One of the most popular football side bets for the gaming community focuses on the men and women who decide the destiny of the game. We’re talking about the goalscorers; players who are paid to do the most important job of all – getting the ball into the onion bag.
First goalscorer options predate the internet and, in the digital age, that market has been joined by anytime and last scorer. With the advent of live betting, it’s now possible to punt on next scorer too so there are lots of options and plenty of interest in a set of markets that can lead to nice profits. Of course, to earn those profits, you have to combine detailed analysis with a small helping of luck. Here are some tips that will hopefully turn the odds in your favour.
Stating the Obvious
At a very basic level, it pays to follow form and look at the obvious candidates. Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo have been prolific at club level in recent years and they didn’t disappoint at Russia 2018, scoring nine goals between them in their first four combined matches.
Players with such a prolific record will carry very low prices, particularly in the anytime scorer market where Kane started the game against Panama at an odds-on option with Sun Bets, Fun88 and others to score a goal at any stage in 90 minutes.
With players who are so prolific, you can turn over profits but they will always be relatively small and it’s therefore a case of finding the right time to back them. Once the likes of Ronaldo, Messi and Kane hit a dry spell, your funds will be heading into the red.
Attacking midfielders offer better potential because of the odds that they attract. There’s Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, who averages one in three goals for his club in the league, and Christian Eriksen, who contributes regularly for Spurs from open play.
Eriksen used to be prolific from set pieces and that’s another area to analyse. One of the first things to consider is who takes free kicks and, especially, penalties. In many cases, the strikers will step forward once again but for certain teams, the duties go to midfielders such as Mile Jedinak of Aston Villa or even defenders as Leighton Baines proved during many productive seasons at Everton.
Consider too, those defenders who are a threat from set pieces. Punters who had backed John Stones to score first for England against Panama at Russia 2018 would have collected handsomely at odds of over 25/1 with Bet365, Matchbook and others. That completes some important early analysis but we can go much deeper with our goal scorer research.
Horses for Courses
Beyond the very basic method of analysing who is in form and who is a threat from anywhere across the pitch, the ability to check up on any kind of footballing statistic can also be used when placing a bet on first, anytime, next or last goalscorer.
Stats can tell us if a player has a strong scoring record against one particular team and while it may be difficult to identify a particular reason as to why this happens, it’s common for that pattern to continue and deliver more returns moving forward.
Punters can also harness these figures to see if a player performs better if a certain teammate is in the side providing him with crosses and assists. In the modern era, there are sites that are dedicated to providing this kind of information so it’s much easier to identify these patterns than ever before.
The Future is Here
Seasoned bettors are always looking out for new developments in any sport and in the case of football, VAR made an early impression at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. VAR – Video Assistant Referee – allows the man in charge to stop the game, use video analysis on a contentious incident, and then make his decision.
By the end of the second round of group games at Russia 2018, more penalties had been awarded than in the entire tournament in Brazil four years earlier. While VAR couldn’t take all of the credit, it certainly helped on more than one occasion to make a positive decision on a spot kick.
If the video assistant is widely adopted across professional football, it would seem fairly safe to assume that the game will see more penalties and that is of interest to the betting community. As we’ve seen, a strong tip for the goalscorer markets involves identifying the players who take the set pieces but in a VAR world, that becomes more obvious.
Of course, some penalty takers are out-and-out strikers who carry short odds (step forward Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo), but other spot kick experts lie further down the pitch in midfield and in defence.
A word of caution: the odds setters may not react immediately but they are quick to follow developments of this kind in any sport. In 50 over cricket, changes in regulations concerning field placings and the ball, coupled with the general shortening of boundaries led to the balance of the game tipping in favour of the batsmen.
More runs were being scored and odds in the Individual Century markets dipped from Even Money and above to widespread odds on figures. Football will follow suit so there may just be a small window in which to take advantage of VAR.
Betting on individual goal scorers has always been popular but, in the digital age, not only have the options increased but there is now a wealth of information that can be used that will hopefully tip the odds in your favour.
Football has been slow to adopt new technology and VAR seems to be far from perfect but here we have a new development in the game that could alter our thinking as we look towards the set piece takers to have more of a say. This is fascinating, multi-faceted side market and hopefully we’ve given you a few tips and tricks that will help you to secure regular profits.