Soccer Betting: How to Find Value in Under/Over Goals Markets

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Although most bog-standard soccer punters will look toward the Match Odds markets for their betting, this is one of the hardest markets to master and find value. That’s because the world’s leading sportsbooks and individual bookmakers are hot on pricing up the odds-on teams. They also have access to more data than ever before to price up 1×2 match results markets with improved accuracy thanks to statistics such as expected goals (xG) that are an increasingly influential indicator of a team’s potency and profligacy in front of goal.

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However, all is not lost. There are soccer betting markets out there where you can still find value and beat the bookies. The Over/Under goals markets in soccer betting continue to grow in popularity among bettors and sports traders alike. That’s because there are still daily opportunities to find value odds that give punters the best possible margins. In this article, we’ll help you to find that value using some basic strategies that winning punters use to beat the markets and grow their bankroll over the long-term.

Under/Over 2.5 Goals Market

For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the Under/Over 2.5 Goals market, which attracts significant liquidity, both with online bookmakers and the leading betting exchanges. The first task is to understand why the Under/Over 2.5 Goals market is so popular. Simply put, it’s because the global average of goals per game sits between 2.4 and 2.6 goals. However, there are certain leagues where that goals-per-game average is much higher (and much lower).

To find a game where the Under or Over price on 2.5 goals is too high or too low, you need to study carefully the average goal ratios of each team playing. One of the best portals to use for assessing these statistics is SoccerSTATS.com. It’s one of the best free tools a soccer bettor can use to find value. That’s because the platform calculates the average number of goals scored and conceded per match for any team. It also calculates the average of goals scored and conceded when teams play at home and away. That allows you to identify whether a team is more attack-minded at home, for example.

The other crucial data you can find on SoccerSTATS that will help pinpoint incorrect odds on Under/Over goals markets is the percentage of matches that are over 2.5 goals involving each team. When it is Team A vs. Team B, SoccerSTATS lists the percentage of matches that Team A is involved in at home and the percentage of over 2.5 goal matches that Team B is involved in away.

You can then use this data to calculate the real odds and the likelihood of over 2.5 goals in the game. If the combined average between Team A and Team B is 40 percent of games go over 2.5 goals per game, divide 100 by 40. The answer is 2.5, which gives you a decimal value that converts into a fractional value of 6/4. Simply put, if you find a bookmaker that offers odds of more than 6/4 (2.5) on the likelihood of the match is Over 2.5 goals, you are getting good value on your wager.

Finding the Right Bookmaker

Of course, finding those online sportsbooks that offer such good value can also be tricky. As you’ll see, there are some sportsbooks that have savvy traders, with the ability to offer tight margins that give little value away for punters. However, there are others that are more lackadaisical, and those are the ones you must try to take advantage. You will often find that iGaming platforms that focus more on providing the best online casino experiences than their sister sportsbook will be slower to react to movements in the market. That will give you a chance to get the highest possible price before the odds are cut after the savvy punters (like you after reading this article) take the value price. In truth, there are aggregators for everything online today, even Under/Over goals odds. For example, Odds Portal is a popular service that helps to identify the bookmakers that offer the juiciest pre-match odds on Unders or Overs.

Fundamental Indicators

Although technical indicators such as pre-game data are critical, it’s also vital to consider fundamental indicators, too. Factors such as team motivation and in-form players also play a big part in finding value in goals markets. If neither side are desperate for the points — or one side is especially effective at “parking the bus” — you’re more likely to find a game with less goals. If a team loses its leading goalscorer to injury or suspension, you could also find this influences the fall in the price of Under 2.5 goals. Also, be mindful of managers’ footballing philosophies, as certain managers prefer an all-out attack, and others opt for a more cagey, cautious style of play that is less creative. Most recently, José Mourinho was often mocked for his cautious approach to games during his time as the Manchester United boss, with some of United’s flair players stifled as a result.

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Having worked in the marketing department at two online sports betting sites, John brings his love of sports to serve BigOnSports as chief writer. He will be researching and writing about the sports betting community to improve your experience as a sports bettor.