To Qualify Football Betting Market Explained – Full Examples

Written By: Conor Rafter
Last Updated: February 22, 2023

To Qualify Football Betting Market eXPLAINED

In football sports betting, ‘To Qualify’ is a market that refers to which team will advance to the next stage of the competition or tournament. This market is primarily used when betting on knockout competitions with progressive rounds. See below for examples of tournaments where To Qualify is available.

  • UEFA Champions League
  • FA Cup
  • League Cup
  • Europa League
  • World Cup

According to SkyBet’s official sports rules, To Qualify is defined as the following:

  • You’re betting on whether the stated team qualify from the tie.

Sky Bet Definition

You’re betting on whether the stated team qualify from the tie.

This is similar to Paddy Power’s description of To Qualify – “Any ‘to qualify’ market (e.g. “to reach the final” markets) will be determined by the competitor or team that progresses, whether or not they take part in the next round or event for which they have qualified. Markets will be settled after the qualifying stage and any subsequent disqualification or amendment to the result will not count.”

To Qualify Football Betting Market Explained - To Qualify

To be specific, the following rules apply to the To Qualify market on SkyBet:

  • The settlement of a To Qualify bet is determined solely by on-pitch events.
  • If the match takes place over the course of two legs, the outcome of the To Qualify bet will be determined after the completion of both games.
  • Settlement of a To Qualify bet will not be overturned or reversed if a team is later disqualified from the tournament.

Although To Qualify is used for many sports where there is a knockout element, the market is mainly present in football matches. It’s also worth noting that sportsbooks, such as SkyBet, offer variations of the To Qualify market. For instance, SkyBet currently has odds on a market named ‘To Qualify From Group’ for the 2022 Women’s World Cup. By placing a bet on this market, you’re betting on the team that you think will progress to the next stage of the tournament after playing three games against other teams in the respective group.

Example Of A ‘To Qualify’ Bet

The Men’s FIFA World Cup takes place in Qatar from November to December 2022. Before the tournament commences, 32 teams must qualify for the competition. This is determined by pitting nations against one another in group games and direct knockout play-off matches.

Wales, Scotland and Ukraine are the final three teams whose fate is last to be determined – in that none of the trio know whether or not they’ll participate in the World Cup. To find out which side will proceed to the tournament, Scotland must face off against Ukraine in a semi-final play-off. The winner takes on Wales in the World Cup play-off final.

Let’s say you were of the mind that Scotland should qualify for the World Cup ahead of the other two teams. At SkyBet, you’d search for ‘To Qualify’ using the search bar and select ‘To Qualify For World Cup 2022’. This will bring up a page displaying odds for each of the three countries’ hopes of making it to the World Cup.

To Qualify Football Betting Market Explained - To Qualify For World Cup 2022

Here’s a breakdown of how your bet would be made:

  • Scotland are at 3.5 (5/2) odds To Qualify for the World Cup.
  • Therefore, a £5 bet on this selection would return £17.50.
  • To win the bet, Scotland would need to beat Ukraine in the semi-final and Wales in the final.
  • If Scotland loses to either side, the bet is lost.

The Difference Between ‘To Qualify’ and Match Result 

‘To Qualify’ spreads across a grander scale compared to the ‘Match Result’ market. Match Result focuses on 90 minutes of play (including additional time added by the referee), whereas To Qualify covers 90 minutes, extra time, penalties, and more than one match if necessary.

