goal being scored

First Half Goals Strategy

When it comes to betting on football, sometimes it can pay to focus on a particular aspect of the game. For example, an increasingly popular way to bet on football is to focus on first half goals.

There are a number of different markets to bet on in terms of first half goals and a variety strategies you can use. 

Below we’ll take a look at those markets, the stats regarding goals in the first half and then the best strategies you can use.


First Half Goal Markets

There are a number of different markets you can utilise if betting on first half goals. The main ones are:-

  • Over/under 0.5 first half goals
  • Over/under 1.5 first half goals
  • Over/under 2.5 first half goals
  • Half-time result
  • Half-time score

The first two markets listed above are usually fairly liquid and can be good for trading. The half-time result and half-time score are a little more variable in terms of liquidity. Generally they are okay to trade in the big games like Premier League, Champions League matches etc, but can be a little more tricky on smaller leagues. 

Therefore it is probably best to focus on the 0.5 and 1.5 first half goal markets for most betting and trading strategies on first half goals. 


Stats on First Half Goals

Before you start betting on first half goals, it is important to firstly have an idea of the stats. How often are goals scored in the first half? How long does it normally take to score a goal? Is there an optimal time to enter the market?

Knowing the answers to these questions will give you a better chance of success in the long run.

In general terms, just under 70% of football matches have a goal in the first half, meaning just over 30% finish 0-0 at half-time.

Equally, 44% of all goals are scored in the first half, so although they tend to be cagier than second halves, there is still normally a good chance of a first half goal in most games.

On average there are around 1.3 goals scored in the first half of games, although this varies greatly by league, with the Singapore Premier League having over 1.8 goals scored in the first half for example, whereas the English Premier League tends to have closer to 1.2 goals scored in the first half on average. 

Whichever way you look at the stats however, in general terms there is more likely to be a goal in the first half of a football match than not, on average. 

It is then a case of breaking things down by league, team, time and market to find the value and build your strategies.


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Things to Watch Out For When Betting on First Half Goals

Before we get into the strategies themselves, it is worth bearing a few things in mind before betting on first half goals.

There are certain advantages to getting involved in first half goals – for one there are a variety of markets for you to choose from and most of them have good liquidity. As you are only focusing on one half, there is also less of a game for you monitor and only 45 minutes of your time is taken up per game. 

If you are backing the overs, it can also be fun to cheer on goals and to see teams press forward and create chances, hopefully leading to a winning bet for you.

On the flip side, it can be quite frustrating if the teams are playing defensively or creating chances but not putting them away. And of course you only have one half for your bet to land –  if it doesn’t it can be tough to then see the teams score a hat-full of goals in the second half.  

When looking at the first half markets, it is also important to be aware of issues like team news – if a key striker or playmaker is due to be out for one of the teams, the chances of there being goals could diminish quite significantly. Or perhaps the coach is setting the side up in a defensive formation, limiting their attacking options. All of these factors need to be taken into consideration when betting or trading on the first half markets.

Anyway, now let’s get on with having a look at some strategies for betting during the first half. 


First Half Goal Strategies

Here we take a look at some first half goal strategies, including both before the game kicks off and in-play. 


1. Focus on Team Stats and Styles

One way to bet on the first half is to look at individual team records for those sides who tend to score more goals in the first half. 

The basis of this strategy is that some sides tend to come out of the blocks fast and try to get ahead early in the game, meaning a higher likelihood of first half goals.

For example, Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp have tended to come flying out the blocks and put teams under pressure early on in games, in an effort to establish an early lead and put the game to bed by half-time. That has particularly been the case at Anfield, with the crowd behind them and using a high-press strategy.

Using a site like Soccerstats, you can firstly look at which sides have strong first half records. Here is an example from the English Premier League. 

Despite finishing seventh in the table overall, Tottenham were second in the first half table, leading 18 times at half-time out of 38 games and scoring 37 first half goals and conceding just 19. 

At the same time, you could look for sides towards the bottom of the table who concede a lot of first half goals. For example West Brom conceded 39 first half goals, the highest in the Premier League. 

If you have a match-up of a team that tends to score a lot of first-half goals against a side that tends to concede a lot, that could be an ideal situation for backing first half goals.

Whether you choose to back over 0.5 or over 1.5 first half (FH) goals depends on your appetite to risk and the specific scenario you are faced with. Some sides have a tendency to score multiple goals in the first half, in which case backing over 1.5 goals might be preferable.

On the other hand, some sides consistently score or concede just one goal, in which case it is probably to better to just back over 0.5 first half goals.

