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Why Soccer is the Most Heavily Wagered on Sport in the World

May 11, 2014

Soccer – or futbol/football – is the most heavily wagered on sport in the world. Why? Because it’s the most popular sport in the world. Soccer is a sport with tons of passion and excitement, which means fans hover around sportsbooks like gangbusters during big soccer matches. Soccer has 3.5 billion fans worldwide. So even though soccer isn’t overly popular in America compared to some other sports, it has massive international appeal….and for good reason.

If you’re new to soccer betting, you should take a look at our free soccer picks section. It will help you get an idea of which soccer teams perform well against the odds. In case you’re unsure how soccer betting works, here is a simple guide:

Moneyline bet: Most soccer matches involve exclusively a moneyline bet, especially on MLS games. So let’s say the favorite (DC) is –240 and the underdog (Kansas City) is +180. A $100 bet on Kansas City would net a $180 profit should they win the match. It requires a $240 bet in order to profit just $100 on DC. So, as you can see, there isn’t much value there, unless you are overly confident in DC winning the match.

Other soccer wagers: The moneyline is the most basic wagering option. But some countries – especially Canada and all over Europe – offer decimal or fractional odds on soccer matches. Here is how a decimal odd works:

The line starts at 2.0 and goes up or down based on how likely the team is to win the match. Here’s an example:

Fiorentina 1.9

Napoli   2.2

A $100 bet on Fiorentina pays out $190 ($100 wager plus $90 win). A $100 bet on Napoli pays out $220 ($100 wager plus $120 win). Now let’s take a look at fractional odds:

The payouts on fractional odds are simple to calculate. For example, 13/10 odds pay out just like that. If you bet $100 and win, you cash out at $230 ($100 wagered plus $130 profit). If a team is 7/10 to win, that means you would receive $170 back on a successful $100 wager ($100 wagered plus $70 profit).

Over/unders: The over/unders in soccer are the same as any other sport. You are wagering on how many goals the two teams will combine for. If you took the over at 3.5 and the teams combine to score 4 goals, you win. If you had the under, you lose. It’s as simple as that.

2014 World Cup wagering

The FIFA World Cup is the 4th most heavily bet on sporting event in the world. This popular soccer series occurs once every 4 years. The next one is right around the corner, beginning June 12th. Brazil is the favorite and currently listed at 3/1 odds. They are followed closely by Argentina (9/2 or 5/1 depending on the sportsbook).

For those in the USA, it might not be a smart idea to put much down on your team. The USA is a heavy underdog, listed at 125/1 odds. But, hey, if they pull off a miracle, you can cash in a big ticket. I just wouldn’t waste my money, but that’s just me.

Other countries of note include Germany (5/1), Spain (6/1), Belgium (16/1), Italy (20/1), and France (25/1). All 40 countries competing in the World Cup are on the board, but it’s quite obvious the heavy money is on Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Spain. Take that for what it’s worth. Billions of dollars were wagered on the last World Cup (2010). Much of the same is expected this year.