Soccer Betting — Soccer Sportsbooks, Tips & Strategies 2023
Soccer, also known as football in many parts of the world, is the most popular sport on the planet. In Canada, ice hockey and the NHL have long reigned supreme, but it is no longer inconceivable that soccer could become the number one sport in the country at some point in the future.
We have put together this guide to betting on soccer, including key definitions, what to look out for, strategies to adopt, the variety of options available to customers, and much more.
🏆 Best Soccer Betting Sites in Ontario November 2023
The global soccer betting market size was valued at $54.3 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach $81.3 billion by 2026, growing at an annual rate of 5.6% during the forecast period (2019-2026). Whether you want to bet on teams or players, the English league or the Canadian league, or the international game or club soccer, this extensive guide contains some must-know information before you get started. But first, let’s begin with the top-rated soccer betting apps because we know how much our readers love to bet on the go!
- BetMGM is an excellent betting app with an easy-to-use interface and plenty of live-streaming options.
- Unibet is a titan of the online and mobile betting market, Unibet has been operating since 1997 and continues to provide a tremendous betting experience.
- LeoVegas is designed for mobile use, making it one of the easiest sportsbooks to find your way around.
- BetRivers is one of the best mobile apps on Android and iOS, BetRivers has numerous betting options and always offers competitive odds.
- BetVictor is a well-established bookmaker that you can trust, BetVictor offers users fantastic live gambling options and has good customer support.
- Royal Panda is another app with excellent customer support, and it has an increasingly good range of soccer betting options.
Our experts first test all sports betting sites before recommending them to you. Read below the rating process that brings you sportsbooks of the highest standards.
We like to recommend soccer betting sites with the most competitive odds so that bettors get the best possible value from their selections.
2. Markets Offer
Our favoured bookmakers provide various bets on different markets so that you won’t feel restricted of deprived of choice.
3. Live Betting
The best betting sites in Ontario offer live betting alongside pre-event betting, allowing bettors to place wagers when the action is already underway.
4. Cash Out Features
On a related note, every popular betting app or site will provide a cash-out function. This is where a punter is able to settle their winning bet before the final whistle, usually for slightly reduced returns.
5. Sportsbook Reputation
We only recommend sportsbooks with solid reputations where there are no issues with deposits, withdrawals or anything else related to the overall betting experience. We carefully review each bookmaker in Ontario before recommending them, so you can rest assured that you will be treated right.
Betting on soccer is increasingly popular in Canada and Ontario. Canada’s appearance at FIFA World Cup 2022 – their first showing at the tournament since 1986 – has piqued the interest of sports fans across the country, a lot of whom are now starting to take a strong interest in competitions like Major League Soccer (MLS), the English Premier League and the Canadian Premier League.
Because there are so many opportunities to bet on soccer with different bookmakers, it is tempting to jump straight in without first understanding how everything works. That is a risk. Soccer might be a simple game to understand, but taking the time to do some research before starting your betting journey will stand you in good stead going forward.
Below, we present you the most common soccer bet types and short descriptions that will help you choose the best bet type depending on the match and other relevant factors. After reading this section, you will have a clear insight into each soccer bet.
3-Way Moneyline / Match Result (Win/Draw/Win)
The most straightforward soccer bet type is the three-way moneyline or match result. Simply put, soccer games have three possible outcomes: a win for Team A, a victory for Team B, or a draw. Bettors can put money on any one of the three choices.
3-Way Spread / Goal Line
Another popular type of bet is the three-way spread or goal line. Again, there are three different wagering options as bettors attempt to predict how many goals will be scored in a particular match.
The sportsbook might offer three goals as its default pick, so punters can back more than three goals, exactly three goals, or fewer than three goals.
Over/under is similar to the goal line, but only two options are typically available. For example, over 2.5 goals or under 2.5 goals.
It is also possible to bet over/under on things like the total number of corners and the total number of cards shown by the referee.
There are typically two goalscorer markets: first goalscorer and anytime goalscorer.
The former refers to predictions about which player will score the first goal of the match, whereas the latter is a wager on a player finding the net at any point in the game.
First Half or Second Half Results
Bookmakers offer odds on individual halves of soccer. Therefore, it is possible to predict which team will win the first and second half as two separate selections.
Virtually every sportsbook in 2023 offers live soccer odds, which are adjusted in real-time while the game takes place.
For instance, if the favourite concedes the first goal in the second minute of the match, you will get better odds on them winning than you would have done before kick-off.
A parlay, also known as an accumulator, is a bet which involves multiple lines or picks.
If three matches take place on the same day, you could make a pick for each of them and then combine them into one parlay bet. For your wager to be successful, each prediction must be correct.
