Football Betting Sites & Offers
Football, the beautiful game, is the most bet on sport in the UK, estimated to constitute somewhere in the region of 70% of all sports-match betting. Globally this industry is worth up to £1 Trillion, if you include illegal markets. More people in the Britain bet on football then anywhere else and so UK betting sites really put effort in when it comes to their deals.
At LBO we update our offers on a weekly basis and this is the only resource you will ever need to get the best value from your football bets. We only cover promotions that add genuine value to your football betting showing you a range of deals to help you find the right ones to suit your wagers. Further down this page we also look at the best bookmakers for football betting in general in the UK along with some tips in our football betting guide.
On this page we are looking at the best all customer retention offers for punters looking for consistent value from their bets. If you are looking for introductory offers visit our Free Bets page. For event specific enhanced odds new customer football sign up offers (e.g. 50/1 Arsenal to beat Man United) see our main page. For very short term match specific deals see our latest football offers section on our loyalty page and for major tournaments see below.
Major Football Tournaments and Competition Pages
Football Free Bets and Bonuses
Free bet clubs are one of the best ways to get long term value when betting on football. All clubs are open to football, or at least top level footy, and many clubs are in fact open to all sports.
The premise is simple, those that place a certain amount in bets each week (usually £25+) will get a free bet to reward the customer for their loyalty. These free bets are often worth 20% or more of the total qualifying stakes and for regular punters, over a period of time, this can really add up to some long term value.
All free bet clubs are shown in our loyalty section. These include clubs for accumulators as well as standard single bets. With so much choice available it makes sense to join a free bet club if you bet on football every week. In general these clubs don’t stop you from getting other offers either, meaning you can get even further value from your footy bets.
Back a team to win (90 minute market pre-match online bets only) in the selected William Hill Golden Goal fixture and if your team scores the first goal in the match but draws or loses the game you will get paid out as a winner in real cash up to £50.
You can use free bets and still qualify (stake not returned if using free bets), although cashed out and in-play wagers are not applicable. The offer only counts for the first bet placed on each game too.
There is not max/min stake amount or max/min odds restriction and you will be paid out by midday the day following the game if you qualify. Other player and currency restrictions may apply, for more detail read our Golden Goal page or visit William Hill.
Punters who prefer to place their footy bets in play can often lose out with the best free bet offers generally restricted to pre-match bets. The Unibet in play free bet club however now gives in play bettors the opportunity to earn a £10 free bet each week by betting £50 on live football.
Opt in to the free betclub every week that you want to take part, place qualifying bets consisting of five or more £10+ wagers on any in play football at odds of even or more. Both single and multiple bets will count, weeks runs from Mon – Sun each weekly. The following Monday if you’ve met the criteria you will get an unrestricted free bet that expires after one week.
Bet £25 weekly and claim £10 free. Wager a total of £25+ (as one bet or several) on trebles or higher (any sports, cumulative odds 2/1+) by 23:59 each Friday and get £10 completed free as two free tokens (2 x £5).
First token is awarded on Saturday valid until Monday and the second awarded Monday valid until Friday. The tokens can be used on any market you like.
Football Acca Offers
Straight line multiples are the second most popular bet type in the UK and nearly 90% of all accumulator bets are made up solely of football selections. This is a massive market for both bookmakers and punters alike and the high competition means there is some fantastic value to be had if you choose the right offers.
On our accumulator offers page we list multiple bet promotions by type, including the best value weekly free bets, acca insurance and bonus deals for football as well as other sports. Using our handy tables you can compare deals based on minimum selections, odds, maximum payouts or stake back and other qualifying criteria. Many acca promos can be claimed in parallel too giving even more reason to bet with the right bookie.
Bet365’s fantastic Euro Soccer accumulator offer includes the top domestic leagues in Europe along with the group and knockout stages of the Champions League. You can earn a bonus of up to 100% if you place accumulators on the Premier League, Serie A, Primera Liga, Bundesliga 1 or Champions League. Place a pre-match accumulator with bet365 of 3 or more selections on the Full Time Result or Result/Both Teams To Score markets combining teams in any of these competitions and, if successful, the relevant bonus will be added to your returns.
