Over/under goals betting is one of the most popular football betting markets.
How over/under goals betting works
A bookmaker offers odds on a selection of possible final goal totals for a match. As a punter, you predict whether the number of goals scored during the match will be less or more than a total set by the bookmaker.
The most popular goal margin to bet on is 2.5 goals, with bookmakers offering odds on whether the total number of goals scored in the match will be over or under 2.5 goals.
Manchester United plays Chelsea in the Premier League. A popular bookmaker like William Hill offers odds of 10/11 on under 2.5 goals being scored, and evens on more than 2.5 goals being scored. If you bet on the match producing over 2.5 goals and the final score of the match is 2-1 to Manchester United – a total of 3 goals, your bet wins and you’ll be paid out at 10/11.
Over/under goals bet types
The margins for over/under bets are most commonly presented as decimal values. The over/under totals are set at 0.5 intervals to ensure that a bet will produce a result. In other words, the total number of goals scored in a match will always be over or under the specified margin.
This avoids 'tied' bets that would basically not produce any result on the bet. For example if the over/under goals total was 2, and 2 goals were scored in the match, the bet would be unable to produce a result as the goal total is equal to the over/under margin rather than above or below it.
What does over 0.5 goals mean?
What does under 0.5 goals mean?
Under 0.5 goals betting is a bet on a match being scoreless. A bet on under 0.5 goals should be reserved for matches with very strong defences and weak attacks, or high pressure matches like the World Cup final that tend to produce low scores.
What does over 1.5 goals mean?
What does under 1.5 goals mean?
What does over 2.5 goals mean?
What does under 2.5 goals mean?
What does over 3.5 goals mean?
What does under 3.5 goals mean?
What does over 4.5 goals mean?
What does under 4.5 goals mean?
What does over 5.5 goals mean?
What does under 5.5 goals mean?
What does over 6.5 goals mean?
What does under 6.5 goals mean?
Goal line refunds
In some cases over/under goal markets may be presented using whole numbers. such as 1, 2 or 3. When the goal total for a match is presented in this way, the rules for payouts change. If the total number of goals in a match is greater or less than the market total, the relevant bets are paid out accordingly. However, if the total number of goals scored in the match is equal to the number specified in the market, bets are refunded.
Manchester United plays Chelsea in the Premier League. William Hill offers odds of 1/2 on under 2 goals being scored, and 1/2 on over 2 goals being scored. You bet on the match producing over 2 goals. The final score of the match is a 1-1 draw – a total of exactly 2 goals. As a result, the stake you bet is refunded.
Split bets are a combination of over/under bets and goal line refunds. These markets are presented with the decimals 0.25 or 0.75 added to the total goals. The goal total for the split market is determined by adding the totals for the two markets and dividing these by two. For example, split bets may take these forms:
- Over 1.5 goals & Over 2 goals = Over 1.75 goals split bet
- Over 2 goals & Over 2.5 goals = Over 2.25 goals split bet.
Manchester United plays Chelsea in the Premier League. Bet365 offers odds on Over/Under 2.25 goals being scored in the match. You bet on the match producing over 2.25 goals. Half the stake you wager goes to a bet on over 2.5 goals, and half goes to a bet on over 2 goals. The final score of the match is a 1-1 draw – a total of 2 goals. The first half of the bet loses, and the second half of the stake is refunded.
When to bet on over/under goals
Over/under goals markets are worth considering when it’s easier to predict whether a match will be a high or low-scoring affair than to predict the winner.
This includes matches between teams for which head-to-head statistics show definitive scoring trends, meaning that matches involving the teams consistently produce high or low scores. It also includes matches for which the attack and defence statistics for both teams have been consistent for several matches.
Many punters also look to the over/under goals markets for matches with a strong favourite. There is little value in backing the favourite in these matches, but they do have the potential to be high-scoring due to the difference in quality between the sides.
Factors to take into account for over/under goals betting:
- Weather: Wet weather will usually slow down play and reduce the number of goals scored in a game.
- Head-to-head statistics: Do the majority of matches between the two teams you're considering tend to produce goal totals over or under a specific margin?
- Recent form: What are the goal-scoring averages for both teams over their last several fixtures? Ensure that you look at their statistics for both home and away fixtures.
- Match importance: Often the composition of a team is altered based on the importance of a match. In turn, this will affect the team’s offensive and defensive capabilities, influencing the likely final score – and total number of goals – for a match.