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Using the First Half Score-line To Find Value Trades in The Second Half of Football Matches

This month we have a guest article from Jon Roberts of football database software, Predictology…

In our article today, we wanted to harness our extensive global football database to understand how the first half of a football match can help us find value betting and trading opportunities in the second half.

To begin, we took a large sample from our database of 44,125 matches.

First, we simply went through the database and recorded the number of matches that reach half time with each score-line.

Now, if you have been football trading or betting for any period of time, you'll likely know that there is an average of 1 goal in the first half and roughly 1.5 goals in the second half, giving us an approx. average of 2.5 goals a game.

In our sample, the average number of goals in the first half was 1.17 goals, so pretty much in line with our expectations.

With this in mind, it is perhaps not all together surprising that the most popular half time score was 0-0 (31.33%), followed by 1-0 (19.66%) and then a slight drop off, indicating home advantage strength when compared with the reverse, 0-1 at 16.19%.

One other interesting point to note is that the likelihood of 1-1 is almost 4% more likely than 2-0. So, with the right game analysis, the potential to place a lay on the leading team in the half time market when 1-0 / 0-1 could present some very good, low risk trading opportunities at times.

Like this one:

How Can the Half Time Score Help Us In Our Football Trading?

One of the most common trades new football traders try to make is looking for games that are 0-0 at half time, and then looking to trade for goals in the second half.

However, the 0-0 score-line is the LEAST likely score-line to produce 1 goal or more in the second half (74.14%).

In comparison, the half time score-line which had the STRONGEST indicator for second half goals was 0-3, which had an 82.76% chance of at least 1 goal in the second half. Almost 12% more likely. (There are some limitations with this, which we’ll come on to later).

The 0-3 score-line also has a 53.94% and 20.20% probability for 2 and 3 second half goals respectively.

This information alone will not help us become profitable football traders but understanding the key nuances and underlying metrics of football will give you a solid signpost to incorporate into your football trading.

For example, if you have a strategy that works well for you in the second half. Have you gone back and analysed your results to see how successful it is based on the half time score or the number of first half goals? Perhaps removing games that are 0-0 at half time from your trades could improve your success rate and return on investment? 

Predicting Second Half Goals Using the Half Time Score

We have now taken the data from the first half markets and calculated how many goals we can expect to see from each half time score-line.

So, Which Half Time Score Delivers the Most Second Half Goals?

As we can see from the table in the previous section, the best half time score-lines for producing second half goals are

  • 0-3 82.76% chance of 1 or more goals
  • 1-2 81.50% chance of 1 or more goals
  • 2-1 80.71% chance of 1 or more goals
  • 4+ 80.25% chance of 1 or more goals
  • 2-0 80.22% chance of 1 or more goals
  • 0-2 80.11% chance of 1 or more goals

To help us use this data to determine “value in the markets”, we can convert this to include “Target Odds’ or in other words, the true probability of each event happening.

It is important to note that these probabilities should not be used as your sole decision maker.

However, it is, a great way to create a baseline which can act to reinforce a decision or support a planned bet or trade. You can do this by simply checking the live odds to see if you also have value on your side in terms of the odds available compared with the historical trends.

For example, the 1-0 / 0-1 score-line is one that particularly interests us due to the fact we can remove the 0-0 prospect, which we now know is the lowest probability score-line for a game to have second half goals.

It also interests us as several first half goals can make the market overreact and think the higher score totals are more likely than the reality. It is therefore a nice, sweet spot for us to focus on.

For example, if the score is 1-0 we understand that the chance of 2, or even 3 goals in the second half are now, 43.60% and 18% respectively.

If we can find those markets priced above 2.29 and 5.56 at half-time in any particular goal, with 1 first half goal, then we have a potential value trading opportunity.

Additionally, we also know that we've got over 78% chance of at least 1 goal which, depending on when that goal comes, could offer the opportunity to hedge or trade out your stake.

Does The Number of First Half Goals Actually Influence Second Half Goals?

If we take a step back for moment and take a look at goals in general, rather than specific half time score-lines, we can see the following:

The first interesting thing to note is that when we combine 1-0 / 0-1 it replaces zero goals as the most popular outcome in the first half. This is in line with both the general market averages of 1 goal in the first half, and our sample size, which is 1.16 goals.

Three and four goals in the first half show the strongest indicators of second half goals but they are going to be few and far between, accounting for just 9.2% of the sample size. So probably not something we want to focus on for the time being.

The other thing that you may have noted is that basically, the more first half goals there are, the high the probability of a second half goals, which, to an extent, is logical.  However, as indicated earlier, there is quite a drop off from 1 goal to zero goals, in all areas.

Hence our preference to focus on matches with exactly one first half goal.

So, If you've been struggling with your football trading, one simple change could be to avoid games which are 0-0 at half time, unless you have a very strong reason to get involved.

How To Use This Data to Predict Second Half Goals

There are numerous ways in which you can use this data to influence and improve your football trading.

The first and, perhaps, simplest is to look for games where there has been exactly 1 goal in the first half. Then check the odds on Over 2.5 and if you find the price available to back at 2.29, then you have a value back to lay trade to consider.

You could also apply the same approach on exactly 2 first half goals and then ensure that Over 3.5 is priced 2.23 or better.

The other way you may wish to apply these insights is to look to build a profitable Over 2.5 goal model using the Predictology System Builder.

Once identified, you could then look to delay your staking until half time and only bet or trade if the half time score is 1-0 or 0-1.

Advanced Second Half Trading – Predictology Match Shortlists

An easy way to take this a step further is to use the Predictology Match Shortlists, which highlight games which fit the ideal criteria for a number of the most popular betting markets.

This gives our members an immediate edge on the market by knowing which games to focus in on each day.

To support this, we also then provide a detailed report, utilising our extensive historical data, to show the true probabilities for each of the market outcomes, demonstrating when the most optimal entry point is and for which market, for any given game.

If you are keen to learn more about this topic and how you can harness this type of data for your own football betting or trading, we have an extra special offer for On Course Profits readers.

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You can download your FREE copy of the “Art of Betting (And Trading)”by using the coupon code: OCP22

Jon Roberts

  • joel says:

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