Trading Over 2.5 goals market – intro

In this part of our football trading strategy series we will discuss how to trade over 2.5 goals. Actually, it is the second most popular market on Betfair Exchanges after Full-time Result. It means it comes with good liquidity, so you won’t have issues with placing your bets pre-match or live. If you are not trading, rather betting, this article can be still useful. 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.

What does over 2.5 goals mean?

If you’re not familiar with this term, it means there will be at least 3 goals on the match. Be careful, as any goals scored in extra time, won’t count. Under / Over markets take into consideration the goals scored in 90 minutes and the added time.

The average match from over 2.5 goals perspective

First of all, we need to answer a few questions. In order to be able to make accurate predictions for over 2.5 goals, we need to know how does an average match looks like. So, let’s take a look at our database which includes more than 50 000 games!

On average, there are 2.65 goals in a football match. If you consider only the top 5 leagues, the average is 2.75 goals. Can you see how close it is to our 2.5 line? That’s why it is such a popular betting option: it’s very close to a coin flip.

How often a football match ends with over 2.5 goals?

On average, there are at least 3 goals on a football match in 49% of the time. Did we say earlier it’s close to a coin flip?

Are more goals scored in the first or second half?

There are more goals in the 2nd half. To be exact,  56% of goals are being scored in the second half.

under/over 2.5 goals chart
1st half / 2nd half goal distribution

Time decay effect on over 2.5 goals

If you can recall our previous article about football trading, we mentioned the effect of time decay. Basically, this is one of the most important factor in odds movement. Obviously, it is something you must take into consideration with your over 2.5 goals bets too.

In this section we will analyse the success % of over 2.5 goals bets in different game situations. We will check what happens if the game has 0, 1 or 2 goals in the 15th, 30th, 45th, 60th and 75th minute. It’s important to note that these numbers reflect how an average football match looks like.

0 Goal scored

Obviously, this is the worst case scenario. Look at the graph below. The average game goes over 2.5 goals in 49% of the times, remember? Now if there is no goal in the first 15 minutes, it drops to 39%. If there is no goal by halftime, you have only 16.9% chance to succeed with your bet.

over 2.5 goals by time decay 0 goal

1 Goal scored

This looks a lot better. If there is an early goal, it will significantly increase your chance to win. Also, if there is one goal before the halftime, you still have 45% chance to win your bet. On the other hand, you definitely need an early goal in the second half. All in all, the earlier the first goal comes, the better.

over 2.5 goals by time decay 1 goal

2 Goals scored

If there are two goals at pretty much any point of the football match, you have very high chance to win. If there are two goals by halftime, you’ll go to the cashier almost 80% of the time! Even if there are two goals by the 75th minute, you can expect a payout almost in 50% of the time.

over 2.5 goals by time decay 2 goals

Key takeaways from time decay effect

In short: you need an early goal. The thing is, if you compare the 0 Goal and the 1 Goal charts, you can see that a first half goal is a must. If there is one goal scored by halftime, you’re in a fairly good position. In this case, we need to highlight the importance of an early first half goal. If there is one goal at halftime, and it stays until the 60th minute, you have 29% to win your bet. On the other hand, if there are at least two goals by the 60th minute, that 29% increase to 67%. That’s huge!

Last, but not least, if you get 2 goals at any point of the match, you rarely will need to manage your position. The chance for a 3rd goal is so high, that you can even let your trade run.

Do you need goals from both teams?

This is a very good question. Logic says yes. Except 1-1, every single BTTS scoreline mean your over 2.5 bet won. On the other hand, if there is only one team that scores, you’ll need 3 goals from them.

Numbers are backing our theory. Out of those football matches, where over 2.5 goals bets were winners, almost 80% finished with a BTTS scoreline.

over 2.5 goals vs btts

Over 2.5 goals with insurance

This is a fairly popular concept. Many traders are placing bets on the correct score market to cover a few outcomes. Overall, you can do that, but if you think there is value in over 2.5 goals, there is no reason to cover your bet. In case you want to place insurance bets, let’s take a look at the most popular non-over results!

From the previous sections it is clear that if you expect over 2.5 goals, you expect both teams to score. Luckily, 1-1 scoreline is responsible for 24% of those matches, that finished with under 2.5. Other than that, 1-0 is also above 20%, but the rest of the scorelines are around 15% probability.

under 25 correct scores

Which stats to use to predict over 2.5 goals?

There we go. By now we know how the average football match looks like from over 2.5 goals perspective. So, let’s put this together and find out how to predict over 2.5. First of all, let’s see which football stats to use.

Over 2.5 Goals %

This will be our primary one. We want to find football matches where two teams meet with high over 2.5 goals percentage. Always use the league average to compare to, that’s a really good benchmark.


As we discussed earlier, if a game goes over 2.5 goals, 80% of the time both teams will score. So, let’s use this stat! If you want to place an insurance bet, it will be useful too. If BTTS % are lower, you should look for other scores than 1-1 to cover your bet.

Goals between 0-15 and 0-30 minutes

We’ve discussed this one too. An early goal can significantly increase your chance to win your over 2.5 goals bet. Look for teams who prefer to score early, and you’ll see an increase in your winrate.

Team scored / conceded %

This one is also important. You’ll need to look for fixtures where both teams are capable not only to score, but concede. Make sure you avoid games where two teams are playing against each other that are better in conceding than scoring.

HT over 1.5 %

This is a sneaky one. You have seen that 2 goals at any point of the match will result a good win rate. If you can spot teams that have better than average over 1.5 FHG %, you can significantly increase your chances.

