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Unders/ Overs (2.5) Betting in Football on Betfair

Ed Nicholson

The unders/ overs market is best played on Betfair that at your traditional bookmaker. Not only are the odds better but you can sometimes trade in running. This allows you to lock in your profit without taking a hit on the bookie over round. Ed Nicholson writes about betting on goals and gives some tips for selecting a winner.

Why bet on the over/under 2.5 market?

The over 2.5 goals market has become an increasingly popular over the last few seasons.

There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, betting on this market, you have less to research than for some of the other markets. For example, in the match odds market you have to consider home and away records, motivation and absences while in the first goalscorer market you need to consider which players will start, who will be on penalty duty or to what extent a midfielder will be rushing to get into the box. Overs/unders are much more straightforward: will there be goals in the match or not?

Secondly, there are just two possible outcomes (under or over 2.5 goals) so pre-match and in-running betting is much easier to play.

Thirdly, the actual ratio of under 2.5 goal games and over 2.5 goal games in the Premier League is very near to 50%, which is always a good starting point for the in-running trader. The table below shows as much.

table showing percentages of games going under and over in the EPL

How to research the market

As with any bet, the first question to ask yourself is whether there's value in the selection you're thinking of backing.

You should take into account recent head-to-head records between the teams. Some fixtures always produce low scoring games while others consistently provide a flurry of goals, though admittedly the prices strongly reflect this.

Recent home results and recent away results should also be analysed as trends may well direct you one way or another. For example, after six or seven games into the season anyone looking at the Premier League table would have seen that Fulham's home fixtures produced few goals, while Man Utd's away fixtures also produced few goals. It may be worth putting United's visit to Craven Cottage in your diary as a good chance to back "unders" should the trend continue, assuming the price is still value of course!

You may also benefit from looking at the number of shots on and off target that each team has achieved in recent games. This, allied to team selection and formation provides more evidence of how a team is playing. For example, when Arsenal drew 4-4 with Liverpool last season, the Gunners actually only had four shots on target, yet when Man United beat Sunderland 1-0 at Old Trafford the Reds had 15 shots on target, and 12 shots off target. These statistics give you a better overall view of the game than just looking at the number of goals that have been scored in recent matches.

M & M

Finally, pay close attention to the two Ms - motivation and momentum. If a team lets in five goals one week, you can be sure their motivation will be skewed to defending the following weekend rather than attacking. Similarly, if a team are playing in the Champions League on a Tuesday night, they are unlikely to field a full strength side against a bottom three team at home the Sunday before. Or if they do, they're likely to bring off a couple of key attacking players if they go a goal up rather than go in search of more.

Top tip

If you have reasons to go against the crowd and back the outsider of the two options, then you should have no hesitation in doing so. Occasionally markets are priced up the wrong way, even in markets as liquid as the Premier League's, so fill your boots when you think the price is wrong.

For example, when a top four club is playing a bottom three team at home it's tempting to back the over 2.5 goal option almost blindly; sometimes it will be a wise move, but usually the value bet will be to back the under 2.5 goal option at odds against. This is because the away team will come to defend, deploying a damage limitation strategy or, if they're really fortunate, nick a 1-0 win. A 1-0, 2-0 home victory may also be a satisfactory result for the home team with other future, more difficult/important games on the horizon.

This article can be found in the Betfair Premiership Ebook 09/10 (PDF Link)

Sign up to Betfair for low margins on unders and overs betting. The more people that sign up, the better the liquidity and the tighter the spread. CLICK HERE

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