The second most popular football market on Betfair is undoubtedly the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market; all you have to decide is whether a game of football will contain three goals or more, or two goals or less. It sounds simple, but it isn't.
Given that the overall stats for football as a whole show that the average game of football averages somewhere between 2.4 and 2.6 goals per game (depending of course on the league or competition in question) both Over 2.5 Goals and Under 2.5 Goals should be available to back at around the 2.0 mark, and quite often this will be the case.
In fact you will regularly hear this market being referred to as a 'coin toss' as the outcome is usually too close to call. Take this season's Premier League results for example; of the 234 games played (up to the time of writing), 113 (48.3%) resulted in two or less goals being scored, whilst the other 121 (51.7%) games contained at least three goals.
There's possibly nothing more satisfying than after doing your homework and backing Over 2.5 Goals in a game, you watch in excitement as two early goals are scored. A third goal, and a winning bet, is almost inevitable. But then you watch in horror as the crossbar is struck, a penalty is missed, and both sides decide enough is enough and play the remainder of the game at a snail's pace.
If only you could have took advantage of the excellent position your bet looked to be in when two early goals were scored. Well on Betfair you can. By adding In-Play betting to your armoury, stories of near-misses and bad luck can become a thing of the past, and you can become a more successful punter.
Take the above scenario as an example. You stake £100 at odds of 2.0 on a game to contain Over 2.5 Goals. Two first-half goals are scored and your bet looks to be in a fantastic position. You now have two options; you can leave your bet as it is, hope that at least one more goal is scored, and collect your £100 (before commission) winnings, or you can lay your bet to guarantee a healthy profit. In this example, the odds on Over 2.5 Goals would have shortened to somewhere as low as 1.1 if the goals were scored within the first 20 minutes or so. If you lay your bet for £200 to a £20 liability at these odds, you stand to win £100 if no further goals are scored - or £80 as soon as the net bulges again. What a fantastic position to be in.
It works exactly the same for Under 2.5 Goals. If 'unders' is how you think a game will end up, bet it accordingly, and then get to half time with the score 0-0, then you can lay your bet In-Play to guarantee a healthy profit.
Of course, not every game will go to plan. You could back Over 2.5 Goals only for the score to be 0-0 at half time and suddenly you're staring down the barrel of a losing bet. Nobody is right all of the time, but doing a little homework means you could be right more times than not.
The one golden rule to remember when betting In-Play on this market is that more goals get scored in the second half of games than they do in the first half. The English Premier League has witnessed 619 goals to date this season, of which 253 were scored during the first 45 minutes of a game and the remaining 366 were scored in the second half. Somewhat surprisingly - but definitely worth remembering - is the fact that every one of the 20 Premier League clubs have scored more goals in the second half of games than they did in the first half. Stoke for example have scored just six first half goals this term, yet they've scored 22 second half goals.
If you are wary of second half goals going in (when you don't want them to), then generally speaking, if you back Under 2.5 Goals at 2.0 and the scoreline is 0-0 at the interval, then you can usually lay your bet at around 1.4. If just one goal has been scored at the interval, then they lay odds will be just short of 2.0.
Statistics I've quoted within this piece are freely available on the net and don't take too long to research. Remember, a little bit of effort can reap big rewards.
Three In-Play bets to consider
In all competitions, Arsenal have scored at least one first half goal 25 times this season. From those games, 22 of them have ended with Over 2.5 Goals being scored. Given that this option will be available to back at between 1.2 and 1.4 once the Gunners score, placing a bet each time should result in a healthy profit over the long term.
Sunderland are not renowned for being involved in high-scoring games, yet they've either scored or conceded a staggering 12 goals from the 85th minute onwards in league games alone this term. Backing Over 2.5 Goals (if the game already has two goals) late in Sunderland's games could prove profitable.
Every man and his dog has latched on to the fact that Blackpool score and concede for fun. Every home game (10 in total) the Tangerines have played this season has resulted in Over 2.5 Goals being scored, yet half of these games had just one goal or less at the interval suggesting they become much more open in the second half. On these occasions then, you will get better odds on Over 2.5 Goals at the interval than you will from the outset. And as we know with Blackpool, one goal or less at the interval has resulted in three goals or more at full-time 100% of the times on home soil.
You can join Betfair today via the banner on the right hand side of the screen and bet on the Over/Under 2.5 Goals markets. You can also read all our latest football tips on the site, which are updated multiple times daily.