First Half Goal Stats & Strategy Intro

In this episode of our football trading strategy section, we will take a look at our first-half goal stats. After that, we will discuss how to build a strategy on those. And last, but not least we will analyze some first-half stats related data. 

All the football stats we will mention later are available at Goalstatistics, as we cover more than 800 data points per match from more than 120 leagues across the world. If you’re interested in the stats, click here.

First Half Betting Markets In General

First of all, we would like to introduce you to the main first half betting markets. If you look at Betfair (or pretty much any other exchanges or bookmakers), you’ll realize the main markets are:

  • Under / Over 0.5 First Half Goals
  • Under / Over 1.5 First Half Goals
  • Halftime Result

Now, let’s see each market one by one!

Under / Over 0.5 First Half Goals

In general, the KO price for over 0.5 first-half goals will be somewhere between 1.30-1.50. This is way too low to do something with it before the kick-off. On the other hand, this is the perfect market to bet on first-half goals in-play. Usually, the liquidity is acceptable, and the odds will increase fairly quickly.

Under / Over 1.5 First Half Goals

If you expect lots of goals, this market will give you a low risk / high reward opportunities. Usually, the odds on first-half over 1.5 goals is between 2.50 and 4.00. If we said it is better to play over 0.5 first-half goals in play, it is better to place your bets on over 1.5 FHG before the kickoff. The thing is, 2 or more goals in the first half are more frequent you’d think. On the other hand, most of the times you’ll need an early goal in order to succeed with your bet.

Halftime Result

This market is our +1 here. This article is more about betting on first-half under/over, but the truth is this is a good one to keep in mind. Most of the time (unless there is a huge favorite) the draw will be the outcome with the lowest odds. As a football game starts at 0-0, and this market will settle after 45 minutes, the odds of the draw must be lower. All in all, we wanted to mention the halftime 1×2 market, as sometimes it is better to pick the team that will score in the first half, rather than simply go for over 0.5.

First Half Goal Stats – The Basics

The basic first-half goal stats are like how often the first half ends with over 0.5 or 1.5 goals, or how often a team leads at halftime. On the other hand, it is good to know when do goals come, so it’s advised to check goal distribution stats in 10 or 15 minutes breakdown.

Now, let’s answer a couple of questions. We always say, Goalstatistics is the home of data-driven football trading, so it’s time to look at our database which contains more than 50 000 games! 

How Often Is a Goal Scored In the First Half?

The answer is 68.39%. It means that 31.61% of the football matches were 0-0 at halftime. On the other hand, it is important to note that you’ll see 2 or more goals in the first half more often than 0!

When Are Goals Scored In the First Half?

The 15 minutes split chart shows us that we can expect a lot more goals later in the first half than in the first 15 minutes! Comparing the last with the first 15 minutes, the number of goals is 1.5 times more frequent. That’s huge!

What’s the Most Frequent Result At Halftime?

Most often, the first half ends with a draw. No surprise here, we discussed this earlier. On the other hand, after checking this graph, you’ll think twice before you bet on the away team to take the lead before the break!

number of first half goals chart
first half goal stats - distribution chart
first half 1x2 results chart

First Half Goal Stats – The Advanced Stuff

Now that we know how the average first-half looks from a statistical point of view, let’s check the advanced first-half goal stats. The Goalstatistics daily football data sheets are broken down into sections. There are 3 which we dedicated to trading the first half.

In general, we break down the stats for different game situations. Why? Because using pre-match stats for your live trades is simply a mistake. Here is an example! You see that Team A’s games produced at least one first-half goal in 90% of the time. This is something everyone knows, as you can check it anywhere. As everyone expects a first-half goal in this match, the starting odds on over 0.5 is way too low. You need to wait for better odds. We are at the 20th minute, it’s 0-0, and the odds on over is still only 1.65

Stop here and ask yourself a question? Would you take it or not? The vast majority will take it. Smart traders will check how many games of Team A was 0-0 at the 20th minute, and check how many of these games finished with over 0.5 goals at halftime. These stats are only available at Goalstatistics! If you know that 80% of Team A’s games went over 0.5 by halftime when the score was 0-0 at halftime, you can easily take this bet. If Team A tends to score early goals and struggle towards the end of the first half, it’s better to skip.

