The correct score market is a popular one for football bettors, but as the game is so unpredictable it’s pretty tough to call the right score for each match. Given that there are so many possible score lines, you’ve got to have a bit of luck on your side even if you are a football expert.
There are a number of ways that we can improve our chances though, and we are going to share these strategies with you throughout this article. Whilst the odds of the bets are high to lure punters in, they’re also a good market for the bookies because so few people get them right, so it’s where you will find some of the biggest margins of any football betting market.
Below we have included information that is going to allow you to make more informed decisions when betting on the correct score. Some strategies will work better than others, but you can apply each to all games and come out with a better idea of what the score might be.
Never Back 0-0
Before we dive into the meat of this article, we wanted to highlight a huge profit leak that some bettors make on this market. You will find that 0-0 is actually a popular score line among bettors for matches that are tricky to call, but you should never back the 0-0 correct score line.
Instead, you want to be backing the “no goalscorer” bet from the 1st goalscorer market. You may think that the markets are essentially the same, and they are in the sense that a 0-0 score line means there was no goal scorer.
But there is a huge difference from a betting point of view. You see, with the no goal scorer bet, if an own goal is scored then the no goalscorer bet will continue and the own goal will not count. If an own goal is scored and you’ve backed a 0-0 score line then your bet has lost, as all goals count towards the correct score market.
You may think that the odds will be miles apart, but they very rarely are. In fact, we’ve written a whole article around this exact topic and we found that a maximum of 5% difference between the odds, making the no goalscorer bet a no brainer.
What are the Most Common Score Lines in Football?
So we want to improve our chances of betting successfully on the correct score market. The most obvious place to start would be to find out what the most come score lines are, as these stand more statistical chance of being winning bets.
These are the scores that appeared most frequently over our test sample of games:
|Correct Score||Overall Chance||Home Team||Away Team|
As you can see, there are a wide range of score lines that have taken place, which highlights why this is a tough market to call. Even the most common score lines such as 1-0, 1-1 and 2-1 have small percentages next to them, so it’s a tough market to crack.
We still need to process this data though, and while you could just take the top 5 or so score lines and apply them to each game – given that they make up 61.4% of the table – but we know football doesn’t work like that. We need to bare this data in mind, see which of the most popular scores fit the game you are looking at, and crunch a few stats to see if it’s plausible.
For example, if Man City are playing Fleetwood Town, then scores of 0-0, 1-0, 2-1 etc. aren’t really going to be applicable here. You’d need to be looking at scores of 3-0, 4-0 and maybe even upwards given the imbalance. In tight games you can definitely look at the more common score lines as more often than not there are less than 2 goals between these types of matches.
We talk a lot about applying data in pretty much all of our betting strategy articles. Whilst football is far from just being data driven, it’s important to use it as a base to try and predict what is most likely before using your own knowledge and intuition.
If you’ve not heard of Expected Goals (xG) then it’s a data set that is formulated by that of Opta, who are the biggest football data company in the world. They have accumulated goals scored from a huge database of games and it takes into account thing like who’s scored, how they have scored, from what position the lead up to the goal started, where they are scored from, the type of goal and many, many more factors.
Expected goals then analyses current games and says how often that a passage of play should result in a goal based on their research. For example, this could be a passage like: crossed in from the right-hand side or the striker is 5 yards out and heads the ball towards the top left-hand corner, etc. It might be that they score 90% of the time here, so when this happens in a game, if they score, then they are 10% up, but if they miss, they are 90% down. All the events are then cumulated into one number which tells you if the team is scoring the expected number of goals or not.
We can then take that data and apply to an upcoming match to see what the score might be.
Let’s run through a quick example of how this might work. We’re going to take a game from Brazil between CSA and Fortaleza as it’s mid-season as we write, and the data is more relevant.
As you can see, CSA on the left are struggling for goals, they average just 0.23, but they actually get into better positions to score than their stats would suggest, with an expected goals per game of 0.72. Fortaleza score more goals, with an actual average goals per game of 1.08, but they too are wasteful in front of goal, and they are expected to score 1.41 goals per game.
