The Sports Bookie Blog

Best Bets When you Know a Game will not be a Goal-fest

February 16th, 2007

It's all about balls in the back of the net!

The next instalment of ‘betting terms explained’… growing rapidly in popularity, ‘under/over 2.5 goals’ betting.  

What the hell is ‘under/over 2.5 goals’ about? It sounds fairly stupid.
The Under/over 2.5 goals market lets you bet on the total number of goals in a football match – in other words, whether there will be more or fewer than 2.5 goals in the game.

That sort of makes sense – but why 2.5 goals? A team can’t score ½ a goal!
Exactly. By setting the ‘goalline’ (as it’s known) at 2.5 goals, the bookies allow you to take a view on every possible scoring outcome. You can bet on whether there will be two goals, three goals, or so on. Remember, you are not betting on there being 2.5 goals in the game, you’re betting on more or fewer than 2.5 goals.

OK, so are these bets popular?
Increasingly so. The four most popular football betting markets are: 1X2 (the outcome of a match), correct score, half-time/full-time (a double where you bet on the result after 45 minutes) and first scorer. Even though some of these markets offer poor value, they’re still the biggies – but the under/over market is catching up.

Is there any value in betting on it?
Yes. Certain teams, for example, are regularly involved in low-scoring matches. Chelsea are a good example – they may be the finest side in England (did I type that!?), but it does not mean every match is a goal-fest. They concede few goals, so they’re usually good value to be under 2.5 goals. Some people say there’s absolutely no correlation between how many goals occur in one match and the next, although most sane people believe trends exist if you look hard enough.

Fine…what research should I be doing to pick winning over/under value bets?
Yes, gut feel is not necessarily the most reliable way to bet!

The first step is to study how many goals occur in matches involving the two sides in the game you’re betting on. Take Chelsea again – in the 2004/05 season 23 of their 38 Premiership matches had under 2.5 goals, which means the true odds of a Chelsea game finishing ‘under’ were around 4/6 (1.67).

Produce similar stats for their opponents on a given day and you will be able to calculate what the true odds are when the two teams meet. You may wish to factor in other stuff – previous results between the two teams for example – but looking at under/over stats for both teams over a long period of time is an excellent starting point.

Is the goal line only ever 2.5 goals?
No. Some bookies will set the goalline lower if a league is particularly low scoring. In the French league, for example, you will often see the goalline at 2/2.5 – this means half your stake is placed at under/over two goals, and half at under/over 2.5 goals.  If the game ends with 2 goals, the part of your stake placed on 2 goals will be returned to you. However, the betting exchanges allow you to bet on under/over 2.5 goals on every game. (See Betfair review)

Any other tips?
Remember that you’re not betting on a team’s scoring record – you’re betting on how many goals will occur in the match. That means defensive strengths or weaknesses are as important as goals scored. Don’t overestimate the importance of a leading goalscorer being absent – defenders are just as likely to have a bearing on the number of goals.

So what now?
All major bookies offer prices on the under/over 2.5 goals market across most English and European divisions so there are plenty of betting opportunities that you can get stuck into. Compare odds between bookies and spread your betting funds (betting bankroll) across a number of bookmaker accounts – not just one or two – to ensure you can get the best odds at a given time.

Click to visit top UK and European bookmaker Bet365We recommend Bet365 for consistently offering some of the best odds on the net.  (and we have the stats to prove it)

(Sorry no US bettors)

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