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Football betting for beginners: Online vs high street

Football betting guide part 1

Millions of people in years gone by played the football pools, simply a betting pool based on predicting the outcome of football games. They were cheap to play and had potentially high winning returns for those lucky enough to get it right.

People would traditionally submit their entires through the post or via the good old collector agents coming to their door.

Millions of people still bet regularly these days in the UK with football betting probably the biggest growing trend right now. But where do you start and how do you make sure you are doing it right?

Here we guide you through the basics of betting on football in a safe and secure way as well as showing you how to get the best value for money for your bet.

High streets vs online

Even now, millions of us flock to the local betting shop to place our bets, especially at weekends.

By 11AM on Saturdays, queues will be seen at most shops and aside from betting on the old staples of horse racing and greyhounds; those queues increasingly feature people placing their weekly football accumulator.

However, there are several advantages to betting online as opposed to doing it in high street shops. Without having to maintain shops and pay wages, the costs for an online bookmaker are much lower, meaning they can afford to offer better odds and bonuses to the punter as well as free bets.

Even when a high street bookmaker also operates online, the prices in the shops offered by the very same firm will be less than those offered on the internet.

For a beginner, online is the way to go because it is so much less intimidating. Some find it quite embarrassing walking into a bookmaker and not knowing how to place a bet. If you place bets online, the online bookie explains most things to you as you go along.

Advantages of opening an account and betting online

Getting the best odds

When placing your bet in the shop, it is virtually impossible to know what prices rival bookmakers are offering in the area. Most localities won’t have every bookmaker available and so the firms who are operating have a captive audience and have little incentive to offer great prices.

Betting online means having the opportunity to see what odds or bonuses each bookie is offering as they happen, so getting that value for money is a much simpler task.


The ability to place bets from a mobile phone or tablet has revolutionised betting in recent years, especially where football is concerned. Betting ‘in-play’ is huge business now and means that even when a game has already started, you can still join in the action and make your selection live.

Instant payouts

OK, it sounds lazy, but who wants to make a second trip to the bookie? Betting online means that when you have won you can receive your payment instantly. Well, the money will hit your betting account instantly, though some or quicker than others to put the money into your bank once you have requested a withdrawal.


Some regular gamblers still love the betting shop environment while others would rather not be seen in one. Betting online makes the experience a private one between you and your bookie. That anonymity can suit some people’s lifestyle choice, as well as taking away that potentially intimidating trip to the shop.

Choose your bookie wisely

In the case of online betting especially, the gambler is more in control than ever before. Of course, it goes without saying that the bookie will spin the odds in their favour, but there is so much competition out there that they all have to be competitive.

As well as their standard prices for a particular game, bookmakers will offer various sign-up bonuses which can be very lucrative for a first timer. Getting the best value for money is crucial for your football bet.

Make sure you shop around; use for an easy way to compare prices across the board for all games.

Signing up with various bookmakers is OK to do. Not only is this free, but indeed all major online firms offer sign-up bonuses. The standard way of offering these bonuses now is for the firm to match your sign-up amount; i.e. if you sign-up and deposit £20, they will offer you £20 of free bets.

Some firms also offer loyalty bonuses, ensuring that good deals are not simply for new customers. The more you bet the more loyalty bonuses you receive, but remember that it’s important not to bet for the sake of it. Wait for the right opportunity to come along.

Placing your bets

Placing a football bet is very simple. In the shops, there will always be a football section in the shape of plastic holders containing the various paper coupons available for you to place all sorts of bets.

If the bet you wish to place is not available on a coupon, you can simply write it out on a standard betting slip and hand it to the cashier. Betting shop staff will regard no question as stupid, so always ask for help if you are unsure of anything.

If you’ve signed up with a reputable online bookmaker however, placing your bet is incredibly easy. Simply select the desired game you wish to bet on, then your selection and enter your stake.

Do remember that for full cover bets, your ‘unit’ stake will not be the final amount you are committing to. We will look at multiples and full cover bets in more detail soon to make sure you are not stung.

If you sign up to more than one bookmaker you may be able to place your bet straight from a comparison site. By comparing prices on oddschecker, you will be able to make your decision, then by clicking on the price offered by that bookmaker you may place your bet straight from there.