What we can take from this is that Fortaleza are expected to score twice as many goals as CSA. Given that they are expected to score less than 1 goal per game, we can assume CSA less likely to score here and look to back score lines such as 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 for a Fortaleza win.
There will be times when the expected goal stat will offer more black and white results like it has here, and then some that are a little more ambiguous, which is often due to the number of games that have taken place. At the start of the season the data is minimal so you really need to wait at least 5 matches for to use this data effectively. Towards the back-end of the season, it becomes a really strong tool.
Group Your Bets
Picking one correct result from 20+ possible outcomes is going to be a tough ask. You are spreading yourself too thin if you want to consistently make money from this betting market in the long term, unless you include several picks.
We like to use 2, 3, or even 4 selections for games which allows us to have a cover of bets and then make money on a more even basis. You lose the big win given the increased outlay, but you will win a lot more often, that is for sure.
Your process will still remain the same in terms of working out what the possible scores might be, and this is still a vital part of the strategy. You then just need to take a number of scores from around that bet to then combine as your multiple selections.
This is about long term profit as opposed to short term jackpots.
Finding Value from Short-Priced Favourites
Short priced favourites that are around 1.10 or even less are usually unbackable. If you placed a £100 wager at that price you would get just £10 back, which to most is simply not worth the hassle.
The correct score bet could be a really good option for these matches though, certainly in terms of picking high score lines when big teams play the minnows. The international fixtures are often the best for this as you get plenty of games where huge favourites play tiny countries with no hope of winning. A good example of this, and a fixture that feels like it’s way more common than it should be, is that of England v San Marino.
A trait of this fixture includes lots of goals, the vast majority scored by England, and lots of clean sheets, again from England.
Let’s also cast our minds back to March 2019 when Italy played Lichtenstein in a Euro 2020 qualifier. The teams are a total mis-match, and on paper the former World Cup winners were always going to beat Lichtenstein, it was just a matter of by how many. The pre match odds were as follows:
- Italy to win = 1.01
- Draw = 30.0
- Lichtenstein = 100.0
As you can see, the bookies are saying here that Italy are going to win with very little hassle. You aren’t taking the 1.01 ever, so the we move to the correct score market in search of better value.
When you get odds of 1.10 or less the bookmakers think that the opposition aren’t going to score. If they do, it’s going to be 1 goal absolute max. They also are saying that 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 likely aren’t going to happen. Italy should be scoring way more than this, and you need to look at your 4, 5 and 6+ goal score lines.
The odds were as follows:
- 4 – 0 = 5.44 Favourite
- 5 – 0 = 5.51
- 6 – 0 = 6.52
- 3 – 0 = 6.87
- 7 – 0 = 9.19
As you can see, the odds predict that the score is going to be big. You could even make an argument for more goals. A sensible bet here would be to group the bet and take 2 or 3 possible score lines. At 1.01 for a team to win, 4-0 seems too low, so we could theoretically take 5-0, 6-0 and 7-0 and group those into a bet.
You can work out your odds to either place the same amount on each bet or you can break it up to bet a certain amount across the whole range. We actually prefer the latter and use some of them as cover bets more than profit.
The game ran out to be a 6-0 win for Italy, which was the 3rd favourite price for this, although not far behind. Whilst this is all after the fact, there are thousands of examples like this and it’s a great way to turn bets or teams at an unbackable price into much more favourable bets.
Both Teams to Score (BTTS) Score Lines
A good strategy that lots of punters like to work with is to back score lines that include both teams to score. This means that they stay in the bets for much longer than backing to nil score lines, which theoretically could be dead within a few minutes.
Given that we know that both 1-1 and 2-1 (home and away wins) score lines are some of the most likely, this actually has a lot more merit than you might think. The international scenarios mentioned above are maybe not the best example, but for leagues like the Championship or even the Premier League where a lot of games are super-competitive, you could definitely make an argument for picking scores where both teams grab a goal.
This doesn’t mean that you have to omit “to nil” results, but it does allow for a lot more flexibility in your bets to allow both teams to grab a goal at some point.