How we break down our stats:

  • 15th Minute 0-0
  • 20th Minute 0-0
  • 30th Minute 0-0

Now, let’s see why is it important!

How Time Decay Affects First-Half Over 0.5 Goals Chance?

As you can see, the average football match where the score is 0-0 at the 20th minute goes over 0.5 by halftime less than 50%. Even if you enter in the 15th minute, on average you’ll win only 55% of the time. 

How Time Decay Affects First-Half Over 1.5 Goals Chance?

If you want to succeed with your first half over 1.5 goals bet, you’ll need an early goal. With a scoreless 15 minute your chance to win drops to 19%. No surprise here, we discussed this in the previous sections.

How Time Decay Affects First-Half Result?

If the score is 0-0, the probability of draw increase significantly, of course. On the other hand, the away lead probability gets a lot closer to the home one. This is because of the short time left from the first half.

First half goal stats - over 0.5 by time decay chart
First half goal stats - over 1.5 by time decay chart
halftime result by time decay chart

Betting On First-Half Goals – Which Stats To Use?

Now, that we know pretty much everything about first-half goals, it’s time to discuss how to weigh the available stats. This is very important, as there is a correlation between them, and they can make or break a bet.

The stats we will take into consideration:

  • HT Over 0.5 goals
  • Under / Over 1.5 goals
  • Teams scored/conceded in first half
  • Halftime results
  • 1st goal scored/conceded
  • Goal distribution

Let’s go through them one by one!

HT Over 0.5 Goals

This one is quite obvious, right? Yes, this will be our main stat to use when we trade the first half in play on Betfair. The higher the better, but it is always a good idea to compare it to the league average. Of course, league average stats are available in the Goalstatistics Daily Football Data Sheets.

HT Over 1.5 Goals

This is a stat we rarely use for trading over 0.5 first-half goals. It’s not a bad signal if the over 1.5 % is high, but you need at least two goals only if you bet on over 1.5 goals. If you bet prematch on this market, this is a must!

Teams Scored/Conceded In the First Half

Actually, this is one of the most underrated first-half goal stats. We don’t think too many Betfair traders are using it. The thing is, you always need to check this. It is possible that the over 0.5 first-half goals are looking good, but in some cases, two teams are playing against each other, which tends to score, but they don’t really concede. On the other hand, you’ll find games, where both teams are capable to score and concede.

Halftime Results

This is something we always check, just in case, it is possible to combine markets. If you can see the home team is winning halftime at a high percentage, and they tend to score, but don’t really concede, you can enter halftime result and first-half goal markets at the same time. In this case, you’ll need to split your stake, but your return will be higher.

1st Goal Scored/Conceded

This is a very marginal stat, but you can utilize it. It is something that takes into consideration the whole game, but still useful. The higher the first half over 0.5 %, the more significant this stat could be. This is because high FHG over 0.5% means that the first goal is being scored in the first half most of the time. We only use it if we want to bet on first-half results, it has nothing to do with first-half goals markets.

Goal Distribution

It’s important to note that this is a generic stat in our sheets. It means that it takes into consideration every game situation, not only 0-0s. It is always important to see how the goals are distributed in certain periods. Sometimes, you can spot a very high scoring period, which is really useful when you have an exit plan in place.

Alright, here is an example below from our stats. Please note that we only show results from home games for the home team and away games for the away team. You can also see a breakdown between the past calendar year and season to date. By having this split in place, you can easily identify trends.

Lille-Lyon prematch statistics
First half goal stats for Lille-Lyon

Building Your First-Half Goals Strategy

Here we go, let’s see how can you attack the first half goal markets on the betting exchanges! We will show two examples, one for betting on over and one for scalping the under.

Betting On Over 0.5 First-Half Goals

First of all, study the odds. It’s very important to take into consideration the odds of over 0.5 by the kickoff time. If it is too low, you’ll need to wait for more for a good price. Based on the kick-off price, do you expect a steady increase or a slow one?

