Bet Rules – Football Statistic Bets

With the advancement of in-play statistics and reporting available, we have seen a huge increase in the number of betting markets made available by online bookmakers. Gone are the days when you could only bet on the match winner, correct score or first goalscorer in football matches as now, many bookmakers offer markets for own goals, number of offsides, players to make X number of tackles, number of completed passes, shots on target and many many more.

As the number of betting options on football increases, so does confusion as to whether or not your bet has won. As a result, we have put together this guide which may help answer some of your questions regarding whether certain in-play actions count towards your bet.

Let’s get started.

Where Do Bookmakers Get Their Stats From?

If you’re betting on the number of corners in a football match or the number of shots on target a player will have, you should be aware of where the bookmakers are getting this data so that you’re confident that it’s accurate.

Many bookmakers use a third-party company called ‘Opta’ for the majority of their football statistics. Opta collects a huge amount of data for all players and teams in various leagues around the world to provide bookmakers and other clients with the number of player passes, shots on and off target, team throw-ins, fouls made by a player, goalkeeper saves and pretty much every other stat you can think of. They gather information from around 60,000 sporting events each year from 30+ sports and supply this data to bookies for in-play and pre-match analysis.

When bookmakers settle bets on players and teams, they use the data provided by Opta to determine whether or not bets have won or lost.

However, this data is often the cause of confusion as trigger events are not always black and white. For example, if a players shot hits the crossbar, does it count as a shot on or off target? This is the type of question we will be looking at in this article.

Opta are extremely competent at providing accurate stats. However, they can make mistakes and this is especially true for in-play statistics which they provide to bookmakers. You’ll often see these displayed on the live betting page for a football match.

bookie in-play stats
Bookmaker in-play statistics

All information below is based on the rules of bookies who use Opta for their stats. Other bookmakers may uses different sources and have different rules and so the information provided should not be classed as 100% accurate and applicable to all bookmakers and the bets placed with them.

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If a shot is deflected, does it count as a goal?

Goalscorer bets are one of the most popular bets placed on football matches but many punters have expressed their frustration when their bet has lost when it seemed their player had scored a goal.

The general rule is that should a shot be deflected into the goal, if the players original attempt was on target, the goal would be awarded to that player.

However, if a players shot is off-target but hits an opposing player before going into the goal, it would be classed as an own goal.

What happens if two players are offside?

As many bookmakers now offer odds on offside markets, it seems logical to address this question.

Should two players be offside at the same time, the player who is considered to be the most active will be offside. In certain circumstances, this decision will be up for debate but it is usually relatively clear which player is trying to play the ball after the pass has been made.

Do stats in Extra Time count?

As a general rule, any statistical bets will only count during normal play. This includes the standard 90 minutes and added time. However, unless otherwise stated, any passes made, goals scored or fouls committed etc in Extra Time, will not count towards your bet.

Do goals count as a Shot On Target?

Yes. A shot on target is either when:

  1. The ball goes into the back of the net
  2. The player makes an attempt to score but it is saved by either the goalkeeper or another player.

When another player blocks a shot, they must be the last-man with the goalkeeper having no chance of stopping the goal. If the player is not the last man or the goalkeeper has a chance to save it themselves, it will not be classed as a Shot on Target.

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If a shot hits the post, does it count as a Shot on Target?

No. When a shot hits the post or the crossbar, it is classed as a Shot OFF target. However, if a shot is heading towards the goal and is saved by the goalkeeper or the last-man and pushed onto the post or crossbar, this would be classed as a Shot ON Target.

What counts as a ‘Blocked Shot’?

A blocked shot is when a player attempts a shot which is blocked by a player, other than the goalkeeper, who is not the last-man. The original shot must have also been heading on target should the player not make the block.

What counts as a tackle?

Some bookmakers offer markets on defenders to make a certain number of tackles in a game and this is often the topic of debate when the tackles are close to the required number.

For a tackle to count, the player must:

  1. Connect with the ball with a challenge on the ground (no headers)
  2. Take the ball away from the opposing player
  3. Be in control of the ball after the tackle has been made

Sometimes players can make a tackle but the ball runs away from them after the challenge is made. In these circumstances, it would not be classed as a tackle.

It is also not a tackle if a player intercepts a pass by another player. This is sometimes clearer than others as players may make a challenge just as a player makes a pass which leads many to believe a tackle has been made.

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Shots & Goals with parts of the body

One betting market which is relatively popular in certain football matches is a player to score a goal or have X number of shots with a specific body part such as their head, right foot or left foot. Players who are tall, come up for corners and good at heading the ball such as Virgil van Dijk can sometimes be a good bet to score a goal with their head.

There isn’t much room for debate around headers but as for bets on shots or goals using their feet, there is one factor to keep in mind.

As well as scoring with their foot, bets on this market will also be classed as a winner if the player scores with any part of their leg. For example, if you had a bet on Rooney to score with his left foot and he bundled the ball into the back of the net with his left knee, your bet would win.

If a shot hits the post and goes in the goal, is it classed as ‘Hit Woodwork’?

No. Only shots which hit the post or crossbar and are deflected away from the goal are classed as ‘Hit Woodwork’.

Also, if the ball hits the woodwork multiple times after one shot, it will only count once.

Do penalties count as a Shot On Target?

Yes. So long as the player hits the target or scores from their penalty, it will be classed as a shot on target.

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