The bonus will not apply where a stake has been fully Cashed Out. Where a stake has been partially Cashed Out, the bonus will be calculated based on the remaining active stake and the maximum bonus that you can receive is £100,000 or currency equivalent. If a qualifying bet is edited using the Edit Bet feature, the bonus will be calculated based on the new stake. Where a bet has been edited to include or amend a selection for an event that is In-Play, the bonus will no longer apply.
Bets placed with Bet Credits, Double Chance bets or combination bets with bonuses such as Lucky 15’s or Lucky 31’s do not apply for this offer. T&Cs apply. Only available to new and eligible customers.
Simply one of the very best overall acca bonus offer around from a bookie with awesome features and tons of football leagues to bet on. Get up to 50% cash bonus on your football accumulator, in fact this offer allows markets from any sports, so mix and match as you wish.
This is a tiered offer starting at a 2% bonus for a treble, 4% for a 4-fold, 5% 5-fold, 10% 6-fold etc., up to 50% for a 16-fold+ accumulator. If one team is voided then you simply move down to the next tier. Each pick must be 1/2+ odds to qualify. You can win up to £5,000 extra in cash. If you place football acca bets regularly then you would be wide of the post if you don’t take up an offer like this.
Football Goalscorer Offers
Double delight gives you double the odds on your first goalscorer bet if the player scores first but also goes on to score a second at any time in 90 minutes. It gets better if your player scores again as Hat-Trick Heaven means you will get 3x the odds if the player scores frist and then goes on to score another two.
DD/HH applies to selected matches, although this covers all the major games. All winnings are in cash up to an extra £6000 per customer per match, credited within 24 hours of bet settlement. The offer is now also available in play for the 'Next Goalscorer' market with the same terms as above.
One of the longest running offers around today, there is however a reason it is still going and that is because it offers long term value and punters like it. Fine first goalscorers don't go on to score two or three very often but it happens enough that if you bet on this market regularly you can get enhanced winnings over time by choosing the bet with Betfred. The offer is also available from sister brand Totesport.
Free Football Predication and Jackpot Games
4 To Score is a free game for existing customer that runs during the football English football season, all you need is a Betway account, no actual betting required. Get one free prediction each week to win, or share, £25k.
Pick four goalscorers in four selected games each week (usually Premier League). Guess all four correct to win, or share, the cash prize, if no one guesses right the prize rolls over to the next week. You must verify your account before you can withdraw. Not bad for absolutely nothing.
Best Football Bookmakers
Football Betting Guide
Void Bets – Singles
Football bets are classed as void if a game is postponed, abandoned or for some reason the result is declared void. In the case of single line match bets stakes are refunded, in cash.
If the game does not kick off other bets will be refunded (e.g. first goalscorer, half time result, etc.), however if the game kicks off and is then abandoned then you bet may still stand.
If, for example, you bet on a player to score first and that player starts but the game is then called off then some bookmakers will classify the bet as having run. Not all bookies do this, and the best ones will always refund your bets, whatever the markets, in abandoned games. It is really worth checking the individual terms.
Void Bets – Accumulators
For accumulators void bets are very important, especially relating to offers such as acca insurance and bonuses. If a selection in your acca is declared void then your accumulator bet will still run, although with less selections.
If you placed say a 5-selection multiple bet to take advantage of 5+ acca insurance and one bet is void then your acca will become a 4-fold instead and will no longer qualify for acca insurance. If you took a bonus offer then you will drop down to the next tier in the bonus levels.
Enhanced odds multiple bets can be treated in a special way with void selections. Let’s say you take a price boost of 4/1 for three teams to win, pushed up from 3/1. If one of the games doesn’t go ahead then in a normal treble the bet would simply become a double. In the case of enhanced odds the bet will either be made entirely void, or it will carry on but at original odds not the boosted price.
No Goalscorer, 0-0 Draw and Own Goals
Never bet on a 0-0 draw! Why? Because if there is an own goal in a 0-0 draw it will obviously count to the result and your bet will lose. Instead bet on there to be ‘no goalscorer’ instead, usually found in the first goalscorer market.
