A Guide to Side Betting

When we talk about side betting we are referring to any bet outside of the straight result market. So take away the win, lose or draw element from any sport and what else can we bet on? There’s no simple answer as this varies depending on what interests you but there are certainly plenty of options in an age where we all want more choice.


Football and side betting are perfect partners and when you look at the bigger games from around the world, most bookies will have more than 100 markets open ahead of kick off. One of the most popular bets – even before the rise of the Internet – was a first goal scorer punt and while that remains, it has been expanded significantly.

In the digital age you can now bet on first, last and also on an anytime goal scorer while some bookmakers will also have multiple markets where you can stake on a certain player to score twice or three times.

Another popular bet is placed on how many teams to score – One, None or Both. Obviously with the ‘one’ bet you have to designate a team. In the main, this is listed as a ‘Both Teams to Score’ market and there are a number of bookie promotions set up around it.

Correct score is popular but it’s obviously wildly unpredictable so the prices can be very high and if you do land a win, there are big returns to be had. Another popular bet is total goals where the bookmaker sets the line at 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 and so on. Your job is to decide whether to go over or under that line.

As we mentioned, there can be hundreds of selections including number of yellow cards, number of corners and many, many more so you will never be short of a side betting option when it comes to football.

Horse Racing

Although this is the oldest sport in the world when it comes to betting, the side markets for horse racing can be limited but if you wait for a big race, or even better, a festival, the choices grow significantly.

Take the Cheltenham Festival as an example: Here you can bet on the number of winners landed by a specific jockey or trainer. You can stake on how many favourites will win across the four days or you can take a punt on the highest winning SP.

Some of these markets can be a bit obscure so if side betting on horse racing sounds interesting to you, then you need to find a bookie who declares on this type of thing.


Cricket side bets have grown, thanks mainly to the introduction of the T20 game which has stirred up far more interest. Top batsman and bowler have been with us for some time but in recent years they have been joined by the likes of ‘Most Sixes’, ‘How Many Sixes’, ‘Century in Match’ and more.

Markets tend to be wider and more active in the one day version of the game but once again, this is a sport where side betting is growing.


The availability of rugby side betting can be dependent on the importance of the game. A club match may be fairly limited but a big international should see the markets widen. Typical bets might include first try scorer, winning points margin, number or points in each half and more.

Once again, this may differ depending on which bookmaker you use.


Golf markets are also fairly restricted but you can often look at one of the big tournaments for a good selection. On the US Open for example, you could easily bet on the nationality of the winner.

In addition, you can take the pairings from each day of the competition and decide who will have the lowest score from the two, or three players involved.

Other Sports

Any sport that carries a points scoring system is open to a number of generic side markets. As we’ve seen with rugby, a winning margin punt is common for bigger games and this can be easily carried across to basketball, American football and more.

Similarly, when the match is split into halves or quarters, you can speculate on how many points will be scored in that particular section of the game.

Meanwhile, tennis is all about points and for every tournament, you can bet on correct score both in terms of the match, and the game score within each set.

The choice of side bets varies greatly depending on your chosen sport but if you can imagine a scenario in a certain game, you can usually take a punt on it. They remain hugely popular and if you do your proper research, they can also be quite lucrative.