You’ll have to forgive me. I spend the week after WrestleMania each year comparing the WWE’s world of friendly street-fighting and rigged outcomes to the actual sports I’ve got to blog about. Pro wrestling promoters may be all about the money, but games like soccer can be greedy circuses in their own right.
A wrestling show is a crisscross of many genres. The open-ended format has always led WWE producers to bite off more than they can chew, resulting in moments of truly bad television. A grappling blogger once explained his enduring fandom this way – “I trust the cooks in the kitchen.” The diner may be greasy, the waiter might fall asleep in the back, but the guys in charge of the actual food (i.e. matches in the ring) still know what they’re doing and care about giving you the good stuff.
Clients at soccer gambling sites can relate to that. There are so many matches on a daily basis year-round that mistakes inevitably happen. Big markets are yanked offline by accident, then reposted with vastly varying lines. Live-betting action on the Premier League is often so heavy that the odds change before a slow browser or less-than-healthy mobile device can keep up.
Yet we know what’s cooking in the kitchen. Betting on any league as popular as the Premiership offers great chances to wager against the public and take Big Advantage of Big Hype. Plus, when you wager on Liverpool or Chelsea, you get to join millions of fans worldwide in cheering for an outcome.
Ah – but there’s another issue. It’s impossible to follow English soccer or the UEFA Champions League without getting caught-up in the emotions at some point. Betting logic can suffer. Suppose you’re a fan of Man City, but there’s really, really good odds available on Liverpool to finish atop the 2019 table?
That’s where prop betting comes in handy.
Prop Betting on Soccer: Individual and Other Markets
Betting on soccer props gives the emotional fan (who also enjoys gambling) a way out of the conundrum.
Props often involve a single athlete’s performance or a single half of football, meaning that while the stakes are just as high for the bettor (i.e. beating the bookie or taking a loss) the stakes that the clubs have in the given outcomes are not quite so high. Teams can struggle to score for a half and still win – strikers can excel only to watch their keeper allow 3 unanswered goals.
Don’t cheer for a winner or a champion – or cheer all you want for a winner or a champion. Place wagers on outcomes that don’t have the whole world riding on them. After all, you’re not trying to make all the money in the world – just enough to make a visit to the ATM worthwhile.
Let’s look at a few online sportsbooks in the LegitGamblingSites.com purview and examine what prop markets on The Beautiful Game each is currently offering.
First, however, we should take note that 2019-20 could be a time of transition and change in how soccer odds are treated by bookies on the web. Betting sites are experimenting with ways to maximize efficiency, and a technological genie has recently been let out of the bottle.
Think of vinyl vs 8-Track vs CD debates. Many punters will probably always prefer the “analog” style of prop betting on soccer. The bookmaker sets the lines, the action affects them, and then finally the match happens and the result is counted.
Meanwhile, though, the use of enhanced software at offshore gambling sites is allowing other bookies to offer “ custom” interactive prop betting in which clients can pick out and set lines themselves.
Soccer Props at Bovada Sportsbook
Bovada does it old-school, and wow, are there ever some nice selections of game props on the online-betting giant’s soccer pages.
Take the current lines on Arsenal vs Napoli in the UEFA Europa League quarterfinals. A small “130” in the main-market window directs the client to look at that very number of props, well-ordered from basic/team markets to individual stars, and even some also-rans at long odds to score in the fixture.
Overall match props are standard but thorough. Punters can gamble on Gunners scoring in the first 10 minutes, or giving up a goal in the first 10, or leading after the first 30:00. There are also markets on attacking stats such as corner kicks…and “Bookings” lines on how many cards each club will take.
Then it’s on the potential goal-scorers. Aubameyang is the odds-on favorite (no surprise there) to open goal-scoring at (+325). His partner-in-crime Lacazette has the 2nd-shortest line to score first, but there are plenty of Italian professionals who are shorter than 10-to-1 bets.
It is a slight disappointment that there are no “statistics” bets on individual stars outside of goal scoring. The number of on-target shots taken by Aubameyang, for instance, could be fun to handicap. Except when Arsenal plays City or Barcelona on the road, making the youngster’s likely line something like (0.75) for a 75+ minute appearance on the pitch.
BetOnline: Onward and Upward
BetOnline is an example of a sportsbook which is going all-in on customized prop betting. If you don’t normally spend much time handicapping “side” bets on less-than-historic outcomes, fair warning that a trip to the prop counter at BetOnline (and one other site we’ll look at later) could cause you to pause for a while and falteringly start to click through everything before deciding what to do next.