As we already discussed, look for a match with two teams who have high FHG over 0.5%! If you have it, take a look at the rest of the first half goal stats. Make sure you understand who is likely to score and who is likely to concede. Use all the information you have available. For example, if you expect goals from the home team, but their top striker will miss the game, be careful.

Make sure you always check the league average for each first-half goals related stats. It’s a really good benchmark!

Investigate the halftime results. If you can predict who will score first with high confidence, you can split your stake between the markets. If you do so, simply place a bet on over 0.5 first-half goals and the winner of the first half.

In the next step, plan your entry point. If you have studied the odds, you can predict it’s movement. If you know it will never reach your target odds in time, simply skip it. In case you know it will grow to an acceptable level by the 15th minute, take it early. This is really important when you enter games with a low total line for full time. Don’t forget, the less time elapsed, the better chance you have for a winning bet. Do you remember our time decay graphs? Cool. If you see high FHG over 0.5% when you look at the 30th minute 0-0 stats, simply wait for it.

You can also plan an exit point. For example, if you can see a team that scores a lot between the 15th and the 30th minute, but the stats show they are unlikely to produce a goal in the last 15 minutes, enter only for a short time and exit at a certain point.

Last, but not least: follow the game. If you can’t see what you were waiting for, simply skip and proceed to the next match. This is really important. Don’t forget, there are hundreds of games to trade.

Scalping Under 0.5 First Half Goals

To start with: over is not your only option. The thing is, most of the traders will put their money on over. Just because it is easier to cheer for a goal, than against it. If you can see value in under, don’t be shy to jump on it. The thing is, goals are rare in football, so you need to be very confident when betting on the over.

When you say scalping, you want to bet on under and exit with a certain target profit. You can do it incrementally too, and you can also enter the markets multiple times.

For this strategy, you’ll need to identify a certain time period, where goals are less likely. You’ll need to look for teams with stats below the league average. If you managed to find a game with the ideal first-half goal stats, try to find the best entry point.

Ideally, you want to enter fairly early, somewhere between the 15th and 20th minutes. It is because the odds of under 0.5 will be very low later, so the odds will move slower in your favor.

One very important thing is you want to bet on a market with good liquidity. You’ll want to exit quickly, so you want to get your bet matched fast.

Make sure you always have a target profit. If you do so, you make your life easier. When odds move into your favor, it is really appealing to stay in the game, but you shouldn’t.

Finally, watch the game. Only trade if you can see what you’ve expected from the match. Of course, if the tempo of the match changed suddenly, you can always exit before you reach your target profit.

A Trade In Action

At the end of this article, we want to show you an example. If you scroll back, you can see the stats for a game between Lille and Lyon. We published a trading plan for that match, which we have followed. You can read our analysis for the first half below:

First of all, if you like the over 2.5 option, you can jump on it around the 20th minute if it’s still 0-0. The thing is, these teams are performing very well, above the league average. Thanks to the expected high starting price, this could be a low or lower risk / high reward trade. When you decide whether to enter or not, you’ll need to focus on Lyon. If they play well, creating opportunities, this will be a good entry point. If not, then simply skip. Other than that, you can expect a first half goal, as even it is 0-0 at the 20th minute, Lille’s home games have seen a goal by halftime in 78% of the time. Lyon’s away stats are even better with 86% percent. The only red flag here is that Lille conceded only once out of 9 times. Therefore, if Lille will push for the lead, you can also think about the halftime home lead. The thing is that Lille scored 67% of the time at home in this situation, while Lyon conceded at least one goal by the halftime in 71% of the time.

What happened? The game was 0-0 for a while and Lille was more dangerous. The odds were quite high early, so in the 19th minute, we jumped on first half over 0.5 goals and Lille to lead at halftime. Lille has scored in the 33rd minute, so everything went according to the plan.

lille lyon first half over 05 bet
lille lyon first half winner


If you get to this point, thank you. We hope you have learned something new that you can utilize in your trades. First half markets are a bit tricky, as most of the times you bet on just 15-30 minutes of the game. Good thing is if you use the right resources and plan your trade, you have a good chance to succeed on the markets.

Don’t forget, our stats are available for our members – if you like it, register now.

first half goal stats and strategy
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