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Football bets - Basics


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I. What bookmakers are there?

II. How do I find the right bookmaker?

III. How do bookmakers make their living?

IV. How are odds being determined?

V. What is the bookmaker commission?

VI. Calculation of the bookmaker commission.

I. What bookmakers are there? 

You can choose from a variety of different bookmakers. Each one of them has its own merits so you should inform yourself before choosing or or more. The following bookmakers rank among the most popular ones on the market:


  • in business since 2000 
  •  over 10 million customers in Germany, 21 million customers worldwide
  •  very good odds 
  • quick payout


  • in business since 1999 
  • one of the market’s biggest providers 
  • over 20 million customers worldwide 
  • up to 40.000 bets a day


  • in business since 1990 
  • over 1,2 million customer 
  • very good odds on favorites 
  • quick payout


  • in business since 2006 
  • ca. 2 million customers 
  • good customer service 
  • many payment methods


  • in business since 1997 
  • over 4 million customers 
  • good support 
  • lohnenswerte Bonusprogramme und Aktionen

  • in business since 2016 
  • good customer service 
  • up to 160 Euros bonus for new customers 
  • no betting tax on bonus offers


  • in business since 2004 
  • over 1,1 million customers 
  • very good odds 
  • TÜV-certified


  • in business 2002
  • over 1,3 million customers
  • good odds
  • PayPal as optional payment method


  • in business since 1999 
  • over 4,3 million customers
  • listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange
  • live support available


  • in business since 2009
  • good odds
  • no inpayment fees Gebühren
  • TÜV-certified


  • in business since 2012
  • Multilingual Support Staff
  • 150% welcome bonus for new players
  • no betting tax

II. How do I find the right bookmaker?

To find a suitable bookmaker for you, you should carefully consider those bookmakers that come into question. The following criteria will help you with that:

1. Bets offered

The bets offered should include those matches and betting types that you want to bet on. Check, for example, whether the bookmaker offers bets on your favorite league and different betting options. Which types of bets can be placed with this bookmaker? Are there special- and extra bets? How about live bets? On what can you bet?

2. Odds

The betting odd will determine how much money you receive, if you win the bet. Therefore, you should check how good the odds are that a bookmaker states. For doing that you should compare them with other bookmakers on the market over a considerable period. That way you get a good impression of how attractive the stated odds really are.

Moreover, the amount of the commission deducted by the bookmaker per bet, is of importance for you. For: The smaller the bookmaker's margin the higher the betting profits the provider will pay out to you.

3. Customer service

Don't underestimate a good and reliable customer service. Because: Should you have questions or problems, it is important that the bookmaker is able to help you swiftly and proficiently. To ascertain that, you should firstly find out how you can reach the bookmaker. Free phone number? E-Mail? Live-Chat? You can assess four yourself which method you deem the most important. An excellent support is available 24/7 for you. 

4. Placing bets

The bookmaker should make it easy for you to deposit mony on your betting account and place your bet.

a) Pay into your betting account

Chack closely which payment services the bookmaker provides to you and whether they require fees. A good bookmeker offers you different payment options for you to choose. Is your preffered payment method among them? The most popular payment options in Germany currently include:

  • Creditcard (VISA and Mastercard)
  • PayPal
  • instant transfer
  • the prepaid card PaySafeCard
  • ordinary bank transfer
  • the British payment service provider Skrill
  • the British online financial service Neteller

Most notably when you decide to pay into your betting account via credit card or PayPal some bookmakers will charge you parts of the transaction costs incurred. You should review this before a registration.

b) Functionality of the betting platform 

How simply may bets be placed? Does the platform feature a good functionality? Watch out for a simple navigation that is self-explanatory. A good usability is characterized by you intuitively recognizing what to do to place a bet. That is especially indispensable for live bets where each second is crucial.

5. Payout

You have bet and won. How does the payout of your profit work? In this respect bookmakers also differ in various points. You should watch out for:  

  • How long does the payout take?
  • Whats kinds of payout methods are offered?
  • Are there fees or expenses that accrue for the payout (e.g. due to a betting tax)?

The best bookmakers offer you a variety of payout methods, pay you out quickly and don't charge expenses or fees.

6. Integrity and Security

Before regularly placing your bet at a provider, you should you should acquaint yourself with him. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the bookmaker hold a license? Reliable bookmakers own a official registration in Great Britain, Gibraltar or Malta.
  • What experiences did other customers have?
  • Does the bookmaker maybe hold a certification or a award? 

Many bookmakers on the market are big companies that have been in business for years and therefore, are reliable and safe. Be careful with bookmakers that are new in business and about whom not much is known yet.

Practical tip

You selected 2-3 bookmakers? Then check them thoroughly before finally deciding. Make a small in-payment, collect the bonus (if available) and bet on three matches. You will quickly realize how you like a platform and whether it corresponds with your demands and expectations.

III. How do bookmakers make their living?

Bookmakers don’t rely on the probability of occurrence but factor in every stated odd their profit and therefore, their margin in. It usually amounts to something between 2 and 10 percent of your wager depending on the bookmaker. How exactly does this work? The example of a coin flip may make clear how bookmakers work and make money.