In fixed odds betting, your selection either wins or loses. In spread betting, the amount you win or lose is linked to your choice’s winning or losing margin.
For example, a match between Manchester United and Manchester City might have two choices in the goals market. You could sell at 3.3 if you think there will be fewer than 3.3 goals or buy at 3.5 if you think there will be more than 3.5 goals.
If you bought at 3.5 and there were six goals in the game, you would subtract 3.5 from 6 to get 2.5. Multiply that by your stake of C$10 to work out your total winnings – in this case, C$25.
The Asian handicap is a good betting option in soccer matches where one side is clearly stronger than its opponent. For example, if Brazil is facing Japan, you might not get the best odds on a simple Brazil win because there is a very high chance of the favourites coming out on top.
The Asian handicap recognizes that Brazil is a much stronger team and handicaps them. So the bookmaker might give Brazil an artificial -2.5 handicap, which means (for the bet), they begin the game 2.5 goals behind.
You then choose to back Brazil (-2.5) or Japan (+2.5). If you choose the former, you are, in effect, predicting that Brazil will win by a three-goal margin.
There are three different ways to display sports betting odds, all of which we will explain below.
Decimal Odds – 2.5
Commonly used in Europe and Australia as well as Canada, decimal odds are the easiest to understand.
The odds simply show how much you would win after betting C$1. So, a successful bet on a team with odds of 2.5 would return C$2.50.
American Odds (Plus/Minus) – +250
Mostly used in the United States, American odds feature minus signs for the favourites (-300) and show how much you would need to wager to win C$100.
Similarly, the price for the underdogs (+250, as above) indicates how much you would win from a C$100 wager.
Slash/Fractional Odds – 5/2
Associated with betting in the UK, fractional odds such as 5/2 show both the potential winnings (the first number) and the stake (the second number).
So a stake of C$2 on Barcelona beating Real Madrid would produce C$5 in winnings.
Find out what are soccer bettors’ favourite leagues and competitions to bet on. This is why all sportsbooks in Ontario offer competitive odds in the following national and international soccer leagues.
The Premier League is the top flight of soccer in England. It contains 20 clubs, including well-supported sides such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.
As well as betting on individual Premier League matches, bettors can make tips about the outcome of the season as a whole in the futures markets. For example, you could back Manchester City to winning the Premier League title or Tottenham Hotspur to winning the FA Cup.
La Liga is the major competition in Spain, containing two of the biggest teams in world soccer: Barcelona and Real Madrid. One of those sides usually wins the title in La Liga, although Atletico Madrid has disrupted the duopoly at times over the last decade.
La Liga also has 20 teams, with each side playing 38 games throughout the campaign. As in the Premier League, the bottom three teams are relegated to the second tier.
The biggest league in Germany is called the Bundesliga, a competition dominated by Bayern Munich in recent years. In fact, Bayern has won the last 10 titles in a row to set a new record in German soccer. When Bayern take to the field, they usually win – but not always.
The Bundesliga is home to 18 teams, which means each side plays 34 fixtures per season compared to 38 for La Liga and the Premier League.
Over in Italy, Serie A is the place to be. It has provided some of the most competitive title races in Europe in recent seasons, with the likes of Inter, AC Milan, Napoli and Juventus all competing for the biggest prize.
Serie A was the most popular soccer league in the world in the 1990s. It is no longer as strong as it was back then but retains a loyal fan base in Italy and beyond.
Ligue 1 is the top division in France. Paris Saint-Germain is the current champions, but the likes of Monaco and Lille have won the title ahead of the mega-rich Parisians in recent seasons.
Ligue 1 currently has 20 teams, but the league will be slimmed down to 18 in time for the start of the 2023/24 campaign.
The main difference between MLS and European leagues is that play-offs are used to determine the champion in the United States, whereas, across the Atlantic, the winner is simply whichever team finishes top of the table.
There is also no promotion or relegation in MLS, which features three Canadian franchises in CF Montreal, Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Championship is the second level of English soccer. It contains 24 teams, many of whom are desperate to finish in the top two to win promotion to the Premier League.
The end-of-season play-offs are always a bonus for football fans, with the winners of the four-team tournament also earning a place in the Premier League. The club with the most promotions ever is Birmingham City, with 12.
The Champions League is a pan-European team involving 32 of the best teams on the continent. It begins with a group stage before the top 16 advances to the knockout phase.
Between the round of 16 and the semi-finals, ties are held over two legs. The final is a one-off game staged at a neutral venue.
The Europa League is Europe’s secondary continental competition. It follows a similar format to the Champions League, and the tournament winner automatically qualifies for the next season’s edition of Europe’s leading event (as well as getting a trophy).
As with every competition mentioned in this section, all the best sportsbooks offer Europa League odds.
