Football Betting Rules

With this guide you'll get right into football betting and will feel confident and comfortable when placing your next football bet.

Alyx Tzamantanis.
A. Tzamantanis

Last Updated: 2024-06-07

James Pacheco

6 minutes read

Football betting is one of the most popular ways to enjoy the world’s favourite sport, and the best football betting sites offer a wide range of opportunities to wager on ‘the beautiful game’.

But in order to get the most out of your experience, it’s important that you know the basic football betting rules.

Today, we’re going to look at some basic football bet rules, as well as the most popular types of bets you can place on a football match at the leading sports betting sites

Rule of Football Betting Explained

Knowing basic football bet rules is essential for making informed decisions when you wager real money on a match.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most common football betting rules. Looking for the best football betting strategies for beginners? Check out SportsBoom's resources!

 

Settlement

Bets on football matches are paid out, or ‘settled’, based on the official result at the end of the match, including any overtime or extra time played. This means that all bets stand and are settled according to the final score after these periods.

If a match is abandoned, most bookmakers will void all bets unless the outcome has already been determined.

Minimum Age

The legal age for gambling varies by jurisdiction. In most places, the minimum age is 18, but some countries or regions might require bettors to be 21 or older.

It is essential to check the specific legal requirements in your jurisdiction to ensure you can legally bet on football. 

90 minutes only rule

Many football bets are settled based on the result after the standard 90 minutes of play, plus injury time. This rule doesn’t include extra time or penalty shootouts unless explicitly stated.

For instance, bets on match outcomes, correct scores, or first goalscorer will be settled based on the score at the end of 90 minutes. 

Dead heats in football betting

In the event of a ‘dead heat', where two or more participants tie for a position, the stake is usually divided by the number of tied participants, and the full odds are applied to this reduced stake.

Dead heats aren’t particularly common in football betting, but they can affect some markets, such as top goalscorer, for example, if two players finish the season or tournament with the same number of goals.

Maximum payout rules

Bookmakers often impose maximum payout limits on their bets. These limits can vary significantly between bookmakers and may depend on the type of competition or bet.

For example, a bookmaker might cap the maximum payout on a domestic league match at $500,000 but offer higher limits for international tournaments. 

Own goals in football betting

Generally, own goals don’t count towards betting markets like first goalscorer, last goalscorer etc. So if the only goal in a match is an own goal, bets on these markets would typically be voided.

However, own goals do count towards the total goals market and the final match result.

Abandoned matches

If a match is abandoned, most bookmakers will void all bets unless the outcome has already been determined.

Some markets may be settled if the event in question has already occurred before the abandonment.

For example, first goalscorer bets might be settled if the first goal was scored before the match was abandoned.

Postponed matches

When a match is postponed and rescheduled to take place within a specific period, bets may stand depending on the bookmaker’s policy.

If the match is not rescheduled within this timeframe, most bookmakers will void all bets and return the stakes. 

Now that you know the most common football betting rules for football players, it’s time to look at some popular types of bets you can make.

Moneyline

The simplest wager you can make, ‘moneyline’ is when you bet on which team will win the match.

In football, moneyline bets include the option for a tie or draw. In such cases, the moneyline bet will have three outcomes: Team A wins, Team B wins, or the match ends in a draw.

Point spread

Point spread betting involves wagering on the margin of victory in a football match rather than the winner.

The bookmaker sets a ‘spread’, which is a number of points by which the favoured team is expected to win. Bettors can choose to bet on the favourite to win by more than the spread, or for the underdog to lose by less than the spread.

Totals

Also known as Over/Under betting, ‘totals’ is when you bet on the total number of points scored by both teams in a football match.

The bookmaker sets a total, and bettors decide whether the actual total points scored will be over or under that number.

Futures

Another term that’s easy to understand, ‘futures’ betting is when you wager on events that will happen in the future, often quite far in advance.

Common futures bets in football include betting on the winner of a league, the World Cup, or a specific tournament.

Proposition Bets (Props)

‘Prop Bets’ are wagers on specific events within a football match that do not necessarily relate to the final outcome.

These can include bets on individual player performances, such as the first goalscorer, or on specific elements within the game, like the number of yellow cards or whether a penalty will be awarded.

How Football Betting Rules Differ by Country

Football betting rules can vary widely depending on your country of residence. These differences are primarily due to variations in national gambling laws, regulatory frameworks, and cultural attitudes towards betting.

Here are some areas where you may see differences in football bet rules.

Legal age & regulations

The legal age for gambling is one of the primary differences across countries. In most jurisdictions, the minimum age is either 18 or 21.

Regulations also vary significantly, with some countries having highly structured and transparent regulatory bodies that oversee all gambling activities, while others may have less stringent controls or even outright bans on sports betting.

Betting options and markets

The range of betting options and markets available to you can differ depending on local regulations.

In some countries, you get access to a wide variety of betting types, including moneyline bets, point spreads, totals, futures, and proposition bets.

In other regions, especially where gambling laws are stricter, the options may be more limited, with fewer types of bets legally permitted.

Online betting

In some countries, online sports betting is fully legal and regulated, allowing you to place wagers from your computer or mobile device by using betting apps. In others, online betting might be restricted or even illegal, with bettors required to place bets in person at licensed venues.

Some countries allow in-play betting (live betting during the match), while others restrict this practice.

Tax

Taxation of winnings and operators can also differ by country. In some jurisdictions, you’re required to pay taxes on winnings, while in others, the tax burden falls on the operators.

The tax rates and structures can significantly impact the overall betting experience and your potential profitability.

If you want to learn more about sports rules, make sure to come here to us at SportsBoom. We’ll keep you in the know with our up-to-date news, reviews and guides.