A guide to betting on different football leagues
When building a football accumulator, bettors are often limited by their knowledge of the wide number of different leagues available.
Those based in England may have a solid understanding of factors like home advantage and how many goals tend to be scored in the Premier League but not how these influence games in other countries.
To help punters to place bets with more confidence, we’ve identified a range of leagues around the world that are of particular interest for popular types of bet, based on results over the last five years from October 2016 to the end of September 2021.
Which leagues see the most goals scored?
Having a handle on the average number of goals scored per game is fundamental to success in many popular betting markets and it does vary quite a bit by league.
The Dutch Eredivisie is the standout league for goalscoring, with 3.2 goals per game over the last five years, with the Swiss, Chinese and German top flights also registering more than three on average.
If you’re betting against goals being scored, then beware of the Spanish second tier and the Greek Super League, where the average is below 2.3 per game and one match in every nine finishes goalless.
The Brazilian and Russian top divisions also tend to see fewer goals than most so are unlikely to be of much use for an over 2.5 goals coupon.
In which leagues is home advantage the biggest factor?
With crowds now returning to stadiums as Covid restrictions are lifted, home advantage is once more becoming a factor that can’t be ignored.
The vast distances that teams have to cover in the MLS means that more than half of matches are won by the home team: a significantly higher share than elsewhere.
Meanwhile, in another far-flung league – the South Korean top flight – there is barely any home advantage to speak of. Fewer than four in every 10 games in the K League are won by the hosts.
Closer to home, the Scottish Championship has also seen one of the smallest proportions of home wins in recent years.
Which leagues see both teams score most often?
One of the most popular bets is ‘both teams to score’, with punters able to either back or oppose this outcome for an individual match.
It lands most often in the Swiss and Australian top divisions, where more than three games in every five end with both teams having found the net and it’s also surprisingly common in the MLS despite the aforementioned extent of home advantage.
Among the goal-shy leagues, it’s the Greek Super League which has the lowest share of matches that end without a ‘nil’ in the scoreline.
Barely more than two in every five games involving Greek sides have seen both of them score.
In which leagues are goals scored earliest?
While the number of goals for each team are ultimately what decide a match, the timing of the goals is also of interest to bettors.
In some leagues the action tends to start quickly, with the Portuguese and Scottish top divisions seeing a particularly high share of goals – over 45% – scored before half-time.
Second-half goals will always be more common – not least because of the larger amount of time that tends to be added – and this is especially true in some of the larger Asian leagues.
In South Korea and Japan, around six in every 10 top flight goals are scored after the interval, with the Austrian Bundesliga the closest to this figure in Europe.
We can also look at leagues which see a lot of very early goals; specifically those scored in the first 10 minutes of a match.
In both the German and Austrian Bundesliga, a goal is netted this early around once in every four matches.
Three of the other four major European top flights – those of Italy, France and Spain – are much slower to get going, with more than five matches passing on average for every early goal scored.
Every bettor knows the pain of a last minute coupon-busting goal and Asian football sees plenty of dramatic finishes.
The top divisions in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and South Korea all witness a goal scored in the 90th minute or later more often than once every four matches.
Several leagues closer to home see far less action in the dying moments, with late goals in relatively limited supply in the EFL and the top two divisions of Scottish football.
What is the most common scoreline?
For most leagues over the last five years the most common individual scoreline is 1-1 but there are a few out there that break the pattern.
When people think of Brazilian football, they often think of flair and excitement but in recent years it has been more reminiscent of George Graham’s Arsenal with a 1-0 home victory the most common scoreline.
The same is true of the top flights in Greece, Russia, Japan and Portugal.
In higher-scoring leagues like the MLS, it should not come as too much of a surprise that the most common scoreline contains more than two goals.
Along with the Chinese Super League, matches are more likely to end in a 2-1 win than a 1-1 stalemate.
Which leagues’ matches are the most one-sided?
Betting on the margin of victory is a common way to lengthen the odds available but this is something else that varies significantly by league.
The regular goal-fests in the Dutch top flight are not particularly close affairs, with more than 45% of them ending with at least a two-goal margin of victory.
Austria and Germany witness a similar proportion of convincing wins, as does the English Premier League.
With fewer goals to go around, it is unsurprising to see the likes of the Spanish second division at the opposite end of the scale with just 27 per cent of matches settled by more than one goal.
What is more eye-opening is how few matches in the English second tier end in a big win compared to the division above: fewer than one in three.
In which leagues do players score multiple goals most often?
We finish by moving the focus away from clubs and on to players; specifically goalscorers.
When a player is in good goalscoring form it is tempting to back him to find the net more than once but how often does that actually happen?
In China the answer is that almost one match in every three will see a player score multiple times.
In Europe it is the top divisions of Holland, Germany and Denmark that see the most braces, hat-tricks and the like.
However, be careful of these kinds of bets in lower-scoring leagues: the Brazilian top flight in particular sees a player net more than once only around half as regularly as they do in China.