Betting On Corners: What’s it all about?

No cutting corners here, geddit?

D.C. United forward Wayne Rooney takes a corner kick

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Let’s take a look at the average corners won per game by each team in the 2018/19 Premier League table. Assuming that the corner beats the first man, it does, in theory, provide a goalscoring opportunity. There should be a strong correlation between the number of corners each Premier League side accumulated across the season, and their finishing position in the table. The best teams play on the front foot most often, and you can’t win corners when you’ve parked the bus.

However, is this the case? 

Corner ranking Team Corners won per game Position in table Diff between actual position in table
1 Man City 7.55 1 0
2 Liverpool 6.55 2 0
3 Everton 5.66 8 +5
4 Arsenal 5.58 5 +1
5 Leicester 5.53 9 +4
6 Chelsea 5.53 3 -3
7 Crystal Palace 5.39 12 +5
8 Man United 5.26 6 -2
9 Wolves 5.13 7 -2
10 Tottenham 5.11 4 -6
11 Southampton 5.08 16 +5
12 Bournemouth 5.03 14 +2
13 West Ham 4.92 10 -3
14 Newcastle 4.76 13 -1
15 Watford 4.66 11 -4
16 Cardiff 4.42 18 +2
17 Huddersfield 4.26 19 +2
18 Fulham 4.24 20 +2
19 Brighton 4.11 17 -2
20 Burnley 3.92 15 -5

Statistics taken from Footcharts.

Key observations:

Man City and Liverpool dominated the league in terms of points and quality, and they also dominated in corner creation. City averaged a corner more per game than Liverpool, who had almost the same margin over Everton in third. The champions, City, also had more passes and shots than any other side, two stats which are handy if you want to win a lot of corners.

The relegated sides largely created the number of corners you’d expect from the weaker teams. It’s not like Fulham went down in 20th place despite racking up corner upon corner – they’re roughly where you’d expect them to be in the corner ranking.

You might expect the more pragmatic teams to produce more corners, by getting down the wings and playing for set-pieces. The strength of Palace’s wingers may have helped their case but, at the other end, Chris Hughton’s Brighton and Sean Dyche’s Burnley surprisingly struggled to create corners. The two teams also propped up the table in shot creation, while only Cardiff made fewer passes than Burnley throughout the season.

Neil Warnock

Cardiff top of the league?

Let’s add in the corners conceded per game, so that we can analyse the total number of corners produced in matches featuring each side.

Ranking Team Corners won per game Corners conceded per game Average corners per game
1 Cardiff 4.42 6.84 11.26
2 Crystal Palace 5.39 5.68 11.07
3 Bournemouth 5.03 5.92 10.95
4 Leicester 5.53 5.32 10.85
5 Newcastle 4.76 6.08 10.84
6 Southampton 5.08 5.61 10.69
7 Arsenal 5.58 4.84 10.42
8 West Ham 4.92 5.50 10.42
9 Everton 5.66 4.71 10.37
10 Burnley 3.92 6.32 10.24
11 Fulham 4.24 5.95 10.19
12 Watford 4.66 5.53 10.16
13 Man United 5.26 4.89 10.15
14 Wolves 5.13 5.00 10.13
15 Tottenham 5.11 4.92 10.03
16 Liverpool 6.55 3.32 9.87
17 Brighton 4.11 5.68 9.79
18 Man City 7.55 2.16 9.71
19 Chelsea 5.53 3.95 9.48
20 Huddersfield 4.26 4.47 8.73

Statistics taken from Footcharts.

Key observations:

Man City 18th? Pep is a fraud!!! But in all seriousness, City not only created corners with aplomb, but their possession football and tight defence rarely gave the opposition the chance to attack. An average of 2.16 corners conceded per match seems ludicrously low, but then City were ludicrously good last season. They’re not doing too bad in the Premier League this season either.

Pep Guardiola shouting

High press leads to low corner count – City averaged 2.16 corners conceded per match

Some of those teams that struggled to create corners compensated for it at the other end, most notably Cardiff and Burnley. However, Huddersfield were comfortably the worst team for all you corner lovers out there, averaging 8.73 total corners per match. Just for comparison, Man City averaged 7.55 on their own.

The average of each team’s average comes in at 10.27, which gives you a ballpark figure to keep in mind when predicting the number of corners each match. Around 10 or 11 corners is often where the main over/under line comes in.

Corner Betting Analysis

Here’s some of the corner markets on offer.

Back a strong favourite to go big on corners

In a match where Liverpool or Man City are heavy favourites (that’ll be most of their league matches then), there’s probably not much point looking to the total corners between both sides. City racked up ten corners in their home matches against Fulham and Huddersfield last season, and an incredible 17 at home to Cardiff. When you know a team will dominate, it might be worth backing them to hit double figures.

Find a side who concede lots of corners, but rarely create

This type of team would be ideal for a Corners Match Bet, where you back one side to outscore the other. Looking back on last season’s stats, a team like Burnley would have been ideal: poor at creating corners, but regularly shipping them at the other end. 

Look at home/away breakdowns

Stats can often vary quite significantly between home and away results. Crystal Palace won an average of 6.84 corners per match at Selhurst Park last season, but created just 3.95 on the road. Combine the home side’s average with the away side’s average before looking at any over/under total corner markets.

In-play corners betting

Events during a game can remove what was value pre-match, but they can also introduce new areas of value. The corner race markets are one to keep an eye on as a match unfolds.

in play corners odds market

There are several options for betting on both teams; while you can also get behind the neutral’s favourite side, ‘Neither’. In this case, there are odds of 5/2 for QPR to be the first side to reach seven corners. Teams that start strongly are ideal candidates for in-play corner race markets.

If you’re watching a match and get a sense that the home side is really up for it, then you could back them to get on the front foot early on. If an underdog takes the lead, it could affect their chances of racking up corners. However, it may provoke a reaction from the favourite that sees them rustle up five-or-six corners in the first half. Predict the overall story of the match and make your in-play corner bets accordingly.

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What do you think?