Legal soccer betting is a relatively recent development in the USA that is prime for liftoff now that individual states have gained the authority to legalize and regulate sports betting. Multiple states have jumped on the opportunity and now boast perfectly legal in-person and online soccer betting.
Best Soccer Betting Sites
Even better, more states will be joining the action over time. Although the dollars spent on soccer betting here in the USA pale in comparison to action taken on NFL and NBA games, it’s a whole different story on the international stage where soccer reigns supreme. In terms of viewership and money wagered every year, soccer puts every US sport to shame.
Today’s soccer betting sites open that door to Americans with wagers on not only the MLS, but also the world’s most popular international competitions. Visit any major US betting site today and you’ll find hundreds (sometimes thousands) of markets for MLS, the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, FIFA World Cup, Germany’s Bundesliga and many more.
So, whether you were born here and developed an interest in soccer or are a transplant from abroad, you will find plenty of soccer betting action in the USA. The majority of licensed betting sites here in the United States are operated by gaming companies with extensive experience on the international stage, which means you will rarely find a shortage when it comes to soccer betting options.
Some US sportsbooks provide literally tens of thousands of soccer betting markets on any given day. The full extent of the options is almost hard to comprehend if you haven’t spent time overseas, but soccer betting is a highly-developed industry on the international stage.
In this soccer betting guide, we’ll be diving into all that and much more. Some of the things we’ll be discussing today include where it is legal to bet on soccer in the USA, how the legalization of sports betting impacts Major League Soccer, a closer look at the best sportsbooks for soccer and how to wager on the sport.
If you came here looking for quick sportsbook recommendations rather than an in-depth discussion, look no further than the top of this page. The sites you see listed above are our top picks for readers in the USA. Otherwise, read on to learn more about the current state of soccer betting in the United States.
States With Legal Soccer Betting
Legal soccer betting is rolling out on a state-by-state basis in the United States as lawmakers across the country introduce, negotiate and vote on legislation. The going has been fast in some states and slow in others, but eventually we believe more states than not will have legal sports betting.
With the speed at which new sports betting legislation is being introduced in the USA, we’ve opted to create a central map to refer to often when discussing where it is legal to bet on sports. We keep this map up to date as laws across the country change, so check back regularly if you’re still waiting for sports betting to come to your state.
States with legal sports betting
- Blue: Online/mobile betting is legal
- Green: Land-based sportsbooks only (no online betting)
- Red: Soccer betting coming soon; legislation fully passed but waiting for implementation
How Legal Sports Betting Will Affect MLS
We haven’t been graced with as many detailed write-ups in the media speculating on the impacts of sports betting on MLS in the United States as there have been for the other leagues, but we can make some very general projections based on things that are happening in the Big Four (NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL) since sports wagering was legalized.
Additionally, we can look at Europe as a case study where soccer is king and where sports betting has been legal for a very long time. The impacts of sports betting on the Premier League in particular can serve as a rough guide to which we can model our predictions. There will certainly be differences here in the US but overall, it’s not too difficult to see where this is all going.
The safest prediction to make in this regard is that legal sports betting will increase soccer viewership, both in terms of fans actually watching games as well as following the sport online through social media accounts, fan sites and so on.
The logic behind this prediction is simple. Studies conducted for other sports have found that wagering plays a key role in driving viewership. For example, a study conducted on the NFL back in 2016 found that sports bettors accounted for 25% of the TV audience but watched 47% of all minutes broadcast. More recent studies have reached similar conclusions for other sports: betting is good for viewership.
We should be careful when comparing soccer to the NFL, however, because Major League Soccer has not traditionally garnered the attention of gamblers to the same extent. MLS has been described as a “non-factor” in Las Vegas with the operators of Vegas-area sportsbooks saying they don’t just book a lot of soccer action.
It’s also worth noting that sports betting has been legal in Las Vegas for decades and even more people have had access to offshore betting sites for a long time – so some of the benefit of sports betting is already baked into the numbers. However, the formal legalization of sports betting in a growing number of states will add legitimacy to sports betting and make it easier for Americans to make deposits, place wagers and get paid.
If MLS sustains the natural growth it has experienced in recent years, that too could propel betting activity related to the sport, which would in turn boost viewership – thus the start of a healthy upward spiral.
We can also look at how legal sports betting has impacted the Premier League in the UK for a preview of its impacts on MLS. We should be careful in drawing conclusions based on the Premier League’s relationship with gambling due to the UK having a much bigger, more established gambling industry. Still, there are some interesting things to note and possibly try to avoid as soccer betting entrenches itself in the US.
