If you’ve ever looked at any of the best football betting sites on mobile or desktop, you’ll know that there are many different ways to bet on the big matches these days. Booking points is a great example of a very interesting and potentially profitable market, which is becoming increasingly popular, especially with online punters.
But how do booking points work in football betting? What’s the best way to bet on these markets, and which are the best bookmakers to use? Today I’ll be answering all those questions and more in this complete guide.
Where To Bet on Booking Points
One of the few reputable bookies that still offers genuine booking points lines. Their football coverage is actually really good, with booking bets available on most fixtures.
50% Up To $1000 First Deposit Bonus
The daddy of football betting sites. Although there is no booking points, bet365 have every other card betting option you could think of, and come highly recommended.
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets
#ad - Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. Registration required.
What Are Booking Points?
The booking points market in football is based around the number of yellow and red cards that will be shown in a particular match. Instead of just counting the number of cards, each one is assigned a value as follows:
- 10 Points for each Yellow Card
- 25 Points for each Red Card
- 35 Points if a player is sent off after already having been booked (i.e. both yellow and red cards are shown to the same player.)
At the end of the match, the points are added together and you get the total booking points. Your bet is usually placed before kick off, as these markets rarely go in-play. So you just need to predict how many booking points you think there will be.
The points values above are those that are used most often in the industry. The vast majority of sportsbooks make single bookings worth 10 points, including all the good ones I recommended above.
But there’s always the odd one who changes things just to be awkward, so I recommend you always double check the rules before you bet.
Booking Points Example
Let’s look at a quick example to explain how this works. The screenshot below shows a real life booking points market at MyBookie, for a match between Real Madrid and Inter Milan.
In this market, two bets are available: Over 55 (priced at 1/1 or Evens) or Under 55 (priced at 33/50). Based on the values I showed you earlier, you would just need to predict whether you thought there would be more or less than 55 booking points in the match, then place your bet.
If the bookie is expecting fewer cards, they might set the over/under number to be a bit lower. It’s quite common for the options to be over and under 35 points.
If you want more choices (and therefore better odds) then there is another market available called Booking Points Range.
This gives you 5 possible selections. Each is a “range” of booking points (0-33), (31-45), (45-60) etc. You would need to predict what range the total booking points in this match would fall into.
Obviously this is a bit harder than the simple over/under example, which is why the odds are more generous. If you are comfortable with the extra risk then you can potentially get bigger rewards.
Alternatives To Betting On Booking Points
If that all seems a bit complicated, then don’t worry. There are plenty of other ways to bet on yellow and red cards, most of which are much more straightforward.
In this market you are betting on the total number of cards shown in the match. This is a simple count up of the total cards shown to the two teams. So if you’re a beginner or you feel confused by booking points, then Total Cards is a much better option for you.
Unlike booking points, yellow and red cards both count as one. If a red card is shown as a result of a second yellow card, then each yellow counts as one. It is sometimes called “Number of Cards In Match” including at bet365, which is normally the best bookie for this market.
Yellow Cards Match Bet
Also known as Yellow Cards: Result, in this market you are betting on which team will get the most yellow cards. Think of it as a normal win market, but you’re counting bookings instead of goals.
A straight red card can sometimes count as two yellows. Be sure to check the rules before you bet though, as the way a red card is counted can sometimes differ depending on the bookmaker. Just like a match bet market, there are three choices: Home Team, Draw or Away Team.
Yellow Cards Handicap
This is similar to the Yellow Cards Match Bet, but a handicap is applied to each team’s total.
If you’ve placed handicap bets before then you’ll be quite familiar with how handicap betting markets work. Otherwise, I’d recommend you stick to the Total Cards or Yellow Card: Result markets to start with.
Tips For Successful Booking Points Bets
As with other types of football betting, some basic re
search and knowledge can improve your chances of winning. What’s interesting about betting on booking points or how many cards are shown is that you don’t need to worry about which of the two teams will win, or how many goals will be scored.
Instead, you’re looking for games that are likely to be extremely good or bad tempered, or that feature players who commonly pick up a yellow or red card.
These are some of the factors I usually consider:
- Team Stats – The first thing to check is the booking stats for each of the two teams. The simple fact is that some teams tend to receive a yellow or red card more often than others. This information is available for free – check the Premier League stats page.
- Referee Stats – Although the refs are supposed to be consistent, we all know it doesn’t usually work out that way. Some are far more card happy than others. So be sure to check the ref stats and see how many yellow and red cards the ref has issued so far this season.
- Individual Players – Some players are more likely to pick up a booking than others. Historically, the likes of Paul Scholes, Kevin Davies, Marouane Fellaini or Richard Dunne have been great examples of players who were shown a card regularly. And there are plenty more in the modern game. Then check the team news. If anyone like that is playing, it’s 10 points on the total straight away!
- Local Derby – It’s a well known fact that matches between fierce rivals tend to be more fiercely contested. This can be local rivalries such as the North London Derby, or games between more traditional rivals such as El Classico. Either way, this type of fixture is highly likely to produce more booking points than others.
- Competitive or Dead Rubber – If there is a lot riding on the outcome of any fixture, you can expect to see more challenges flying in and more booking points will be accrued. If there is nothing riding on the outcome, players will be keen not to pick up a card (or an injury) and will probably be more restrained.
Using these criteria, you’ll find it much easier to pick out some regular winners when you’re betting on booking points, or other “Cards” betting markets. It’s an untapped niche that not many punters concentrate on, which means it’s a great opportunity for anyone who’s prepared to put in a little groundwork.
Discover More In Football Betting
- 50+ Common Blackjack Terms Explained - February 6, 2023
- Can Live Blackjack Dealers Hear You? (Your Privacy Matters!) - January 29, 2023
- Why do Blackjack Dealers Swipe the Table? - January 27, 2023
Last Updated on August 6, 2023