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How to Bet: Soccer 

Soccer is called "The Beautiful Game," and it is the most popular sport in the world. Most countries around the world have several professional soccer leagues, and some of the best in the world are in the European counties of England, Italy, and Spain. 

The game is very simple and dates back many centuries. There are many leagues and national teams for the truly international sport of soccer, which most people outside of the US refer to as football. 

Online Soccer Betting

Considering that soccer is the most popular sport globally, it is not surprising that it is also a huge betting sport. Almost all legitimate online sportsbooks will have odds posted for soccer games from a number of leagues. 

The bigger and more popular the league, the more betting markets that you will find one. For example, for every match in the England Premier League, Spain's La Liga, and Italy's Serie A, you will find many betting options and not just the match-winner and totals

Most sportsbooks will also offer special bonuses and promotions. They have them for the leagues and bigger competitions such as the Champions League and Europa League. 

But they have a lot of them for the premier competitions such as the World Cup and the European Championships. The betting market for soccer at sportsbooks around the world is impressive, as you will not only find tons of games to bet on but also tons of bets to make on them.  

Soccer Live Odds

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Rules and Gameplay 

Soccer is a team sport where there are 11 players on each team. The main object in the game is to score more goals than the opponent. The game is played on a rectangular field with a ball that is 68–70 cm (27–28 in) circumference. 

There are two halves to the soccer field and two goal boxes on opposite ends of the field. A player can score a goal by kicking, using their head, or redirecting the ball into the goal with any body part besides the hands and arms. 

The 11 players on a soccer field are broken into forwards, midfielders, defenses, and goalies. The goalie is the last line of defense, and they are the only player on the field that are allowed to use their hands. But they can only do so in the goalie box that is 20 yards wide and six yards deep on a regulation soccer field. 

The team works to control the ball, keeping it away from their opponent, and moving the ball towards the opponents' goal to try to score. The players can move the ball by passing it to their teammates or dribbling it with their feet. 

Each team tries to control the ball, so if one team has it, the other will look to get the ball back by intercepting a pass, stealing the ball from the player dribbling, or punching the ball away with a tackle with no excessing physical contact. If the player does have excessive contact, they will be called for a foul.

In soccer, the game only stops when the ball goes out of bounds, a goal is scored, or a foul occurs. When the play stops, there are eight ways in which the game resumes. Those ways are: 

  • Kick-off – The soccer ball is placed in the middle of the field and kicked off by a team to start the game, the second half, or after a goal is scored. 
  • Throw in – If the ball goes out of bounds, a player from the team that did not touch the soccer ball last throws it back onto the field from the sidelines. 
  • Goal Kick – The soccer ball passes the backline and last touched by the attacking team. The ball is placed at the corner of the goal box and kicked back in play. 
  • Corner Kick – The team on their side of the field touches the ball last, passing the backline. The opposing team gets a free-kick from the corner, hence the name, on their offensive side.
  • Indirect Free Kick – If a foul is committed and is not excessive, the team that did not commit the foul gets a free-kick from the spot of the foul. With an indirect kick, a player cannot score a goal without the soccer ball touching another player. 
  • Direct Free Kick – If an excessive foul is committed and the opposing team gets a free-kick at the spot of the foul. Now, it does not have to touch another player to score. 
  • Penalty Kick – A penalty kick is awarded if a player commits a foul in the goal box they are defending. The opposing player taking the penalty kick is one on one with the goalie, and other players cannot move until the soccer ball is touched.
  • Drop Ball – For anything besides a foul, the referee stops play and will drop the ball between two opposing players, each of them trying to get control. 

There are side referees in soccer but one main one on the field. They run around the field for the whole game being close to the ball and whistling fouls. 

They are the only ref in the game that calls four fouls on the field. If the foul one the ref deems to be excessive, they can hand out a yellow card, which is a warning to the player that committed the foul. If that player is given another yellow card at any time, they are sent off the field and cannot come back in the game. 

If the ref deems that a foul is extremely excessive, they can hand out a red card. If a player receives a red card, they are immediately out of the game and cannot return. A player, usually a defender, can also receive a red card if they intentionally use their hands or arms to keep a ball from being scored on their goal.

Another foul in the game that is not an excessive one is called offsides. A player is called for offsides when they are in the half of their opponents' field and closer to the opponent's goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent, not the goalie. 

There are two sideline referees on each side of the field, and they are the ones that call offsides. When they call it the team not called for the foul starts play with an indirect kick at the spot where the player was offside. 

For most soccer games, such as Mexico soccer games and MLS games, that last 90 minutes long and split into two halves with a break at halftime. The main referee has a watch that they use when play is stopped. 

When play is stopped for a substitution or foul, they use that time and add it to the end of the 45 minutes in the first half or second half. For example, if the ref has three minutes extra, they will add that time, which is referred to as stoppage time. 

