The sadly-departed Bruce Forsyth, erstwhile host of TV shows like Strictly Come Dancing and the Generation Game, had a famous catchphrase as the master of ceremonies of Play Your Cards Right.
“What do points make?” he’d bark at the studio audience, who would reply in frenzy: “prizes!”. And while old Bruce was referring to his card-based gameshow, he may as well have been talking about Match Action or Team Performance football betting with the bookmakers.
Because points make prizes here too – as long as you accurately predict the number of points that will be ‘earned’ by a team or within a game as a whole.
So what are the Match Action and Team Performance betting markets? And how are the points calculated?
Match Action Betting
First things first, let’s take a look at the match action betting market for a Premier League game.
Each bookmaker that offers this bet type will have their own unique rules for calculating points scored – for now, we’re using William Hill’s system as a guide.
The main match actions are each handed a point score, which is accumulated as more items of note occur, e.g. goals, corners, cards etc. You tally up the points as follows:
- Goal = 10 points
- Corner = 3 points
- Penalty Awarded = 10 points
- Yellow Card = 3 points
- Red Card = 10 points
The job of punters is to predict how many points will be scored in a game, using their predicted figure as the basis for their bet. So, if we think there will be three goals, ten corners and four yellow cards, we use our fingers and toes (or a calculator) to conclude that our fancied points tally will be 72 points.
Some bookmakers offer standard over/under lines when it comes to their match action betting, whereas others have bands of points in which your bet must fall, e.g. under 50 points, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80 and so on.
How are Team Performance Points Calculated?
The team performance betting market is, in essence, the same as match action.
The premise is, at least, because again we’re tallying up the points that an individual team ‘scores’ within a game, before betting on the range we think that will fall.
There’s a couple of differences in the scoring system, however, which you should know about. Again, we’re using the William Hill rules of scoring:
- Goal = 10 points
- Corner = 3 points
- Clean Sheet = 5 points
- Red Card = -10 points
As you can see, a red card shown to your team will seriously undermine their point-scoring efforts, so you should try to avoid those sides that have the propensity for a sending off or two at all costs – unless, of course, you’re backing them to score a low number of points.
To offer a guide as to the sort of points ranges and the odds available for each, here’s how Manchester United were priced up against Fulham:
So if you thought United would score two goals, keep a clean sheet and win five corners, your total points tally would be 40 – which you could back at 27/10.
If you wanted to hedge your bets somewhat, you could back 41-50 points as well at 9/4 – with flat staking, either would secure a profit if they landed.
Where to Bet on Match Action and Team Performance
As mentioned, we have used William Hill’s scoring as our guide for this article – you’ll find match action and team performance betting markets available for many top leagues around the world there.
But other bookmakers have their own take on these bet types. Bet365 offers team performances betting with a slightly different scoring system, while offering three ranges of points (which can effectively be classified as low, medium or high).
Interestingly, the match action and team performance betting markets have taken their inspiration from classic spread betting, which originated the whole ‘points for goals, corners etc’ concept.
So to examine the full range of these bet types, you might to take a look at firms like SpreadEx, who offer odds for match action, team performance and individual categories like goals, corners, cards and so on.
Team Performance Betting Strategy
Generally, as football fans, we love games that have stacks of action in them.
So this is immediately where we are drawn, which in turn might be reflected by our match action and team performance bets. For the former, try and dig out those games where both teams play an open and expansive style of football; hopefully, that will bring plenty of goals and corners, with any cards being shown helping to increase our points tally.
For team performance betting, the most obvious approach is to identify those teams that we expect to win comfortably. That way, we can get a stack of points for their goals, while it’s also worth looking out for teams that a) dominate possession and b) play extensively in wide areas. In these scenarios, we expect our chosen team to win plenty of corners too; again, with the hope that our points tally will be bolstered.
For the cherry on the cake, we’re hoping that our team keeps a clean sheet as well – a welcome boots to our points haul.
So these are games where we expect there to be plenty of action, or where one team will dominate. But what if we anticipate the opposite to happen?
It can be worth betting on the lowest points range for teams we expect to really struggle. If they don’t score or keep a clean sheet, and if they don’t win many corners, then clearly their points tally will be low – naturally, we’d be backing them in the lower points brackets (or in the ‘unders’ if that’s how your bookie operates).
And what about the matches where we’re expecting little in the way of, erm, match action? Again, we want to back the lowest points ranges possible if we think that goals, corners and the like will be thin on the ground.