With the football season currently in downtime, now is the perfect time to review your football betting strategy before the fun starts all over again in August. Outright betting can be interesting, but there are far more lucrative gains to be made in the less predictable 'time of first goal' markets. All of the best bookmakers offer these exciting options, and you can find some juicy odds providing you look in the right place.
The 'time of first goal' market is notoriously difficult to predict, with an unlimited amount of variables making it almost impossible to get it right every time. Thankfully, there's no need to predict the exact goal time, with sites such as Paddy Power Sports allowing you to choose from a range of defined 10 minute intervals. With this in mind, the key to making gains in this market is all down to the stats.
In the 2012-13 Barclays Premier League season, for example, the average time of the first goal was the 30th minute. You can narrow your betting even further by reading more into the statistics, which reveal that 33.9% of first goals came before the 15th minute - with just over one third of all goals coming in the vital starting minutes, it might be a good option to focus your resources on the 0-10 and 10-20 minute markets.
You can improve your chances even further by looking at individual team performances - across all of Everton's Premiership matches, for example, 50% of all first goals came within the first 15 minutes. Teams with a stronger defence and less reliable strike setup sometimes offer better value, though, and bookies including Ladbrokes Sports often give greater odds on a later opening goal - West Brom and Reading would have provided the most value in the late 'first goal' market last season, so keep your eye on their form over the coming months.
Of course, you don't have to make any decisions before the game kicks off, with in-play betting offered by most football betting sites allowing you to get a feel for the flow of play before making your choice - this is a great option when it looks as if the game is approaching a bore draw, giving you the chance to capitalise on a last minute push for goals.
As exhilarating as a late goal can be, the stats speak for themselves in terms of where the smart money should be placed in this market. The Premiership first goal average time overwhelmingly favours the first half, with a huge 77.7% of goals coming in the first 45 minutes of the game, so if you're looking to achieve a bit of extra value in this market, it's worth opting for teams who traditionally score outside the pressure cooker of the closing period.