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The Ultimate Guide to Betting on Corners, Cards & Goals

5th June 2018

David Bentley taking a corner for Blackburn Rovers vs Arsenal FC (at Emirates Stadium)

Image by Mikołaj Kirschke (CC BY-SA 4.0) (CC BY-SA 3.0) (CC BY-SA 2.5) (CC BY-SA 2.0) (CC BY-SA 1.0)

Successful betting requires good research and measured decision making. By taking the time to identify trends in key markets, punters can improve their chances of achieving a positive yield in the long term.

There are a few markets where data analysis can be easily applied, including corner, cards and goals. All three are important elements of every football game and there are plenty of statistics available to help bettors master these fields.

Corner betting

The basic principle of corner betting is to predict the number of corners that will be produced in a game. Punters can then choose to bet over or under a benchmark set by the bookmakers. To accurately predict these outcomes, data from historical matches from both teams can be analysed.

A good sample size should be used (last six games or more) to get a clear picture of the trends for each team.

Over/Under corners

To enable punters to bet on corners, Bookmakers set different benchmarks. For example, Over/Under 10.5 corners is a popular market.

Example for a football match between 'Team A' and 'Team B':

  • Research shows that 66% of home games for Team A have resulted in over 10.5 corners and 75% of away games for Team B have also produced this result. Therefore, there is a strong probability that this outcome will occur in this game. So, if the odds represent fair value or better, the punter would back Over 10.5 corners in this game.

The odds that are offered will depend on the benchmark chosen. The bookmaker will calculate their own probability for each outcome and set the price accordingly.

Variable factors to consider

When looking at corner data, you should separate the home and away form of each team as the statistics can be very different. You should also consider how the teams win their corners and whether the key players (normally certain wingers or full-backs) are injured or suspended. All of these variable factors can affect the odds and ultimately determine whether the bet represents good value or not. Understanding how probability is calculated and being able to recognise value is the key to successful wagering.

You should look for games where both teams have a clear home and away pattern that is compatible with a particular wager. So, for example; two teams with high/low corner counts in their respective home and away matches.

Other corner markets include corner spread betting, where points above or below the benchmark are traded, and first corner and last corner betting, which are pretty self-explanatory.

Card betting

It is also possible to bet on the distribution of yellow or red cards in a match. Punters can bet on which team will receive the first booking or if there will be no bookings at all. It is also possible to bet on which particular player will be booked first or how many bookings there will be in a match.

Once again, researching data is key here. For example, betting on the first player to be booked might sound difficult but, if there is a big derby game featuring a notoriously hot-headed individual, a wagering opportunity may present itself.

Bettors can also back a player to be sent off or a certain team to have a player sent off. Again, reputation, previous records and the teams involved can play a big part in influencing which market to explore.

Total booking points

One of the most popular card markets is the total booking points market. This works in the same way as the corner market, where punters bet over or under a benchmark set by the bookie.

The following points system is used to calculate the total bookings:

  • Yellow card: 1 points
  • Red card: 2 points
  • Two yellow cards leading to a red: 3 points

There are several markets offered including:

  • Over 3.5 booking points
  • Under 3.5 booking points
  • Home or Away Team Under 1.5 booking points
  • Home or Away Team Over 1.5 booking points

Some bookmakers may also offer handicap betting on cards, where one team is given an advantage to balance any bias between the two. Punters must back the team that will have the most booking points after the handicap has been applied.

La liga 19-12-2010 Real Madrid 1 - Sevilla 0

"Sergio Ramos" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Jan S0L0

Over/under goals

Just like total corner betting, total goals betting requires bettors to predict if the combined total of goals in a game will be over a certain figure.

Example for a football match between 'Team A' and 'Team B':

  • Research shows that 75% of Team A's home game have produced over 2.5 goals and 75% of Team B's away games have produced the same result. So, the punter would back Over 2.5 corners in this game, provided the bet offers sufficient value.

Once again, variable factors should be taken into consideration. For example, a cup match with a trophy at stake might create a different dynamic to a dead-rubber league match where there is nothing to play for, or key players might be injured, suspended or rested. And historical matches between the two teams might also go against their current individual trends.

All three of these markets can provide some good betting opportunities but only if all the data and all the variable factors are taken into consideration.

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