Cards Betting Strategy

A growing number of readers have been contacting me with questions about football betting on the cards markets. They want to place a bet on the number of bookings or red cards during a game, so I thought I would put together this excellent introduction article so that you have a firm idea of how to proceed when it comes to this type of online wagering.

I’ve found cards betting to be an excellent alternative to betting on markets such as Full-Time Result, Asian Handicap, Total Goals, Both Teams to Score or Corners. Sometimes Cards are where the value lies, especially if you have worked out that the bookies might have made an error with their latest prices.

Cards / Bookings Betting Sites

What is Cards Football Betting?

When you visit a bookmaker such as bet365 and click through to the football match in which you’re most interested, you will see a section devoted to “Cards”. This essentially involves betting on how many yellow or red cards will be shown by the referee during the ninety minutes. There are several different markets although any cards-related bet boils down to the number of bookings or dismissals that are made in the match.

The most popular cards betting market is Number of Cards in the Match where you might get the following selections:

  • Over 3.5 Cards @ 1.90
  • Under 3.5 Cards @ 1.90

With this example, you can bet on the first option if you think there will be four or more cards in the game or bet on the second option if you think there will be three cards or less come the final whistle. Please note that if a player is shown a straight red, that counts as one card, although if they’re booked before being sent off, that counts as two cards overall.

Bet on Football Players to Be Booked

For a long time, the bookies have offered customers the chance to back players to score the first goal, last goal or at any stage of the match. However, leading operators such as William Hill and Betfred now allow us to back individual players to get a yellow card at any point in the game. This can be a really fun bet to have, especially if you’re planning on watching the game and there’s the chance to egg on the referee to get his book out when your selected player makes his latest foul.

This is an example of a “Player to Be Booked” betting market that was created by bet365 for a recent match between Manchester City and Liverpool. Note the defensive midfielders like Ilkay Gundogan and Fabinho that are heading the betting market, while other players not listed below are available at far bigger prices on account that they won’t be the ones doing as much defending:

player to be booked

Which Bookies Offer Cards Betting Markets?

Bet365 is always my first port of call when it comes to betting on cards. As mentioned, they have a section of the match betting markets devoted to cards betting markets and these are some of the most popular ones:

  • Card Handicap – a three-way market where you bet on which team will get the most cards. One team might be given a start over the other for betting purposes.
  • Alternative Card Handicap – you could choose to back Manchester City -2 @ 6.00 and you would need them to get three more cards than Liverpool in the match.
  • Asian Total Cards – like total cards but sometimes better odds
  • Asian Handicap Cards – like Card Handicap but a two-way betting market
  • First Card Received – which team will have a player in the book first?

You can also bet on the Time of the First Card betting market and this can provide some excitement for your money. A bookie might offer these two options:

  • Card Before 33.00 @ 1.90
  • Card After 33.00 @ 1.90

You can then decide whether to bet on the referee showing a card before there’s exactly 33 minutes on the clock or alternatively having a more nail-biting time of things and hope that the first booking only comes after the 33rd minute of the match.

You can also bet on Team Cards, a Red Card in the Match, 1st Player to Be Booked and Player to Be Sent Off. You can generally get upwards of 25/1 about any player being dismissed considering that red cards are fairly rare in a football match.

What is the Best Betting Strategy for Cards Markets?

You’ve been handed the keys to the cards betting kingdom but which one will unlock the gate that leads to profit? Over time, I have learnt how to play the cards betting markets and (like any other football market) you should only bet when you feel as though there’s an edge to be gained over the bookie. It’s fine if you want to place a bet for a bit of fun, although you’re more likely to land a profit with a strong view.

It helps to identify the best cards betting market along with the bookie who is offering the biggest odds. For example, backing a player to receive a red card can be put in the “hopeful” category unless you genuinely think that a recent string of yellow cards provides evidence that 25/1 is value about them seeing red.

Ten Golden Tips for Betting on Cards

  1. Look at the average number of cards that Team A has received this season
  2. Look at the average number of cards that Team B has received this season
  3. Look at the recent head-to-head record and look at the cards given
  4. Wait for the match referee to be appointed and look at their average number of cards
  5. Consider what is at stake for both teams and whether the match will be played at full tilt
  6. Weigh up how the match might play out – will it be attack v defence and involve lots of tired challenges in the second half?
  7. Check out team news and work out whether the dirtiest players are likely to be fielded by their managers
  8. Wait until closer to kick-off as you will get more competitive odds for cards markets. A bookie will tread carefully with their prices when they first go live.
  9. Consider adding a cards betting selection to a Bet Builder if you fancy something to happen but find the price too short for a single
  10. Similarly, don’t be afraid to consider a cards betting accumulator where you can combine different selections and get a bigger return for your stake

