Bookmakers now offering betting on Expected Goals (xG) in the Premier League
The way we analyse football continues to evolve with data playing a bigger part in the game than ever before. Expected goals (xG) is one statistical measurement that we seem to be hearing more and more about and things have now gone one step further with certain bookmakers offering markets directly linked with xG in the Premier League.
First up let’s remind ourselves of what exactly Expected Goals (xG) is all about. Put simply, xG is the probability that a shot will result in a goal. This is based on the characteristics of the shots that is taken and the events leading up to it. There are four main characteristics that are analysed in order to give a probability of a shot resulting in a goal:
- Location on the pitch: Where the player takes his shot from in terms of distance and angle from goal
- Type of attack: Was the goal on the counter? Was it off a rebound? Had the defence been at fault?
- How the shot was taken: Was the shot made with the foot or through a header?
- Passage of play: Did the ball goal come via a set-piece or a corner, or was it from open play?
Expected goals is very much about the context of a scoring opportunity. Every shot is compared to thousands of other shots with similar characteristics. An xG of 1 is a certain goal, while an xG of 0 is a certain miss. An xG of 0.4 would indicate that if identical shots were taken 10 times, four would be expected to result in a goal.
Betting on xG
The amount of different markets that bookmakers have on offer is continuing to expand at pace with Expected Goals, the latest to feature from Betfair and Paddy Power. The two firms are offering markets on Premier League matches where punters can bet on which team will win the match, along with which team will win on Expected Goals/xG.
Below we can see the prices Paddy Power had on offer for West Ham’s league meeting with Leicester on Monday 23 August 2021. The Hammers were priced at 6/4 to win the game in the standard match result market, which is an implied probability of 40%. However, for the Hammers to win the match and to win on Expected Goals 2/1 was on offer from Paddy Power.
That’s an implied probability of 33.3%, and only a 6.7% implied difference between the 6/4 on offer for West Ham to win the game and then the 2/1 on offer for them to win the game and win on Expected Goals.
This margin can vary massively though and game script and who the home side is can have a massive impact on prices. For example, Leicester had been priced at 2/1 to win the game in the match result market but Paddy Power also had 9/2 on offer for them to win the game and win on Expected Goals. That’s a difference of the implied odds of 15.1% - more than double it was for West Ham, the team who were playing at home.
Several factors can influence this and punters should think about the game script and which teams are more likely to create more chances before making their selections in these markets.
xG Stats so far this season
The question most people will want the answer to now is, how many times does the team who wins the match, also win on Expected Goals.
There have been 20 matches so far in the Premier League this season with 17 of those resulting in a victory for one side and three ending in a draw.
Of the 17 victories this season, 13 included the winning side also winning on Expected Goals. We’ve listed the three results where the team won the match but not on Expected Goals below.
- Burnley (1.80xG) 1-2 Brighton (1.69xG)
- Leicester (0.67 xG) 1-0 Wolves (1.33 xG)
- Tottenham (1.06xG) 1-0 Man City (2.11xG)
Punters can now bet on if a team will win, lose or draw the match, combining it with if the team in question will win the match on xG or not. You can find Expected Goals betting markets on both Betfair on Paddy Power on the day of the game for Premier League matches. Please always gamble responsibly.