With Nashville SC making the jump to Major League Soccer, the sport is at its height of popularity in Tennessee right now.
Domestically, there’s more than just MLS for soccer fans. The United Soccer League and National Women’s Soccer League provide action in between matches for the US National teams on both the men’s and women’s sides. Then, there’s the array of international leagues, many of which are popular in the US as well.
Because of soccer’s global popularity, there are matches being played around the clock. That constant flow of action means there’s always an impressive variety of soccer markets to bet on at Tennessee’s legal online sportsbooks. Because of TN’s regulatory structure, TN residents and visitors have several options of sports wagering apps to choose from as well.
Although several sports betting apps offer markets on soccer matches, three stand out from the crowd. This is because of the number of different markets available and the reputations of the sportsbooks.
All three sportsbooks use American odds for their soccer betting lines, regardless of where the match takes place. At all three sportsbooks, you will find the lines sorted by the league sponsoring the matches and the country the leagues inhabit.
After you’ve found the soccer market you want, you will then need to know how to read soccer betting lines and odds.
Most of TN’s legal online sports betting apps will carry action from Asian, European and North American leagues that FIFA recognizes. That will also include FIFA’s own qualification and championship structures, along with other international tournaments as well.
Although it will vary from one operator to the next, that can approach 30 different fixtures. Let’s focus on the five most popular leagues and tournaments for sports bettors in TN, because you will find the most action on them.
While you’ll only find Olympics and World Cup markets every four years, some sportsbooks may offer lines on qualifying matches for those fixtures. One league you’re sure to find action on every year is MLS.
MLS begins its season in late February and ends in early October. All clubs play 34 matches over the course of a regular season. MLS divides clubs into two conferences for scheduling purposes. Each club plays a home-and-away with every other club in its conference and 10 matches against clubs from the other conference.
Each win is worth three points and each draw is worth a point in the MLS standings. The season schedule also includes an All-Star break in the middle of the season. On the final day of the regular season, called Decision Day, all matches start at the same time.
After all the clubs have played 34 matches, the top six clubs in the point standings for each conference qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs. The bottom four seeds play a single-elimination knockout round, while the top two seeds in each conference receive byes to the conference semifinals.
The conference semifinal is a two-leg affair with aggregate scoring. Each club plays a home match and whichever team scores the most goals during those two matches moves on to the conference finals.
The conference finals follow the same format as the conference semifinals. Whichever team emerges with the highest aggregate goal total from each conference final round will play the other conference champion for the MLS Cup. The MLS Cup match is a single-elimination, winner-take-all event between the Eastern and Western Conference champions.
While the MLS season is ongoing, soccer is also ongoing in Europe in the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League. Those are two of the most popular leagues in the world not only in terms of fan followings but wagering as well.
The English Premier League usually begins its season in early August and completes the regular season in mid-May. Each of the league’s 20 clubs plays 38 matches during the season. There is no playoff structure like in MLS but the EPL does have relegation and promotion.
The club with the most points in the standings after 38 matches is the champion. The bottom three clubs in the standings are relegated to the English Football Championship. The top two clubs in the EFL advance to the EPL for the next season.
The next four clubs in the EFL standings participate in a playoff structure, with the winner getting the final spot for promotion to the EPL. Several of the clubs at the top of the standings in the EPL will qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
UEFA pulls 32 clubs from all across Europe, not just the UK. It determines how many clubs it will take from the various leagues using a formula known as the UEFA Coefficient. It takes the finishing positions of all the clubs from each league over the last five UEFA Champions and UEFA Europa seasons.
The higher the coefficient, the more clubs from those leagues will comprise the total 32. Those 32 clubs participate in five rounds to determine a champion. The first round is a double round-robin with eight groups of four clubs. The top two clubs in each group move on and from there, the tournament is single-elimination.
While these matches take place in Europe, it’s important to only use licensed TN online sportsbooks. That’s not only true for your experience and security but so that all Tennesseans can enjoy the benefits of the tax revenue your betting generates.
Two other international tournaments are on the horizon right now. These include the Euros in 2021 and the FIFA Men’s World Cup in 2022. Many TN sportsbooks have futures markets for these events. These include which country’s national team will win the men’s World Cup in 2022.
