This Spanish Primera Women’s match from the 1st March highlights and perfectly illustrates so many of the points I raise and address in The Strategy. Let’s take a walk through the first half and see how it played out.
Let’s begin with some of the opening odds. Barcelona were 1/50 favourites to win and were 1/33 to score the opening goal. First Half Goals Over 2.5 were 5/6.
Barcelona began the game in an aggressive manner, driving forward and registering four dangerous attacks in the first minute alone. This is the kind of intent and dominance that suggests that a goal is imminent, especially when coupled with the odds I mentioned above. By the the third minute, dangerous attacks for Barcelona Women were at 11 and they had one corner. But no shots on target.
Stats at 05:00
At the five minute mark, dangerous attacks were as follows:
Barcelona Women 15
Madrid CFF Women 0
Neither team had had a shot on target.
Thoughts at this point: Barcelona are attacking hard, penetrating deep inside the opposition box, but, surprisingly, are not taking shots, let alone hitting the target. Yet, with the number of dangerous attacks that they have clocked up at such an early point in the half, it feels that it is only going to be a matter of time before they pull the trigger and score.
Stats at 10:00
By the tenth minute, things were not much different. Barcelona were continuing to dominate, with wave after wave of attack, but had still to register a single shot on target. At this point they had won two corners and had enjoyed 88% possession.
Stats at 15:00
Barcelona continue to utterly dominate the game, with a very impressive 33 dangerous attacks at this point. They have a shot on target from inside the box in the 12th minute. Odds on over 1.5 first half goals is now 4/6.
Thoughts at this point: this is a classic example of a game where the dominant team are ticking almost every box in terms of the strategy I have developed. They are exceeding the necessary mark in terms of dangerous attacks, but are falling short in terms of shots on target. Had they had one or two more on target at this point, there might be a strong case for taking the 4/6 odds on over 1.5 first half goal odds.
Stats at 20:00
At this point it is quite surprising that Barcelona have not had more shots on target, let alone scored a goal, considering their dominance and the fact that they are consistently penetrating deep into the opposition’s half. They have made 40 dangerous attacks, to Madrid CFF’s 5, but still have had only a single shot on target. Odds on over 1.5 first half goals are now 1/1.
My thoughts at this point: this can still become an opportunity. If Barcelona score before the 24th minute, a second goal would be very likely.
Sure enough, Barcelona score in the 22nd minute. Odds on over 2.5 goals at this point are 6/5, which I would not even consider. But I am thinking that if Barcelona continue to attack with the same intensity over the next five minutes or so, when odds on over 1.5 first half goals become 1/2, it would be worth taking.
Barcelona Women do continue to attack in this manner. They secure their third corner in the 27th minute and at exactly 29:40 the odds on over 1.5 first half goals becomes 1/2. I immediately take this, and Barcelona immediately score.
Stats at 30:00
Odds on over 2.5 goals now become 1/2. Barcelona have now made 55 dangerous attacks, a very impressive number, and are continuing to attack. The question now arises, do you place a bet on there being over 2.5 goals?
Although it is tempting, my answer is no. There are a number of reasons for this:
- Barcelona have scored what I term a sufficient number of goals. At 1:0 they were obviously eager to score a second and take a comfortable lead into half time. Two goals gives them this comfort, and it is often the case that teams don’t push as hard for the third goal as they did for the first or second.
- Barcelona have been making rather hard work of scoring. Although the number of dangerous attacks couldn’t be much better, they have only had three shots on target in 30 minutes. It is easy to imagine how they could play the remaining fifteen minutes of the half, still attacking with intensity, and fail to score.
- I took the opportunity to place a bet on first half goals being over 1.5 and won. I rarely, if ever, go back for seconds. When you win, take it, be happy and wait for the next opportunity to come along.
Barcelona did briefly ease off on their attacks, allowing Madrid to win their first corner in the 37th minute. But they finished the half in attack mode, registering 66 dangerous attacks at the 40 minute mark and bringing this up to 76 by the 45th minute. However, they do not hit the target again and the score remains 2:0 at halftime.
So, what are the take-home messages from this match?
The first interesting question this example raises is, do you make exceptions for teams when they are dominating as strongly as Barcelona?
I have very specific criteria that I use to determine when I place a bet (my book The Strategy outlines exactly what these are and how to implement them). Now, Barcelona fell short in a number of regards, particularly in terms of shots on target. But the intensity and consistency of their attacks somewhat compensated for this lack and made a compelling reason for believing that a second goal would be scored.
It is rare that I make exceptions, and I think you should thread very carefully when it comes to any such compromising with your betting strategy. But on this occasion, there was a real sense that Barcelona were going to score.
This leads on to the second, and perhaps most important, take-home message from this half of football. Namely, you have to have a strategy if you want to profit from your football betting.
My strategy focuses on placing bets on one more goal being scored in the first half when the odds are 1/2 (and the stats conform with the criteria I have established). When these odds arose here, I took them, and won. The window of opportunity was small – as I mentioned above, within seconds of the odds on over 1.5 first half goals becoming 1/2, Barcelona scored – but I knew what I was looking for and did not hesitate when it arose. If you are betting without a solid strategy to draw on and guide you, you just end up taking chances and never really properly understand why you lose and win and what you need to change.
Finally, I think the key to the strength of this opportunity lay in the fact that Barcelona attacked with such consistency. There was simply no let up. Their intent and the strength of their attack was evident from the first minute.
I am always wary of situations where the stronger team attacks in fits and starts, letting the opposition come at them and giving them opportunities. In this case, Barcelona barely gave Madrid a single opportunity to mount a sustained attack. Instead, they spent almost the entire half pressing forward and keeping Madrid on the back foot. When this happens and the dominant team are such strong favourites to win the game and score first, goals are just a matter of time.