How To Bet: Football Betting Essential Beginners Guide 2

Welcome to the second part of our essential football betting beginners guide, as we continue our focus on some of the more popular football betting markets and just where you both should and shouldn’t bet.

In this section we explain the following bets: correct score, half-time/full-time, to win to nil, clean sheet, both teams to score, corners & bookings, draw no bets and asian handicaps.

You can find part one of our football betting essentials guide here.


This is a pretty self explanatory bet type although it is important to remember that this is a 90 minutes market only.

If you back a team to win 1-0 in a cup game and it’s 0-0 after 90 minutes then your bet has lost, even if they go on to win 1-0 in extra time. This is a market we generally avoid as the bookies enjoy a hefty profit margin.

However, occasionally, correct score markets do throw up value. For example, the 0-0 and 1-1 draw can sometimes be value when well matched, weakened or unmotivated teams face off – say in a friendly game or meaningless end of season match.

Many bookmakers also offer scorecast markets, in which you are encouraged to pick out the correct score and the first goalscorer. This is very difficult to do and consequently large prices are often available. However, the prices are nowhere near large enough, to reflect the risk to stakes, and it is a terrible bet from a value point of view. It is no coincidence that this is a bet that gets heavy rotation in bookmakers’ shop window and print media adverts.

As a rule, you should look to avoid bets that the bookies vigorously promote to customers. It stands to reason that the bookies don’t advertise bets where their customers are likely to exploit a weakness in the bookmakers’ prices or a style of bet where the playing field is much more level and the margins are more competitive such as an Asian Handicap bet or overs/unders 2.5 goals line.


Trends do emerge from time to time that might make a bet worthwhile, for example, a team that doesn’t concede or score many goals might be drawing a lot of games at half time. If bookies aren’t manually compiling this market, as many don’t (instead preferring to use computer programs) then a small bit of value might emerge, at least in theory.

Half time/Full time is another similar market. The odds are heavily in the bookies favour and prices have to be quite a way out of line to become value. However there are occasions when value arises, such as when, a few seasons ago, under Jose Mourinho, a number of Chelsea home games were resulting in Draw/Chelsea results.  Another example of when value arises is when there is a big move for a team in the match odds market.

Sometimes bookies can be slow to cut their half time/full time price for a team making it slight value if you combine the various combinations of HT/FT scores that equate to a win for the gambled on side you want to back.


This is a variation on the correct score market and only a few bookmakers tend to offer it. Basically, you are backing a team to win by any score to nil. It is best used when you want to back a short priced team who are solid defensively, or maybe playing a team who don’t score many goals or who have injury/suspension problems up front.

Top of the table sides such as Man United, Man City, Celtic and Rangers when at home, are typical of the profile you are looking for as a side to back ‘to nil’. They are solid defensively and end up consistently winning matches “to nil” in front of their big home crowd.

Similarly when a team such as Wigan are the visitors to such a ‘win to nil’ side, it can reap dividends as they have scored at least once just 3 times in 11 fixtures away at teams in the top 4 of the Premier League.

This is another market that is often computer generated and value prices do occasionally appear.


This is fairly self-explanatory – You are betting on one of the teams to keep a clean sheet (not to score). This refers to just the team you are betting on.

Keep an eye out for teams who keep a higher number of clean sheets than you would expect – for example in the Premier League this season, Man Utd and Man City lead the way with 14 and 13 respectively, but Swansea are 3rd best with 12.


This is similar to the goal line betting, but in this case you are specifying that it won’t just be one team weighing in with the goals.


You can bet on the total number of corners in the game. This is usually in the region of:

  • 9 or less
  • 10-12
  • 13 or more.

In addition, you could bet on which team will have the most corners in the game. We have a two part guide to betting on corners that you should check out for more info. How to bet on corners Part 1 and Part 2

Similarly with booking points, you can bet on the total booking points for the game or which team will have the most booking points. Check the different rules that bookmakers may have when it comes to classifying the points that different cards contribute.


You are backing a team and taking away the risk of a draw. If the game finishes level then you simply get your money back. This market is best used when you fancy a side to win but they tend to draw a lot of games, or maybe you are betting in a league where there are a lot of draws generally. With this, you are sacrificing the bigger price you would get backing the team to win in the match odds, in return for the insurance of getting your money back in the event of a draw.

Exactly the same bet is available on the Asian handicaps in a so-called (+0) or zero ball handicap.


This is the market that causes the most confusion but it will pay to gain your spurs here as Asian Handicaps often offer very good value.

Crucially, bookmaker profit margins are far lower than most other markets, often just a couple of percent so even if you fancy a traditional win bet you should always check the corresponding Asian quotes. Often you’ll be able to beat the best price in the win market. A more detailed Asian handicap guide is supplied to all Smart Betting Club members (simply too much to feature here!)


To conclude, the above bet types are the main ones you should be familiar with. The vast majority of bets that you’ll encounter will be in the match odds or from one of the goals markets. There are many other weird and wonderful markets out there but they are generally poor value and best avoided.

For even more help, then check out our Ultimate Betting Package, which contains our unique Professional Gambler Blueprint’ – a comprehensive seven part guide to making your betting pay.

Packed with must real insights from proven experts, at 100 pages long, the blueprint will put you firmly on the path to becoming a full time betting professional.

Peter – Smart Betting Club Editor

This article was written with the help of the experts from: