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Premier League Penalty Betting: Penalty record to be smashed, with potentially over 200 awarded this season

The record for Premier League penalties awarded in a season stands at 112 from back in 2006/07. With 41 already this season that figure could be topped by some margin.
The record for Premier League penalties awarded in a season stands at 112 from back in 2006/07. With 41 already this season that figure could be topped by some margin.

Once again we were blessed with plenty of controversial penalty decisions in the Premier League this weekend with another four being awarded. The start of this season has seen more referee’s point to the spot than ever before and our man @AnthonyEadson takes a look at the numbers and what impact this could have on betting markets. 

The Numbers

It seems week after week at the moment we see pundits and players saying how they are becoming further and further distanced from knowing exactly what the law is around penalties being awarded, especially for handball decisions. 

It’s clear to see that there has been a sharp rise in the amount of penalties awarded in the Premier League season, and after just 78 games the count stands on a remarkable 41.

Up until the 2020/2021 season the average amount of penalties awarded in a Premier League season had been 88. That figure also includes the most recent campaign where VAR was introduced which saw 92 penalties awarded in the 2019/2020 season. 

The current record for the most awarded in one season stands at 112 which came back in 2006/2007. Bear in mind that after just 78 of 380 games this term there have 41, and we are well on course to well and truly smash the record out the park. 

41 penalties from just 78 games is an average of 0.525 per game. So let’s say that trend is to continue right through until May and we would see a grand total of 200 (199.74) penalties awarded in the 2020/2021 campaign.

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Why The Rise

As we know, VAR was introduced last season, however the penalty figure did not rise as much as many people anticipated. Fans cried out that the referee should be going over to the screen at the side of the pitch and review the incident and take a look at the replays.  

This season, however, referees have been much more prominent in going over to the pitch-side monitor to inspect and scrutinise the incident, which has resulted in many more penalties. 

Hand-balls in the area are also being awarded more than ever with players complaining that there is nowhere else for them to place their arms and that they are maintaining a natural position. In Wolves’ game versus Leicester yesterday we even saw a penalty awarded for a ball that struck Max Kilman’s arm from just three yards away, with the defender having no time to possibly get it out the way.

According to former referee Mark Clattenburg, officials are now also doing more homework around which players use ‘underhand tactics’ in corner situations too, clamping down on fracas’ in the box. 

Technology is clearly having a huge say on our beautiful game at the moment. Whether we like it or not, one thing it has produced is more goals. Should we see that as a positive? Well that’s up for debate but one thing is for sure is that a certain amount of common sense and logic needs to be applied. 

The facts are, that even though as fans we strongly disagree with a huge amount of these penalties that have been awarded, they actually have been given correctly according to the laws of the game.

Impact on betting markets

When it comes to what exactly this means for punters, there’s plenty of different ways we can look at it and try to find angles into various markets. Here’s a few I would be considering: 

Player Shots on Target betting

Player proposition bets are becoming increasingly popular with punters and the rise in penalties is also having an impact in this area. Take Jamie Vardy for example, the Leicester front-man has registered 12 shots on target this season, although six of those have come via the penalty spot. This means Vardy is actually averaging 1.8 shots on target per game in the league this season rather than the 0.9 per game he would be without penalties.

I’d be giving penalty-takers more thought than in previous seasons when it comes to selecting players in the shots on target market. Players such as Mateusz Klich of Leeds and Jack Grealish of Aston Villa come to mind who seem to be often a reasonable price in this market with the latter registering two shots on target against both Arsenal and Liverpool this season. Unfamiliar with this market you may want to take a look at at BettingOdds.com's shots on target explained article which gives insight on what factors you should be considering when choosing your players and which bookmakers are currently offering these markets.

Match Goals, Over/Under

This is a big one, last season we saw an average of 2.72 goals per game and since the induction of the Premier League in 1992 there has been on average 2.66 per game.

68 games into this campaign and that figure has climbed to an impressive figure of 3.25 per game. This sharp rise can potentially create situations where you feel there may now be value to bet on a match to include over or under a certain amount of goals. 

Player to score a Penalty betting

One of my ‘go to’ markets of recent times has been BetVictor’s player to score a penalty market. This often gives a little bit of a bigger price than betting on a team to score a penalty during a match. For example, Manchester United were 7/2 to score a penalty against Everton, however Bruno Fernandes was 11/2 to score a penalty. This can often be a nice way to snaffle out a bit bigger of a price when you are confident the penalty taker for that team will play the full 90 minutes.

Another good example here is Jorginho of Chelsea. The Italian managed just four goals last season but has bagged three already in this campaign, and yep you guessed it, all from the spot. It can often be wise to avoid backing players such as this in the anytime goalscorer market and instead go down the ‘to score a penalty route’ as nine of Jorginho’s last ten goals have come from the spot.

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