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Source: Rivalry

Football is one of the most popular sports on the planet. It truly is a universal language: the excitement, the fandom, the highs and the lows are unlike anything else you can experience. Following the adventures of your favorite players and clubs is even more fun if you have a good understanding of the global football landscape - and who knows, with a deep enough understanding, maybe it's also time to toss a couple bucks on the big match to put your money where your mouth is and test your experience and research about the beautiful game?

What are the biggest football competitions?

International football events Representing your country still holds a special place in every football player's heart, no matter how much the club game has grown in money and complexity over the past couple of decades. Events like the World Cup or the Euros and the Copa America are still marked in red on every football fan's calendar across the world, and they are true celebrations of the greatness of the sport. There's nothing like the insane pressure and the highest of possible stakes every four years when one of these events roll around, and they form the foundation of what makes football so special. They are must-watch affairs for anyone even remotely interested in the game.

The Champions League and the Europa League These two competitions serve as the pinnacle of club football, the place where the best club teams get to meet across Europe to determine who's the best of them all. A grueling and skill-testing double round-robin group stage is followed by a single-elimination knockout format to provide the perfect blend of reliability and excitement for the fans. The innovation never stops, either: UEFA's recent decisions to introduce the Swiss system for the group stage of the Champions League coupled with the abolishment of the away goals rule means that we can look forward to a very different new format from what we've seen before. Special shoutout has to go out to the Europa Conference League, the upcoming third tier of international club football featuring smaller teams, offering a chance for fans of lesser footballing nations to experience the same sort of excitement that was previously only afforded to those who followed the elite sides: cheering on their favorites in a cross-border competition for all the marbles.

The biggest domestic leagues Premier League Many would consider the English Premier League to be the best among Europe's top tier competitions, and with good reason: not only do the recent results in the Champions League and the Europa League bear out this observation, many of the best football players in the world are involved in the competition, and the league is a real who's who of elite managers. A well-funded squad can make all the difference in football and the PL's fairly flat distribution of broadcasting money ensures there isn't the sort of built-in edge you see in many other European football leagues, and it should be no surprise that it's among the most popular competitions in the world of sports betting.

La Liga The highest division of Spanish football features massively popular teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid, and with it, legendary players like Lionel Messi and Karim Benzema. These sides used to rule the roost in an unprecedented fashion in Europe as well, with Spanish teams cruising into the business end of the Champions League year after year. Though the landscape has shifted somewhat, these teams still remain heavyweights of international football and the uniquely tactical approach seen in La Liga makes it a great competition to follow for any football fan.

Bundesliga German football may be dominated by Bayern Munich but their supporting cast battling it out from second to fifth is among the most unique in Europe. Teams from RB Leipzig to Borussia Dortmund offer dedicated fanbases, a special history and very different playstyles, making the Bundesliga a tactician's dream to follow and a great competition for those interested in football betting.

Serie A The Italian league used to be the powerhouse of Europe and it's looking like the giant is finally emerging from its slumber. Stronger competition to Juventus suggests a shift in power dynamics in the peninsula, and the extremely tactical - some would say slow - nature of Italian football allows for elite players who may no longer have the legs to keep on keeping on elsewhere to keep raging against the dying of the light.

Ligue 1 Though the French league may be derided as a "farmer's league" by many due to how dominant PSG is supposed to be, the underestimated sides regularly spring nasty surprises both domestically and abroad. Just think of Lille's title win or Lyon's semi-final run in the CL at the expense of Manchester City a couple years ago and you'll realize that Ligue 1 is also among the best European football leagues.

How to get started with online football betting Nowadays, the best football betting sites make it convenient and simple to place a bet on your favorite team, offering a nice welcome bonus and enhanced odds to provide an even better service to you. Do your research among the different football betting sites, then create an account with the one that's the best fit for you.

It's really simple from this point on: navigate to the site's football markets, select a match you're interested in, click on the predicted outcome, type in your wager, then click confirm and boom! you're ready to enjoy the big game!

Rivalry offers safe and regulated online football betting Rivalry is among the safest football betting sites thanks to our reliable and secure platform. Our Isle of Man Gaming License is one of the most reputable ones in the gambling industry. Couple this with our awesome offerings like Rushlane and kickass contests for our customers and you can easily see why we're confident that we proudly belong among the top football betting sites.

Here's why betting on football is the best on Rivalry:

We are fully licensed by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.

As is industry standard, all debts are enforceable by law, and we are strictly compliant with all rules and regulations.

Instant deposits and real money

Cash is the legal and industry standard option, and unlike shady alternatives like skins, it allows us to make your deposits available instantly and to pay out for you faster.

Rivalry Academy

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Football betting types The breadth and depth of offerings in terms of online football betting means there are many different potential betting options to familiarize yourself with if you want to maximize the fun you can have with your wagers. There are many other bet types to consider but these are the most important ones to have a good understanding of for any rookie bettor.

Match winner betting It's as easy as it gets: guess the winner and take home your prize!

Spread bet This works the same as it does in the case of any other sports and it should be familiar to you if you spent time before on any online football betting site. This bet type offers a handicap of 0.5 (or 1.5 or 2.5 etc.) goals to the weaker team and you can bet accordingly if you think the favorites will still overcome them or bet against them. This allows you to pinpoint cases where you expect the stronger team to narrowly win, getting better odds than if you were to just bet on their straightforward win.

Futures (tournament winner) These long-term bets traditionally revolve around the tournament winners, but anything counts that you have to predict with multiple matches to go. Which teams will qualify for the Champions League knockout stage? Who will win the Bundesliga? Which Italian team will qualify for the Europa League at the end of the season? You can even bet on which manager gets sacked first in the season, a fan favorite when it comes to Premier League betting.

Live betting Though this isn't, strictly speaking, a specific bet type, live betting on football lets you make in-play bets based on exactly what's happening on the court. The odds shift in real time based on the events in the game and you will need to change your plans and strategies accordingly - however, it is one of the most exciting ways to wager!

Try football betting on Rivalry! Check out our wide range of football markets, exciting features and the generous bonuses offered on Rivalry's football betting platform alongside a host of other options related to traditional sports and esports alike!

FAQs How do you place a bet on football? Find the match you're looking for on the betting site of your choice. After making an account, select the potential winner or the specific wager you have in mind, then place your bet! Betting on your favorite football matches at Rivalry is 100% legal. We are licensed and regulated under the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.

Is betting on football online legal? Yes, online football betting is legal, as long as the site in question is properly regulated and licensed in your country. Rivalry's Isle of Man gambling license is one of the industry's gold standards and a thorough look at our regulatory framework should let you know that your money is safe with us.

Are there any bonuses for football betting? Yes, Rivalry offers a generous welcome bonus, so you can bet on your favorite football matches.

How do bookmakers calculate football betting odds? Bookies have their own set of analysts and experts who determine the potential outcome of football matches, but they are not infallible: strong research and a good understanding of the game can help you find small edges where you can beat the house.