Major League Soccer continues to soar in popularity as exciting stars like Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic flock to the US to compete with America’s finest stars. Betting on soccer is huge among West Virginians now that the state has legalized sports wagering. The English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga Primera and the European Champions League are all popular, but MLS gains the most attention from sports bettors in the Mountain State.
In the state’s eastern panhandle, there is a lot of love for DC United, a franchise that received a huge boost when Rooney – the all-time leading goalscorer for Man Utd and England and a legend of the game – decided to join in 2018. The team’s results improved drastically and the entire league enjoyed a ratings boost as a result. In the west of the state Columbus Crew is the big team to support. However, West Virginians certainly do not confine themselves to betting on the local teams. The likes of Ibrahimovic, David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and David Beckham have all strutted their stuff in the league in recent times, and fans love wagering on games featuring such big names. Here are the key soccer bets to acquaint yourself with:
This is a season-long wager on a tournament and the most common is predicting who will win the MLS Cup. When Rooney joined DC United, it was +20000 to win the 2018 MLS Cup, but by the time he had been leading the line for a few months the odds has dropped to +2000. The plus sign in a set of odds tells you the profit you would generate from a $100 wager. A $100 bet at odds of +20000 would result in a $20,000 profit, whereas a $100 bet at odds of +2000 would earn you a profit of $2,000. That shows what a remarkable impact Rooney had on the team. The higher the potential profit, the less likely it is to happen. You may sometimes see +2000 rendered as 20/1 (fractional odds) or 20.00 (decimal odds).
Other popular tournaments for futures betting include the Champions League, the World Cup, Liga MX and the big European leagues. You can also place futures bets on who will finish top scorer, who will win the different conferences and how many wins a particular team will pick up over the course of the season.
This is the most popular form of wagering on soccer. This sport is interesting, as games can finish in a draw (tie), whereas the likes of football and basketball go to overtime to determine a winner. That means you have three options on the moneyline – home win, draw or away win – rather than the usual two in most other sports. That makes moneyline betting on soccer more difficult, but as a result you often get more attractive odds.
When DC United recently hosted New York City FC, it was the +130 (13/10 or 2.30) favorite to win. You could alternatively bet on New York to win at +175 (7/4 or 2.75), or back the draw at +250 (5/2 or 3.50). Sometimes the odds will not be quite so close. On the same day, Los Angeles FC hosted the Vancouver Whitecaps, and LA was the -250 (2/5 or 1.40) favorite, while Vancouver was the +650 (13/2 or 7.50) underdog. A minus sign in a set of odds tells you how much you need to wager in order to make a $100 profit. A $250 bet at odds of -250 would net you $100, whereas a $250 bet at +650 would result in a $1,875 profit, showing you that LA is hugely favored to win the game.
This allows you to give one team a handicap in order to make betting on it more attractive. Odds of -250 on LA would have been too low for some bettors to bother with, so they might have considered giving LA a -1 handicap. Then the odds shot up to -109 (23/25 or 1.92), meaning a $100 bet would net you a profit of $91 rather than the $40 you would earn on the moneyline. However, for the bet to pay out LA would need to win by two or more goals. Alternatively you could bet on Vancouver +2 at -125 (4/5 or 1.80) and you would be paid out if the Whitecaps won, drew or lost by a single goal. Another option is looking at Asian handicaps, which allow you to earn half wins or half losses in order to manage your risk.
This is a simple bet on what the final score will be. Sportsbooks will assign a different set of odds to each potential score, depending on how strong offensively and defensively the teams are and the gulf in class between them. In the DC United v New York game, a 1-1 draw was the favorite at +600 (6/1 or 7.00), whereas in the LA v Vancouver game a 2-1 win for Vancouver was the favorite at +750 (15/2 or 8.50). You can bet on multiple correct scores if you want to hedge your bets. You can afford to do this and still make a profit if one lands, as the odds are much higher than on moneyline bets, because it is a lot harder to forecast the final score than to simply say what the result will be.
This is a great way of getting more value from a team that is heavily favored to win. When LA was just -250 (2/5 or 1.40) to beat Vancouver, you could have enjoyed odds of +100 (1/1 or 2.00) on it winning the game at half-time and full-time, or +333 (333/100 or 4.33)on a draw at half-time and LA to win at full-time. Other interesting options to gain more value include backing a team to win to nil, while draw no bet and double chance allow you to cover yourself against losses.
If you believe a particular game will be a high scoring affair or a low scoring encounter, you can bet on the goals markets. You can wager on, for example, over 2.5 goals, or under 3.5 goals, with different odds attached to each outcome depending on how strong both attacks and defenses are. You can also do combinations, such as both teams to score and over 2.5 goals, or Columbus to win and under 4.5 goals. Both teams to score is another popular bet.
These are special bets that hone in on a particular event within a game, and soccer offers far more prop bets than any other sport. It includes betting on who will score first, last or at any time, the number of cards, the number of corners, whether there will be a penalty, whether somebody will score a direct free kick and hundreds more options.