There are so many ways to bet on football that are ‘goal positive’, i.e. both teams to score, over 2.5 goals, first/last/anytime goalscorer and so on.
But there aren’t as many options when it comes to betting on fewer goals – surprising, given that around 48% of Premier League games witness two or less goals in them.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to be able to bet on an individual player NOT to score during a game?
Perhaps we could add a few players to a single accumulator coupon to try and maximise our returns.
Unfortunately, there are very few ways to bet on what we might describe as the anti-anytime goalscorer market.
Can You Bet on a Player Not to Score with the Bookies?
We’ve searched high and low for a bookmaker that offers odds on a player not to score, from the major UK brands to smaller firms and even offshore companies based in Europe or Asia.
But we simply could not find a bookie willing to offer prices on a player not score a goal in a game.
It’s strange, because some firms – especially those with an American presence – will offer odds on a player not to score a touchdown in selected NFL games, but as far as ‘soccer’ is concerned the bookies don’t want to touch such a market.
There’s probably two main reasons for that: firstly, it would be difficult for them to lay off their liability (for reasons we will come to shortly), and secondly, this is a market that would be very difficult to price.
For example, if a player is injured or sent off early in a game, it works in the bookies’ favour in their first/last/anytime goalscorer odds. But if they offered prices for a player not to find the net, such an outcome would hand punters a rare edge.
Consider it this way. What price would you offer for Erling Haaland not to score in a Premier League for Manchester City? Would you go odds-against? How about if you knew that the Norwegian failed to find the net in ten of his first 32 Premier League games during the 2022/23 season?
There are plenty of moving parts, and with 22 players on the pitch plus substitutes, pricing up a ‘not to score’ market would be difficult and fraught with risk on the bookies’ part.
Can You Back a Player Not to Score with a Betting Exchange?
The curiosity of the situation is exacerbated further by the fact that the Betfair Exchange, the most popular and liquid exchange in the UK, doesn’t offer ‘not to score’ options on either the back or lay side.
This is where the bookies would go to balance their liabilities on such a market, so that’s another reason to explain why you can’t wager in such a way on your favourite betting sites and apps.
But a couple of exchanges – BetDAQ and Smarkets – do allow you to get involved; albeit by laying first or anytime goalscorer picks where you can get matched.
That is the rub, however. These markets are not all that popular with punters and so liquidity is low – some 48 hours shy of the Manchester City vs Everton game, the amount that had been matched on the Anytime Goalscorer market at BetDAQ was exactly zero.
And this was the state of play at Smarkets:
The percentages at the top of the back and lay columns confirm how little balance and liquidity there is in this market, which makes the job of getting matched all the more difficult. The amounts listed under each player also reveals the general apathy to betting on the anytime goalscorer market at the firm.
So can you bet on a player not to score? Yes, although you’ll have to hope that your lay bet gets matched, and you almost certainly won’t be able to wager in this way on any games other than those involving the most popular Premier League teams.