock Out’ format which often require extra time (30 additional minutes) and penalties to decide which team progress.
The MLS is split into the Western and Eastern Conference with each sides facing teams from the opposing league once during the course of the season.
Many bettors in Canada like to wager on European soccer which features promotion and relegation markets. These are available prior to the beginning of the new season and are often listed as ‘Ante-Post’ markets by the sportsbook.
The World Cup takes place every four years and requires individual nations to qualify for the event. Soccer betting is extremely popular before and during the tournament with many of the games televised by the likes of ESPN. This is one of the biggest betting events in the Soccer calendar.
Don’t be afraid to change your mind. There is money to be made with In-Play wagering. Many successful punters will place a bet pre-match and cover this wager once the match goes in-play.
If you’ve placed a wager on Over 2.5 Goals in the match, you settle down and the game is being played in a cagey, cautious manner with little quality on offer, it would be advisable to place an In-Play wager on Under 2.5 or Under 1.5 goals to cover all eventualities.
If the match has three second half goals, your original wager is a winner. If it ends 0-0, you collect on the In-Play bet. This requires a decent sized bank to begin with.
Some players regularly score in front of the home crowd. Take a look at individual player statistics and you may be able to spot a correlation between a player’s goal-scoring record & home/away bias. This is particularly prevalent in the MLS where long journeys can often leave players performing below their best. Try and keep records of this if possible as it can be a profitable strategy.
If you can obtain knowledge of manager/player relationships that can be profitable. Sometimes a coach will fall out with his squad or influential members of his side and it can greatly affect performance. If you hear of tension within the team, it’s probably best to avoid wagering on them. Sometimes clubs can go on a dire run until the manager is replaced and backing against them during this period can often lead to large profits if wagered sensibly.
Soccer Betting is hugely popular throughout Canada and it continues to grow with every season that passes. It can be a great opportunity to make profit, but requires time and dedication and knowledge of the game. There are more markets than ever before available to Canadian bettors and there’s never been a better time to get involved.