Just hit the target! How we settle shots-on-goal bets

Making the keeper work could mean winning punts for you


We’ve all been there. You found five-minutes while sipping your poolside margarita in the Azores to drop a cheeky fiver on Danny Ings first goalscorer against Palace at a not too shabby 7/1, and now he’s through on goal and – boom – he smashes it straight down the keeper’s throat.

Devastating stuff.

Well, what if I told you that you could make that miss into a winning bet?

You’d say, “You must be cracked, Paddy – and I’m more of an espresso martini man while you’re here.”

Well, you’d be dead wrong my friend – and not just because of your beverage choice for your mid-Atlantic subtropical paradise – as Paddy takes bets on players just to hit the target in games.

Can you think of anything easier than that? All Mo Salah or Harry Kane has to do is make the keeper work and you could be quids in.

Sounds simple enough, right?

Well, it usually is, but sometimes it gets complicated, so we’ve decided to run through what you need to know about how we settle these bets.

We rely on Opta, stats providers to Sky Sports and tons of other teams and leagues, to ensure the data we use to settle bets is as accurate as possible. Sometimes they review the statistics and make amendments, so it may appear there’s been a shot on target according to the stats on PaddyPower.com, this can change.

If you want more detail, boy, is this your lucky day!

Here’s a not-at-all-boring guide to some Opta’s stat collecting procedures – there won’t be an exam at the end, though you may wish there was one just to liven things up.

Opta define a shot on target as any goal attempt that:

  • Goes into the net regardless of intent.
  • Is a clear attempt to score that would have gone into the net but for being saved by the goalkeeper or is stopped by a player who is the last-man with the goalkeeper having no chance of preventing the goal (last line block).
  • Shots that are blocked by another player, who is not the last-man, are not deemed to be shots on target.

However, there are other situations where it isn’t easy to know whether a shot is deemed a shot-on-target for Opta or not. We’ve listed some of these below:

Each of These Count as a Shot-on-Target:

  • Deflected Shot that would be going in, but for a save from the goalkeeper
  • Goals that hit the woodwork on the way in
  • A goal scored directly from a corner
  • A shot cleared off the line by a defender, who is classified as the last line of defence
  • A shot that was going on target is a certain goal but that is blocked by someone on the shooter’s same team
England's Jamie Vardy shoots at goal

Soccer Football – World Cup – Round of 16 – Colombia vs England – Spartak Stadium, Moscow, Russia – July 3, 2018 England’s Jamie Vardy shoots at goal REUTERS/Carl Recine

Each of These Do Not Count a Shot-on-Target:

  • Crosses that would be going into the goal, but the goalkeeper catches/tips around for a corner
  • Blocked shots that a goalkeeper doesn’t save but collects due to a lack of power
  • Blocked/deflected shots that hit the woodwork
  • Shots the goalkeeper saves that were going off-target
  • A corner that would be going into the goal, but the goalkeeper stops the ball from going in
  • A defender’s clearance that hits an attacking player which goes towards goal and the keeper must save
  • A shot that hits the post, then the keeper and bounces out
  • A shot that hits the post and trickles on the line before a defender clears the ball
  • A headed/non-headed flick on which runs through to the goalkeeper from a corner/free-kick

It should be noted, however, that this list is just a guide, and the final decision is confirmed by Opta. We settle all our markets based off their data.

A shot off-target is defined as any clear attempt to score that:

  • Goes over or wide of the goal without making contact with another player.
  • Would have gone over or wide of the goal but for being stopped by a goalkeeper’s save or by an outfield player.
  • Directly hits the frame of the goal and a goal is not scored.

So Ronnie Rosenthal’s miss didn’t even count as a shot-on-target. Terrible.

A blocked shot is defined as any clear attempt to score that:

  • Is going on target and is blocked by an outfield player, where there are other defenders or a goalkeeper behind the blocker.
  • Includes shots blocked unintentionally by the shooter’s own teammate.
  • Clearances off the line by an opposition player (last line blocks) are counted as shots on target and do not get counted as a blocked shot.

Goal Assists

  • For settlement purposes, a player will be deemed to have assisted a goal if OPTA adjudicates that they have done so.
  • A goal assist means the final touch leading to the recipient of the ball scoring a goal. If the final touch is deflected by an opposition player, the initiator is only given a goal assist if the receiving player was likely to receive the ball without the deflection having taken place.
  • If a player wins a penalty or a free-kick that leads to a goal, it does not count as an assist.

Location for Goals/Shots

The position of the ball, when the shot is taken (shot origin).

  • Inside or outside the 6-yard box
  • Inside or outside the 18-yard box

Any event happening on a line will be considered inside that area. For example, a shot on the 18-yard line will count as being inside the box.


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