When it comes to placing a wager on football there are all sorts of bets that are open to you, but the nature of the game means that there’s no guarantee of them happening. Yellow cards and corners are obvious examples. Yet the point of the game isn’t to get a corner, it’s to score a goal and win the game, so there’s at least an increased likelihood that players will score goals at some point in the match.
The trick from a betting point of view is to figure out when during the match that’s going to happen, if it happens at all. That’s where goalscorer bets come in, with the most obvious examples being First, Last or Anytime Goalscorer wagers. You can then look at Scorecast and Wincast bets if you want to add some variants to your wager in order to increase the odds, but before doing that it’s important to know what exactly the bet type is that you’re considering placing.
What the Bet Means
By placing a bet on the First, Last or Anytime Goalscorer market you’re essentially saying that you think your selected player is either going to score the first goal in a game, the last goal in a game or a goal at any point during the match. If they do what you’ve selected then your bet is a winner, whilst if they don’t then you’ll lose your stake as your wager will have lost.
Different bookmakers offer the markets in different ways, but generally speaking you’ll find that there’ll be a ‘goalscorer’ tab on the football page where you’ll see a list of the players of both teams and an option to bet on them scoring first, last or anytime.
I’ll look at them all as individual bets now, but the key thing to remember is that the Anytime Goalscorer market will have shorter odds than the other two options because it doesn’t matter if another player scores before or after the one that you’ve placed your bet on.
This bet is one placed on the first player on the pitch to score a goal. Let’s say you’ve looked at the above list and decided that Mo Salah is the most likely to score a goal so you place a First Goalscorer bet on him, then during the match Roberto Firmino actually scores the opening goal of the game. Unfortunately your bet will be a loser. If Salah scores, however, you’ll be a winner.
The only exception to that rule is if the opening goal is an own goal, in which case it won’t count for anything. Salah could well score the goal to make it 2-0, therefore, and your bet on him as First Goalscorer will be a winner provided the first goal was scored by a player against his own team. If it was Salah that scored the own goal it still wouldn’t count towards your bet, though.
This type of bet is similar to the First Goalscorer wager but is based on the idea that your chosen player has scored the last goal of the game. It’s irrelevant when the goal is scored, so it could be in the first minute of the match and will still be a winning bet provided it’s the only goal of the game. Likewise if the match finish 5-5 your bet will be a winner if the player you’ve chosen scored the final goal.
As with First Goalscorer bets, own goals don’t count, so if one is scored then most bookmakers will act is if it doesn’t exist. If the player you’ve opted for scores the game’s final goal then you’ve got yourself a winning bet, but if another player scores it or the game ends 0-0 then it’s a loser.
If you’re looking at this market then one thing you’ll want to consider is if a player in a match tends to do well at scoring goals late in the match. Perhaps they’ve got superior fitness to the others, for example, or maybe the manager favours leaving them on the bench and bringing them on in a ‘break glass in emergency’ type situation.
Looking at the Liverpool versus Norwich game, I knew that Sadio Mané had only just returned from his pre-season break so I thought the manager was unlikely to start him. That suggested to me that he’d probably be on the bench but would get a run out for the last twenty minutes or so, making a Last Goalscorer bet on him more likely than First Goalscorer. That’s the sort of research that can help you out a huge amount.
This bet is a little more open than either of the other two because they need to happen in a specific order when compared to other goals in the game. Anytime Goalscorer wagers are essentially like Yes / No bets on whether you think a player will score. If you reckon they will then you place your bet and if you don’t then you don’t.
The match you’re betting on can finish 11-10 and your player could have scored the middle three goals for the team that scored ten and it would be a winning bet if you opted for the Anytime market. Just like with the others, own goals don’t count in this market but that’s irrelevant when it comes to goals scored for your team as long as your player finds the back of the net. It’s only if the player you’ve selected scores an own goal that you need to know your bet won’t be paid out on.
Things of Note
As with any bet type, there are numerous things that are worth drawing to your attention to. For starters, if you bet on Salah and he scores in a 1-0 win then all three of the bets, First, Last and Anytime Goalscorer, will be settled as winners. Also, bets are on 90 minutes of play so if you’re looking at a game that could go to extra-time and penalties then it will only be the main part of the match that is covered by the bet.
First Goalscorer Insurance
Some bookmakers will allow you to place insurance on your First Goalscorer bet, which means that if they score at some point during the match but didn’t get the first goal then you can have your stake refunded to you. Different bookies do this in different ways, but the key things to think about are whether your odds are altered to take the insurance and therefore whether it’s worth doing.
Each-Way Goalscorer Bets
One thing you might want to consider doing is placing an Each-Way bet on the First or Last Goalscorer markets. Not all bookmakers allow you to do it, but those that do will pay you out at reduced odds if your selected player scores a goal in the game but it isn’t the first one or the last one. Again, is it worth paying double the odds for it? That’s something you have to work out for yourself.