As the events move closer, the fields for the futures markets will shrink. That is mostly due to teams playing their way out of the 32-team draw by losing qualification matches. The odds at one sportsbook on the top 32 are below.
|FIFA Men's World Cup 2022||Winner|
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||+10000|
The 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup will be in Qatar. The 32 qualifying teams will play a group stage to narrow the field down to 16 teams and then single-elimination matches to determine a winner. UEFA’s Euro 2021, which was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a 24-club tournament set to take place at various cities in the UK.
Like the FIFA World Cup, UEFA divides the 24 qualifying clubs into six four-team groups and those teams play a round-robin to narrow down the field. The clubs which move on then play knockout rounds until there is a champion.
The history of MLS in the Volunteer State is all quite recent. Nashville SC has been lobbying for advancement to MLS for a few years, with most of the decision looming on whether it could secure a venue for its matches that meet MLS standards.
When it became obvious that would be the case, MLS granted the ownership of Nashville SC a franchise in the league. Nashville SC played its first match as a member of MLS on Feb. 29, 2020.
Nashville SC began play in 2014 as Nashville FC. At that time, it was owned by its supporters and played in the NPSL. The NPSL is the fourth tier of men’s club soccer in North America. Three years later, Nashville FC played its first match in the second-tier USL as Nashville SC, and shortly thereafter, MLS granted the club a franchise. Here are some quick facts about the club:
Like with most other sports, you’ll find moneyline or straight bets on soccer matches. Most sportsbooks will also offer totals on matches as well.
Other markets include futures and prop wagers. Although most bettors are familiar with these bet types, the lines may look a little different for soccer.
Nowhere is that more true than with moneyline markets. Unlike basketball and baseball betting, these are three-way markets. That’s because it’s not uncommon for soccer matches to end in a draw. An example of a soccer moneyline from a real sportsbook is below.
|Borussia Dortmund - FC. Schalke 04|
|Borussia Dortmund -205||Tie +340||FC Schalke 04 +500|
For straight bets, you’re simply picking an outcome for the match. If you felt certain Borussia Dortmund would win the match, for example, you would bet Borussia Dortmund -205.
The -205 is the odds. The negative tells you that the descendant number is the amount of money you need to wager in order to make $100 profit should you win your bet.
If you were sure this match would end in a draw, however, you would bet Tie +340. Numbers following a positive sign tell you how much you would profit off a wager of $100 if you win.
Another type of wager that bettors should be familiar with is totals. This is simply an over/under bet on the number of goals both sides will score during the match. Here’s a look at the totals market for the match:
|Borussia Dortmund - FC Schalke 04|
|Over 3.5 +170||Under 3.5 -215|
|Over 2.5 -155||Under 2.5 +125|
|Over 0.5 -1000||Under 0.5 +1400|
|Over 6.5 +2000||Over 1.5 -500|
|Under 1.5 +360||Over 5.5 +900|
|Under 5.5 -2000||Over 4.5 +390|
|Under 4.5 -560|
From here, things start to look a little more different from what bettors may be used to. Two types of bets common for soccer matches but somewhat unique to the sport are Double Chance and Draw No Bet wagers. The verbiage makes more sense when you see the markets.
Although these kinds of wagers will work for any sport, they’re most common in soccer. A Double Chance bet gives you two chances to win, just as the name suggests. It effectively asks you to eliminate one of the three potential outcomes of the match. An example is below.
|Borussia Dortmund - FC Schalke 04|
|Borussia Dortmund or Tie -770||Borussia Dortmund or FC Schalke 04 -455|
|FC Schalke or Tie +163|
If you were confident that the least likely outcome of this match is FC Schalke 04 winning outright, you’d take Borussia Dortmund or Tie -770. A Draw No Bet wager is a little different. Essentially, that turns soccer matches into more traditional straight bets by eliminating the option to bet on a draw.
If there is a draw in the match, the sportsbook will grade your wager a “no bet.” The sportsbook will refund the amount of your wager as if you had never made the bet. You won’t get any profit because it’s as if you had never placed the wager. An example of such a market is below.
|Borussia Dortmund - FC Schalke 04|
|Borussia Dortmund -530||FC Schalke 04 +390|
Notice how the odds in these markets grew in comparison to the three-way. This effectively makes the favorite in the match an even bigger favorite. If you’re confident the underdog in a match can pull off the upset, Double Chance or Draw No Bet markets may be your best bet.
