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Going Over/Underground: Maximising Profits via the Goals Market

28th February 2019 / Julian
Betting Advice

As any avid follower of football will know that it is not always easy to predict the result of a match. Whether it is a top of the table clash, a relegation dog fight, or a mid-week cup game, football always tends to throw up some tough to call fixtures. Even when you think there is a dead cert winner, there is always a chance that you end up backing the wrong team.

So why not take the head to head match result out of the equation?

Punters are becoming more and more savvy to the intricacies goal markets. In particular, the Over/Under markets. This is where bettors predict the number of the goals scored in a match rather than the eventual outcome. But is there any profits to be made in the Over/Under markets? And if so, what is the best way to go about maximising your return?

How does it work?

There are many different ways to bet in the Over/Under goals market, with bookies offering a range of possible outcomes that allow punters to predict whether a game will finish with over or under a certain number of goals being scored. The most common margins are presented as decimal values such as 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 and so on.

Simply put, an Over/Under bet works like so:

  • Over 1.5 goals: the punter predicts that 2 or more goals will be scored in a game.
  • Under 1.5 goals: the punter predicts that less than 2 goals will be scored.
  • Over 2.5 goals: the punter predicts that 3 or more goals will scored.
  • Under 2.5 goals: the punter predicts that less than 3 goals will be scored.

Typically, the Over 2.5 goals markets are the most commonly backed by the punting public since bookies generally offer even odds on such an outcome.  We would recommend that punters stick to Over 2.5 goals as they familiarise themselves with this market. Once you know what you’re doing, you could venture into more profitable territory with higher goal margins.

Goals, goals, and more goals

One thing that is certain in a game of football is goals – they either will or won’t be scored. Many punters would argue that the amount of times the ball hits the back of the net is much easier to predict than the win-draw-lose result when the final whistle blows.


Think of it this way: each team going into a game of football tends to be tactically set up to score goals or to stop the other team from scoring goals. It goes without saying that the game plan of a team might not play out the way the manager intends during the 90 minutes of play. This is why it’s not always easy to call an outright winner. But, more often than not, it is easy to foresee a match between two dogged defensive teams ending with fewer than 2 goals. On the flip side, it is easy to see two attack-minded teams playing out a game with 4 or more goals.

The proof is in the stats

Of course, there is a little bit more to it than knowing whether a team has a solid defence or a free-scoring attack. This is where statistics come into play.

Stats play an important part in most football bets, but it is absolutely vital when it comes to the Over/Under goal markets. This is because it is easier to rely on goal based statistics than it is to rely on team form. Consider this: the home team hasn’t won any of their past three games but there was an average of 5 goals scored in those games. Then consider that they are about to face a team with a similarly patchy record but which has also been involved in games with 5 goals scored average. On paper, you wouldn’t fancy picking a winner. But you would easily fancy an Over 2.5 goals bet on the match.

At even odds, this would be a very attractive double-your-money punt. If you’re willing to risk it, you could lengthen the odds and boost the potential return with an Over 3.5 or 4.5 goals bet.

Be wary! Averages can be distorted by a one off scoreline of 7-4. Spot the anomalies and bet accordingly.

Play the situation

Checking the average goals scored/conceded per game stats is a must, but it doesn’t tell the whole picture when betting on the Over/Under markets. If you want to maximise your profits from these types of bets then you will have to consider a few other important factors:

  • Injuries/team selection: If a team has been banging in the goals of late then it is likely that they have a key player up-front either scoring or creating chances. If this player picked up a knock in mid-week training and is unlikely to play, then all of the stats from the previous ten games go straight out the window.
  • The weight of the match: the importance of the match itself can have a significant effect on the numbers of goals scored. How many times have you seen a end of season game on which the title race hinges delicately end in a gritty 1-0 result? Alternatively, end of season matches between two teams with nothing to play for could easily throw up some high goal tallies as managers experiment with their team selection.
  • The weather: as the old cliché goes, football isn’t played on paper. It is played on grass, however, and wet grass on a rainy, blustery night does not make for high-scoring football matches.
  • Head to head form: there are some fixtures out there which always seem to throw up a goal-fest. Great entertainment value for the neutral and a great opportunity for bettors to take advantage of the Over/Under goals market.

Maximising profits

With the right amount of research and an astute understanding of the other factors which might affect the scoring in a game of football, punters can easily make some well educated bets in the Over/Under goals market.

Soccer bet concept with football and money

But what’s the best way to utilise the market to maximise profit? It might seem attractive to look for the higher odds on markets which offer Over 3.5 goals, 4.5 goals or higher. Indeed, a successful punt in one of these markets will return a tasty profit, but you are always liable to high losses. That doesn’t bode well for maximum profits.

Here are some general rules to follow to maximise your return when you go Over/Under:

  1. Keep the odds even: as much as possible, punters should stick to Over/Under goal scenarios which offer even odds. This will not only help to implement a consistent strategy, but it will also help to return more consistent gains against losses.
  2. Consider a ‘full ball’ bet: most goal markets offer what are known as ‘half ball’ lines: Under 1.5, Over 2.5 etc. Full ball lines are presented as full integer values such as Over 2.0 goals. This means that players get their stake back if there are 2 goals in the game. Admittedly, these markets offer lower value odds, but the insurance is invaluable if you aren’t confident enough to make a half ball punt.

Stick to the major leagues: With the best strikers in the world playing in the Premier League, La Liga and the Bundesliga, it is no surprise that these leagues throw up the most high-scoring games in world football. Other leagues such as the Championship in England and the SPL in Scotland are also worth a punt with a significant gap in attacking and defensive quality between teams at either ends of the division.

The tip is based on the personal opinion of the author. No success is guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly. 18+

* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!

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