Here’s William Hill’s definition of what ‘Match Result’ means, taken directly from the site’s Rules page:

  • ‘The result of a match from Home Win/Draw/Away Win…combined with both teams scoring a goal in a special price double.’ 
  • ‘Bets are settled on the events that occur in normal time.’
To Qualify Football Betting Market Explained - William Hill Match Result

Compare that to William Hill’s official rules concerning ‘To Qualify’ markets and you’ll notice an important change in the wording with regard to the duration of time of the match(es) that is included in the bet:

  • ‘Predict the team to qualify for the next round of a given tournament.’
  • ‘Includes normal time, injury/stoppage time added on by the match official at the end of normal time, extra time and penalty shoot-outs should the tie progress as such.’
  • ‘If the tie is played over two legs, bets placed on this market will be settled immediately on completion of the second match based solely upon the events that occur during the two matches.’
  • ‘Includes normal time, injury/stoppage time added on by the match official at the end of normal time, extra time, away goals if applicable, and penalty shoot-outs; should the tie progress as such.’

In short, when you bet on a ‘Match Result’, you’re betting on the overall winner of the match in 90 minutes plus additional time. By betting on ‘To Qualify’ markets, the bet spans the entire course of the event until a winner has been determined, regardless of how long that takes.

Why Are The Odds For ‘To Qualify’ Markets So Low?

The reason for lower odds on To Qualify markets is simple – they are broad and cover a range of timeframes and possibilities. Other markets are more specific, like First Goalscorer, Both Teams To Score, and Correct Score, as each of these are based on events that take place within 90 minutes. 

This is in contrast to To Qualify markets. With this market, the outcome can be determined via a standard 90 minutes of play, extra time, more than one leg, and penalty shootouts. The greater the chances of your bet succeeding and the broader the possibility of the outcome, the smaller the odds shrink.

For example, imagine this scenario in a game between Manchester City and Chelsea at the FA Cup Final:

  • Unibet have odds Manchester City To Qualify for the FA Cup Final at the semi-final stage of the competition. (To Qualify Market)
  • Unibet also has odds on Manchester City to beat Chelsea 3-1 in the same game. (Correct Score Market)

Which outcome looks more likely to happen? Which one do you believe deserves more reward for being correct? These may appear subjective on paper, but the reality is that, to bookmakers, the answers are clear as day. 

Manchester City should be favourites to qualify for the final. It is much more difficult to quantify whether or not they’ll run out 3-1 winners. Resultantly, the odds on the Correct Score market will be greater in value and return more profit compared to the To Qualify market.

It all boils down to how much risk you’re willing to take and the value you see in the wager. Just because the price of a To Qualify bet may have lesser-value odds does not equate to the bet being of little value.

When Is The ‘To Qualify’ Market Used?

‘To Qualify’ is used when there is the possibility of a team progressing from one stage of a competition to the next. In the UEFA Champions League, this applies to the following:

  • To Qualify from the Group Stage
  • To Qualify from the Last 16
  • To Qualify from the Quarter Finals
  • To Qualify from the Semi Finals

This may cover the first and second legs, or just the second leg of a tie if the bet is placed after the first leg had taken place. Here’s an example of a To Qualify bet from the Ligue 1 playoffs, with odds listed on Paddy Power.

Ligue 1 Playoff – Saint-Ettiene vs Auxerre

  • The winner of this two-legged affair will earn a place in next season’s Ligue 1.
  • The loser will play in Ligue 2.
  • Paddy Power are offering odds on Auxerre To Qualify at 2.1 (11/10).
  • Paddy Power has odds on Saint-Ettiene T Qualify at 1.65 (13/20).
  • A £10 bet on Auxerre To Qualify would return £21 if they win over two legs.
  • A £10 bet on Saint-Ettiene To Qualify would see you earn £16.50.
To Qualify Football Betting Market Explained - Saint-Ettiene vs Auxerre

Regardless of how either team progresses to Ligue 1 – whether that be through a penalty shootout, extra time, or on an aggregate scoreline – your bet will see you gain returns as long as your chosen selection wins.

Conor Rafter
Conor Rafter

I’m a freelance writer who loves all things sports & betting related. Having worked in this field since 2018, I’ve experienced a wide range of intriguing bookmakers and online casinos. With this expertise, I strive to create helpful, honest articles. My primary goal is quite simple: to guide and inform readers using facts and analysis.

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