Essentially, virtual football matches are just shortened, speeded up versions of the real game and they are available to bet on with most major online bookmakers.
Aesthetically, virtual matches bear more than passing a resemblance to popular computer games such as FIFA, though instead of a player being in some way in control of the outcome results for betting purposes are decided by a Random Number Generator, with the odds fixed in advance.
While it’s true that there is a downside for experienced sports bettors in that you cannot apply any logic or skill to help you assume the most likely outcome of a match, betting on virtual football can be fun in the same way that playing online slot games at home is as much fun as going to a casino.
As long as there is a fair Return to Player percentage in the game and you’re betting money you can afford to lose, worst case scenario, then virtual football matches can be incredibly entertaining.
Bet Types on Offer in Virtual Football
Different bookmakers can have a slightly different set-up, but generally speaking the markets are kept pretty simple. Given the fact that games are short and swift, there is no in-play betting available but the pre-match fixed-odds markets can include:
- Match Winner – the basic win/draw/win odds, i.e. Newcastle AFC 1/1 Draw 12/5 Sunderland Cats 11/4
- Number of Goals – you can bet on the total goals, usually from 0-4, the favourite at around the 9/4 mark being 2 or 3 goals with 0 goals being approximately 12/1
- Total Goals – slightly different to the above, betting ‘under’ or ‘over’ 0.5, 1.5. 2.5 and 3.5 is a betting option
- Correct Score – with no more than four goals in the match, there are as standard 15 options here ranging from roughly 5/1 to 250/1
- Correct Score Group – you can take either side to win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 as a group as well as ‘any score draw’ and ‘any other’.
- Double Chance – a popular market in real football betting, double chance means betting on your team of choice and the draw at reduced odds, meaning either result is a win
- Handicap Result – backing either side or the draw at -2, -1, +1 or +2 is available
- Other Markets – betting is available on markets such as both teams to score, winning margin, half-time result and others depending on your choice of bookmaker
Are They Real Teams?
Well, yes and no! The team colours you’ll see, for example in a supposed domestic league match in virtual football, will represent teams you know however the names are changed to weird and wonderful pseudonyms.
Unlike in virtual international games where real countries are listed, domestic football clubs are businesses and would demand a fee for their names being used. Instead then, you’ll be betting on teams such as WBA Baggies and Manchester Reds instead of West Bromwich Albion and Man United.
Length and Frequency of Virtual Football Matches
There can be anything between one and three choices within a bookmaker’s virtual football listing, from domestic-style matches, to intercontinental games and also international match-ups.
Within each of these sections, games are listed to kick-off every 3 minutes, with each game lasting roughly two minutes in total. While this doesn’t leave much time in between games, the next six or more games to be played will be displayed by kick-off time so punters can look at future matches at their leisure and decide on a bet.
How Often Can You Bet on Virtual Football Games?
There are no restrictions on bets, in as much as you can jump ahead and place bets on as many of the scheduled games as you like before simply letting them play out on screen one by one and counting up your winnings or losses.
Also, these games are relentless and carry on 24/7. Whether you click onto the virtual football offering at 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning, you’ll see the same schedule of games every three minutes and all with the same betting books displayed.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Virtual Football Betting
As in any endeavour, whether looking at it from the provider’s point of view or that of the punter, there are plusses and negatives with betting on virtual sports, including football.
- The Pace and Frequency – games are quick and entertaining and, at every three minutes minimum, there are lots of events to bet on meaning tons of opportunities to get lucky
- The Availability – virtual football matches are no longer a specialist game, such events are widely available with a host of online betting platforms
- The RTP – at up to 96% depending on what market you choose, the Return to Player numbers are comparable with most online slot games making them a viable alternative not just to traditional sports betting, but to casino games as well
- The Choice of Markets – while some bookmakers keep this basic, others have disparate markets reaching into double-figures meaning you have plenty of betting choice
- The Entertainment Value – these condensed, computerised football fixtures are entertaining and relatively realistic to watch, making them valuable to real football fans in the absence of any proper live action
- It’s Good for Beginners – for those just starting out on their sports betting journey, betting on or even just watching virtual football matches can be a good way to learn what bets are available, how much they pay and understand some of the betting terminology involved
- Lack of Control – as the results of virtual football matches are decided by Random Number Generators, there is a lack of control for players who are used to using knowledge and skill to pick out what are perceived to be good value football bets
- Bigger Margins – at around 10% rather than 5%, the margin to the bookmaker is a little greater in virtual football games, stacking the odds more in their favour
- There’s Nothing Like the Real Thing – while the interface is good, watching and betting on a simulated football match can never really compare to the real thing
- The Temptation – no one virtual football match is more tempting or bigger than another, so if you find the pastime entertaining then it can be very hard to stop betting
Other Things to Keep in Mind
You know all of the basics regarding virtual football betting now and that is enough to get going considering this, by its very nature, is a very simple pastime to undertake and a very straightforward betting medium to grasp.
It’s good to keep in mind however, as it’s easy to forget, that any colours, names, trends or form regarding teams in the virtual football world in no way reflect what is happening in real life. When you see Manchester Blues going up against Swansea Jacks, it doesn’t mean you should bet with the sort of certainty you would if this were Man City versus Swansea City.
On a positive note, bookmakers have zero control over the result of the fixture and that is guaranteed. They have a margin built into the fixed odds that means over time they will take a profit, and that’s all they need to care about.
Any betting game decided by a random number generator, including virtual sports and casino games, is independently verified and ratified by the Gambling Commission.
So, even if a huge majority of people start backing a short-priced favourite in a virtual football match the odds will not change and nor will the pre-determined result as decided by the algorithms. All watchers and backers see the same game play out and are paid out on the same result, no matter if this means the bookie making a profit or a loss on said game.