Placing a Cards Betting Accumulator

Let’s say there are four Premier League football matches taking place on a particular day. You might not fancy a bet on teams to win their respective games, although a bet on the number of cards in each match might instead be an attractive proposition. Here is an Asian Cards betting market supplied by bet365 where you can bet on the Over/Under market as part of the deal:

asian cards

I recommend betting on Asian Cards as you will simply get the biggest possible prices. For the Arsenal v Norwich game, bet365 make Over 3.5 Goals their slight favourite on the Total market, while you could alternatively bet on Arsenal +0.5 @ 1.850 or Norwich -0.5 @ 1.950 depending on whether you think the Canaries will get more cards than the Gunners or not.

Let’s say I go through the matches and put together the following cards betting accumulator:

cards betslip

As you can see, I’ve picked out the four “favourites” and put them together in a cards accumulator which pays out at decimal odds of 10.19. That means £10 staked could return £101.90 and I simply need the below to happen:

  • Four cards or more in the Arsenal v Norwich match
  • Four cards or more in the Bournemouth v Newcastle match
  • Four cards or more in the Everton v Leicester match (but selection voided if exactly three)
  • Three cards or less in the West Ham v Chelsea match

The Benefits of Backing a Cards Acca

I would recommend looking at two-way betting markets when putting together a football accumulator. Regular WhatAcca.com readers will know that I highly endorse an Over/Under or Both Teams to Score acca as you are picking one of two possible outcomes which gives you an increased chance of winning compared to the Full-Time Result market.

The same applies with a cards betting selection such as Over / Under and it’s great fun to pick out certain football matches and add a selection based on whether you think the referee in that game will award more or less than the corners line.

You can also see that having a bet at 1.750 is going to need a decent whack of cash to appreciate a return from the bookie, although odds of 10.19 are way more attractive and it’s worth punting a small accumulator if you’re new to this type of betting market and don’t want to risk a lot of money when you’re getting a handle on how it all works.

The Reason Why Punters Love In-Play Betting on Cards

Once you have done your cards betting initiation and placed a few pre-match bets on the number of players to be booked in a football match, you are then ready to try your hand at In-Play betting on the cards market! This is not for the faint-hearted although it can be an excellent way of having fun and also striking a profit by correctly judging the pattern of a football match.

I’ve developed plenty of expertise when it comes to In-Play football betting across a wide range of markets. This includes cards and I especially like to see how a referee is responding to fouls in the early stages of the match. Is the arbiter letting a few things go or has he decided to put a marker down by showing a yellow card in the first ten minutes?

Sometimes there can be a flurry of yellow cards within a short space of time. Therefore, it sometimes pays to sit tight and see if the betting line moves before acting accordingly. It might even boil down to one player who is walking a tightrope with the referee and there could be a marvellous opportunity to bet on them to be the next player to receive a card. This could be yellow or red!

Placing an In-Play Cards Betting Accumulator

Now we go up to pro-level betting! In-Play betting on cards is all well and good, but what if you want to do a football betting accumulator on this market? You will need to process lots of information in order to do this successfully, although a bookie like bet365 will provide you with In-Play match information so you can see how many cards have been given and that data even appears on the betting market itself.

For a Saturday 3pm kick-off or a Tuesday 7.45pm kick-off, I often see a spate of matches taking place on that particular day and time. That offers punters the chance to monitor what is happening in the high-profile matches and bet on the corner count across several matches. It’s great to see them in “My Bets” and hopefully watching a few being settled as a winner along the way.

Cash Out on a Cards Bet

I’ve made plenty of money betting on cards markets over the past few years and a lot of the cash has come from bets that weren’t even settled as winners. That’s because Cash Out is now in operation with the leading bookies and it sometimes pays to take the money and run for the hills! Some customers will literally Cash Out as soon as they are in a profitable position, while there is also the chance to cut your losses if the bet isn’t turning out very well.

When you place a bet on cards, your original stake will usually be the Cash Out value and that will then change when the football match(es) go In-Play. I’m essentially looking for the Cash Out to rise to the point where it makes sense to get the hell out of Dodge and claim some profit before things potentially take a turn for the worse.

About Jon

I've made What Acca to try and help people starting out with accumulator betting. The possibilities of these types of bets are pretty much endless, with the major attraction coming from the fact that a lot of money can be won for very little outlay. What Acca will hopefully teach you how to make more profitable accumulator bets whilst also eradicating some of the mistakes that I have made over the years.

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