Football is one of the UKs favourite sports to bet on. In fact, between October ’09 and September ’10 the UK bet a staggering £1.03bn on the beautiful game. This was up 7% year on year, compared to all of the other main sports that declined in popularity.

It’s no longer just about betting on which team is going to win. These days bookies offer many more markets including transfers, corners, and which manager is most likely to be sacked first. We’ve put together some football betting tips to help improve your success rate.

Avoid ‘tipping’ website scams

There are plenty of websites that offer to sell football betting tips. You should be asking the question, if these tips are so good, why do people need to make more money by selling them? If someone tips a certain team to win, and a lot of money follows it, odds will fall. It’s very easy to ‘prove’ how much money new visitors would have made in hindsight. Only sign up to such a service with a recommendation from someone you know. Even review sites are likely to be set up by the website owner.

Use free bets to your advantage

The UK gambling industry is highly competitive, and the majority of the bookies now offer punters a free bet as an incentive to open an account. People betting on football should use this for their advantage. Indeed, when you do place a bet, you will often be able to compare bookies and get the best odds, so it pays to shop around. Currently the best offers going are:

  • Bet 365 are offering up to £200 in free bets. Click here for details.
  • William Hill, always on TV, are giving a free £25 bet currently. Click here for details.
  • Paddypower are offering up to £100 in free bets. Click here for details.

Bet on what you know

It sounds obvious but it’s genuinely true. Bookies will base a lot of their odds on mathematics and may not necessarily know individual teams in as much depth as you do. If you know a key player is going to be out, and he is critical to supporting the midfield, then follow your gut feelings.

Leverage cashback and special offers

Every week bookies will run different special offers. Often they involve first goal scorers. For instance, if you back Rooney to be the first goal scorer, and he doesn’t get the first, but proceeds to score in the game, bookies may refund losing bets. Similarly, if you place a football accumulator with a certain number of events, if you lose on just one of the events, the bookie will refund your losing bet. If you can get smart with these special offers, then you can improve your success rate when betting on football.