Football - Goal

Back of the Net! The Risk and Rewards of First Goal Scorer Betting

Ever been watching a football match and thought “I knew he was going to score?” As we know, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but have you ever considered whether your prediction was a case of luck or judgement? If it is the latter, then maybe the first goal scorer betting market is for you.

But before you rush out and place a bet, remember that gut feelings alone are not enough. If you want to increase your chances of winning, you need to understand the market and that means dipping your toe into the pool of statistics.

If you already bet on a regular basis, you have probably taken a least a cursory glance at statistics. But for some, the thought of having to trawl through numbers and analyse data leaves their brain feeling numb.

At this point, those people may be thinking about wandering off and doing something more interesting like watching a DVD of Tony Pulis’ managerial highlights. But if you are amongst them, stop for a moment and consider this: if you want to make a profit from gambling, you need to learn to love statistics. You need to embrace them, cherish them and treat them well, because one day they might just pay you back with a tidy little yield.

Crowd cheering

Stats are all part of the game - the bookmakers use them and so should you. You don’t even need to spend a lot of time researching stats and there is no need to get bogged down in gigabytes of spreadsheets. For a simple market like First Goal Scorer, you might need to spend half an hour a week at the most gathering the information you need to make an informed bet.

In fact, First Goal Scorer bets are the perfect place to start for anyone looking to begin a more analytical approach to betting. The rules are easy and there is a huge amount of data available just a few clicks away. S0 let’s take a closer look.


What Is A First Goal Scorer Bet?

If you didn’t know already, a First Goal Scorer bet requires you to predict which player from either team will score the opening goal in a regular 90-minute game.

And that is basically it - you pick a player you think will score first, you place your bet and wait for the outcome.

That’s the easy bit. Where it gets tricky is finding the best value bets and looking for trends in the market that could help you make a profit. In that respect, instinct will only get you so far. You need to apply some method to your decision-making.


Key Points

  • The player must score the first goal (the exception being a First Goal Scorer Each Way bet)
  • Your bet could win or lose at any moment in the game.
  • Goals must be scored in the regular 90 minutes of play plus stoppage time.
  • Own goals do not count, so your bet will remain active until a qualifying goal is scored.
  • Some bookies offer a First Goal Scorer each-way bet that pays out at 1/3 odds if the player scores first, second or third.


Finding Value Picks

Picking the obvious players might get you a few winners but they might not offer great value, so you have to weigh up the odds vs. the risk.

For example, in the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, November 25, 2017, Harry Kane was 7/4 with 888sport to score first. A quick look at the stats would have shown that the striker had scored the first goal in four of Tottenham’s 12 Premier League matches but had only scored first at home on one occasion.

On the same weekend, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah was priced at 17/4 with 888sport to score first in the Red’s home game against Chelsea. The Egyptian player had scored first in five of Liverpool’s 12 games and twice in their six home games.

s a result, the second picks seems to offer better value - even when taking the quality of the opposition into account. Of course, the results are not guaranteed but in the long-term, looking at your bets with a more methodical eye should increase your rate of success.


Other Ways Of Finding Value For First Goal Scorer Bets:

  • Look at more than one league. Sometimes the best picks can be found in the less obvious leagues.
  • Prolific players that may have been out of action due to suspension or injury can sometimes offer better value. Players that have been out of form but have shown signs of improvement can also offer great value.
  • Some players score more against certain teams or quality of opposition. For example, against the bottom six.
  • Keep up to date on who are the penalty and set-piece takers at each club, as well as midfielders with a good scoring record. These players usually offer much better value.


Some Maths To Help You Out

Finding value can be easier if you can interpret the bookmaker’s prices as an implied probability. We can do this with this simple formula:

  • Denominator / (denominator + numerator) x 100

For example, if Romelu Lukaku is 21/10 with 888sport to open the scoring in the next match, we would make the following calculation:

  • 10 divided by (21 + 10) x 100 = 32.3%

The implied probability of the outcome in 32.3%. So, you can now make our own judgement as to whether that represents good value when compared to your own statistical research. If you calculate that this outcome has a higher than 32.3% chance of happening, then you might consider placing the bet.



  • Remember, even if you do not have a great knowledge of a particular league, you can still make decisions based on the cold hard data. As long as the statistics you are studying are accurate, you should be able to find value bets in less well-known league.
  • ALWAYS check that the player is not injured, suspended or likely to be rested before making your final decision.
  • It is okay to bet on the big name players if you believe they offer value. The more high value picks you can find, the better your long-term result should be.

Jose Mourinho

  • Always double check your calculations and the information you are basing your decision on. Only when you are totally convinced that the bet is good value should you part with your hard-earned cash.
  • If you can keep a betting log, to keep track of your wins and losses. That way, you can avoid repeating mistakes and identify ways to improve.
  • Consider the defensive form of the opposition and the profile of the teams that your player usually scores against.
  • Read the latest news, if there is an important game coming up, your player might be rested.
  • Does the player only score goals at home? For example, Gini Wijnaldum’s first 18 Premier League goals were all scored at home.  

First Goal Scorer is a popular market because it also adds extra interest to a game. Who knows, you might even find yourself cheering goals scored by players from your team’s fiercest rivals!