Every person bets on football, but we are all individuals in the way that we bet. Some people are frequent betters, some decide to spread out their betting, and some may choose to bet when them randomly find themselves in the bookies and all of their friends are doing a cheeky bet. No matter what category you are in, you’ll still be likely to bet on the first goal scorer in a match – one of the most common betting strategies in football.
Betting on First Goal Scorer – Who to Consider?
We as fans love football, we enjoy the entertainment, the competition, the importance of it, and it makes us adhere to the football players that are playing the match. We love personalities, characters on the pitch, excellent footballers, passionate footballers, skilful players, on-field football thugs and so more. Seeing 22 random people play football wouldn’t give us the same buzz. Hence this why the first goal scorer is, and always has been, one of the most popular bets.
As we don’t back teams, results, goals, cards, but instead we back…people. So, who do you bet on when watching the match? Do you have a gut feeling of who will get the goal? Do you always back the striker? Do you go for the long odds or the short odds? Do you check their form? Is a player ‘due a goal’? There are so many things to consider when betting on the first goal scorer, and here are five different categories of players, and help you understand why you should consider them.
The ‘Main Man’
The ‘obvious choice’, the ‘man in form’, the ‘guy that can’t stop scoring’, and so many more overused commentaries could be used, but I’ll stop there. It goes without saying that backing this player, who is often an attacking winger or centre forward, will give you relatively short odds. They would usually be between 2/1 and 5/1 for the first goal scorer. In most matches, the favourite won’t be lower than 11/5, but since Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi reached new levels in the last decade, you may sometimes see them as low as 2/1 to get the first goal in the match.
Betting on this doesn’t give you the fantastic odds, but still can double your money with a relatively high outcome going your way. You do have to consider the opposition when betting on the favourite to score first for their club. As an example, Mohammed Salah is the favourite to score for Liverpool first, but when playing a tough side, like Bayern Munich, then it would be harder for him or Liverpool to score first, meaning the chances reduce quite a lot, but I don’t believe the odds change too drastically for your benefit, sadly. If you don’t like a gamble, and want to win a bigger percentage, then go for the ‘Main Man’, but it’s not the first person I consider, because I don’t feel it offers the greatest value.
The Penalty Taker
Penalties appear to be creeping into the game even more than before, as the World Cup in 2018 showed that with the introduction of VAR, and we may see further increase in penalties being scored. Therefore, when betting on the first goal scorer, it may be worth betting on the elected penalty takers for either side. Sometimes, the ‘Main Man’ is the penalty taker, but if they are a low scoring midfielder (from open play), or even a defender, it’s worth betting on them as their odds will be a lot kinder.
For example, Luka Milivojevic is a defensive midfielder for Crystal Palace, and he has scored double figures this season on penalties alone. This type of player may be between the odds of 14/1 to 28/1 (depending on the opposition), but as you can see it’s a huge jump from the one before, and may not be that less likely.
The Set-Piece Specialist
Similar to penalties, a game may be opened up by a superb free-kick. Goals from free-kicks are common, but perhaps less so than penalties. Creative midfielders, who are generally free-kick takers are always worth considering when betting on the first goal scorer, because you are selecting them based on two outcomes. Their ability to score from open play, and the extra advantage of them being the first free kick taker in the team.
Alternatively, you can choose a defensive player who is good at free-kicks, who only scores from them and not from open play. For example, Roberto Carlos used to be the master of this, scoring 25 free kicks in his career, but in current times, we see David Luiz, Lucas Digne, Daniel Alves and Aleksandar Kolarov, just to name a few, who pop up with so many goals, but their odds remain very low – in the 10/1 to 25/1 range.
The ‘Guy That Goes Up from The Back’
We all know that a lot of games start quite cagey, and it’s rare for the first goal of the game to be a fluent free-flowing attacking piece of play. More often than not, we see a scruffy goal, a mistake, or someone just winning a header from a corner. Set-pieces were vital for England at the previous World Cup, with defenders such as John Stones and Harry Maguire scoring three goals (each being the ‘first goal scorer’ in those matches), and their odds before the game started would have been from 15/1 to 45/1 as they are just defenders.
This is just one example, but there are loads of examples been seen happening every weekend, so many people are opting to bet on the defender that goes up for a set-piece, because by gambling on those players, your odds can quadruple and more!
The ‘Once in a Blue Moon’
Finally, there are players who don’t go up for corners, that don’t take free kicks, that are not the strikers, or penalty takers and just have no hope in scoring (i.e. Gary Neville). Not only that, but you can also factor in the people that are squad players, and who don’t get to play too often. Personally, I don’t recommend this option, but you can consider it, if you want to back players that rarely start, or play right or left back, and don’t contribute to hardly any goals in their career. It may come off for you once in a while, and you may see ridiculous odds such spanning from 33/1 to 150/1.
I hope you have enjoyed reading, and that it has given you some insight on what players to choose from when selecting the first goal scorer. There is more to it than, ‘…just put Messi’.
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