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Over/Under Goals Betting Strategies

The most popular football betting market to this date is – and probably will be for the foreseeable future – the match winner market where tipsters make a choice between the home team, draw and the away team.

However, the second most popular betting choice is the Under/Over Goals market which, unlike the winner market, has you predicting whether a game will result in three goals or more scored in total, or two goals or less.

A rather simple two-way selection which makes your starting point a 50% chance of getting it right. Still, the Over/Under Goals market is much more than that as it hardly ever gets that straightforward and simple despite the fact this market is often referred to as a ‘coin toss’.

Just imagine the scenario in which you diligently did all of your homework, did all the required research and analysis ahead of the match for an Over 2.5 Goals bet in a game. As you watch in excitement and anticipation the home team fires two quick goals in the first half, boosting your confidence that the third – winning – goal is almost inevitably to be scored in the second half. But then ‘fortune’ turns its back on you as the hosts keep hitting the crossbar, missing a penalty and finishing the match in a snail’s pace after getting disappointed by missed opportunities.

In order to avoid losing money, punters need to remain ahead of their game with a well-defined strategy that will help them get the most out of the Over/Under Goals betting. That is why any self-respecting punter will invest their time and effort to tick all the boxes and fulfil the forthcoming conditions:

  • Assess the Stats
  • Identify the Scoring Potential
  • Select the Over/Under bar wisely
  • Calculate the Probability
  • Determine the Value

Assess the Stats – the numbers are important and need to be taken as a determining factor in football betting, but when it comes to scoring goals and Over/Under market, their role is not that important.

When talking about numbers, stats often tend to cover an average number of wins, defeats, goals for that matter. Still, in betting on Over/Goals market tracking occurrences is what matters, not averages.

Let’s imagine that Liverpool’s last 10 matches resulted in 30 goals scored in total. The simplest math function is telling us that the average is 3 goals per game, which would further suggest that Liverpool’s home matches at Over 2.5 goals is just a logical choice. But before you actually go and back this selection, make sure you check out the actual number of matches Liverpool played over 2.5 goals in those ten matches.

The occurrence might reveal a worrying truth that Liverpool went on to beat Hull City 5-1, lose to Man City 4-3 and play out a 2-2 draw with Chelsea. These three matches would mean that the remainder of seven home games saw only 13 goals in total, most of which would probably be Under 2.5 goals.

This brings us to the next important aspect of a betting strategy which deals with – Identifying the Scoring Potential.

An accurate assessment of a team’s true potential to score is not to be determined over the ten home matches. It needs to involve a long-term view and a deeper perspective. With Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp for example, it involves the analysis of the style of play, a team’s philosophy if you like.

The scoring potential is hidden within the players as well and even their motivation if you like. Some players would often score more goals against certain opposition as there will be something in the opposition’s style that suits a striker perfectly, which was the case with Luis Suarez and Norwich in those happy days for Liverpool fans.

Another valuable aspect is to – Select the Over/Under bar wisely. The very mention of the Over/Under market will make a clear association to the Over/Under 2.5 goals. The overall stats for football as a sport will vary around 2.4 and 2.6 goals per game – depending on the league and competition. In most cases, the most common market of Over/Under 2.5 goals will offer ‘even money’ and for all of those who do not consider themselves too greedy or too clever, this market should be their starting point.

Bookies will of course offer Over 4.5 goals at the price of 5.00, and Under 1.5 and even Under 0.5 for up to 17.00, but going too exotic is never a wise choice in betting on football. What you need to ask yourselves in cases like this when an option looks too good to miss out on is – what is the probability?

Calculating the probability will allow you get a better grasp on the potential bet as the random nature of goal scoring requires bettors to adopt a predictive model for Over/Under Betting. This is where the average goals per game statistic can come in handy with a calculus for determining the probabilities of a team scoring 0, 1, 2, 3 and/or 4 goals and more through a percentage.

What this means is that a team averaging 0.8 goals per game has 45% of chances not to score a single goal, and 36% of scoring only once in a game. The increased average of let’s say 1.6 goals per game claims that this team will most likely score 1 goal in the game at 32% whereas an average of 2.00 goals per game claims that there are 27% chances this team will score more than 2 goals.

If this statistical probability is anything to go by, the most important thing definitely is to – determine the value. The value of a bet is determined with offered odds and the probability of an outcome. The probability can be your random assessment according to all the facts you gathered before, so for a game you think there is 67.56% of landing Over 2.5 goals the value odds would be determined like this: 100/67.56 = 1.48.

Any bookmaker that will offer odds higher than 1.48 for the selected game will thus offer value odds you are encouraged to back for a potential win.