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Offside is one of the rules of association football, and it involves the precise position of an attacking player when a pass is made to them. The rule states that a player is in an offside position if any part of their body, except their hands and arms, is in the opponent’s half of the pitch and closer to the opponent’s goal line than the ball and the second last opponent. Usually, but not always, the second last opponent will be the goalkeeper. Being in an offside position when the ball is played forward is not an offence in itself, but if the player in question becomes ‘involved in active play’, such as receiving the ball, it becomes an offence.
It’s possible to place a bet on the number of times players from one or both teams will be given offside during the course of a match. This is similar to betting on the number of corners, goal kicks or throw ins, in that it is probably more difficult to predict than factors such as the actual result of the match or even what the final score will be.
Making a successful bet on the number of offsides means studying the tactics and style of play of both teams very carefully. Some teams, for example, employ a fast centre forward who frequently runs round the back of a defence to latch on to a long ball forward. Unless timed to perfection, this tactic can result in offside being given numerous times. Conversely, some sides use the offside trap, drilling the defenders to step up as the ball is played forward and strand an opposition player in an offside position. Noting that either of these is the case should impact hugely on the number of offsides you predict.
Bets on offside decisions are usually placed in one of two ways. In some cases the bookmaker predicts a range of numbers, such as 4-6, 7-10, 11-15, and the bet is placed on one of these sets. If the bet is placed on 4-6 and there are 5 offsides given, then the bet is a success.
Alternatively, offsides might be used for spread betting, in which the bookmaker names a range, i.e. 4-6, and the bettor predicts whether the final number of offsides will be above or below this range. An offside will only count toward the total if it is given by the referee and a free kick awarded.