First of all, sports betting is deeply tied to the sport in the UK. More than half of England’s top two divisions had clubs with gambling company logos adorning their jerseys in 2018. The close relationship between betting and UK soccer runs so deep that some are starting to call it “disturbing.”
A similar trend could emerge in the US with Major League Soccer teams on the hunt for new advertising and sponsorship opportunities. Right now, MLS is dominated by non-gaming companies but that could easily change as major betting operators with money to spend find it increasingly worthwhile to sponsor sports teams as additional states legalize sports betting.
Multiple other sports leagues have already reached sponsorship agreements with major gaming companies since the Supreme Court overturned the sports betting ban here in the US. It would be no surprise at all to see similar deals materialize for MLS.
On the other hand, the MLS itself will likely move cautiously in light of some of the gambling controversies that have hit soccer overseas. The UK is currently trying to deal with an almost overwhelming amount of influence over the sport by betting operators.
Not only do most teams in some divisions advertise gambling companies on their jerseys, but entire leagues in some European markets are sponsored by gaming companies. Additionally, betting advertisements dominate commercial breaks these days. This has prompted the UK’s Gambling Commission to look into the matter and consider seriously curtailing when and how sports betting may be advertised in relation to soccer.
It is obvious MLS has a great opportunity in front of it, but the league will likely choose to tread carefully to avoid some of the negative issues that have plagued leagues in other parts of the world where the sports betting industry is more mature.
The mechanics of soccer betting are also likely to change and resemble the current state of the game in the UK. Over in the UK, soccer betting sites often offer hundreds of individual wagers for any single game – they take wagers before the game, during the game and on all manner of possibilities.
Fans can bet on who will win, who will score the first goal, what the outcome will be of the next penalty kick, how many corners there will be and much more. With some of the same betting companies that manage sports betting in the UK now coming to the US, our options as far as how to bet on the game are about to grow a whole lot more numerous.
MLS Position on Sports Betting
Major League Soccer foreshadowed the position it would take on sports betting a full year before the Supreme Court issued its impactful decision.
Back in March of 2017, MLS Commissioner Don Garber told GeekWire the league was already actively investigating the potential impacts sports betting would have and what opportunities it may present:
“We have a project going on now to really dig in deeply and understand it. I’ll be the third commissioner (along with NBA’s Adam Silver and MLB’s Rob Manfred) in and say I’m very open to understanding how we can get more engaged in this market in a way that I think if done properly, can be regulated and managed and controlled. I’ll join the chorus of saying it’s time to bring it out of the dark ages. We’re doing what we can to figure out how to manage that effectively.”
That statement made it clear early on that Major League Soccer recognized the reality of the situation: sports betting was already happening despite prohibition, so it might as well be regulated.
The Supreme Court overturned the prohibition the following year and MLS issued this statement in response:
“Although Major League Soccer is supportive of today’s Supreme Court decision, we also believe that it is critical that state legislatures and other regulatory bodies work closely with the professional sports leagues in the United States to develop a regulatory framework to protect the integrity of each of our respective sports. We look forward to being a part of that process.”
MLS has not been as vocal as some of the other sports leagues in terms of legislative details, but we do know the league is interested in capitalizing on legal sports betting with the assistance of clear, uniform rules.
To that end, Major League Soccer has already started down the path of forming partnerships with betting companies. It was revealed near the end of 2018 that the New York Red Bulls, LA Galaxy and Philadelphia Union were all “in talks” with sports betting operators. Apparently, these talks have included stadium naming rights.
It seems likely at this point that MLS will eventually form partnerships with gaming companies. After all, Major League Soccer signed DraftKings as its exclusive fantasy sports partner way back in 2015. It wouldn’t be a major jump at this point for the league to extend its sponsorship strategy into actual sports betting.
Best Soccer Betting Sites
The legalization of sports betting has made it significantly easier to identify the best soccer betting sites thanks to the high standards of conduct demanded by state-level regulatory commissions. Acquiring a gaming license in a US state is no small feat, and that alone tends to weed out basically 100% of low-quality betting operators.
In general, any online sportsbook licensed in the US tends to be a decent place to bet on sports at the very least. Some of the most well-financed gaming companies in the world have entered the US market and bring with them decades of experience. When it comes to making deposits, being treated fairly and fast cashouts, almost any licensed betting site will do the job.
When it comes to soccer betting in particular, there are some additional considerations worth keeping in mind. One of the biggest things to look for are sportsbooks operated by companies with prior experience in the UK / European markets where online soccer betting is the number one sport by a long shot.
