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Football Betting for Beginners: What are booking points?

Not sure what booking points are? We've put together a simple guide on how much they are worth and things to look out for
Not sure what booking points are? We've put together a simple guide on how much they are worth and things to look out for

As we all know, there is a lot more to football betting than just simply choosing which side will win the game. Betting on cards being shown by referees is one of the most popular areas with punters and we’ve put together a simple guide to what booking points are and how much they are worth.

Football is an emotional game and the vast majority of matches include at least one yellow or red card. The evolution of football betting has led to a wide range of card markets being offered by bookmakers with certain firms even allowing these to be added to Bet Builders or Same Game Multis. 

So what exactly are booking points?

When scrolling through the endless list of things you can bet on, you may have noticed that bookmakers use the term booking points.

Bookmakers use booking points for red and yellow cards. They then allow you to bet on how many points you think there’ll be over the duration of a match.

What is each card worth ?

  • Yellow Card: 10 points
  • Red Card: 25 points
  • Two yellows resulting in an automatic red: 35 points

It’s worth noting here that if a player is shown two yellow cards, that is worth 35 booking points rather than 45. This is because the second yellow is not counted as a red is awarded instead. 

Do all bookmakers use this method?

The majority of the big bookmakers in the United Kingdom use booking points and follow the system of 10 points for a yellow card and 25 points for a red. This includes Betfair, Paddy Power, William Hill, BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Coral and Sky Bet.

One exception, however, is bet365. The Stoke-based firm do not offer booking points but instead punters can bet on the number of cards being shown in a match. 

  • 1x yellow card = 1 card
  • 1x red card = 1 card
  • 2x yellow cards for the same player resulting in a red = 2 cards
Premier League Betting

Rules to be aware of

We’ve covered the essentials when it comes to booking points but here are another few things you should be aware of as a punter.

  • Only cards shown to players on the pitch will count towards the total booking points
  • Cards shown to managers, substitutes not used yet and to substitutes who have already come off, do not count towards the booking points total
  • You may see bookmakers use terms such as 20+ booking points. If there are bang on 20 points in the game, this bet will be a winner. If there are more than 20 booking points this will also be a winner. 
  • Extra-Time does not count towards the bookings points total

Things to look out for when betting on booking points

Referees

One key bit of information that people often forget before placing their bets on booking points is to check who the referee for the game is. Certain referees can be a lot more lenient than others when it comes to dishing out the cards. 

Let’s take this season’s Premier League campaign so far as an example. At the time of writing Stuart Attwell currently ranks first for yellow cards per game shown. The official has given out 4.38 per game on average this campaign. If we compare that to Lee Mason, who ranks 19th with an average of just 1.67 yellow cards per game, you can see just how much variance there can be in a referee’s yellow card average. 

Avoid dead rubbers

When researching your football bets it’s often a good idea to think about the game script and what kind of a match will play out. Games at the end of a season between two sides who have nothing to play for can often be described as a bit of a ‘dead rubber’. The likelihood of cards being shown in games such as these is considerably lower to a game that could potentially decide a title or a relegation. 

On the flip side games that have huge significance, such as a semi-final or a game between two title rivals in the latter stages of a season, have a much greater chance of cards being shown. With success or failure on the line, players are more inclined to make fouls in order to prevent the other team progressing. 

Take Chelsea v Spurs back in May 2016, when Tottenham needed to win in order to try and stop Leicester winning the league and do so themselves. Tottenham’s season very much depended on this result and combined with the element of a local derby it produced a whopping 12 yellow cards. 

The 2-2 draw that evening meant that Claudio Ranieri claimed the Premier League title, but lt also saw Spurs the first Premier League team to have nine different players yellow carded in the same game. When the sides met the following season in November many punters expected a repeat of a high volume of cards, however there were only three yellows brandished that day, with Spurs in 13th in table.

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