Correct Score Betting in Soccer

One of the most popular markets to bet on in football matches is the correct score. As you might expect, all you have to do is predict what score the match will finish and you win, but it’s harder than you might think!

Most people bet on these markets just take a shot in the dark based on their knowledge of the two teams, but if you can back up your understanding of the game with some solid stats then you’ll have a much better chance at turning a profit when betting on the correct score.

Using Statistics to Help You Decide

In order to make a more educated guess at what the score in a match might be, you need to know some things about the league as a whole. Let’s take the English Premier League as an example. In the 2011/2012 season, the average number of goals scored in match was 2.81, which was split as 1.59 for the home team and 1.22 for the away team. So for starters you know that the average match will finish with under 3 goals.

Next you consider the two teams who are playing. Look at the home team and think about how good their attack and defense is at home compared to average. For instance, Arsenal have a very strong record at home but if they were playing Liverpool, who have a very good away defensive record they’ll probably only score right about the average of 1.59. On the other side of the coin Liverpool had about an average attack in away games but Arsenal’s home defense was very good, so you’d be expecting Liverpool to score less than a goal per game against Arsenal on average, so let’s say roughly 0.9 goals.

Analysing the Data

Once you have evaluated the average goals each team is likely to score you can then predict the score. One way to do this is to simply look at the averages. From this you can deduce that Arsenal are likely to 1 or 2 goals while Liverpool are likely to score 0 or 1.

A better way to go about this is to go into something like Excel and do a ‘Poisson distribution’ which will give you the exact probabilities. All you have to type into the cell is: =(poisson, no. of goals, league average). If we did this for Arsenal scoring two goals it would look like =(poisson, 2, 1.59) and the result would be 0.259, meaning there’s a 26% chance of Arsenal scoring two goals. If you do this for all of the possible scores (obviously you don’t need to go any higher than say 5 goals) you can then cross multiply them for each team to get the likelihood of a certain outcome. 

Let’s say you want to figure out the chances of it being 2-1 Arsenal. We know Arsenal score 2 goals 26% of the time, and doing the calculation we see that Liverpool score 1 goal 36.5% of the time, so to get the probability of that result it’s simply (0.26*0.365) = 9.4% of the time. Once you have the probability, then you need to go off and check the odds on offer. In order to have a profitable bet on this scoreline, you need to be getting decimal odds of greater than 10.6, or roughly 19/2 in traditional odds.

The stats for this match actually show that the most likely outcome of this match is 1-0 Arsenal which happens 13.3% of the time. As you can see, you’ll only get the correct score betting outcome right about 1 out of 10 times you can expect to have some big swings if you’re betting on this market regularly. Remember not to get too frustrated if you don’t win a few bets, because when you do win one the odds will be such that you cover all of your losses in one go.

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