Introduction to soccer
Soccer is arguably the most popular and commonly played game in the world. Some form of the game is played in practically every region on earth, and this has been the case since prehistory.
Given its technical simplicity, it has instant appeal to players and viewers alike. It also allows players to develop lots of tricks and skills that only serve to make the sport an even bigger draw for sports fans and bettors alike.
If you’ve never paid it much attention before, you may find it to be a game well suited to your kind of strategy. Indeed, the tips, lines, odds, and markets offer the bettor all the choices in the world.
Where to bet on soccer?
Given the prominence of the game throughout the world, it’s unsurprising that soccer betting is an enormous sector. Sites offering betting markets for soccer games are very easy to find online, wherever gambling is legal.
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The major betting sites for soccer are in on the action in a big way. Those who want to try a soccer bet online should have no problems in finding the perfect match, whether a soccer moneyline, 3-way moneyline or any other soccer bet.
The soccer lines are widely available through trusted vendors, bringing soccer betting to the bettors’ living room. Also, if for any reason a particular market isn’t available with your favourite provider, a quick scout around should find what you’re after.
As long as you select a site that is fully licensed and regulated, you should have no trouble at all in finding the market that works for you.
Main soccer tournaments
Given the popularity of the sport, soccer leagues and tournaments number in the thousands across the globe. Here’s a short roundup of some of the most-watched and respected leagues and tournaments in the soccer calendar.
The Premier League is an English tournament comprising the top-ranked soccer teams in the country. Some of the most famous soccer teams in the world take part, such as Manchester United and Liverpool.
The tournament was founded in 1992 as part of a schism with the far older Football League. It is considered to be one of the most significant and prestigious competitions in the world.
La Liga is the Spanish counterpart to the Premier League. It comprises the 20 top-ranked soccer teams in Spain, with a double round-robin format. This means that each team plays every other team, once at home and once away. Thus, each team plays 38 games in a season.
The Spanish League has undergone many changes over the years, but there is a general consensus that La Liga’s origins can be traced back to 1929. The competition is extremely popular, garnering the highest viewing and spectator figures in Europe.
The Bundesliga is the top tier of the German game. Comprising 18 teams, the tournament follows the broader European format of each team playing every other twice, home and away.
The origins of the league can be traced back more than a century in Germany, although because of the history of the same century, the progression is not linear. Many separate leagues have come and gone along the way.
Serie A is the top league in the Italian soccer league table. The competition has operated along with the same round-robin format since its inception in 1929. Today it comprises 20 teams, again following the same home and away system used across Europe.
Soccer is a national pastime in Italy, a little like baseball for Americans. Serie A is viewed in the same way by Italians as the major leagues are in the US, so the competition is very fierce.
Founded in 1932, Ligue 1 is France’s premier soccer tournament. Each of the 20 teams that qualify to enter the league plays every other team twice. Once at home, and once away. The format is round-robin in its structure.
As the premier French event, Ligue 1 mirrors the English Premier League on the other side of the channel, and so the games in Ligue 1 are of the highest calibre.
Held every four years since 1930, the FIFA World Cup is the single most viewed and supported sporting event in the world. For example, the final of the 2018 cup was viewed live on television by more than a billion spectators around the globe.
This gigantic sporting draw is a mecca for bettors, pulling in vendors from everywhere, offering the best odds, tips, and lines available. If you only ever place a single soccer bet in your life, chances are it’ll be on the World Cup.
The UEFA Europa Conference League is a planned third league in the UEFA calendar, comprising teams that fall outside of the qualification process of the other two major competitions; the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
Talks began as early as 2015 and are currently ongoing. It will form the third tier to the European championships under UEFA auspices, providing a stepping-stone for teams to gain entry into the upper two levels.
Founded a little over a century ago, the Copa America tournament is among the oldest tournaments in the soccer world. It’s held annually under the auspices of the South American Football Confederation.
