First half bet Betting Term Meaning


The betting term ‘first-half bet’ relates to a number of markets in which the punter can bet on what he/she feels will be the outcome at the half-time interval of a match.

A first-half bet can only be placed on events that have two halves. This covers a range of sports including football, rugby, handball, and Australian Rules. Some bookmakers will also offer first half only betting markets on basketball and American football; however, quarter markets are generally more common for these sports.

While perhaps not as in-depth, the choice of first-half bet markets is the same as what you would find offered for a standard bet that covers the entire match. For football, these include 1X2, correct score, BTTS, handicaps, over/under goals, corners and cards, draw no bet and so on. The exact options will depend on your chosen bookmaker and the magnitude of the match you are betting on. 

What appeals to sports bettors is that first half bets can have dramatically different odds to those that are offered for a full match market. For example, we’ve taken the BTTS market from the English Premier League match between Fulham and Liverpool:

  • Both teams to score in 90 minutes @1.95
  • Both teams to score in the first half @4.50

Based on a £10 bet. The 90 minutes option would return £19.50 compared to £45.00 if the first half bet were to win. It is a case of risk and reward. The higher odds are a reflection that the first half bet is shorter (in duration), in addition to many matches being tighter in the first half as the players are fresher and more energetic. 

Sharps will make use of the wealth of stats and analytical data that is now available to weigh-up the likelihood of certain first-half bets. If a team is known for scoring early goals or tries, there is potential value in specific markets. As an example, below are two markets from the Six Nations rugby game between Italy and France:

  • Italy to win the game outright @3.80
  • Italy +5 first half handicap @1.90

Italy have a reputation for starting strong but fading midway through the second half, so the bookmaker is offering reasonably high odds on the ‘Italy outright win’ market. The first-half handicap market is much tighter with Italy +5 being priced at 1.90. This endorses what we believe about them being competitive at the start. A wager such as this could provide excellent value when you’re betting on an underdog.

Things to Consider Before Placing a First-Half Bet


The most important thing to keep in mind when placing first-half bets is that teams don’t always need to be leading at half time. For instance, if you’re betting on a Champions League game between Real Madrid and Juventus there’s a good chance the first half will be a cagey affair. This opens the door to correct score bets such as 0-0, under 0.5 goals and BTTS (no) to name a few.

The opposite end of the spectrum would be a FA Cup match between Manchester City and Shrewsbury. There’s a good chance the Citizens will come out all guns blazing to try and get the job done early. This is where first-half betting comes into its own. The improved odds can make these markets more attractive to bettors looking at matches where one team is far superior to the other.

A general rule of thumb is to check a team’s first-half performances over the course of a season. For example, if the Chicago Bulls tend to score more points in the first half of their NBA games then you’ll want to back a market that reflects that.