There are other types of bets that work in ways that are familiar to most bettors but have unique names. These include goal lines, cards and corners. When bettors see the markets, they usually recognize them quickly.
A goal line bet works exactly like a point spread market in basketball and football betting. It’s the predicted margin of loss or victory for both sides in a match. Although 0.5 is the most common goal line for soccer matches, it’s not a hard and fast rule. An example is below.
|USA - Netherlands|
|USA||+2.5 goals -120|
|Netherlands||-2.5 goals +110|
Note that you are betting on the margin of loss or victory, not on the number of goals the individual sides will score. In our example, if you took Team USA, the Americans would have to win the match by at least three goals for the sportsbook to grade your bet a win.
If you’d rather bet on action other than goals and the winner of the matches, wagering on cards may be for you. In soccer, a card is like a foul in basketball or a penalty in football.
There are several different ways to bet on cards. You can bet on which side receives more during the match, an over/under on the total number of cards the officials give out during the match, or whether the officials will give a red card out during the match. An example of that last kind of wager is below.
|Borussia Dortmund - FC Schalke 04|
|Yes +330||No -530|
Corner wagers work much the same way. You can bet on the total number of corners both sides take during the match, how many each individual side takes, whether the total number for both sides is odd or even, and which side will attempt the most during the match. Another popular category of prop wagers on soccer is for individual players engaged in a match.
Most prop bets for soccer players focus on the offensive side. These can include making assists and scoring goals. You can wager on things like which foot a player will use to score, how many assists a player will make, and whether a player will score more than one goal in the match.
|Borussia Dortmund - FC Schalke 04|
|Erling Braut Haaland||At Least 2 +430|
|Erling Braut Haaland||At Least 3 +1800|
|Erling Braut Haaland||At Least 4 +7500|
Sportsbooks may also offer prop bets on cards for individual players. These markets will include yes/no bets on whether a player will receive one during the match as well as over/unders for the number of cards the officials will give her/him.
Although these are rarer, there are also wagers on how many saves keepers make during matches. Another way to bet on soccer that is growing in popularity is in-match or live wagering. Like for any other sport, these microbets are fun because they keep you glued to the action.
A very common type of live betting for soccer is the Draw No Bet. As the matches progress, the likelihood of a draw or one side winning grows stronger. Sportsbooks will entice you to bet against that likelihood by offering long odds on both of the other two outcomes.
For example, let’s suppose Borussia Dortmund is leading FC Schalke 04 3-1 with less than 10 minutes left in regulation. The sportsbook may offer an in-match wager that looks something like this when you log in.
FC Schalke 04
|FC Schalke 04 +10000||Tie +5000|
The top line tells you what the match time was when the sportsbook took the market live and what the score was at that time. If you were confident that FC Schalke 04 could score two goals to force a draw or come back and ultimately prevail in the match, you just might take one of the two bets presented.
Other examples of live bets include whether one side will score again, whether the match will go to penalty kicks, and which player will score the next goal in the match.
Although some of the more prominent athletes in Tennessee played sports like basketball and football, Tennessee has its claim to fame in the soccer world as well. The state has produced some of the best talents in both the men’s and the women’s games.
For the most part, no. Most betting markets that are set on the outcome of a match account for that outcome. Sportsbooks ask you to bet against or for a draw in some way.
That depends on how you bet the moneyline. In most markets, a tie is one of the options. If you bet on either of the two sides in a match to win and they tie, the sportsbook would grade your bet a loss.
When sportsbooks handicap a match, they do so for all three possible outcomes. That means they not only size up the likelihood of both teams winning the match but also the possibility of the match ending in a draw as well.
The Los Angeles Galaxy have five MLS Cups. The Galaxy also has the most MLS Cup match appearances with nine.
There doesn’t seem to be any great push for UEFA to expand its reach beyond the European continent. If it should ever decide to branch out to North America, however, expect MLS to be at the top of its list.