Player Doesn’t Start or Play
One thing that might happen is that you select a player thinking he’s a banker to score, only to find out that he doesn’t make it on to the pitch at any point. If that’s the case then you don’t need to worry as your stake will be refunded to you.
Things are slightly different if your player starts on the bench and comes on to the pitch once play has already got underway. What happens then will depend entirely on which type of bet you’ve placed. If there’s been no goals prior to your selection coming on as a sub then all bet types will become active and you’ll either win or lose your wager depending on the rules in place.
If there’s already been a goal then First Goalscorer bets will be made void, but both Anytime and Last Goalscorer bets will remain active, so you’ll need to hope that your player puts the ball in the back of the net at an appropriate time. That’s true whether your player comes on after five minutes or moments before the referee blows the full-time whistle, which can be gutting.
Another option open to you in the Goalscorer market is the idea of betting on No Goalscorer. That doesn’t mean that you think the match will end 0-0, however, as own goals still don’t count. The match you’re watching could finish 7-7 and as long as all fourteen goals were own goals a bet on the No Goalscorer market would still be valid.
The same is not true of a bet on 0-0 in the Correct Score market, of course. That’s why you’ll often find the odds on 0-0 are slightly better than on No Goalscorer. In the example of the Liverpool v Norwich match I’ve been looking at up until now the 0-0 was valued at 18/1 compared to 17/1 for No Goalscorer.
One thing to keep an eye out for when you’re looking at the market is whether or not bookmakers have any promotions on. The First Goalscorer market is a common one that they’ll all cover, so it’s not unusual for different bookies to try to find ways to win your business over their competitors.
One thing that some offer from time to time is that you get paid each time your player scores if you’ve placed a FGS bet. Usually they’ll put some sort of cap on how much you can win, but if your player scores a brace or a hat-trick then you’ll be on the receiving end of a larger payout without having to do anything special.
Team First Goalscorer
The final variation on a theme worth mentioning in this section is a bet on the first player to score for a team. You might think that Sterling is going to score, for example, but you don’t now if he’ll get on the scoresheet before West Ham have scored. In that instance, betting on the Team First Goalscorer market is a good way of giving yourself some insurance.
As you can see, the odds are lower than if you’d gone for First Goalscorer because you’ve removed the risk of a West Ham player scoring first, thereby making it more likely that your bet will be a winner.
Lengthening the Odds
Here’s a look at the Goalscorer odds for Manchester City’s visit to play West Ham on the opening day of the 2019-2020 season.
As you can see, the Anytime Goalscorer market on the likes of Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero isn’t particularly generous. Even the First Goalscorer bets aren’t great for a team that is clearly superior to the opposition, even if it is an away match. If you’re thinking of placing a bet but want a little bit more value then one way of doing it is by exploring the Scorecast and Wincast markets, which I’ll look at here.
A scorecast bet is one in which you effectively place two bets in one: a bet on the First Goalscorer market and a bet on the Correct Score. As with an accumulator, though, you need both parts of the bet to come in in order for it to a winner. You do it by first selecting your goalscorer and then making your Correct Score selection. I’ll stick with the West Ham game with City and imagine that Raheem Sterling will score first and City will win 2-1:
The way that this particular bookmaker works is that they present you with a list of likely scores or you can choose your own from the dropdown menu. For my selection they have offered me odds of 38/1, which are significantly better than the 3/1 I was getting for Sterling to be the First Goalscorer alone. For the record, it was 17/2 for City to win 2-1.
The beauty of a Scorecast bet is that you’re widening the odds you’re offered, but the downside is that the odds are longer because the bookmaker doesn’t think that the two events are both going to happen. If you’re reasonably confident that Sterling’s going to score, is it worth taking the risk of him doing that but City not winning 2-1 and your bet therefore becoming a loser?
Another option open to you if you’re not too sure about how much you’re limiting your options with the Scorecast bet is a Wincast wager. This sort of bet asks you to predict an Anytime Goalscorer and the team that will win the match. Some bookmakers will let you choose a player to win and the team that wins to be different from the one that he plays for, whilst others say that a player selection means that you think they’re going to win.
Again, the good thing about this bet is that you’ll give yourself longer odds than just opting for the Anytime Goalscorer market, but you’ll always find that it’s less likely to happen, which makes it a riskier bet.
What to Remember
The first thing to remember is that what I’ve told you about here is far from exhaustive. As I’ve mentioned before, bookies want your business so they’ll try to find ways of enticing you to place bets with them by offering new and interesting markets. Have a look around their Goalscorer page and see what they have on offer that differs from what other bookmakers promise.
The other thing to think about is that lengthening your odds by adding in other markets might seem like a good idea, but if you make the event less likely to happen by doing it then you might find yourself winning nothing instead of a smaller slice of something.