The odds on 0-0 and no goalscorer are usually the same, yet no goalscorer bets will often not include own goals.
If you want to bet on an own goal there is generally a separate market for this with the bigger bookies.
Goalscorer Final Decision
It is often the case that when a goal is scored there can be uncertainty as to who got the last touch and who should be credited with a goal. This obviously affects many bet types on the goalscorer markets.
Bookmakers will go by the final official decision, and in some cases if this needs to go to a panel it could take days to get an outcome. This may mean your bet will be placed on hold during this time. If you have already been paid out on a goalscorer bet and then the decision is changed you will still get to keep your winnings.
Football is full of related contingencies, but what are they and what does this mean for betting? Effectively any two outcomes that can influence each other are classed as related, and this means they cannot be combined into multiple bets.
For example, you bet on a player to score first and the team to win and you want to combine these into a double. The bookmaker is unlikely to allow you to do this as it is obvious that if that player scores it will also influence the result. This is a reason we have special bet types such as scorecasts and wincasts. These consider any related factors when pricing the market.
Bookmakers make money by balancing their book, this way they ensure they make money whatever the outcome. The bigger a market, or the more skewed the betting, the harder bookies will find it equalise markets and so sometimes higher margins are built in to compensate for this.
Big betting markets, such as the match result, tend to be the best value for several reasons. To start with there are only three outcomes (win / draw / win) making it easier for bookies to balance the line. Bookies can more easily offset over exposure on exchanges or with wholesale bookmakers. The bet type is also immensely popular and so highly competitive between operators, meaning they lower their margins, or on occasion even run these bets at a cost to attract custom.
For higher stakes bettors the match result offers by far the highest payout limits too, up to £2 million with some bookies, see the example below:
Both Teams to Score
This is another good value bet, and a market that has come alive through online betting. In the past this market was rarely used but now it is second only to match result in overall interest.
BTTS, and BTTS + match result, are good value because, like match result wagers, there are only a few permutations, the market is also competitive between bookies so as a customer you can get top odds. Many BTTS markets are now included in money back and free bet offers and there are a lot of punters who prefer this line. Partly because it doesn’t actually matter who wins so long as both teams do, or indeed do not, score.
Other markets, especially those with many different outcomes, offer poorer value for money. Goalscorer, correct score, HT/FT permutation bets, etc., have generally higher margins as each individual bet is less popular and betting sites find it hard to balance exposure.
This is a primary reason why many money back offers are restricted to markets such as this is because the bookies make more profit form them on average.
Special bets represent the poorest value in terms of the odds vs the probability of a result happening. You will commonly see special markets available for bigger matches, such as ‘player x and y both to score and player z to be sent off – 25/1’. Now these bets can seem attractive as the odds look big and you can make a nice return if it comes off.
In practice, the chances of this happening are far in excess of the odds so, unless you have a really strong feeling, you should avoid these bets.
Multiple bets are inherently poor value, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t place them however as they can be immensely fun and when they do win the payoff can be far more than your initial stake.
When combining selections together into an acca you are in effect combining the bookmaker commission from each individual selection. As an arbitrary example let’s say you have a 5-team match result multiple and each team’s odds have a margin of 3%. The margin on the overall acca will be 5×3 = 15%!
This is the primary reason why almost all bookmakers provide some sort of accumulator money back or bonus offer. They are not doing this out of the kindness of their hearts, rather they earn so much commission from acca bets that they can afford to give you a large chunk of that back through offers.
Basically, if you do place regular football accumulators you really should be utilising the great high value multiple bet offers. You can read about acca bet clubs, insurance and bonuses on our accumulator offers page. My favourite is 10Bet’s all sports bonus up to 60% that applies to all every single football match they cover, and they list over 150 leagues, that’s a lot of football.
