Throughout my time as a punter, there have been many occasions when I think I have found the perfect 1X2 bet. The kind involving a fantastic home team and a team that just can't win away. You look at the price and it's near to or better than even money. Know the feeling? Then you probably also know the feeling of seeing that 'dead cert' fall short.
I've had this happen an innumerable number of times now, and although, of course many of these have come through and led to large profits, it doesn't take long to realise that n the world of football there is no such thing as a certainty, especially when using the 1X2 market.
As I have grown more experienced as a gambler and a tipster, I have moved more and more away from the standard match winner market and now my largest stakes bets are nearly always using the goals market. These bets can come in a number of forms, most notably via variations of goal timings and quantities.
In part 1 of this series of blogs, I took the time to have a look at how we can use the goal scoring patterns of teams in order to find value in the HT/FT market.
Here I will look at how to use bets focused around goal timings.



A Game of Two Halves? - The ‘Highest Scoring Half’ Market

The 'highest scoring half' is still a scarcely used market, but it is because of this that it can, in many ways lead to excellent profits. Bookmakers tend to ignore the market to an extent, and we generally see little variation in the price for each selection regardless of the teams involved.
The second half of games is widely known to produce the most goals on average, therefore resulting in a lower price when choosing this half when compared with the first half or a tie. The general price to expect is around 2.1 for the second half, 3.1 for the first half or 3.6 for a tie. It is because of this lack of variation in price that we are able to make substantial gains if studying the goal scoring patterns of teams prior to betting.
The Holy Grail is a game involving two sides both of whom have a tendency to score the majority of their goals in the first half.
I highlighted in part 1 of this series of blogs a section of the website Soccerway which could be used to identify good HT/FT bets, and the same source can be used to find games when goals in the first or second half of games are greatly favoured. Under the 'H2H comparison' tab when looking at an individual match, one can see a breakdown of the timings of a single team's goals, whilst also seeing an average time at which they concede the first goal in their games. Another website which is useful when looking for ‘highest scoring half’ bets is soccerstats.com, which has detailed breakdowns of when goals are scored and conceded by each individual team.
Simple analysis here will lead you to a deduction about whether a bet on the first or second half would prove most fruitful, although most of the time you will see around a 45/55 spread in favour of the second half.
Liverpool Tunnel After looking at these statistics over a period of time, certain teams will start to become familiar to you for being particularly useful when looking at this market. I highlighted Liverpool in my previous blog as a team that comes out all guns blazing and hence score the majority of their goals in the first half (as was clearly evident in their recent first half demolition of Arsenal). This is even more often the case when they play some of the weaker teams in the league, as they take early, sizeable leads before carrying them through to the final whistle. It therefore makes great sense to back their games to have a highest scoring first half (58% of the goals in their games are scored in the first half). Some other teams that may be worth backing to have a highest scoring first half, depending on their opponent, include: Marseille, Monaco, Lille, Rennes, Hertha Berlin, Fiorentina, Napoli and Barcelona, who all have over 50% of the goals in their games scored in the first half, making the 3.1 usually on offer for this market very reasonable. Others which may be worth considering, with a ratio of first half:second half goals around the 50:50 mark include: Getafe, Lorient, Sochaux, Augsburg, Stuttgart and Feyenoord
Finding teams to back having a high scoring second half is a harder process, as we require a larger bias for that particular half in order to find value at the lower price available. Nevertheless, it is still possible to find some teams for whom first half goals almost never occur. A good percentage would be at or above 65%, which is not as uncommon as it may seem. With the increased emphasis on the tactical side of the game, first halves can often pass us and our teams by with little goalmouth action, while other sides prefer to keep games tight and trust themselves to win the game later on in the game. Some examples of good teams to back in this market include: Arsenal, Everton, Fulham, Swansea, West Ham, Sampdoria, Heerenveen, Dortmund, Nürnberg, Mainz, Guingamp and St Ettiene who all have a ratio of second half:first half goals around the 65:35 mark. Other teams worth considering with ratios above 60:40 include Groningen, Twente, Go Ahead Eagles, Mönchengladbach, Valenciennes, Malaga, Roma, Atalanta and Lazio. The best example to be found in Europe’s major leagues, however is Reims, for whom a massive 73% of the goals scored in their games occur in the second half. By finding matches involving two of the above teams we can find some value in backing the second half, even at a price around even money.



To Score or Not to Score? - Using Exact Goal Timings

An even more lucrative profit can be made in backing certain teams to score (or not to score) during certain periods of a game.
Different sides are more efficient at different times during a game, and so we can often see a surprising consistency in terms of when a side scores its goals. For instance, a team with a coach who is a fantastic motivator would be expected to score a relatively large proportion of their goals in the periods of the game just after they have taken a team talk I.e. 0-15 and 45-60 minutes. Teams with tactically astute managers on the other hand will often see their teams score late in either half, as a result of tactical changes made during the play. Using the statistics available and some of the more unusual markets allows us to take advantage.
The same sources can show us the goal scoring patterns of teams during specific 15 minute time frames during the 90, which can often show a greatly increased or decreased chance of certain teams scoring or conceding during certain times. Markets can be found at most bookmakers which allow the punter to bet on a goal occurring, or not occurring during certain time periods of a game. Although the prices for the 'no goal scored between' market are usually quite low (around the 1.3-1.6 mark depending on team and league and time period selected) one can often find teams who almost never score, for example, after half time, and so these bets can offer excellent value. Other teams score a lot of goals in specific periods in the game, say, for example a team that keeps possession, gradually wearing their opponents down, may score a large amount of goals in the final 30 minutes of a game. Backing a goal to occur during these times can also offer some excellent value. For instance, Ligue 1 big spenders Monaco have an amazing record in the time periods at the end of each half. In the period of the game between 30-45 minutes they have scored 10 and conceded 1 goal, while during 75-90 minutes they have scored 11 and conceded 0. This kind of information can be used either to back Monaco to score between either of these times in a game, or if betting in-play, one can wait until the 30th or 75th minute before betting on Monaco to either take the lead before half time, or to win the match if they are not already winning by 75 minutes. By comparing the goal scoring patterns of two teams playing each other, it can seem quite obvious when a goal is likely to be scored in a match. Again I would recommend the use of the website soccerstats.com for this research - you are sure to find some interesting correlations.
Of course any findings could be used in combination with the match result or correct score that you may have a feeling towards, in the often seen 'timecasts' available with most bookies. Sometimes these can offer excellent value.






Thanks for reading, and I hope this information can be useful for you when looking at the goal markets in football. Next time I will be looking at quantities, rather than timings of goals, including how to get the most out of the over/under markets and naming exact quantities of goals either for individual sides or in the game as a whole.
If you missed my first blog on how to exploit the HT/FT market, you can find it here
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