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A guide to how in-play football betting can be profitable

| 17.03.2012

Odds compilers find that when a goal is scored during a match almost everyone wants to back the team that has taken the lead. In most matches, though, the team in front gets worse, while the trailing team gets better. If you watch very carefully, you will notice how often this happens.

Teams are more likely to score the second goal of a match when they are losing 0-1 than when they are winning 1-0. This applies to all teams, from those at the top of a table through those in the middle down to those at the bottom.

On average in the Premier and Football Leagues, teams score the next goal of the match six per cent more often when they are losing than when they are winning.

Goals change games because they change the way teams play, and that has an impact on everything else on which you can bet in-play, including things like corners and bookings.

The losing team attack more, and in so doing they force corners more regularly. The winning team defend more, and in so doing they commit fouls more regularly and receive yellow and red cards more often. In the Premier League during the past five seasons teams took a higher proportion of the corners awarded when they were losing than they did when they were winning – on average, 12 per cent more.

When you are betting in-play, don’t overreact to a flurry of action, whether it is a sudden swirl of goals, corners, bookings or whatever. Almost everyone else will. And in all probability, almost everyone else will be wrong.

On average in the Premier and Football Leagues, 1.1 goals are scored in the first half and 1.4 in the second half. Those figures are taken from the past 14 seasons, 1997-98 to 2010-11. When five or more goals were scored in the first half, the average number of goals scored in the second half was only 1.5.

Even an exceptional number of goals in the opening 45 minutes produced only a small increase in the number of goals in the closing 45 minutes. And, remember, many of these games would have been ones in which a high score was anticipated before kick off, so odds for lots of goals in whatever time remained would have been shorter.

Even a red card does not raise dramatically the number of goals likely to be scored. Most people think that it does so there is profit to be made here betting in-play.

The average time of each red card produced in the Premier League during the past 14 seasons was 63 minutes. After a red card was produced, the average number of goals scored was 1.0. In comparison, the average number of goals scored between the 64th and 90th minutes of matches that finished with 22 players was 0.9. In other words, red cards provoked only a negligible increase in the rate of goal scoring.

The most important thing you can know if you want to profit from in-play betting is that you must think differently from almost everyone else. If you act a different way to the majority there are no guarantees that you will win, but at least you will have given yourself a better chance of turning a profit.

One simple way to protect yourself from being influenced by others when you are watching a football match at home is to switch off the sound on your television. Commentators often offer an unthinking fans’ knee-jerk reaction to everything that happens. Almost always this will be an overreaction. When betting, silence is bliss. It can even be golden.

A game of two halves?

Goals scored in first half Goals scored in second half
0 1.4
1 1.4
2 1.5
3 1.5
4 1.5
5+ 1.5
Premier & Football Leagues (1997-98 to 2010-11)

This article was written by Kevin Pullein for Close Up, the world’s best informed sports and betting magazine. Click here to get a FREE version of Close Up for your iPAD.

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Close Up magazine