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To understand football betting odds, it helps if you understand how online sportsbooks make money.  The goal for a sportsbook is to balance potential payouts among all the potential outcomes of a match so that the stakes from the losing wagers can cover the winning wagers.  Through the odds margins built into all outcomes, the sportsbook will be left with a very small percentage of the total amount wagered on the event as revenue for accepting bets on the event.

If the sportsbook does a poor job of balancing the potential payouts, they could be left to cover the payouts from their own resources.  This is why handicap figures and odds prices change.  When a lot of money is being wagered on one outcome, the sportsbook will lower the price on the heavily wagered upon outcome and increase the odds price for the other outcome(s) and/or alter the handicap.  This is the sportsbook’s effort to shift betting interest to help balance the payouts.

Sportsbooks build their profit margins into the odds across all potential event outcomes.  These margin percentages vary from sportsbook to sportsbook and betting market to betting market.  Some sportsbooks focus on providing excellent margin value on particular sports, but use higher margins on others, while some sportsbooks approach all sports with essentially the same margins.

When a sportsbook has low odds margins, they are returning more money to bettors.  Thus, when you deal with a sportsbook with lower odds margins, they will be more likely to have the best odds for a particular result.  It is however possible for sportsbooks with average odds margins to provide the best odds for a particular outcome.   If you only intend to have one sportsbook account, the figures below will help you maximize your win returns over time.  To ensure you always get the best odds from game to game, it is best to use an odds comparison site like

Below, you’ll find the odds margins offered on each of the most popular football betting markets by all of the sportsbooks listed on this site.  This will help you to determine which sportsbooks will cater to your own betting preferences, whether you will focus on football, American football or Australian Rules football and the type of betting market within your sport of interest.  For football, these include 1x2 match betting, Double Chance, Draw no Bet and Asian Handicap.  For American Football and Australian Rules football, read about the margins for the Handicap (or Point Spread) Total (or over/under) and the money line.

Do low football odds margins guarantee the highest-paying odds on all outcomes?

The answer to this is ‘No’ with a ‘but.’  Odds margins give you an example of the overall value on offer from a given sportsbook for a given betting market.  As the above formula illustrates, odds margins are yielded from all the potential outcomes on offer for the given bet.  So in other words, the margins account for how much the sportsbook is keeping as their fee for ALL bets on a given match.

However, you are only betting on one outcome, not all three.  It is highly unlikely that one sportsbook company will always have the best available odds on all your chosen match outcomes.  In general,  a 2% to 3% margin sportsbook will likely have the best-paying odds (or very close) for at least one and possibly two of the three outcomes (Home Win, Draw, Away Win).  However, these one or two outcomes might not be the outcomes that you are interested in wagering upon.   In fact, sportsbooks that offer margins of 4% to 5% or even higher can offer the best odds for one particular match outcome but lower value for the overall.  Here is an example of how this can happen:

                           Chelsea       Draw       Spurs            Margin

Sportsbook 1          2.55          2.85           3.51             2.79%

Sportsbook 2          2.70          2.80           3.20             4.00%

Notice that although Sportsbook 1 offers a far better overall margin value at 2.79% for the overall match odds compared to 4.00%, if you are interested in wagering on the favourite, Chelsea, Sportsbook 2, with the higher overall margin is actually offering the best odds for your desired match selection.

What does this mean to you in practical terms?  Knowing that your sportsbook offers good value on their odds with low percentage margins is important, but you won’t know if they offer the best odds on your game selections until the odds are actually published.  Having low odds margins simply gives you a good starting point to know where to look for who might likely have the best odds on the given day for any given result, and which service returns solid value to you over time.

To ensure you get the best odds for every match of interest, it is advisable to have accounts with several top sportsbooks and place your bets according as the odds dictate for your selections.  In doing so, you are likely to ensure returns that are 10% to 15% higher on your wins over time.

If you are looking for the best online football betting for any particular league around the world, you can find information for all of the top football competitions listed below.

Understanding football betting odds margins can help you realize better returns on your wins.  Lower odds margins lead to better odds and higher payouts on winning wagers.

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