Football Betting Strategy: Goals Markets
Punters should always pay close attention to the goals markets when trying to unlock profitable betting opportunities on a football match. The best betting sites will offer several exciting goals markets for you to choose from, including total goals, both teams to score, and anytime goalscorer.
Betting on football goes much deeper than simply predicting the result of a match. Goals markets allow you to find great odds even when you are unsure which team will win the game. If you think it will be an open and entertaining contest, or a drab, low-scoring affair, you can find great betting value by taking advantage of these markets.
This article will explain the key goals betting markets that you can bet on. It will also explain how you can combine them for even greater value. You will learn how to place bets on goals markets, gain insight on the research you should conduct beforehand, and discover the bookmakers that offer the best odds. Here are our favourites:
This is one of the key betting options at your disposal when trying to find value on a particular match. You are presented with two simple options: both teams to score – yes or no? You do not have to predict the result of the match. If you bet on both teams to score, it can finish 1-1 or 7-4. As long as both teams find the back of the net at some point, you will be paid out.
The odds on this market will vary on a game by game basis. It all depends on how strong each team is at the back and how dangerous they are in front of goal. If both teams like to park the bus, you will generally find great odds on both teams to score.
If it is a match between two ambitious sides that like to throw caution to the wind, pour men forward and take risks, the odds are likely to be a lot shorter. However, you then have the opportunity to combine a both teams to score bet with another goals market to generate higher odds. We will explain this strategy in more detail a little later.
This is a prediction on the cumulative goals scored by both teams during the match. The bookmakers will set a total goals line and allow you to bet on either over or under. The most common total goals line is 2.5. You can bet on under 2.5 goals if you think it will be a tight, low-scoring game, or over 2.5 goals if you think it will be a high-scoring match.
If you bet on under 2.5 goals, you will be paid out if there are two goals or fewer in the match. It could finish 0-0, 1-1, 1-0 or 2-0 to either team, and you would be paid out in each instance. If you bet on over 2.5 goals, you would only be paid out if there are three or more goals scored in the match.
Some newer bookmakers only offer betting on over or under 2.5 goals, but most will allow you to bet over/under 1.5 goals, 3.5 goals, 4.5 goals and so on. Once again, the odds are different in each match.
If it is a game between two teams that do not play particularly adventurous football, you might find great value by betting on over 2.5 goals. If both teams are regularly involved in high-scoring games, you might need to go for over 3.5 goals or even over 4.5 goals to find value. That is also true in a mismatch. You would not find attractive odds on over 2.5 goals when England play San Marino, but over 4.5 goals might offer appealing odds.
If you anticipate an open, entertaining game between two teams that look strong in attack and shaky in defence, combining both teams to score with over 2.5 goals is a great option.
Let’s say Liverpool are playing West Ham at Anfield in the Premier League, and both teams have injuries to key defenders. You might find odds of 4/7 on both teams to score, meaning a A$20 bet would earn you a profit of A$11.43 if successful. Over 2.5 goals might be priced at 2/5, meaning a A$20 bet would earn you an A$8 profit.
If you do not find either of those prices particularly appealing, you could combine both teams to score with over 2.5 goals, essentially rolling the two selections into a single bet. You might then expect to find odds of 4/5, so a A$20 bet would earn you a more attractive A$16 profit.
You could alternatively push it further by combining both teams to score with over 3.5 goals. That would probably boost the odds to around 13/10, meaning a A$20 bet would earn you a profit of A$26.
Another great option is both teams to score and under 4.5 goals. This is a useful market if you think both teams will get on the score sheet, but you do not anticipate an outrageously high-scoring game. Combining both teams to score with under 4.5 goals will always earn you a greater potential profit than simply betting on both teams to score.
Some bookmakers provide “both teams to score and over/under 2.5 goals” in the list of betting options on a match. Others simply allow you to create these wagers in the Bet Builder function. Sites like Bet365 and 888 Sport have bet builders. You might hear them referred to as “same game accumulators” or “same game accas” at some betting sites.
Let’s say you want to bet on Tottenham winning the game against Brighton. First of all, you’ll take a look at the stats. If Spurs are in great form, and Brighton are looking a little sluggish, you might find odds of 8/13 on Tottenham to win. In that case a A$10 bet would earn you a A$6.15 profit if successful.
An alternative option would be to combine Tottenham winning with a goals market. If you think they will blow the Seagulls away, you could go for Spurs to win and over 2.5 goals in the game. In that case, they would have to win 3-0, 2-1, 3-1 and so on for you to be paid out, but your potential profit would be much higher. The odds would increase to around 5/4, meaning a A$10 bet would earn you a A$12.50 profit.
If you think Spurs will secure a low-scoring victory, you might choose to go for Tottenham to win and under 3.5 goals in the game. That would probably generate odds of 6/4, leading to a far higher potential payout. You could even go wild and use the bet builder function to combine Tottenham to win, both teams to score and over 3.5 goals.
This is a prediction on how many goals a particular team will score in a match. You do not have to worry about how the opposition performs. You might bet on Real Madrid to score over 2.5 goals when they host Valencia at the Bernabeu. You will be paid out if they score three times, regardless of whether it finishes 3-0, 3-1, 3-2, 3-3 or 3-9. Some punters love this razor sharp focus on a particular team.
This is much trickier than betting on over/under, as it requires you to predict the exact number of goals that will be scored in a game. However, if you can pull it off, you will earn a significantly higher profit. You can also bet on multiple options to give yourself a better chance of success.
For example, you might decide to place a bet on exactly two goals on a Serie A game between Roma and Fiorentina, and another bet on exactly three goals in the match. If both options are priced at 10/3, you could afford to cover them both with an identical stake and still walk away with a healthy profit if either comes in.
