UEFA Champions League

European Football Tips: How to profit from second leg drama

Karim Benzema playing for Real Madrid
Benzema destroyed PSG's dreams last season, knocking a 1.04 shot in the process

As the Champions League approaches the rounds when it often produces unexpected drama Bet Angel's Peter Webb shares his guide to profiting from late goals...

  • Peter's guide to betting on knockout rounds

  • Late goals expected as teams go for broke

  • Target ties and find the Champions League value

Over the years, one pattern that has emerged in European club competitions is the above-average frequency of late goals in the second leg matches.

This not only adds to the drama and unpredictability of the tournament but also presents a unique opportunity to profit from placing lay bets at low odds late in the game.

If you are smart and watch how a match unfolds, you can profit from it.

Late goals more common in second legs

If we look at the current Premier League statistics, we can see when goals are generally scored in a match.

In the first 15 minutes, 13.2% of goals are scored. This period is the lowest of any 15 minutes in the match and generally reflects the desire not to concede an early goal and put your team on the back foot.

Compare that to the final 15 minutes when 19.4% of goals are scored. The skewed nature of these statistics is due to the incentive to score at the end of a match.

Incentive to score grows as clock ticks

As we move into the latter stages of tournament football, late goals become much more critical.

Tournament football creates a high incentive to score as it's played over two legs. Therefore the motivation to score and the possibility of a late goal increases, especially in the second leg.

It's more than just the main markets that can offer value too. With knockout tournaments played over two legs, you also get the 'To qualify' market.

PSG to qualify.png

In last year's round of 16, PSG took a 1-0 lead to Real Madrid. When Kylian Mbappe netted in the 39th minute, the French side were matched at 1.041/25 to qualify. At which point, up stepped Karim Benzema to score a hat-trick for Madrid and send PSG spiralling out of the competition.

Laying to a £10 liability at 1.041/25 would net you an extraordinary £1000 profit if your bet comes in. That raises the obvious question of how likely it is.

Second legs produce more goals

According to statistics from the 2010/2011 to 2019/2020 tournaments, the chance of a late goal in the second leg was about double that of the first.

So second-leg matches will produce a late goal more often, which makes perfect sense given the incentive to score at that stage.

That helps us identify that more opportunities are likely in that second leg.

Choose your matches carefully

Of course, to make money in the long term, you must pick and choose your matches. Doing anything at random will produce breakeven results. So what are the keys to finding a late goal?

We already know that tournament football enhances the incentive to score due to a win-at-all-costs mentality. But we can narrow our selection further by favouring second-leg matches in a tournament where late goals are more likely.

It's also sensible to select a team playing at home that has to make up a slight aggregate loss.

Teams will initially play cautiously to avoid adding to the deficit and then, eventually, throw the kitchen sink at their opponents if they haven't turned things around during the match.

What will the odds be?

If you want to be very specific about your entry point, then fire up Bet Angel and use its football pricing tool to identify key points in a match and when your odds target will be reached.

In the below example, Real Sociedad must overcome a 2-0 deficit in their match and are priced at 2.111/10 for the win. If Roma can keep them at bay till the 80th minute, the price on 0-0 will have shrunk to about 1.351/3on average.

That's a reasonable risk/reward ratio for a team that has to score to progress to the next round.

Real Sociedad.png

Set realistic expectations

Realise that laying at short odds by its nature will mean winning trades are sporadic, and it may take several attempts to get a result.

But this is the best place to find value in the long term.

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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.