Not to say that there aren’t old-fashioned lines available that require nothing more from the user than a decision and a click. There are plenty of set-in-stone soccer props at BetOnline, but they’re either more or less plentiful than Bovada’s options…depending on how you look at it.
A click on the “+” sign next to BetOnline’s main Premier League markets brings up a limited set of basic props, almost none of which involve handicapping one specific player’s chances to score. But click on “Soccer Game Props” on the left-hand menu and you’ll get everything – everything – that the betting site has to offer in the genre. All at once.
It’s probably not a good idea to try to load “Soccer Game Props” on anything less than a fresh, new browser that “zips” on everything. The sportsbook’s philosophy is that by clicking on “Soccer Game Props” the client is asking them for the soccer game props! and wants the entire caboodle on a scroll. It’s great for browsing around for helping the gambler employ my favorite common-sense betting strategy of all – to increase one’s ratio of examined odds vs bets placed. But if you’re looking to proposition bet on a particular match, it’s best to access those markets through the specific game lines.
Now for the interactive screen. BetOnline’s do-it-yourself prop market options include plenty of statistical categories. You can wager on the number of tackles made by a Premier League defender, for instance. Or a player competing in La Liga, or in the Champions League on either continent.
Speaking of Liverpool vs Chelsea, I decided to see if Mohamed Salah would produce any tasty “customized” prop lines in the interactive tool prior to the Reds’ upcoming meeting with the Blues. Interestingly, when I input “Salah-Shots” into the customization software, it spits out (4) total shots at (+122).
Gamblers may apparently be offered a solid payout at first blush as opposed to the number being gauged vs a standard (-110) or (-120). Some of the lower-volume stats are way too imprecise as whole-number variables to give bookies much of a chance to work out a normal vig. That’s OK – it makes it more fun. When I change the Salah shot total to (3) I’m given a (-217) line which kind of calls into question the plus-payoff odds on 4+ total shots. A single strike (hit or miss) is worth a lot more in a soccer match than casual fans might assume.
MyBookie’s Take on Customized Soccer Props
Finally, a look at MyBookie’s foray into the interactive markets. Like BetOnline, the Costa Rican bookmaker is smart enough to recognize the worldwide popularity of the Premier League and other soccer events, even as a big chunk of its clientele from America is still finicky about the sport. Soccer is prevalent on the site’s customized odds-making map – but take note that a lot of markets aren’t generally available until a day or 2 prior to a match.
There are currently no readily-accessible prop lines on upcoming soccer matches at MyBookie – none set by the site and offered in static form to the bettors. It’s all-or-nothing with the custom prop counter. This had better be good! Let’s look at the upcoming Leicester vs Newcastle fixture.
While the display looks almost identical on-screen, the site’s “quick picks” map loads faster and more smoothly than BetOnline’s, offering a myriad of fancy game-prop options in parlay form. Lines for players to be carded in the match are already set. It appears that Newcastle is expected to be the rougher team, or at least brings the 3 most unscrupulous players to the meeting.
Whoops – I knew it. That “Props Builder” brand-logo gives it away. MyBookie uses the same algorithm as the competition in suggesting prop lines. Salah is once again (+122) to take at least 4 shots against Chelsea.
Oh well. It’s still a truly neat app, and I’m glad sites in our sphere are experimenting with it.
Surfing for Soccer Prop Odds
As always, it’s a terrific idea to look all around the web for numbers and odds once you’ve got an outcome or a prediction that you’re comfortable will come to pass. Even if it’s the number of passes Salah or Harry Kane makes in a given afternoon.
Sportsbetting.ag offers a prop betting panorama similar to the big whoppin’ spread (spread of information, not point spread) at BetOnline. MyBookie also offers neat (and funny) “celebrity” prop markets which are fun to look for when Ronaldo or Messi get into a controversy.
For the best old-fashioned prop betting, though, you’ve still got to give the nod to Bovada for its elaborate static markets.
Customized betting junkies? I recommend BetOnline’s combination of “analog and modern” for the best new/old experience of prop betting on the internet.
Bovada may offer more lines that require zero hands-on building, but you don’t need an encyclopedia of betting markets when there’s plenty of space to make more…to personal specifications.