The start of MLS soccer signifies Spring has arrived. Meanwhile, major European national leagues are winding up their seasons. The remaining games of their 2020-21 seasons will be played in the coming weeks. Winners of both the Champions and Europa Leagues will soon be crowned.
It’s time to give your soccer betting knowledge a quick tune up. Below, we’ll review this year’s MLS Season, basic soccer bets and review places to bet soccer online.
2021 MLS Season Highlights
This season’s schedule was modified due to the pandemic.
Opening weekend is April 16-18, 2021. The regular season will continue until Decision Day November 7, 2021. Playoffs commence on November 19, 2021 with the MLS Championship match played on December 11, 2021.
Season highlights include Heineken Rivalry week, currently scheduled for August 20-29, 2021. Don’t miss the Battle of Los Angeles on August 28, 2021. LAFC faces LA Galaxy in what should be one of the biggest games of the season, especially for local fans.
2021 Major European Soccer Events
The semi-final rounds of the Europa League and Champions League begin April 29, 2021. Each semi-final has two legs spread over 2 weeks. Each tournament’s final stages take longer because teams must also compete in their respective national leagues.
The Europa League final is slated for May 26, 2021. The Champions League determines its winner 3 days later on Saturday May 29, 2021, the official start of the long US Memorial Day weekend.
3 Ways to Bet On Soccer
Capitalize on spring soccer with the following bets. Review our soccer betting tutorial for a more in-depth discussion of each bet.
3 Way Moneyline Betting or 1×2 Bet
Bet on the final result. Pick either team or draw. Sometimes a draw is more likely than either side winning. Don’t forget to consider this possibility in your game analysis.
USA sportsbook customers will see odds as moneylines. Many sportsbooks allow customers to switch to decimal, fractional or Hong Kong odds. Review your sportsbook’s odds settings carefully.
Example: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid 1×2 Bet
Man City +800
- Dortmund is the -380 favorite. Man City is the +800 underdog. Draw has a +500 line.
- +500 draw is less than Man City +800. A draw is more likely than an Man City victory.
- Dortmund bettors lay $380 to win $100. Man City bettors win $800 for risking $100. Draw bettors win $500 for risking $100.
Soccer Total Betting
Bet over or under the sportsbook’s total goal line. Odds for over and under will be listed next to the line. “Over” will be abbreviated to “o” and “under” to “u”.
Soccer totals frequently have ½ goal increments. That means all bets either win or lose. No ties are possible. The final result with be either above or below the line.
Ties are possible when the line is a whole number. If the final result ties the line, your bet will be returned.
Example: Man United vs Granada Total Bet
Man United 2½ o-120
Granada 2½ u+100
- Total lines represent the combined value of each team’s goals. They do not correspond to any particular team. Sportsbooks offer totals for regulation time and the first half.
- Over bettors believe the total will be 3 or more. They lay $120 to win $100.
- Under bettors believe the total be 2 or less. They risk $100 to win $100. This is also called an “even money” bet.
Soccer Accumulator Bet
An accumulator allows a punter to combine multiple selections into one bet. All selections must be correct for the bet to win. An accumulator bet is the same thing as a parlay. Read more about parlays here.
This bet is ideal for the Champions League or Europa League playoffs. Some punters attempt to pick the winners of each semi-final leg.
Similarly, MLS bettors use accumulators over the weekend in the same way NFL bettors use parlays: to score big when all their favorite teams win.
Winning Big for Cheap
Accumulators are long shots, particularly when they have 4 or more selections. Thus they are not reliable ways to make money unless the handicapper is exceptionally skipped, lucky or both.
Serious sports bettors don’t risk much bankroll on these bets. In fact, most only place these bets when they have a few dollars left over in their account and feel lucky. We don’t recommend relying on these wagers even if you happen to get lucky and a couple over the course of a season.
Instead, use a sportbook’s bonus offer to bet an accumulator and test drive their software. United Kingdom and European bettors should signup with a trusted brand like William Hill, Bet365 or Sky Bet. In fact, you can get £20 free with these Sky offers.
USA customers should signup at the sportsbooks listed in the table below. Carefully review all the new customer promotions. Make sure accumulators or parlays are available customers claiming a bonus with their first deposit.
Soccer Accumulator or Parlay Bet Basics
- Select 2-15 moneylines, spreads, totals or combinations of all three.
- Include matchups from other sports like American football, basketball or hockey.
- All selections must be correct to win.
- Each tie reduces parlay size by 1 selection. Review your sportsbook’s parlay rules carefully.
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Always Shop Lines and Odds
Don’t risk your hard earned money without shopping around for the best lines first. Lines and odds will vary from book to book depending on the matchup, the opening line and the type of customers they serve. Sportsbooks catering to sharper or “wise guy” clients will have different lines than those meant for recreational bettors.
Championship events, like the UEFA Europa and Champions league finals, will have intense interest from the betting public. Monitor how each line moves from opening to just before kickoff.
Early season MLS lines will be less refined, in the same way sportsbooks struggle during the first 2-3 weeks of the NFL season. Take this opportunity to capitalize on bad lines as you see them.