For example, SugarHouse Sportsbook is powered by a joint venture between Rush Street Interactive and Kambi. Rush Street Interactive is a relatively young operator based in the United States, but Kambi has been involved in international sports betting for years and now serves betting operations in six continents.
Leveraging its prior experience in other markets, Kambi provides SugarHouse with an extensive array of soccer betting options. In addition to offering odds on MLS matches, SugarHouse is also able to take wagers on international leagues in the Czech Republic, England, Denmark, France, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Turkey and many more.
On a random Saturday afternoon when this page was written, SugarHouse Sportsbook had exactly 31,540 individual soccer wagers on offer. This type of coverage is not limited to just one sportsbook, either. A number of other licensed betting sites in the US offer comparable levels of coverage.
You can see our recommendations at the top of this page, but one more thing you can do is simply visit a few licensed betting sites yourself to check the odds. Most online sportsbooks allow visitors to see all wagers on offer and the latest odds without registering, so you can easily sneak a peek at what types of wagers they offer before you sign up.
In short, there are the two big things to look for when choosing a soccer betting site: an active license in the USA and sufficient coverage of international soccer leagues. From there, you can break it down even further according to your own personal preferences regarding ease-of-use, promotions, rewards programs and so on.
How to Bet on Soccer Online
If you have any experience placing wagers on other sports, the mechanics of online soccer betting will resemble what you already know. Soccer wagers do have a couple of peculiarities due to the frequencies of draws, but nothing too extreme.
To begin, the vast majority of soccer wagers in the USA are posted in the moneyline odds format. This means nearly every wager you encounter will come with a three-digit price that represents the payout odds.
The term “moneyline” also refers to the most basic type of soccer wager: a bet on which team will win a match.
If you have a wager with Sporting KC priced at -286, you know they are the favorites due to the negative price. A negative price tells you how much you need to wager in order to win $100. In this case, a $286 wager on Sporting KC would give you $100 in winnings if they win the match.
Conversely, odds of +210 on Atlanta United would tell you they are the underdogs in a match. The positive price tells you how much you stand to win if you wager $100 on them. In this example, a $100 wager on Atlanta United would return $210 in winnings.
So far, this is all similar to how wagers on other sports work. Where soccer differs is that most moneyline wagers include a third option: the draw. Draws are so common in soccer that this third option is included so the sportsbook isn’t constantly refunding wagers due to the draw outcome.
This is important to note because if the draw option is included in a soccer moneyline, that means your bet is not graded a push if you bet on either team and the result is a draw. In other sports, a draw simply results in a refund. In soccer, a draw results in wagers on either team to be lost.
It is also not uncommon to see soccer wagers in which all three possible outcomes are priced with positive odds. For example, here’s a recent example from a Champions League match:
- Manchester United: +230
- Tie: +255
- Paris SG: +120
We could call Paris SG the favorite in this match, but wagers on them are still given a positive price because the combined chances of the other two outcomes are that high. No matter which way you go with this wager, you stand to win more than your original wager. The inclusion of the tie outcome gives you better odds in soccer, but at a cost of having to pick between one of three outcomes rather than one of two outcomes as you commonly see in other sports.
Point spreads are not super common in soccer due to the low-scoring nature of the game. However, you will occasionally see point spreads in matches featuring a heavy favorite versus a heavy underdog.
For example, a match between Team USA and Germany in the World Cup might heavily favor Germany. In this case, your soccer sportsbook might give USA +1.5 goals for the purposes of grading the wager.
If USA was priced at +120 +1.5, that would mean you stand to win $120 on a $100 wager if USA wins the match outright, ties or only loses by one goal. Likewise, any wagers on Germany would only be graded winners if Germany wins by 2 or more goals.
Double chance wagers allow you to take two of the three possible outcomes in a soccer match. If you don’t like the idea of your standard moneyline being derailed by a draw outcome, the double chance is for you.
Basically, double chance results eliminate the possibility of a draw messing up your wager. There are three basic ways you can book a double chance bet:
- Team A win/draw: Your wager on Team A wins if Team A wins the match or draws
- Team B win/draw: Your wager on Team B wins if Team B wins the match or draws
- Team A / Team B: Your wager wins as long as the game does not end in a draw
Double chance wagers are easier to win, but come at a cost of reduced odds.
Soccer totals give you a number representing the total number of goals to be scored in the game. Your objective is to predict whether the actual number of goals scored will be greater than or less than that number.
For example, imagine a game between Sporting KC and Atlanta United with your sportsbook setting the total at 2.5. If you take the over and the final score is Sporting KC 2 Atlanta United 1, you would win because the combined score of 3 goals is greater than the total (2.5).