You can also bet on the exact goals a particular team will score. If you are unsure what Fiorentina will bring to the table, but you have a strong knowledge of the Roma squad, you might decide to bet on Roma scoring exactly two goals. As long as they score exactly two goals, your bet will pay off, regardless of how many times Fiorentina manage to score. We would recommend using a free bet offer while betting on exact goals:
This simply involves betting on a team to keep a clean sheet during a match. It does not matter how many goals they score. They just have to keep the opposition at bay for 90 minutes in order for your bet to pay off. It is similar to betting on a team to win to nil, but it covers you in case the game finishes 0-0. You might consider betting on a team to keep a clean sheet when the opposition looks toothless in front of goal and you anticipate a tight, low-scoring clash.
This is a pretty straightforward bet on which player will score first in a particular match. The star striker for the stronger team will generally be installed as the favourite in this market. The odds will then grow progressively longer as you go down the list of players. You will eventually reach the rank outsider – a defensive player that rarely gets into the box.
If England are playing France, you might find Harry Kane as the 4/1 favourite to score first, followed by Kylian Mbappe at 9/2, Antoine Griezmann at 5/1, Raheem Sterling at 6/1 and so on, until you get down to Kyle Walker at 66/1. Simply choose who you think will score first, decide how much you would like to stake and place your bet.
Once again, you can cover multiple players in this market. If the player you bet on does not start the game and is not on the pitch when the first goal is scored, you should receive a refund.
This is very similar to first goalscorer, but it simply involves predicting who will grab the last goal. The odds on first and last goalscorer are generally pretty similar, unless a particular player has a real habit of popping up with last-gasp goals.
This is often a far more appealing option than betting on a player to score first or last. It simply involves predicting that a player will score at any time in the match. You will be paid out if that player finds the back of the net, regardless of whether it is to open the scoring, to slot in a first-half equaliser or to grab the penultimate goal in a 5-0 rout.
The odds available on a player to score at any time will always be lower than the odds on that player scoring first or last. That is understandable, as it is easier to predict whether a player will score at any time in a match. However, you stand a much better chance of success when betting on anytime goalscorer markets.
Several bookmakers now offer an exciting range of player goals betting markets. If you think Neymar will run riot in a game against Monaco, you might decide to bet on him scoring two or more goals in the match. That will earn you higher odds than simply betting on him to score at any time.
Alternatively, you could bet on Neymar to score three or more goals, or even choose four or more goals if you want to receive huge odds. You could also bet on him score a header, to fire in a penalty, or to score from outside the box. It is even possible to bet on a player to score an own goal while watching the match live at your preferred online bookie!
This market allows you to predict when the first goal of the game will be scored. It does not matter which team finds the back of the net. Some bookmakers divide it into 10 minute increments. That means you could bet on the first goal being scored in 0-10 minutes, 11-20 minutes, 21-30 minutes and so on.
Others divide it into 15-minute increments, so you could bet on 0-15 minutes, 16-30 minutes and so on. You can cover multiple increments if you like. Just try to ensure you receive an overall profit if one of your selections proves correct.
This is a slightly bizarre market focusing on whether the total number of goals scored in a match will be odd or even. It is a bit like betting on red or black on a roulette wheel. This is not a particularly sophisticated wager, and it might be best avoided.
Most of the bets mentioned above can be narrowed down into limited intervals in order to generate more attractive odds. For example, instead of betting on both teams to score, you could bet on both teams to score in the first half. Or you might opt for over 2.5 goals in the second half as opposed to over 2.5 goals in the entire game.
The possibilities go on and on. You could bet on exactly one goal in the first half, both teams to score in each half, an odd number of goals in the first half, a team to score two goals in the second half, and much more.
How to Place Bets on Goals Markets
Visit a betting site, click on a game you are interested in, and you will be presented with the various different betting options that you can choose from. Markets like total goals, both teams to score and exact goals are generally featured near the top of the list, but you will have to delve deeper to find some of the niche goals markets mentioned above. If there any games in-play you’ll be able to find live markets too. Some bookmakers are much better for in-play betting; check out our list of favourites:
When you find a market you like the look of, click on the odds next to it, and the selection will be added to your bet slip. Choose the amount you would like to stake. The bet slip will inform you of the potential profit you stand to make if your wager is successful. Then simply click “Place Bet” to confirm.
Tips for Betting on Goals Markets
Follow these tips to make a success of goals betting markets:
- Conduct thorough research. Check out how often both teams to score pays off when a team plays. Break it down into home games and away games. Work out the average goals per game each team scores, and how often over 2.5 goals or under 2.5 goals pays off when they play.
- Put each game into context. If both teams have a great deal at stake, it might develop into a nervy clash, and under 2.5 goals might appeal. If both teams have bad injury problems at the back, over 2.5 goals or over 3.5 goals might look attractive.
- Make sure you consider the full range of options. If you are uncomfortable betting on under 2.5 goals, go for under 3.5 goals instead.
- As a more advanced strategy, check out Asian total goals markets, which provide you with the opportunity to secure half wins, incur only half losses, or receive your money back as a push in certain circumstances.
- Consider putting two or more selections together in an accumulator for more value. You might bet on both teams to score when Arsenal face Man Utd and both teams to score when Newcastle play Everton, rolled into one acca for higher overall odds.
- Always consider combining multiple selections within the same game for added value. Betting on both teams to score and over 2.5 goals is a great option, as is betting on both teams to score and under 4.5 goals. You can also significantly boost your odds by betting on a team to win and over 1.5 goals, or a team to win and under 4.5 goals.
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