The World Cup is the biggest sporting event on earth. The 2022 edition was watched by hundreds of millions of men and women from all four corners of the globe, and a ticket to the final was among the most sought-after commodities anywhere.
According to an analysis from Barclays, $35 billion was expected to be wagered on last year’s World Cup in Qatar – the highest such figure in history.
Pick the Best Payment Options When Betting on Soccer
Our soccer betting expert, Greg, has extensively researched the best tips for soccer betting and combining that with his 8+ years of expertise in the field, he came up with the six most valuable advice! Read them below.
1. Rules Based on Each Bet Type
We explained a few of the most common bet types earlier in this guide, and it is always worth checking the rules and regulations for each one before you part with your money.
For example, some bets will return your stake in certain scenarios, such as if the player you backed to score does not play, while others might require you to make several correct predictions before your wager is successful.
2. Manager Tactics & Common Systems of Play
Research is key in betting on sports, which is no different for soccer. Make sure you check out factors such as a team’s tactics before you place your bet.
The manager of a side might have recently switched formation. If that team is now using a 4-3-3 system and their upcoming opponents are known to struggle when facing sides that play that way, you can use this information to your advantage.
Similarly, it is worth checking out the results of previous meetings between the two sides. Perhaps Newcastle United always struggles against Crystal Palace for tactics reasons – knowing this in advance can help you to make the right betting decision.
3. Lineups & Player Injuries
No team in world soccer is not adversely affected by the absence of key players due to injury. For example, if Manchester City is missing Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva, they are not as strong a force as they would be if all three players were fit.
Make sure you keep up to date with the latest injury news in advance of soccer matches so that you do not get any nasty surprises.
4. Home & Away Performance
Home advantage is not properly understood by experts, but no one disputes that it exists. That could be because of a range of factors, including familiarity with the field, the support of the crowd, and reduced travel time.
Do not automatically assume that every team is better at home than away. Some sides perform better at opposition stadiums, particularly those with a counter-attacking style. You should check out the stats in this regard before making your selection on any soccer events.
5. Team’s Latest Physical State
Something else to bear in mind is the physical state of the teams in question. Real Madrid vs Barcelona might look like an evenly matched game, but preparation time could swing the balance in one team’s favour.
If Barcelona had a full week to prepare for the match, while Madrid had to contest a gruelling fixture three days before, that could give Barcelona the edge.
6. More Individual and Squad Statistics & Metrics
Just like ice hockey, the NBA, UFC, horse racing, baseball, and NHL betting there is an abundance of useful soccer statistics and metrics that can aid bettors. The most obvious example is expected goals, which measure the quality of the chances a team creates and concedes.
If you saw that Liverpool lost last weekend, but their expected goals were actually high, you might reasonably conclude that they were unlucky to be defeated. That piece of knowledge could help you before you place a bet on Liverpool’s next match.
The first thing to do is sign up with your favourite bookmaker. In fact, we would recommend creating accounts with two or three different bookies, as this will allow you to compare and contrast odds before placing your bet. You should read our reviews before deciding which sportsbooks to go for. Once you have visited the website or downloaded the app, you should sign up with your details and deposit some funds into your account by debit card, PayPal or other payment methods. After that, you are ready to get betting!
These figures are related to the Asian handicap market, which we explained in more detail earlier on this page. Essentially, +1.5 is when a team (usually the underdog) is given an artificial head-start of 1.5 goals. If you back them with a +1.5 handicap and they lose the game 1-0, your bet will be successful.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ betting strategy that will suit every bettor in the world. Having said that, we would advise you to look beyond the match result market whenever possible and check out the odds from a range of different bookmakers to find the best value out there. Another thing to bear in mind is that the occasional loss is not a problem. Even professional sports gamblers do not win every bet. So remember to take a long-term view and keep everything in perspective. Finally, if you are a fan of a particular team and find it difficult to separate your head from your heart, it is probably best to avoid betting on them.
As we explained earlier in this guide, there are three ways to display odds: American, decimal and fractional. The decimal odds are common in Canada, but most bookmakers will allow you to change the display to whichever you prefer.
This guide has suggested some factors to consider before placing your bet, including team and player form, managerial tactics and which stadium the game is taking place in.
Betting on soccer is entirely legal in Canada. Single-game sports betting was legalized in the country in 2021. From April 2022, it’s also legal in Ontario particularly.
📙 Our Readers Also Like The Following Sports Betting Guides
Greg Lea is a soccer journalist specializing in Ontario's soccer betting scene. He has had work published by ESPN, Eurosport, Goal.com and more. Among his strengths as a sports journalist are live blogs, match reports, press conference papers, analytical sports articles and commentary. Since 2015, Greg has been a full-time freelancer and received Premier League accreditation the same year.