Of course the odds on over 0.5 FH goals will be much lower, often around the 1.3-1.5 mark, whereas for over 1.5 FH goals they can often be 2.5-3.5, so how much risk you want to take and the amount you are aiming to win will also affect which market you choose to enter. 

Another approach is to look at time bands for when teams tend to score and concede in the first half. 

Again, using Soccerstats we can see a breakdown for each team:

You may wish therefore to wait until a game has gone in-play and then focus on a particular time period in the first half when a team tends to score or concede. 

Liverpool for example see a lot of goals in the 30-45 time period, so you may wish to wait until around 25-30 minutes in the half before placing your bet in one of their games. The odds will be substantially higher if there hasn’t been a goal by that stage, or if there has been one goal you can select the over 1.5 FH goals market.

In summary there are lots of ways to approach the first half goals market, but using team-specific stats and looking at teams’ playing styles can give you an edge over other gamblers.


2. Using In-play Stats

Another approach to the first half goals markets is to monitor how games are progressing in-running before placing your bets.

Despite doing all the pre-game research in the world, some football matches end up very different to what you were expecting once they go live. Two very defensive sides can end up in an open, attacking game with lots of goals and vice versa.

As mentioned above, you can also get much better odds if there are no goals after say 15-20 minutes. The stats show that the first 15 minutes of games are the most cagey, with the last 15 minutes of a half having significantly more goals.

Here are the stats from the Premier League for the 2019-20 season via soccerstats:

As you can see, the first 15 minutes has the fewest goals, with just 115, versus 202 goals for the 31-45 minute time period. This may be due to teams starting off games in a cagey fashion as they size each other up, but opening up more as the half goes on and then pouring forward towards the end of the half to try and get a lead before the break. 

So it can be a good idea to delay entering the markets and see how a game is progressing before entering any trades. If you are going to do this, it is a good idea to use a site like Goal Profits to assist you. 

In addition to a wealth of stats on teams and leagues, they also have an in-play Live Stats Module which provides in-running stats on games including shots, corners, possession etc and even alerts when it’s a good time to enter a trade based on the stats. 

They also have a live chat room where their professional football traders, Kevin Laverick and Steve Brown trade matches live, so you can follow along with their trades if you wish. They trade a variety of different markets, but some of these will be first half markets, giving you the chance to profit along with them on the opening 45 minutes. 

To get an edge over other punters it is well worth using a top trading site like Goal Profits, where you use all the stats and tools on offer as well as learn from pro traders. You can check out our full review of the site here for more info about it. 

We would also say in general if you are going to trade a game in-play it is a good idea to watch it live, as you will get a better idea of the flow of a game than from the stats alone. If you are seeing lots of chances being created and a particularly open game, it could be a good time to enter the first half goals market. 

Waiting for a game to go in-play and seeing how it develops can be a good way then to approach the first half goal markets. 



3. Two early goals 

Another first half strategy is one that looks specifically for games with early goals and comes from the excellent trading service Trade on Sports.

This strategy focuses solely on games that have gone 1-1 early in the first half and is dubbed the “Quick Response” strategy – or QR for short. 

A game is a potential qualifier for the strategy if a goal is scored in the first 20 minutes, then another quick goal is scored within 10 minutes of the first, taking the score to 1-1.

The idea behind the strategy is that it identifies instances where the chances of a draw (or the game staying 1-1) is much lower than the odds suggest, based on past data from the teams and leagues involved. It has over 90% success rate and has remained a key part of the Trade on Sports portfolio of strategies for a number of years now. 

Members receive an alert via the Telegram app when a relevant game is identified by the bot, and can choose to either lay the draw or back another first half goal. At the time of writing the strategy has made 29 points profit when backing over 2.5 first half goals after 25 minutes.

So if you are looking for a specific first half strategy with a long track record of success, this one could be well worth checking out. You can also check out our full review of Trade on Sports here.


Conclusion – Getting an Edge on First Half Goals

These days there a wide variety of ways you can bet on a football match and focusing on the first half has become increasingly popular. 

There are a number of different markets you can choose from, but the over 0.5 and over 1.5 first half goals are generally the main ones to target. 

If you are going to bet or trade on first half goals, it is important to give yourself the best chance of succeeding. That means using stats, watching games and using all the tools available to you. 

It is also a good idea to follow a set strategy. We have laid out three strategies above to give you some guidance, but of course you may wish to develop your own approach. 

Whether you follow one of the strategies set out above or follow your own one though, please remember to always gamble responsibly – and good luck with your betting on first half goals! 





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