How The Teams Work 

In soccer, there are four positions. Their names and main jobs on the field are: 

  • Forwards – The Attacking players that mainly are on the opponent's side of the field and the ones that look to score. 
  • Midfielders – They are the instigators who play back on defense and push the ball up to the forwards. They can be on the attack as well trying to score, and while mainly in the middle of the field, they can play all over. There are attacking midfielders and defensive ones, and they are the main ones that control the soccer ball for their team. 
  • Defenders – They mainly play on the side of the field where the goal is that they are defending. Their main goal is to keep the opposing team from scoring, but they can also push forward and score. 
  • Goalie – The goalie is the last line of defense being in the goal box. While they can use their hands to stop the ball from going into the goal, they cannot use them outside of the goal box, or they will be whistled for a handball. The goalie is also the player who directs other players on defense to set up for corner kicks and closer indirect and direct kicks from the opposing team. 

All of the players on the field work together with goals to control the ball, score, and keep the opposing team from scoring. 

Strategy & Tactics 

Soccer is a game that has many tactics and strategies involved. Most of them have to do with playing to the team's strength, whether it be scoring, playing defensively, or controlling the ball in the midfield. That is one of the beautiful things about soccer, being that there are many different types of teams.

The tactics and strategies involved in soccer also have to deal with how the soccer game is unfolding. For example, if a team relies on their defense to win and go down 2-0 after the first half, they will have to change their strategy to be more attacking in the second half to come back. 

The soccer betting strategies are playing a team game, playing to the strength of the team, and the strength of its players. There are great individual players, but soccer is a team game that relies on team strategy to be successful. 

History of Soccer 

Like many other sports, the history of soccer is widely debated. Many experts believe it dates back to 2500 B.C., as there were games in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and China that all had games that used a ball and a net. 

The Roman game of Harpastum had a game that used a ball and a net with teams trying to possess the ball and score, as did the game in Ancient Greece of Episkyros. There was also the game of Tsu'Chu from around 300 B.C. in China. 

Throughout the centuries, other types of games that involved a ball and a new included Japan's Kemari, Native American Pahsaherman, and Indigenous Australians played Marn Grook. 

Soccer evolved in Europe in medieval times, and later in 12th century England where the teams were mobs of players, and the game was very physical. There were no standard rules for what soccer came to be, and in the following centuries, forms of the game were played in France, Germany, and Italy.

Modern soccer formed in 19th century England where the private schools called the game "football," which is what most of the world knows the sport as today. The game was more like rugby, but over the years, the violence lessened, and there were more dribbling and kicking. 

In the middle of the 19th-century, football clubs started to emerge, and in 1848, the "Cambridge Rules" were established at Cambridge University with students moving up in the ranks for the local football clubs. 

The Football Association (FA) was established in 1863, and this led to universal soccer rules as well where players could not carry the ball and could not trip or kick the shins of opposing players. There were 128 teams in the FA in 1887, and the main league in England in the Football League was formed in 1888, which was the first top-level league in the country, which is now the England Premier League. 

At the end of the 19th century, soccer took off worldwide, especially in the rest of Europe and South America. International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) was established in 1904 with the seven-member nations of Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, and Germany. 

In 1903 the first World Cup was held, and at the time, FIFA had 41 members. The sport of soccer continued immense growth in the next several decades, with many nations having several leagues. Again, Europe and South America were still the hot-spots of the game. As of 2020, that has not changed, and FIFA now has over 200 member nations. 

Wall of Fame

With a rich history, there are many soccer players throughout the years that deserve to be on the wall of fame. There is a US Soccer Hall of Fame and a World Soccer Hall of Fame, which opened in 2011 and is located in Mexico.

Much like the debate of the origins of soccer, there is much debate on the greatest soccer player of all time. However, three names are mentioned the most often for that title in the legends of Pele and Diego Maradona and the still-playing legend of Lionel Messi.

The still-active Cristiano Ronaldo is starting to get mentions as the greatest of all time. Others on the shortlist of the best soccer players include Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Cruyff, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Michel Platini, and Roberto Baggio. 

The Ballon d'Or is given to the best player in Europe, and until 1995 only Europeans could win the award. There is also the prestigious FIFA player of the year award. From 2008 to 2019, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon d'Or every year but once. 

Distinctive Elements

The main distinctive element in soccer is the pace of the game. As long as the ball is in play and there are no fouls called, the players and the soccer ball are in constant movement all over the field. It is the ultimate team game with all the players on the team with one goal, and that is to score more than the opponents. 

The top teams in the game of soccer and of all time, often, play a very beautiful paced game with precision passing and great teamwork. The game called the beautiful game is called that for a reason, which is why it is, by far, the most popular sport in the world. 

Statistics 

Unlike other sports, soccer statistics are not weighed as much as other sports. That is not to say there are not many important soccer stats. The most crucial soccer statistics for soccer teams is the win and loss record. Two other very important stats for teams are goals per game and goals allowed per game. 

If you watch any soccer game, at the half they will show team stats such as shots on goal, corner kicks, fouls, yellow cards, red cards, and offsides. 

For players, the important stats will differ depending on the position. For example, a key stat for forwards is goals scored while an important stat for goalies is save percentage. Every position has different stats, and they are looked at by other teams as well as bettors that look to bet on soccer games. 

Popularity and Cultural Impact 

The cultural impact of soccer is enormous, and the main reason is that the sport is the most popular the world over by a wide margin. The World Cup is only rivaled by the Olympics, and some of the biggest sports stars in the world play the game. 

Another reason that soccer is so popular is that it appeals to the masses, as you can play anywhere as long as you have a ball. The biggest names in the world of soccer are huge for endorsing products and lending their names to worthy causes. 

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