Football, or soccer as it is known in North America, is one of the world's most popular, accessible and attractive sports for people from all walks of life. The simplicity and beauty of the game has given way to a worldwide fan base for many different leagues and tournaments ranging from national, to regional and even worlds. The internationally recognized rules for football developed in England and are today moderated by an international football body called the International Football Association Board (IFAB). The rules of the game are collectively known as the Laws of the Game of which there are seventeen laws governing different aspects of play. Further decisions and additions are the responsibility of the IFAB. Within the IFAB, the most influential and powerful unit is the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) which is comprised of 209 national associations.

Best Sportsbooks to Bet on Soccer

The international nature of football has produced a number of different leagues below the world stage. But at the world stage FIFA`s World Cup is the premier tournament pitting national teams against each other with television viewership in the hundreds of millions. The other international tournament happens at the Summer Olympics; however, national teams are currently restricted to players under 23 years of age in an attempt to maintain the amateur spirit of the Olympics.

Regionally there are various football federations at the continental level. These six organizations are CONCACAF representing North America, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF Gold Cup); CONMEBOL (previously South American Championship) represents South America (Copa América); UEFA for Europe (European Championship aka Euro Cup); CAF in Africa (African Cup of Nations); AFC in Asia (Asian Cup); and OFC for Australia and the surrounding nations (OFC Nations Cup). FIFA hosts a FIFA Confederations Cup which involves the champions from each continent, the host country and the reigning FIFA World Cup champions. However, this is a less watched tournament than the World Cup and is sometimes viewed as a precursor to the World Cup, an opportunity to see how the different regions matchup before the World Cup.

Then outside of international and regional competitions is some of the finest football in the world. Many of the world's football superstars are members of clubs within one of Europe`s four major professional leagues. These leagues are England's English Premier League, Italy`s Serie A, Spain`s Primera Division (aka La Liga) and Germany's Bundesliga. Outside of these four, other notable but less significant leagues are North America's Major League Soccer (MLS) and Australia's A-League. Also of note is the UEFA Champions League which is a widely popular tournament for the best club teams from across UEFA. Next to the World Cup, many would consider this club tournament the best tournament in the world.

Soccer Betting Guide

If football proves to be a great pleasure to watch, it can be equally as exciting if you add an extra element to the experience by placing a wager on your favorite team. With the multitude of leagues and tournaments running around the world and throughout the year, it is easy to find action on a game of football. The first step is to find the wagering options listed for each game (sometimes you will need to look for matches listed under soccer if your gaming outlet also carries North American Football such as the NFL or CFL). Next find the match, or matches you want to bet on.

Two teams will be listed along with a Draw option. It is all too common for a match of football to end in a tie and as such it has become customary to offer the bettor the option of choosing a tie. Next to either team, and the draw option, you will find a number with a "+" or "-" sign beside it, a fraction, or a decimal number. Football bets are commonly listed in Moneyline (American), Decimal or Factional formats. These numbers show how much you will win from wagering one unit if your wager choice matches the outcome.

So for example using Moneyline odds: Team A might be listed as +345, Team B at -200 and Draw as +290. If Team A wins then for every $100 wagered the bettor receives $345, if Team B wins then the bettor receives $100 for every $200 dollars wagered, and if the game is a draw the bettor will receive $290 for every $100 wagered. Team A is the favorite to win the game, Team B is the underdog and a Draw is considered less likely than Team A winning but more likely than Team B winning.

If the odds are listed in fractions then the profit or winnings can be determined by multiplying ones' wager by the first number (the numerator) and then dividing that product by the second number (the denominator). For example an odd listed as 3/1 will give winnings of $3 for every $1 wagered. So you will be given $4 on a $1 bet. If the odds are listed in decimal form then they indicate combined winnings and your original bet. Listed as decimal odds, the fractional odd of 3/1 in the previous example would be displayed as 4.0 because $4 is returned to you on a $1 bet.

The primary type of bet in football wagering is to pick a winner, but many sites will offer other options. Such an option is to pick a final point total. In this case a number is listed and you pick whether the combined score will go over that number or remain under that number. If the score matches the total listed this bet is often "Pushed" which means you get your money back. Additionally, for important games or tournaments that are highly popular, other betting options may be offered. It is not uncommon for "Futures" to be offered where a bettor picks a winner of a contest well in advance of the season, a game or before important and relevant information becomes available which would inform the bet. Another special type of wager (aka a proposition bet or prop) could be offer the bettor the choice of what team will score first, which player might score a specific goal, a half time score or other creative options. Finally, a relatively common bet is to bet the spread. Here you the bettor decide if the winner will win by a point difference greater or less than the number listed (this is often referred to as covering or not covering the spread). However, in football because the scores are often so low the spread is a nearly meaningless bet unless a high point total is anticipated. Often the winnings on a point spread bet for football are slightly below 1/1.

For more information on understanding betting lines, where to bet online using credit cards or if you are looking for the best online sportsbook for US players.