The venue changes each year, with the host nation being among the 12 teams competing in a round-robin format. The group stage features three groups of 4 teams, with the leading teams entering a knockout stage for the finals.
Hosted by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the Champions League is among the most prestigious tournaments in world soccer and is the premier soccer tournament in Europe.
It is composed of the top championship teams from every member nation and is competed in two stages. The group stage victors emerge to play in a knockout round leading to the final match.
Re-branded in 2009, the UEFA Europa League can be traced back to 1971. It is the second-highest league in European soccer, after the Champions League. It has perhaps the most complex format of all the championships.
One hundred sixty teams compete in the tournament, with 48 of these reaching the group stage of the contest. These are placed into four groups of 12 teams, all of whom play according to the double round-robin format. The winners of these groups advance to the final stages.
Hosted by the South American Football Confederation since 1960, the Copa Libertadores is the premier club soccer tournament of South America. It’s an annual event that spans much of the year and has several stages.
The group stages feature eight groups, with four teams in each. The top two teams in each group progress to the knockout stages, which result in the finals at the end of the season. Some of the world’s greatest players have emerged from this tournament.
Soccer facts and history
If you place a ball on the ground in front of some kids, one of them will almost certainly run up and kick it. So it is that soccer’s ultimate origins are lost in the mists of time. It’s a game so intuitively natural to humans that variants of it appear to have originated among disparate cultures at different times right across the world.
The Han Chinese played a ball game called cuju in the 2nd century BCE, which became known as kemari in Japan. A game called marn gook was reportedly played by Australian Aborigines, which has unknown origins. Similarly, the Aztecs played a game called tlachtli.
Similar games were also known to the Ancient Greeks and Romans, among many others. However, codified as we have it today, the game was begun in England. A version of football was played there from the 12th century until being formalized in the mid-19th.
Today, soccer is the single most popular sport in the world, with around half the world’s population (3,5 billion people) regularly playing or following the game. The basis of the game is that the ball may not be touched by the player’s hands during open play.
Soccer takes place on a rectangular field of around 100 by 50 yards, with a netted goal area in the centre at each end. It’s focussed around an inflated spherical leather ball of around 27 inches in circumference, which each team of 11 players attempts to kick into the opposition goals.
These goals are protected by a goalkeeper, who is the sole player allowed to handle the ball within a certain demarcated zone. A ball that passes out of the playing area is deemed out of bounds and must be thrown back into the field of play to resume the game.
Similarly, when a team scores a goal, the ball is placed in the middle of the field again, and the game is reset. The team that scores the most goals in the allotted time of 90 minutes of play (divided into two halves) is deemed to have won the encounter.
A game so wildly popular will likely have an equally gigantic betting scene attached to it, and that’s exactly the case with soccer. The worldwide sector is vast. Soccer betting is an industry unto itself.
Whether you’re catching an Italian Serie A game or soccer spread betting on the Uruguayan team in the Copa finals, there’s never a time without something going on in the soccer betting calendar.
If your favourite sports are in the off-season, or you’re merely curious about the game the world is so obsessed with, you could do worse than watching a game of soccer.
How to bet on soccer?
You just need to find an online bookie and place a bet on one of the many markets offered. It’s that simple.
What does pk mean in soccer betting?
PK betting is often called a ‘push’ bet. It’s a two-way soccer moneyline that returns your money in the event of a draw.
What is a double chance in soccer betting?
The double chance is a bet which is based on one of two outcomes happening. Your bet wins if either of the outcomes occurs.
How do I place a bet on soccer spreads?
Soccer spread betting, or handicaps, gives a prediction on the outcome of a game by awarding points to the underdog and vice versa. You bet by going over/under the bookies spread.
What is a 3-way moneyline bet?
The 3-way moneyline differs from the ordinary soccer moneyline in that it includes the draw. So the bet isn’t just “win” or “lose”, but features a win/lose/draw option instead.