There seems to be an unprecedented shift from the Over/Under 2.5 Goals ‘benchmark’ to an ‘Over 3.5’ threshold. It’s early in the season but interesting to observe.
The opening month of the 2020/21 Premier League season was one of the most entertaining in living memory.
Round two, spanning the 19th-21st of September, was particularly outstanding with 44 goals scored across ten fixtures – for the fans it could only be described as pure entertainment.
This tally broke the existing record from February 2011 for the most goals scored in a single Premier League weekend under the 20-team format (number of goals that weekend: 43).
With such a high quantity of matches making an impact on the ‘Over/Under’ sportsbook, there is inevitably a ripple-effect on other staples of Premier League wagering, such as HT/FT, handicap markets and BTTS (Both Teams to Score).
It almost seems that the absence of fans from Premier League games may lead to a shift in several key markets… Really?
Here are a few thoughts. Feel free to share yours in the comment section.
Will Over/Under 2.5 Goals ‘Benchmark’ Become Less Focal?
As can be seen from the wide variety of live sportsbook betting markets out there, there is now ample opportunity to explore a number of niche markets related purely to goal scoring.
Given the normal average of goals per week across previous seasons, it is widely accepted that using 2.5 goals as a division between ‘high’ and ‘low’ scoring encounters provides an optimal, and easy-to-negotiate meridian.
But perhaps further weekends of high scoring games with questionable defending from once-reliable teams may lead to Over/Under 3.5 goals becoming the new baseline in goal betting?
Naturally, the coming months will see player stamina impacted by European involvement for last season’s high-flyers and, for the newcomers, the continuing culture shock and adjustment needed to survive the rarified atmosphere of the Premier League.
With the glut of games ahead the use of the ‘2.5’ figure to make vital decisions in the total goals market may return to a balance.
What does seem certain is another boom in people backing both teams to score within Premier League multiples, accumulators and proposition bets. So too will there be a greater scrutiny upon teams that are often involved in such matches, such as Leeds United, who found themselves at both ends of two 4-3 scorelines, in consecutive games at the start of this campaign:
12 September 2020: Liverpool 4-3 Leeds was the first of several games featuring over 6.5 goals.
Can a Change in Underdog Results lead to HT/FT Impact?
Again, this depends on continued shock results, such as Crystal Palace and Leicester winning by multiple-goal margins at Manchester clubs United and City respectively.
The absence of home-biased crowds, whether complete or partial shutouts, has undeniably played its part. When using last season as a source of information for future betting decisions, it has become common practice for many punters to split leagues into before and after the lockdown began.
Last season, there was little fluctuation in the Premier League, except for away underdogs drawing less often and winning or losing more without a hostile home crowd to face. The hosts’ lack of a ‘twelfth man’ (the crowd) seems to be a leveller, helping unfancied away teams achieve unlikely results at normally difficult venues.
A more attacking-style of play is now evident and it is becoming rarer to see away underdogs defending deep and attempting to play on the counter-attack. This sea change will undoubtedly be significant for the HT/FT and Goal Time markets, though public opinion will continue to play its part.
Backing goals earlier in live play can only become more of a phenomenon if underdogs continue to be adventurous from the start. And so too will backing late goals, as the effects of an energetic start are felt more amongst squads less accustomed to the rigors of Premier League action.
Is this the same Across Europe?
On early evidence, the unprecedented inflation of importance on the ‘Over 3.5’ threshold will certainly transfer to other major European leagues. For example, Bayern Munich’s opening two Bundesliga games illustrated this newfound sense of unpredictability in the Over/Under market. The two games produced a total of 13 goals – an 8-0 win and a shock 4-1 defeat.
Both games paid out for anyone backing Over 5.5 goals, which represents the point at which the goal odds begin to surge upwards, regardless of how good the favourite is compared to the underdog.
The opening Saturday of Serie A also produced a number of high scores, with three of the four matches producing over 4.5 goals, and threatening the long-held stereotype that Italian football is focused more on defence.
Last season, the Bundesliga was also notable for seeing a decline in favourites losing away from home, with only 12.2% of teams losing to home underdogs between May and August.
Other leagues have seen a similar trend, albeit less drastically, and this certainly provides an opportunity for bettors. With or without fans, home advantage is usually observed as a factor for travelling favourites in many odds starting off longer than they otherwise would be. In turn, away favourites will perhaps become more of a staple than ever when it comes to placing the bets.