Prop bets can take many different forms in soccer with the one major thing they have in common being not easily categorized among the other types of wagers discussed so far. Props typically deal with things other than predicting the winning team.
Some examples of soccer props include wagers on things such as the first player to score a goal, how many corners will be kicked, whether or not both teams will score a goal during the match and much more. Some soccer props are clearly designed for fun only while others do include an element of strategy.
Soccer parlays combine multiple bets into one with bigger payouts. For example, you might select the winning teams of three matches, go to your betting slip and check the “parlay” option to have those three selections combined into one wager with bigger payout odds.
The advantage of parlays is they pay more than standard wagers on a single team. The disadvantage is that you have to get every single prediction correct. Continuing the above example, your three-team parlay would only win if all three of your selections win their matches. If a single one of your predictions is wrong, your wager is lost.
Parlays are basically the same as betting on one team at a time, taking the winnings, betting on another team, taking the winnings again, betting all of that on the next game and so on. However, it would be impossible to do this manually if any of those games were scheduled to happen at the same time. A parlay can be placed even if every match starts at the same time.
You can add as many selections as you want to build parlays with impressive odds, but keep in mind that every additional leg makes your parlay that much more difficult to win. Even so, people do occasionally hit longshot parlays for huge payouts.
In-Play Soccer Betting
In-play soccer betting takes traditional wagering, turns the dial up a few notches and provides fans with a whole new way to interact with the sport. The basic idea behind in-play betting is that you can watch games in real time and place wagers during the game. This is opposed to the traditional model in which you would have to rush to get your bets in before the opening kickoff.
In contrast, in-play betting lets you watch some of the game first and get a feel for things before placing a bet on the winning team, total or any number of other options. In addition to standard wagers on who will win, in-play wagers include propositions such as who will score the next goal, what the score will be at the half and much more. The one thing they all have in common is they can be placed during the game.
For example, the New York Red Bulls might be priced as underdogs prior to a match, but if they score a quick goal, you can expect to see the odds on them shorten considerably while odds on the other team suddenly grow long.
The entertainment factor is simultaneously the best and worst thing about in-play betting. On one hand, it’s a great experience makes soccer viewing an interactive experience. Rather than sitting around watching the game, you can view a constant stream of wagers and place bets all the way down to the final few minutes.
On the other hand, the entertainment factor makes it way too easy to place ill-advised wagers because you’ve simply got caught up in the game or find yourself trying to make something happen even when you don’t have a concrete reason to place some of those wagers.
In-play soccer betting is massive in Europe and will likely become a major part of every US-licensed sportsbook’s bottom line over time. Some international sportsbooks have reported that upwards of 75% of their revenue derives from in-play betting. We’re not quite there in the USA, but the odds are it will continue to grow stateside as legal online betting spreads across the United States.
Daily Fantasy Soccer in the USA
If soccer betting isn’t yet legal where you live or you’re just in the mood for a change of scenery, daily fantasy sports sites offer an experience that is just as engaging but still unique in its own right. More importantly, fantasy soccer is legal in nearly every state right now.
We call fantasy soccer the next best thing to actual sports betting because both activities have more in common with one another than not. Both make every game more interesting; both can result in very large payouts and both involve more skill than luck.
For the uninitiated, fantasy soccer contests give you a virtual salary that you’ll use to draft your own dream team of players from around the league. Your opponents in each contest will do the same thing and then each of your teams will accumulate fantasy points based on your players’ real-world performances. Score more fantasy points than the competition to earn a real money payout.
You can leave your armchair coaching days long behind as daily fantasy soccer gives you a vested interest in actual players and games from around the world. If you have a love for the game and a mind for stats, there is some serious money to be made playing fantasy soccer online. And even if you’re not determined to be the king of fantasy, there is some serious fun to be had just in being involved in players’ actual performances.
All the major fantasy soccer sites host both free and real money contests where you can compete against friends and strangers for money or for nothing more than bragging rights.
Best Fantasy Soccer Sites
DraftKings (review here) and FanDuel (review here) are the two best fantasy soccer sites by a wide margin. Between the two, DraftKings gets the edge due to its soccer contests boasting the biggest prize pools at the widest variety of buyin levels. $30,000 to $75,000 guaranteed contests are held all the time here.
FanDuel’s soccer contests tend to be a bit smaller but cheaper. If you’re feeling a little under-bankrolled, FanDuel would not be a bad place to start. Both sites are reputable and will treat you fairly.
If we move beyond DraftKings and FanDuel, the pickings become quite slim because soccer is such a niche form of daily fantasy. Smaller sites simply do not have the traffic needed to support regular fantasy soccer contests.