If you flip a coin can either land on heads or tales. For both possibilities the probability is 50 percent. The odd would consequently amount to 2,0. Wenn du nun 50 Euro auf Kopf setzt und jemand anderes 50 Euro auf Zahl, muss der Wettanbieter in jedem Fall 100 Euro auszahlen. So hätte er keinen Gewinn gemacht. Um diesem Fall vorzubeugen verringert er die Quoten. Statt der 2,0 setzt er diese auf 1,9. Der Gewinner erhält dann bei einem Einsatz von 50 Euro nicht mehr wie zuvor 100 Euro, sondern nur noch 95 Euro. Der Wettanbieter streicht also einen Gewinn ein, unabhängig davon, wer die Wette gewinnt.

To circumvent too high of a risk, bookmakers additionally determine certain wager limits so that they can control potential winnings without a problem. So it is not possible for you to bet an amount of money (and also win the bet) that is so high that the (legitimate) bookmaker is not able pay you out your winnings. This mechanism protects not only the bookmaker from financial damage but also you from putting too high wagers on bets.


IV. How are odds being determined?

A bookmaker’s most important tool is the odd. How it is determined usually varies from bookmaker to bookmaker; however, it is always calculated from multiple factors. In that regard these are especially crucial:

  • the overall performance level of the team
  • the historical data on the match, meaning the past results between the teams
  • the current sporting situation such as e.g. shape, injured players, league position
  • what odds customers place bets on, meaning how bookmakers can gain as many customers as possible for all offered results
  • the current volume of bets, meaning the number of bets of bets that have already been placed on the respective match. 

Sudden developments such as injuries of important players, have the effect of bookmakers constantly adjusting the odd up until kick off. For that they follow the current events every day and modify the set odd accordingly.

Calculation of the odd

If the implied probability for the respective wins of the clashing teams as well as for the draws is calculated, the bookmaker will have to factor his commission in the odd to gain a margin out of every bet.

Bayern plays against Köln. The bookmaker expects the following winning probabilities:
Win Bayern: 65 percent
Draw: 25 percent
Win Cologne: 10 percent
The summed up implied probability amounts to 100 percent.
Let’s assume that the bookmaker wants to make 7 percent margin per bet. Then he adds that to the 100 percent. For that he distributes the 7 percent according to his own discretion among the implied probabilities:
Win Bayern: 69 percent (odd: 1,44)
Draw: 27 percent (odd: 3,70)
Win Cologne: 11 percent (odd: 9,09)

That way the bookmaker raised the probability of a Bayern-win from 65 to 69 percent, the probability of Shaw from 25 to 27 percent and the probability of a Cologne-win from 10 to 11 percent. The summet up implied probability now amounts to 107 percent. Out of these probabilities the bookmaker calculates his odd.

Exception: Live bets

As far as live bets are concerned odds are continuously adjusted even during the match. Many bookmakers get an advantage for themselves by counting on a TV image lagged bei a few seconds in betting halls. That way they can react as quick as possible to incidents and adjust the odd. Special data suppliers like Betradar additionally help them to react to events that you as bettor are not able to detect at first sight.

V. What is the bookmaker commission?

The bookmaker’s commission describes the margin that bookmakers gain this each placed bet. For that they lower every odd that they issue for for a match a little. It then doesn’t any longer match the bookmaker’s expected implied probability but it is a little less. As a result he has to pay the subsequent winner of the bet less money. The bookmaker-commission, therefore, is a tool for each provider to make sure that he makes a profit from the betting business - regardless of whether you in the bet or not.

Bayern faces Dortmund in the league’s top match. Both teams are about the same rank and performance level at the moment, so that the bookmaker estimates the winning probability of both teams to be 50 percent. However, he doesn’t issue an odd of 2,0 (which would equal a winning probability of 50 percent) but states an odd of 1,9. If now you bet 50 Euros on win Dortmund and Dortmund actually wins the match, you will only receive 95 Euros. And not 100 Euros, which would match the actual (estimated) probability. The bookmaker consequently gets a commission of 5 Euro form you. That is what how the bookmaker makes his living and how he operates his betting business.

VI. Calculation of the bookmaker commission

You want to know what the commission is that you bookmaker set for a match? You can easily and just with a few tricks calculate it yourself and that way get a better impression of the value of the bet.

Dortmund plays against Frankfurt. Your bookmaker offers the following odds for the match:
Win Dortmund: 2,0
Win Frankfurt: 3,90
Draw: 3,50

How much commission does the bookmaker get in this case?

For this you have to calculate the so called overround to begin with. To do that you have divide all odds by 1 and add the results afterwards. Then you have to multiply that result by 100 1 : 2,0 = 0,5
1 : 3,90 = 0,256
1: 3,50 = 0,286
0,5 + 0,256 + 0,286 = 1,042
1,042 x 100 = 104,2 percent
The overround amounts to 104,2 percent.
To now calculate the bookmaker’s commission, you have to utilise the following formula:
(1 – (1 : overround in decimal figure)) x 100 = commission
For our example that would mean:
(1 – (1 : 1,042)) x 100 = ca. 4 percent

The bookmaker receives an average commission of 4 percent for this match.
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