How to Predict Late Goals

Late goals can turn a match on its head and the bookies offer up some lucrative in-play odds if you can predict what happens in a football match in the last few minutes.

Conversely, late goals can frustratingly ruin your bets that seemed like a sure thing. To combat the frustration of losing bets (or to potentially make more money out of you, depending on how cynical you think the bookies are), there are cash-out options available. These can be particularly useful on big odds accumulators where you have a lot to lose.

Firstly, let’s assess what kind of bets we could utilize in the final minutes of the game. Specifically, we are talking about injury time (90 minutes +), which has extended beyond the typical 3 minutes in recent years due to VAR. This extension is why we now see 90+10 minute goals, which would have been unthinkable a few years back.

What the current score is when the 90 minutes hit will determine which bet you go for. For example, if it’s 1-1, you might go for either team to win in the final minutes. If one team is down 1-2, you might go for the draw.

The first step is to find actual stats on teams capable of scoring late goals. Fortunately, many sites provide this data for free. What we are looking for are teams capable of producing late goals. The stats show this in different ways, but a common tactic is to give the final 15 minutes of a game and tag on the injury time. We can use this data to help predict teams more likely to score late goals.

A good website to use for this is SoccerStats, which shows goals for the last 15 minutes in the English Premier League. At the time of the article, the team that scored the most goals in the last 15 minutes was Liverpool, with 24 goals. The team that conceded the most was Sheffield United, with 19 goals. Based on these figures, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if Liverpool scored a late goal against Sheffield United.

As the stats suggest, the result confirmed back in December: Liverpool beat Sheffield United 2-0 with a goal scored in the 94th minute.

So, what sort of odds can we expect? There are many variables to consider that will affect the odds you can get, but it wouldn’t be unthinkable to get all the way up to 16-20/1 for a goal in the last couple of minutes of a game.

Since the stats commonly cover only 75-90 minutes, building a strategy involves following the actual game and getting used to betting in-play. You could, of course, bet in advance for a late goal after 75 minutes, but the odds would be much lower, at around evens. Of course, your bet is more likely to come in. For example, Liverpool has scored 24 goals after 75 minutes in 27 games, so for some teams, it’s really not uncommon. If you want bigger odds, you need to explore very late goal opportunities.

Some teams are to be avoided in the hunt for late goals, at least to score rather than concede. Sheffield United concedes a lot but has only scored 5 goals after 75 minutes in 27 games. Looking at those games, they only scored after the 90th minute in 3 games, which is 11%. The odds for 11% are about 8/1. We would lose 9/10 bets betting on the Blades to score a late goal on average, so we would need substantial odds at the 90th minute mark to turn a profit. Anything less than 10/1 would not really be worth it at the 90th minute mark, which includes games with 8-9 minutes extra added on.

In my opinion, rather than go for outsiders such as Burnley and Sheffield United who struggle to score late goals, focus on attacking teams such as Liverpool in the dying 2-3 minutes. This will give a good price and a better chance. It’s still a risky bet but can be rewarding if you are lucky.

Like any type of football bet, predicting late goals is tough, and the bookies build in the margin. However, it can be a fun and entertaining way to try and win and can provide great odds due to the risk of the clock running out before your bet comes in.

For free football tips to help with your bets see our free football tips trial here.

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