Goalscorer betting is a medium-risk betting option offered on football matches, as well as matches in other sports where a score is described as a goal – such as hockey, handball, lacrosse, polo and water polo.
There are several different versions of this betting market, which can be rewarding for punters who have a good feel for player form and performance trends.
How it works
A goalscorer betting markets offer odds on every player selected for a match, whether the players are in the starting line-up or on the bench. The odds offered on a player will reflect that player’s goal-scoring ability and recent form.
You place a goalscorer bet by selecting a player. If the player scores, the bet is paid out. In some cases, conditions are defined for when the goal should be scored. For example, you may bet on a particular play scoring the first or the last goal in a match.
Chelsea takes on Barcelona in the Champions League. A bookmaker offers odds of 2/1 on Lionel Messi scoring a goal during the course of the match. A punter assesses Messi’s form and decides to back the Argentinean at this price. Messi scores, resulting in a 1-1 draw between Barcelona and Chelsea. The bet pays out at 2/1.
England plays Germany in a World Cup qualifier. A bookmaker offers odds of 7/1 on Stephen Gerrard scoring a goal at any time during the match. A punter chooses Stephen Gerrard as one of several players who could score during the game. Both sides struggle on offense, and the match ends in a goalless draw. In this example, the bet loses.
Goalscorer bet types
Several variations on goalscorer betting are popular.
First goalscorer betting
First goalscorer betting involves betting that a player will score the first goal during a match. First goalscorer betting odds will always be higher than goalscorer betting because the margin for error is greater. A bet won’t pay out if the player scores a goal but isn’t the first to do so. Some bookmakers offer insurance bets on this market, meaning that you can win your stake back if a player fails to score the first goal of a match but succeeds in making a goal later in the game.
Portugal takes on Croatia in the World Cup. Odds of 5/1 are offered on Cristiano Ronaldo scoring the first goal of the match. A punter backs the in-form Cristiano Ronaldo to score first, and Ronaldo obliges by putting away the first goal in the 25th minute of the match. The bet is paid out at 5/1.
First to score for their team
Punters can bet on which player will produce the first goal for their team. This bet functions almost identically to a first goalscorer bet, except that the first bet scored for a particular team might not be the first goal of a match. The likelihood of a win is greater because only the players in one team are considered. As a result, this betting market tends to offer lower odds than regular first goalscorer betting.
Real Madrid take on Barcelona in La Liga. Odds of 1/1 are offered on Lionel Messi scoring first for Barcelona. A punter backs Messi to produce the first goal for Barcelona. A Real Madrid player scores the first goal of the match. Messi then scores a goal for Barcelona. Because Messi scored the first goal for his team, the bet is paid out at 1/1.
Last goalscorer betting
Last goalscorer betting involves predicting which player will score the final goal of a fixture. As is the case with first goalscorer betting, odds will always be higher than anytime goalscorer betting because the margin for error is greater. A bet will pay out only if no other player scores in regular time. Insurebets are sometimes available for this option. Typically these offer you your stake back if your selection scores but isn’t the last player to do so.
Germany takes on Italy in the World Cup. Odds of 15/1 are offered on Sebastien Schweinsteiger scoring the final goal of the fixture. A punter bets on Schweinsteiger to score the final goal. As it happens, the German is awarded a penalty kick at 83 minutes and duly scores from the spot. The bet is paid out at 15/1.
When to bet on goal scorers
Betting on goal scorers is a riskier option than regular match betting or over/under goals betting, but does offer higher odds as a reward. Only place goalscorer bets if you’re familiar with the team and player you’re betting on, have kept up to date with news on player injuries, form and morale, and have researched your player’s record in matches against the competing team.
Goalscorer betting tips
- Form: Player form can be remarkably consistent in football, so a brief look at your player’s scoring rate may indicate whether the player is due to score. Some of the best players rarely go more than two games without scoring. If you spot a strong player who has a high scoring rate for the season but has had one or two quiet games, it’s a good time to consider a goalscorer bet.
- Fatigue: Top clubs often play two matches a week, including fixtures in regional competitions, as well as in their domestic leagues and domestic knockout cups. This can easily lead to player fatigue, which can have a substantial impact on performances. Generally avoid backing players who are playing their second game within a week, even if they scored earlier in the week.
- Record: Some players take a liking to the defence of a specific team, and build up a good track record against that defence. Have a look at head-to-head stats and see if your player’s name features regularly in the scoring lists.
- Goal timing: Researching goal timing is critical if you’re going to place first or last goalscorer bets. Some players tend to score earlier in matches, and others produce the goods later in the game – sometimes coming off the bench as impact players. If a player tends to score the majority of goals in the last ten minutes of a match, for instance, you know that you’ve hit a good option for a last goalscorer bet.
- Consider partnerships: Most goal scorers need a little help from their friends. It’s worth looking into whether or not your player has a strong partnership with a player in the midfield. If so, ensure that this player will be on the field for the match you’re betting on, and that their assist rate is high.
- Injuries: A minor injury can seriously hamper a player’s goal-scoring ability. Also, players coming off injuries are likely to take a couple of matches to recover their form and peak fitness, and are far less likely to be played for the full duration of a match. If a player is benched midway through play, it narrows the window in which that player can score a goal.
- Read the tabloids: Often tabloids keep an eye on the personal lives of celebrity players, providing the latest scoop on marriage problems, pregnancies, troubles with the boss and budding scandals. All these factors can affect a player’s state of mind and performance. A player who’s distracted off the pitch may be equally distracted on the pitch. So it’s best to steer clear of this type of player in the goalscorer betting markets.