Expected Goals: All You Need To Know About This Useful Metric

Football is an unpredictable sport, but that doesn’t stop people doing all they can to guess a score correctly. That’s what many of us do every week when placing our Saturday afternoon accumulators!

However, football predictions have got much more scientific in recent years and the Expected Goals (xG) metric brought to us by Opta has really taken things to the next level.

If you’re not using the Expected Goals metric to help with your betting, then you really are missing out. Below you’ll find all you need to know about the stat, including how it works and how you should use it…

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What Is Expected Goals?

Expected Goals is a statistic which is designed to predict the number of goals scored by each team in a game.

It offers a scientific approach to predicting goals and uses a huge amount of data to make the selection. 

It’s an incredibly useful tool for punters and is a perfect companion to the correct score market, as well as a number more.

The metric is produced by Opta, a brand that doesn’t come much bigger when it comes to football stats, and is used by the likes of Sky Sports, the Premier League and numerous media outlets.

How Does Expected Goals Work?

As you can probably guess from Opta, Expected Goals takes in a lot of different data and uses a sophisticated algorithm to produce their Expected Goals tally. They analyse thousands of matches, exploring player and team information covering a huge amount of details from shots and goals scored, how shots were taken, details of the assist, the distance a shot was taken from as well as many more details. 

This then determines an Expected Goals. Due to the complexity of the algorithm and amount of information studied, the final Expected Goals prediction will be delivered in decimal form. Naturally, not even Harry Kane can score half a goal, so in order to use this metric, punters need to round to the nearest whole number.

For Example, you may wish to bet on the correct score market in a game between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

Given the data analysed to produce Expected Goals, a prediction of 1.6 and 1.2 might be given to the two sides respectively. In this instance therefore Expected Goals would suggest that it would be a close game, with a 2-1 victory to Manchester United perhaps most likely.

The Variations of Expected Goals

Expected Goals can be found in a number of different forms, all having their own unique meaning.

Below you’ll find the variations alongside what they represent:

  • Expected Goals (xG): The number of goals each team is expected to score.
  • Non-Penalty Expected Goals (npxG): The number of goals a team is expected to score excluding penalties.
  • Expected Goals For (xGf): The number of goals a team is expected to score over a season.
  • Expected Goals Against (xGa): The number of goals a team is expected to concede over a season.
  • Expected Points (xPts): The number of points a team is expected to earn over a season.

The Best Markets to Use Expected Goals

There are many markets in which Expected Goals can be a massively useful metric to use to place your bets.

It can help you produce accurate predictions, which can then be used to place bets on the following…

  • Match Result
  • Correct Score
  • Total Goals
  • Both Teams To Score

And many more. Of course, as mentioned previously, football is unpredictable so never take it as a given that the Expected Goals will be correct. Allow the metric to influence your decision on top of a number of other factors, rather than letting it determine your bets.

After all, you yourself can gain valuable insight from the likes of press conferences, injuries and suspensions and the context of a particular game.

Where Can I Find Expected Goals?

Many bookmakers now use the Expected Goals data and you can expect to find the data in a range of match previews and predictions. The likes of Paddy Power, Betfair and a great deal more all regularly offer this insight to customers, while of course, you can view it directly through Opta.

For more information on the best bookmakers, and where you can place football bets, head to our Bookmaker Reviews section for full details on how to sign up and make the most of the Expected Goals metric.

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