Should I take penalties into account when placing bets on football matches?

The article provides statistics on the number of penalties awarded and implemented in the leading European leagues. We will look at how important it is to factor in possible 11-meters when placing bets.

Football is the lowest performing of all sports games, and sometimes teams deliver only one accurate shot at each other’s goal during the entire game, leading to a goal scored. Sometimes this kick comes from the 11-meter free kick. As a reminder, the referee will award a penalty if any of the serious fouls occur in the penalty area of ​​the team whose player has violated the rules.

If the ball returns to the field after the 11-meter kick (for example, from the goal post or from the goalkeeper’s hands), the game continues without stopping; the only exception is when the kicker is the first to touch the ball – in this case the meeting is stopped and the ball is given to the opponents.

Frequency of Penalty Shootout

The number of penalties per season can vary greatly depending on the league, and the conversion rate also floats. At the same time, this percentage is not as high as it might initially seem, and the 11-meter mark for the offending team in their penalty team is not a sentence at all.

The Table 1 below shows the average number of penalties awarded per game in the top five European leagues over the past three seasons and the percentage of penalties awarded:

Teams that benefit most from penalties

Not every football team kicks as many 11-meters as they are assigned to its goal. By knowing which teams benefit the most from penalties, bettors can use this information to improve the accuracy of their own soccer predictions. In Table 2 Here are ten teams from the top European championships with the highest penalty odds awarded to them and against them:

11-meter execution strategy for different players

Of course, it is unrealistic to predict whether or not a penalty kick will be awarded in a single match, but predicting whether a particular footballer will score a penalty against a particular goalkeeper is generally easier than it seems. Most of the full-time penalty takers of teams have their own strategy of execution of penalties, depending on who is “in the box”.

As a rule, a right-footed player, striking the ball from the 11-meter, directs it to the left side of the goal, and vice versa. According to statistics, a footballer hits the “right” side in 61.5% of cases. Meanwhile, in order to achieve the goal, the choice of which part of the goal to hit should be completely arbitrary.

In the English Premier League, players like Yaya Toure, Mark Noble and Harry Kane have higher penalty conversion rates than other full-time 11-meter performers – all because these players use a mixed strategy when striking, and goalkeepers it is almost impossible to guess where the ball will fly. The English championship already has the highest percentage of penalty kicks (80%), and for these players it is 85%!

At the same time, penalty kickers such as Eden Hazard, Christian Benteke and Mario Balotelli prefer to first wait for the goalkeeper to make a jump, hoping to guess the direction of the ball, and then strike – often this trick works.

A little about the penalty shootout

Let’s not forget that in football elimination matches in most tournaments, in case of a draw in regular and extra time, a series of penalty shootouts is assigned – as a rule, five hits for each team; in case of an equal score, this series continues until the first miss.

Penalties in this format have a much smaller impact on bets than those assigned during the match, although betters who prefer to bet on the outright market may argue with this statement.

If we calculate the average percentage of realization of 11-meters for the five football leagues, the indicators of which are shown in Table 1, we get a figure of 78.5%. At the same time, for the post-match series, this figure drops to 70%, which is not surprising. Two factors play a decisive role here – firstly, the execution of a kick by players who rarely or never hit penalties in the game (it happens that the goalkeepers themselves come up to the 11-meter mark, which arouses an increased interest of the fans), and, secondly, additional pressure on the kickers, because a miss can sometimes mean elimination from an important tournament or, say, defeat in the final.

A few facts

So, we hope you have drawn conclusions about the value of penalties in football matches, and it is up to you to take this information into account when placing predictions. In conclusion, here are some interesting facts about 11-meter strikes.

  • Englishman Matthew Le Tissier is the best in Europe of those penalty takers who shot them a total of more than 20 times – out of 49 hits, he converted 48, or 98%;
  • Yaya Toure is the best penalty taker in the top leagues, whose streak is still ongoing – he has 15 consecutive penalty kicks;
  • Martin Palermo is considered one of the most unlucky players in terms of taking a penalty kick – back in 1999 he managed to miss three times in one match (Argentina – Colombia) from the 11-meter mark;
  • Brazilian Diego Alves, who played for Almeria and Valencia, has the best percentage of goalkeepers reflected in the top five European leagues – 47% (23 out of 49);
  • Mechelen’s Jean-François Gillet against Anderlecht in 2015 and Dundee United’s Cammy Bell against Dunfermline a year later saved three penalties;
  • Five 11-meters in 90 minutes (a record) were awarded in the 1989 Crystal Palace v Brighton match;
  • Mohamed Jedidi interrupted six times in 2004 the same penalty, canceled by the referee due to various violations (this happened in the match of Tunisia against Montenegro at the Olympic Games).

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