Football History, How To Play, Rules & Competitions
Football is one of the most popular games in the world. If you’re not sure that that’s true then consider this: the Super Bowl final had a television audience just shy of one hundred and fifteen million. The Champions League final in the same year brought in around three hundred and fifty million viewers. With every passing year it becomes even more popular and the most respected leagues around the world gain more fans. Supporters of the biggest clubs in the sport like Liverpool, Barcelona, Manchester United and Bayern Munich can be found in the far-flung reaches of the globe. If any of those sides are up against each other or their domestic rivals then you’ll be able to watch it live almost anywhere that you find yourself.
It is a sport the love for which is passed on from parent to child, sister to brother. In football-mad cities, families are often split down the middle according to their club loyalties. Yet such is the desire to ‘pick a side’ that it’s not a sport that lends itself to people who enjoy the game without associated tribalism. It’s hardly out of the realms of the possible, therefore, that some people might understand football as a concept but not actually know an awful lot about it. In this section we’ll have a brief look at the history of the game, as well as how it is played and some of the main competitions that take place in it on a regular basis. There’ll also be some interesting facts and trivia about the sport, allowing anyone who doesn’t know as much about it as they’d like to get to grips with it.
History Of Football
In the second and third centuries B.C. the Chinese military used to play a game that involved kicking a ball with their feet. Practically every civilised nation since, from the Japanese through to the Romans via the Ancient Greeks, has had its own version of a ball game played with feet, but none of them really have any link to the sport we now know as football. The modern game was born out of a split in the way that people playing rugby football felt that the sport should go. Something similar to what we play nowadays was being played in schools as long ago as the 1580, though it wasn’t until 1863 that rules for this new sport began to be formalised.
The way to think about it is as if people had come up with a way of playing rugby but couldn’t quite agree on the rules of this new game. They all wanted to do things in a slightly different way, with some wanting to keep it quite close to rugby with just minor changes and others thinking it needed close to a clean sweep away from it. As a result, different sets of rules sprang up according to the part of the country people were based in. The Cambridge Rules were written down in 1848, with the Sheffield Rules being committed to paper in 1857. When the Football Association Challenge Cup started in 1871, it became abundantly clear that official rules across the board were called for.
1871 was an important year for this new sport, given that it was also the year that the Rugby Football Union was formed, meaning that teams had to choose which game they wanted to play. Those that opted for football had to continually agree which set of rules they were playing by, often alternating depending on the geographical location that the match was taking place in. It wasn’t until 1877 that a definite set of rules were decided upon, with numerous aspects of each of the rules incorporated to keep people happy. That was the year that a game was played that we would most easily be able to recognise as football rather than some hybrid of football and rugby.
Numerous minor changes have been introduced since then, such as the introduction of the penalty in 1891 and changes to offside in 1925. Substitutes were first used in 1958, with red and yellow cards become part of the game twelve years later. Generally speaking, though, the rules of football were now largely set in stone in 1877 and the sport began to find popularity around the world as a consequence. The rules continue to be refined, with the introduction of the no-backpass rule in 1992 and the use of goal-line technology being allowed in 2012 being the two most obvious examples. Yet no change has been as vital to the game that we play today as the Football Association’s decision to allow it to become a professional sport in 1885, with the game growing and growing from then to become the behemoth that we know and love today.
Rules of Football and How To Play
This section could take up hundreds of thousands of words, taking into account the minutiae of the game such as formations and tactical plans. The words of Bill Shankly should come into play to help us avoid that, however, with the Scot once saying, “Football is a simple game, complicated by idiots”. Instead we’ll keep things as simple as possible, given that there’s much more accurate information out there if you want it and an explanation of the Offside Rule alone could take days.
In its essence, football is a game that involves eleven players on one team going up against the same number of active participants on the other. One of those players must be a goalkeeper, who is the only person in the match that’s legally allowed to handle the ball. Teams are usually put into a rough formation that excludes the goalie from the numbering, such as 4-4-2, 4-5-1 or 3-4-3. Traditionally, the first number represents the amount of defensive players, the middle one is to indicate the number of midfielders and the final number is for the attacking players. Players can really only pass the ball to one another with their feet, though the rules allow other parts of the body, such as the head, to touch the ball as well. Only the hands and arms are excluded from use for outfield players.
