Odds shown as:
Bet Slip 0

Football Betting for Beginners: Expected assists explained (xA)

Jack Grealish currently ranks 1st for expected assists (xA) in the Premier League so far in the 2020/21 season
Jack Grealish currently ranks 1st for expected assists (xA) in the Premier League so far in the 2020/21 season

Over the last few years we have seen the progression of football analytics and now seen key metrics such as expected goals (xG) featured on mainstream programmes such as Match of The Day. 

xG is the measure of chance quality based on the likelihood of a goal being scored from that particular chance. There’s a similar methodology that is applied by companies such as Opta to calculate expected assists, which you might see represented as xA. Here at BettingOdds.com we will run you through what exactly expected assists are and what they can tell us. 

Expected assists and how it’s calculated?

The expected goals metric (xG) gives us insight around performance of strikers but leaves out players who aren’t taking as many shots such as wing-backs and midfielders, as they do not take a large enough quantity of shots to give an xG sample size of any significance. 

That’s where expected assists (xA) comes in nicely. Expected assists measure the likelihood that a pass will end up becoming an assist. Certain factors are considered when calculating the xA of a pass, with the most important being the finishing destination of the pass. For example, a pass which is received by a striker close to goal is more likely to result in assist than a pass that finds a striker when he’s on the half-way line.

The type of pass is also taken into consideration, with aerial crosses generally being a lot harder to convert as opposed to ground passes. Expected assists (xA) credit all passes, no matter if they result in an attempt on goal. 

During a match, one player could make several key passes that result in a shot being taken, yet see none of them turned into goals. On the other hand, a different player might make a basic pass on the half-way line and be rewarded with an assist should his teammate score after picking up the ball in that position. This doesn’t reflect the quality of chances created by a player, so expected assists allows us to see who are the truly consistent creative players.

Today's Tips

If a centre-back passes the ball to his other centre-back the expected assist (xA) figure awarded would probably be about 0.0001 (xA). On the other hand, if a midfielder plays in a striker who is then one-on-one with the keeper, they might be awarded an xG of around 0.45 (xA). This indicates that the average striker would have a 45% chance of scoring from his pass received, whereas the centre-back receiving a pass in his own half would have a 0.0001% chance of scoring. 

Expected assists models are created using a database of hundreds of thousands of shots. The xA is awarded from the probability that the average player would score as a result of the pass. One of the main advantages of expected assists is that it assesses all creative players as if they were providing for the same standard of forward. Midfielders who play for poorer teams are less likely to get assists because they have a worse standard of forward in front of them. Put a midfielder from Grimsby Town in the Real Madrid team, and he would naturally get more assists than he would if he was still at Grimsby. 

xA in this season’s Premier League

Here below we can see the top five players so far in the Premier League ranked by expected assists. This is the sum of the xA figures a player has been awarded for each game this season. Jack Grealish currently sits in first place with the expected goals model revealing that based upon the quality of Grealish’s passes, the 25-year-old would have expected to tally 7.21 assists this campaign.

Expected Assists

One thing that jumps out from this table is Harry Kane’s xA figures. Many people would argue that Kane has been the most creative player in the Premier League this season based upon the England forward currently having the most assists to his name with 11. By looking at Kane’s xA figure of just 4.67 and we can come to a conclusion that he has benefitted from some quality finishing from his teammates. 

This clinical finishing has been largely thanks to Son Heung-Min for whom Kane has assisted nine times. Son’s figures have been somewhat of an anomaly this campaign with the striker scoring 12 goals from a remarkable 21 attempts. That’s a 57% conversion rate (the highest in the league) and it tells us that Kane might not have been quite as consistently creative as others in the division this season.

A player who we may compare to Harry Kane is Jack Grealish. The Aston Villa midfielder passes have merited him with a xA figure of 7.21 this season which is 3.54 higher than Kane. Grealish has seven assists in total and where Kane’s numbers are inflated by the quality of teammates around him, Grealish’s are slightly hampered. From these figures we could well argue that with a higher standard of teammate, Jack Grealish’s assist numbers this season would be higher and that he has been the most creative player in the league this campaign.

£20 Risk Free First Bet Money Back In Cash

#AD New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is €/£20. T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Free Betting Offers
£20 Risk Free First Bet Money Back In Cash
#AD New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is €/£20. T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £40 in Free Bets
#AD 18+. Play Safe. New customers using promo code M40 only. 1x per customer. Min £/€10 bet. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Free bets of 2 x £/€15 issued after first qualifying bet settles. Max £/€10 Bonus. 35x wagering requirement. Max redeemable bonus: £25. Casino bonus expires after 72 hours. UK & Eire only. Additional T&Cs, including free-bet, game, location, payment method and stake contributions apply. begambleaware.org.
Welcome Offer
#AD Open Account Offer. Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. The bonus code ‘100BET365’ can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. 18+ begambleaware.org.
Bet £10 Get £30 Free Bets + £10 Casino Bonus
#AD Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager bonus amount x40 within 14 days • Wagering req. vary by game • Withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £30 + 60 Free Spins
#AD New UK & NI customers only. Promo code SPORTS60. Deposit and place first sports bet of £10+ in one transaction, at odds of Evens (2.0)+, settled within 60 days. First bet must be on Sports. £30 in Free Bets credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS validation may be required. Max 60 Free Spins on Justice League Comics. 7-day expiry.  Full T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £20 In Free Bets
#AD New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from acceptance (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for Rules & Exclusions. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org. 18+
Up To £100 In Free Bets
New customer offer. Place 5 x €/£10 or more bets to receive €/£20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum €/£100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. T&C's apply, 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £40 In Bonuses
#AD 18+ new customers only. Deposit, opt-in and place a £10 qualifying bet at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 3x £10 Sports Free Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00 or greater. Plus, a £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw a max of £250. Bonuses expire in 7 days. T&Cs Apply, see below. Please Gamble Responsibly. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £20 In Free Bets
#AD Min stake £10. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). First bet only. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. Online UK customers only. 30 days to qualify for £20 in Free Bets. 18+. T&Cs apply
Money back As A Bonus Up To £40 If Your First Racing Bet Loses + £10 Casino
New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Racing 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 35x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Racing bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in. #ad
Bet £10 Get £5 Or 50% Losses Back Up To £25
To activate your Sportsbook 50% Back Welcome Offer, simply deposit and bet on any Sportsbook markets of your choice at odds of evens (2.00) or greater. If your account has Sportsbook losses at the end of your first day's betting (23:59), we'll refund 50% of your first day's losses as a Free Bet up to £25 (Minimum 3 bets required). If your account is up, you're guaranteed a £5 Free Bet provided you place at least 1 bet of £10 or greater at minimum odds evens or greater. T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Advert Disclaimer
Bettingodds.com is a free online resource which endeavour to provide helpful and useful content and odds comparison to its visitors. Please be advised that Bettingodds.com accepts affiliate commission from the companies appearing on the site, and agreed commission levels impact the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented on the website. Any ratings that appear on this site is determined by our subjective opinion of the brand but also based on market share and reputation, each brand's conversion rates, commission paid to us and general consumer interest. Company listings on this page don't imply our endorsement. We do not feature all providers on the market. Except as expressly set forth in our terms and conditions, all statements and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information, including odds, which appear on this site is subject to change at any time.