What’s the most you ever lost on a coin toss?
Have you seen ‘No Country For Old Men’? What a film. Javier Bardem is terrifying in the role of Anton Chigurh and the above question is one he poses at crucial moments.
It’s unlikely he was referring to the Both Teams to Score markets on Paddy Power, but he could have been. There were 2,660 Premier League matches between the summer of 2016 and the end of 2022/23, with 1,340 of them seeing both teams score a goal and 1,320 not.
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There are obviously differences in hit rate from team to team but generally you may as well flip a coin. You will struggle to find anything in football which breaks down as neatly into a near-as-damn-it 50/50 split.
The Both Teams to Score market has more options than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ though, so let’s look at the numbers behind all the possibilities, both league wide and for different clubs.
Both Teams to Score
The 50 per cent hit rate isn’t just easy to remember, it’s remarkably consistent. In each of the last seven seasons, there has been somewhere between 186 and 196 Premier League matches in which both sides scored, and we’ve seen examples of 193, 194 and 195 recorded in that period too. It barely shifts from year to year.
The top flight has recently lost its favourite teams for delivering in this market though. Across the last five years, Leicester and Southampton were the sides who most frequently played games in which both teams scored.
With that pair having been relegated, Manchester United are now the leaders on this front, having paid out ‘yes’ bets in 55.8 per cent of their matches, ahead of Arsenal, Tottenham (both 54.2) and Brighton (53.2).
If you prefer to just say ‘no’ when it comes to Both Teams to Score, Wolves (45.3 per cent) and Manchester City (46.3 per cent) are your friends, if for obviously different reasons. The key takeaway is that no team strays too far from the 50/50 line though.
As the data is widely available online, it’s also worth looking at records for teams whether they are at home or on the road – West Ham and Arsenal are about 12 per cent more likely to see both teams score in front of their own fans, Brighton and Tottenham a similar margin higher when away from home.
If you like to bet in play, take note that only 22.5 per cent of matches which are goalless at half time pay out on ‘yes’ in this market, whereas 61.4 per cent of those with an opener before the break do. This takes us nicely onto our next section.
Both Teams to Score in the First Half
Another option is to bet on whether both teams will find the net in the first half.
Sometimes this happens in spectacular style. Bournemouth vs. Watford in January 2019 was 3-3 at the interval, for instance, while Liverpool were 4-2 up against – you guessed it – Everton after 45 minutes later that year.
Such occurrences are obviously very rare though. Over the last five Premier League campaigns, 19.7 per cent of matches featured both teams scoring in the first half. In simple terms, this means the odds are about 4/1.
Whether there is value to be had inevitably depends on which teams are playing. You’re more likely to get both teams scoring in the opening 45 minutes when the match involves Liverpool (as it has occurred in 24.7 per cent of their league matches since 2018/19), West Ham, Arsenal or Everton (all 24.2 per cent).
The best teams for ‘no’ selection are Crystal Palace (12.1 per cent) and Wolves (12.6) but as with every section from here, the price for this side of the market will be very skinny.
Both Teams to Score in Second Half
With 54 per cent of goals occurring in second halves, you would think that matches which see both teams score after the interval would be more common.
And they are, but not by very much at all – it has occurred in 23.4 per cent of Premier League fixtures in the last five years, which equates to odds of approximately 3.3/1.
Manchester United have featured in the most games which meet the criteria among the ever-present top flight sides from the last half decade (27.4 per cent), though it has occurred in 34.2 per cent of Brentford’s matches, so keep an eye on them. There could be a sting in the tail for the Bees, Clive.
Both Teams to Score in Both Halves
On the final day of last season, the match between Southampton and Liverpool was 2-2 at half time and finished 4-4. That’s entertainment, folks.
But matches in which both teams score in both halves don’t happen very often. There have been just 93 in the last five seasons, a hit rate of 4.9 per cent or basically one every two match weeks.
As such, they’re near enough impossible to predict. Jurgen Klopp’s boys have recorded the most qualifying matches over the last five years and even they’ve only had 15, so this section of the market is best left alone.
Both Teams to Score Two or More Goals
We move from a one in 20 chance to a (roughly) one in eight probability: welcome to matches with both teams scoring two or more goals.
These are the games we remember, the end-to-end classics with goals galore. They’re partly special due to being uncommon, though. Highest above the 12.7 per cent average among the ever-present sides are Tottenham (16.8), just ahead of their London rivals Arsenal and West Ham (16.3).
Both Teams Score No Draw
Our final option has no time for the score draws so beloved by the Football Pools – we’re looking for matches in which both teams score and one of them wins.
These outcomes happen a little over a third of the time, so aside from the straight ‘Both Teams to Score’ bet, this is the one which pays out on ‘yes’ most frequently.
Leeds and Leicester have been the most profitable teams here, though neither will be in the Premier League in 2023/24. Of the teams that will, Tottenham and Aston Villa have seen it in around 40 per cent of their games, and it has occurred in five of their eight meetings since the latter were last promoted. They’re scheduled to meet in November and March so circle those fixtures in your betting schedule.
But then maybe things will be different this season, with Ange Postecoglou freshly installed at Spurs. As with all football data, the sample sizes for Both Teams to Score are small and can be upset by transfers and managerial changes and who knows what else.
The data is always worth checking though. You don’t want to lose everything on a coin toss.
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