Expected goals (xgoals)

By now chances are that you have heard about expected goals. They are one of the most accurate metrics for calculating the goals expectancy of the shots taken by any player accordingly using fairly advanced statistical data. Expected goals are used by almost every English Premier League side to help their strikers convert more opportunities into goals and their defenders to improve their way of marking opponents. In order to comprehend how expected goals can be used to improve the chances of winning our betslips, we need to understand how to calculate expected goals and how to apply their stats into successfully betting in football.


What are expected goals?

Probably you’ve all heard a thousand times people complain about how a player lost a seemingly easy shot or how he managed to score a very hard one on the contrary. This frustration could be well justified but yet it can be easily explained. We don’t mean any metaphysical interpretation or something like that, statistics will just do the work. The new trend is called “expected goals” and it is a brand new method for football clubs and other interested parties to understand how a match will unfold.


How does this model work and which factors are taken into account?


First of all, the distance from the goal and the angle of the shot. But as the model has become more and more sophisticated, more and more things are now taken into consideration. If the chance was made through a shot or a header for example. Was it one on one or was it a rebound from a wide angle? How the assist was made (long ball, cross, through ball, pull-back)? Furthermore, if the shot was an open play, a free-kick, a corner kick, the standing position of the player, if he had beaten an opponent and many more


What do expected goals predict and where can this new method help?


The outcome of a match, half or period of play of course. Let’s say you are trying to predict what will happen in a forthcoming match. Normally you might look around for goal stats and any star striker injuries. Through expected goals you similarly try to compute the former expected goals of both teams and try to predict the outcome or if both teams will score, the number of goals that will be scored etc. Another way of use is placing your bets in other special markets, such as corners kicks for example. All you need is to measure the expected goals shots on target from a team and bet on them.


How to calculate expected goals?


Now that we’ve answered what does expected goals mean it’s time to see how to calculate goal expectancy. We have some bad news and some good news. Creating your own xgoals formula is a hard task. Unless you have some programming and statistical knowledge to do all the expected goals maths required and a large database of the league you are interested in you will find your work into expected goals prediction cut out. Luckily thousands of web sites are here to assist you as you take your first steps on how to calculate goal expectancy. The second thing you must take into consideration is that there is a large range of models to calculate the expected goals. Once again you have to decide which is the most suitable for you. For example, apart from the factors we have already mentioned, many models also examine the defensive play of the opponents, weather conditions, if there is unrest in the team, future schedule etc.


How to apply xgoals into football betting?


Now that we have learned all about expected goals, let us see how we can use them to serve our purpose and turn our bets into winning ones. We will need a slightly advanced probability distribution, called the Poisson equation, or Poisson distribution. Mixing expected goals with the Poisson distribution may not act as a crystal ball, but it can give you a pretty good picture of how the forthcoming match is going to evolve. Either in pre-game prediction or for In-Play use of the expected goals ratio could turn into the perfect tool for every bettor. Expected goals form can not only be used in the over-under market but also for corners, cards and pretty much in all special markets. They can be a big help to bettors against bookmakers, especially in pre-game choices when you don’t have a clear picture of the match. In live betting, if you combine them wisely with match stats, such as shots on target, then it is really hard to lose any bet.


Pre-match goal expectancy


Like we briefly mentioned above, the Poisson distribution helps us predict the probability of certain events. What it actually does, is measure the probability of a certain number of events occurring within a certain period of time. The events need to be related to one another. They also need to happen within a known average rate. We can actually apply this model to betting to significantly increase our winning odds. So by knowing the starting eleven of the two opponents and the style of play their managers prefer, you can add the estimated scores and the teams’ goal expectancy and predict with accuracy some very important game factors. You can even predict the final score within a small margin of error, making it ideal for dutching the correct score or predicting the goals difference. The expected goals formula may be used in many ways and bring the desired result to any well-informed bettor.


In-Play Expected goals


It is highly recommended to use the expected goals data for In-Play to maximize your profits from betting, which is pretty much the main goal. As always you pick a match, but this time the most important criterion is the expected goals ratio of each team. So in these terms, you decide to wager on the Premier League league clash between Watford and Southampton. The hosts are trailing 0-1 after 79 minutes but you believe in the Hornets, given that during the season they have a ten goals positive difference and they have already taken many shots at the target. At this time the odds for the over 1.5 goals stand nearly at evens. What do you do? According to the expected goals, you should place this bet. In our example, there are three options. The most obvious and with less risk is the over 1.5 goals where you will get paid even if Southampton breaks away in counter-attack and scores. However, the xgoals tell us that Watford is expected to score so you could pick the Both Teams To Score option or with a little added risk the next goal Watford or even a draw. You should know by now that there is no such thing as a sure bet, but then again you have to see the big picture here. In the long term, the odds are with you and you will have a positive balance in your account. The confirmation percentage will easily surpass 50%. Note that in the major leagues, the statistics are more detailed so the Premier League expected goals is much more solid compared for example to the Spanish Third Division.


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