Are Goals Overrated? - Bet Dynamo

Are Goals Overrated?

Let’s give you a familiar scenario, something you’ll all have experienced as someone who likes to bet on football matches. There’s an upcoming match that looks like it’s going to be a goalfest, both teams are in good goal scoring form, each one of them has something to play for, be it they’re closing in on the top positions in the league, or they’re trying to claw their way out of the relegation zone. Maybe it’s a Cup Match and both teams have aspirations of getting to the final in the hope of landing some silverware, or maybe there’s some fringe players getting a run out and they want to impress their manager?

Betting on 0-0 in Football Matches

You’ve done your research and by your reckoning we’re in for a goalfest. Both teams have attacking players who have tapped into a rich vein of form, smashing in goals of late and for some reason both defences have been a little shaky and are conceding. This match has goals written all over it. You check the odds and you’re getting some value, the bookies are offering odds of 1.95 on Over 2.5 goals, thanks to your own research you think it should be priced around 1.85, so you’re getting decent value.

The match begins and within the first minute you can already tell this is going to go horribly wrong and it’s a stinker, it ends 0-0 with both teams only having one shot on goal apiece, how did we not see this coming? OK, value picks won’t will all the time, by their nature they cannot, but on paper this match had goals written all over it, how did we get it so wrong?

0-0 Scoreline in Football Matches

0-0s happen in football matches, it’s a pain when it happens but it’s just one thing we have to accept as football bettors. But, if 0-0s tend to happen even in what should be high scoring matches, should we be betting on the 0-0 scoreline? The odds can be very attractive. In a match when Over 2.5 goals is priced at 1.85, you should be getting 0-0 odds of between 7.0 and 8.0, they’re nicer odds than 1.85, should we be betting on that instead?

The term ‘goals are overrated’ comes from Football Weekly, the mighty podcast from The Guardian. While the journalists involved don’t tend to speak about football from a betting perspective their analysis is top of the league and if you only listen to one football podcast it should probably be that one. Anyway, one of the journalists once said ‘goals were overrated’ as a tongue-in-cheek joke about all the football hipsters who came to the fore about eight or so years ago. While the journalist in question was certainly joking and it’s been a bit of an occasional running joke on the show ever since, was he correct? Are goals overrated?

How Often Does 0-0 Occur in Football Matches

There’s an old Italian adage that the perfect game of football ends as a 0-0. Ah, come on really? That’s what you’re thinking, but look, the logic is simple, if a match ends 0-0 no mistakes were made and everyone played the perfect game. OK, you can buy that logic, but it’s obviously flawed, how can a striker have a perfect game if he fails to score? But y’know, Italy is the country that invented the dark arts of football, the country that gave us Catenaccio, Franco Beresi, Paulo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta etc. The adage is obviously tongue-in-cheek as well, but there’s a hint of seriousness there too.

In the grand scheme of things football matches only tend to end 0-0 around 8% of the time. So for every 10 times you bet, one of them should end 0-0. There’s really there’s no point in backing 0-0 prior to kickoff if the odds aren’t a true reflection of the chances of it happenng.

World wide we’ve crunched the numbers and you can see above the amount of matches from around the world that have ended as 0-0, we’ve also taken a close look at the Big 5 European matches below.

As you can see here many of these averages are higher than the world average and there were even a few years that went above 10%. So to conclude then, goals aren’t overrated, they tend to occur in around 92% of matches and backing 0-0 prior to kick off isn’t going to be a good long term strategy unless you can beat the odds on offer.

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