The aim of the game is to score more goals than your opposition, with the team that has scored the most goals at the end of the match being declared the winner. Matches last for ninety minutes, with time added on at the end of each forty-five minute period to account for stoppages that have taken place during each half. If at the end of that ninety minute match neither team has scored or both teams have scored the same number of goals then the match is declared to be a draw. In the majority of leagues, winning team are awarded three points and losing teams don’t get any, with both teams receiving one point each if it’s ended in a draw. Things become more complicated if you’re watching a cup game, thanks to the fact that these are usually knockout in format. That means that games without a winner can go to extra-time, which is an additional thirty minutes played in two fifteen minute halves. If there’s still no winner then the match will be decided on a penalty shootout.
Players can be cautioned by the referee who, with help from the assistant referees, takes charge of the match. Cautions are issued for the likes of tackles that endanger the wellbeing of an opponent, unsporting behaviour or some other infringement of the rules. They can be shown a yellow card if the offence is deemed to be minor, or a red card if it’s thought of as more serious. Two yellow cards is equivalent to a red card, resulting in the player being made to leave the field of play for the remainder of the game. Managers, who take charge of the game, can make a given number of substitutions, usually three, during the duration of the match. This is sometimes to replace a player that has become injured during the game, though it’s more often a tactical decision or because a player is getting tired. They cannot substitute off a player who has already been shown a red card by the referee. That’s it, that’s the extremely shortened version of how football is played.
Major Football Competitions
As mentioned before, football is a sport that is popular all around the world. Each continent has its own competition, though those in Europe are far more popular globally than the likes of the leagues and cups played in South America or Africa. Here’s a quick look at each of the major competitions in the game:
- World Cup – Organised by the sport’s governing body FIFA, the World Cup takes place in the summer every four years, with qualification games happening in between. Teams have to pass through those qualification games in order to play in the tournament, which features a Group Stage and several knockout rounds.
- The European Championship – This is essentially like a mini-World Cup but only for teams from Europe. It is organised by Europe’s governing body UEFA and also occurs every four years, two years after the World Cup. Once again, this competition involves a Group Stage and knockout rounds in order to discover the best team in Europe.
- The Premier League – Formed in 1992, this is the top division in England and features twenty teams going head-to-head in a round-robin format. Every team plays thirty-eight games, which involves them playing every other side in the league once at home and once away. At the end of the season the points earned during the campaign are collated and the team with the most wins the league, with the three at the bottom being relegated down to the Championship.
- The Bundesliga – This is Germany’s equivalent to the Premier League, played with eighteen sides instead of twenty. Relegation form the division works in a slightly different way, but otherwise the leagues have a lot in common.
- La Liga – Spain’s top-flight. This is more akin to the Premier League in that twenty teams play in it and three are relegated at the end of the season.
- Ligue 1 – France’s major league, Ligue 1 also has twenty teams taking part in it but organises the format slightly differently.
- Serie A – Italy’s league also involves twenty teams, with relegation for those that finish in the bottom three and the Italian title for the one that finishes at the top.
- The Champions League – This is Europe’s elite club competition, organised by UEFA and involves a Group Stage followed by knockout rounds. Teams can qualify for the tournament according to their finishing position in the domestic league or by winning certain cup competitions.
- The Europa League – Seen by some as the poor cousin to the Champions League, this is the second-tier tournament in Europe and involves teams playing in Groups before advancing to the knockout stage. The winner qualifies for the following season’s Champions League competition.
- The FA Cup – The oldest club competition in world football, this takes place in England every year and is open to all professional teams. There are no group games here, with knockout rounds played from the start.
- The EFL Cup – England’s second domestic trophy, this is similar to how the Europa League is viewed in comparison to the Champions League in some people’s eyes. A knockout competition from the off, it is only open to the ninety-two teams in the English Football League.
Football Key Facts & Figures
|European Championship||Germany / Spain|
|Premier League||Manchester United|
|La Liga||Real Madrid|
|Champions League||Real Madrid|