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A Guide To Football Betting Terms

Betting on football can provide a thrilling and often profitable sub plot to a weekend afternoon or mid-week evening, as the goals rain in from around the country and continent. However, if you are new to the world of football betting, there are certain nuances it helps to get to grips with.

Terminology is a common reason that less experienced punters are left scratching their heads, and quite rightly they are sometimes tempted to play it safe with a straightforward bet, rather than venture into new territory. But getting involved in different markets can be a great way to mix up your betting, so here is our guide to the betting terms and markets you need to know.

Over/Under 2.5 Goals

This is a typical term which can leave punters perplexed. After all, how can there be 2.5 goals in a game? It is a simple concept really – you are being invited to bet on how many goals there will be in a game. Under 2.5 goals means two or less, while over means three or more. If you think two teams which both have a leaky defence cannot fail to let in a shed load, it is your perfect opportunity to capitalise with a bet of ‘over’. If you are certain that a match has all the hallmarks of a low scoring stalemate, ‘under’ would be your bet.

Double Chance

Think a team will get at least a draw, and might even sneak a win? Double chance is your opportunity to back two outcomes from a fixture. You might even back either team to win, if you think that the game will go one way or the other. You can specify which two of the three outcomes you wish to back by choosing one of the following combinations; home team and draw, away team and draw, home team and away team. But bettors be warned! Double chance typically offers only short odds, so often most value is achieved by backing an underdog to draw or win.

Draw No Bet (DNB)

Another way of covering yourself if you feel that a team should win but that a draw is possible, or vice versa, is draw no bet. By signalling draw no bet, or ‘DNB’ on a betting slip, the punter is given his or her money back in the event of a draw, while still picking up winnings if the team they backed wins. Admittedly the odds offered by bookmakers are slightly shorter for this option, so punters are advised to use it at their discretion. If you are looking for a bet which is safer, don’t forget about draw no bet. And if your betting provider doesn’t offer the option, remember you could cover yourself by backing the draw and a team to win separately, should the right odds present themselves.

Both Teams to Score (BTTS)

Like over/under two goals, both teams to score provides punters with the opportunity to enjoy a market which isn’t solely concerned with match outcomes. Research suggests there is just under a 50/50 chance of both teams scoring in a fixture, so whether you feel both teams have a leaky defence, or that the respective attacks are simply too irresistible to miss the target, you can profit from a correct bet on both teams to score. Certain leagues around Europe and the world are known to be higher scoring than others, or have a higher percentage of both teams scoring in fixtures. You might use this as a basis for a bet, or watch out for when two high scoring teams come together.


Goalscorers is a very popular market for those in search of an alternative to match outcomes. Punters can usually take these bets with most mainstream online and high street bookmakers. One option is first goalscorer, for which a punter chooses who they think will be the first player from either side to score. If a chosen player does not take part in the match, the bet is void. There is also the option of an anytime goalscorers bet, which, like the name suggests, applies to a bet on a player scoring at any time in the game, and in any order – i.e. irrespective of if the player is the first goalscorer or not. Punters might also be attracted by the market for top goalscorer, for which they can try and predict which player will finish top of the charts for goals in a particular league or tournament.

1 X 2

Whether you are going to a high street bookmakers, or just wish to get to grips with traditional betting terminology, it helps to know what the symbols 1 X 2 mean in terms of football betting terminology. Many football betting coupons will feature a long list of games, and invite punters to signal the outcome of fixtures using one of these three symbols. Quite simply, a ‘1’ in the column next to a fixture means the punter is backing a home win, an ‘X’ denotes that the punter is betting on the draw, while a ‘2’ signals that a bet has been placed on the away team winning.

Let’s break that down further with an example. Manchester United are playing Arsenal at home (Old Trafford) in the FA Cup, and your chosen bookmaker is taking bets on the game. If you believe United will beat Arsenal and go through to the next round, you will mark a ‘1’ next to the fixture on the coupon, if you think the match will be drawn and go to a replay, it’s ‘X’, and if you think Arsenal will grab a win on United’s home turf, you should write ‘2’.

Handicap Betting

Handicap betting in football usually applies to a team which is widely believed to be superior. They can be tagged with a handicap of say -0.5 goal, -1 goal or -1.5 goal. This means they need to win by more than one or two goals, depending on the handicap, for your bet on that particular team to be successful. In some ways, this kind of betting offers punters more value than backing a team they believe will win, which is the bookies’ favourite, at short odds. Punters should note that in the case of a draw, their stake is typically returned. If the opposing team wins the game, they lose the football betting tips