Soccer - Soccer
While soccer’s popularity in the United States lags behind football, basketball and baseball, the sport is the most popular game in many other countries throughout the world. Ironically, soccer is more commonly known as “football” or “futbol” outside of America.
Soccer’s origins date back to the middle of the 19th century. Around this time, early versions of the sport were being played in England. The origins of modern soccer began in earnest in 1863 in England with the formation of the Football Association. The association developed some basic rules and fundamentals for the game.
By the early 20th century, the game was highly popular in most parts of the world. In 1930, the first World Cup tournament was held. Over time, the World Cup would become the most widely-viewed sporting event in the world. The World Cup is held every four years, like the summer and winter Olympic games. Throughout the globe, there is a tremendous amount of anticipation for the event.
Because soccer is the most popular sport in so many nations, the World Cup in many countries is the equivalent to the Super Bowl in the United States. For the 2010 World Cup, over 200 nations qualified for the tournament. The field is eventually paired down to the top 32 teams that qualify for the finals tournament. Over 700 million fans watched the 2006 World Cup final on television.
Soccer’s place in America’s culture yields an intriguing dynamic. Many young children play the game in the United States. However, most youngsters outgrow the sport by high school. While top high school and college athletes can potentially earn huge salaries in professional football, basketball and baseball in the United Sates, there is little chance of earning a huge payday by playing professional soccer in America.
MLS (Major League Soccer) is the most prominent professional soccer league in the United States. While some players in the league are able to earn six-figure salaries, most players in the league make salaries in the mid five-figure range. In contrast, the average salaries in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL are all over $1 million annually.
While the MLS is well behind the four major team sport leagues in the United States, pro soccer is building a respectable fan base in the country. When soccer superstar David Beckham joined the MLS a few years ago, the sport received some considerable media coverage in the United States. These kind of events have aided soccer’s popularity among sports bettors as well.
Soccer Betting Basics
Soccer is a hard game for many American sports fans and bettors to get behind because of the lack of scoring. In a recent English Premier League (a pro league in Europe that is generally viewed as the highest level of pro soccer in the world) season, the average total goals per game was less than 2.5. For United State sports fans that are used to watching NFL games that average about 40 total points per game and NBA contests that can exceed 200 total points per contest, the lack of offense in soccer can seem to make the sport a dull game in their eyes. However, the basic premise of soccer is similar to hockey.
In both sports, each team is trying to score an object (ball/puck) into a net that is protected by a goaltender. In a standard soccer game, each team has 11 players on the field. For most pro soccer events, the length of the field is about the same as a standard football field. The soccer games consist of two 45-minute halves. While there are some specific soccer rules, the basic laws of the game aren’t too complicated.
During the game action, the goaltender is the only player that is allowed to touch the ball with his hands. The other players navigate the ball primarily by kicking the ball up and down the field.
There are four main bets for a pro soccer game. The first is a money line or straight up wager. In this wager, the bettor is wagering on which team will win the game without any regards to the margin of victory. This option is available for any pro league that goes beyond regulation time to declare a winner and doesn’t have any draws.
For leagues where games can end in a tie or a draw, there are 3-way lines. These odds are similar to the money lines but allow the bettor to also place a wager on whether or not the game will end in a draw.
There are also goal lines in soccer wagering. These bets are similar to run line wagers in baseball. In soccer goal line bets, teams will be installed at +/- .5 or +/- 1.5 goals. Like the other major betting sports, there are totals or over/under bets on soccer games.
The standard over/under figure for most pro soccer league games is 2.5 goals. In terms of sheer betting options, soccer is the top sport at most online sportsbooks. A typical online sportsbook will book pro soccer action from dozens of countries from all over the world.