Hull-Barnsley prematch statistics

The best spots to trade over 2.5 goals in play

Of course, you don’t need to stick to pre-match betting when it comes to under/over markets. There are different scenarios too. You can wait a bit, and place the over 2.5 bet after the kick-off, at a higher price. You can also wait for the first or the second goal, and pull the trigger even later. Let’s analyze these scenarios!

0-0 Early in the game

If you’ve managed to find a game that you are confident it will finish with at least 3 goals, you can still decide to wait. There could be multiple reasons for this, including you want a better price, or simply you’ want to take a look at the match before you put your stake on over. Most of the time you want to take this approach, when you don’t expect an early goal. As we said, early goals are crucial to succeed, but it doesn’t mean you can’t wait 10-15 minutes to enter. When you identify a fixture, where you don’t expect a goal in the first 15 minutes, just wait. By doing so, you have the advantage of being able to take a look at the game, and of course, you’ll get a better price.

If you prefer this option, use this checklist:

  • Look for fixtures where you’re happy with all the pre-match stats, but early goals are not likely.
  • Identify those fixtures where the likelihood of scoring first half goals is still high, even if it’s 0-0 in the 20th minute
  • Look for teams with high over 2.5% when the score is 0-0 in the 15th or in the 20th minute.

Luckily, all these situational statistics are available in Goalstatistics Daily Football Stats. Here is a screenshot of all the situational stats we have available for the 1st half:

First half goal stats for Lille-Lyon

1 Goal at halftime

If there is a goal in the first half, you’ll get a good odds at halftime for over 2.5 goals. If you want to enter earlier, you’ll need to pay the price, as the odds will be significantly lower. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong in waiting until this point. The thing is, you’ve seen one half of football, and you know who is leading. It’s important to have this info, as teams are behaving differently in certain situations. Some teams will play more open than other, and some teams will keep pushing even when they have the lead.

Here is your checklist for this spot:

  • Take into consideration the scoreline. Always use situational stats, e.g: what happens if home/away team has the lead.
  • Look for early goals. We discussed this many times, early goals are king. Make sure you always check goal stats between halftime and 60th minute.
  • Look for fixtures with high 2+ goals % in this spot.
  • Identify teams that are capable to score and concede in this spot.

Again, here is a screenshot of the Goalstatistics Daily Football Stats to highlight the importance of situational stats:

konyaspor-fenerbahce halftime stats

1 Goal at the 60th minute

Okay, this is a tricky one. If there is only 1 goal by the 60th minute, you’ll get extremely high odds. You can expect the price to be around 3.00, sometimes even higher. This is definitely a low risk, high reward spot. If you check back to the previous charts, you’ll find out what’s the primary thing to look for. An early goal. If you enter at the 60th minute with 1 goal scored already, on average you’ll win 29% of the time. If the second goal is scored by the 75th minute, your chance to win will jump to 49%. That’s a huge difference, not to mention that an early goal will give you an easy trade to manage.

So, here is your checklist:

  • Check the spot. Have these teams produced 2+ goals frequently in this situation?
  • Look for teams that produced early goals in this spot, by the 75th minute.
  • Watch the game, or at least check the live stats. Is there enough action to place your bets?

Just as before, here is a screenshot of the Goalstatistics Football Stats:

Lille-Lyon 60th min statistics

2 Goals by the 75th minute

This is the easiest spot in our opinion. You need only one goal in a situation where almost 50% of the games goes over. At this point, the odds will be very close to 2.00, but many times it will be already higher. At this spot, we advise to take into consideration further stats. If the score is 2-0 or 0-2, utilize the “Low Leverage” situational stats. It includes all the games, where the goal difference was at least two between the teams. Why is it so important? Just as we said earlier, teams do behave differently in certain situations. Some teams are producing garbage time goals, some others just chew the clock. Last, but not least check how many goals were scored in the second half already. It’s quite important… As we said earlier, if there is no goal by the halftime, we can’t really expect games to go over 2.5. Therefore, always check the x goals scored between HT and 75th minute stats.

Finally, here is your checklist:

  • Look for teams that are producing late goals at a high percentage in the current situation.
  • Check the scored/conceded percentages. Try to avoid teams with strong defense or weak offense.
  • Take a look at the leverage stats
  • Check what happened in the second half so far, compare them to 0/1 goal stats in the second half.
  • Watch the game, or at least check the live stats. If there is not enough action, it’s a no bet.

Here is a screenshot of the stats we are using in this spot:

A trade in action

Now that we have gone through all the theoretical stuff, let’s take a look at a trade in action. On the 10th of March Eibar hosted Real Sociedad in the Spanish Primera División. The first half brought two penalties, but only Sociedad managed to score.

Here are the stats for the away lead spot:

As you can see, both teams had a few games in this situation. Seemingly, both teams are capable to score, but to concede too. The was only one red flag, early goals on Eibar’s home games. The odds on over 2.5 goals was already 2.60. From the stats you can also see that Sociedad scored more often in this spot than Eibar, so we decided to take an insurance on 0-2. The odds on correct score was 5.10.

The game brought a few shots, but the second goal came only in the 75th minute, from Sociedad – as expected. At this point we had nothing to lose due to our insurance bet. As the goal was a bit late, and the leverage was low, we decided to reduce our liability on over 2.5 bet. By doing so, no matter what, we made some money.

In the end, Eibar managed to score one, but only in the 90th minute. We also ended up with approximately 0.5pt profit. It could have been more, but we decided to take the conservative approach.

Eibar-Sociedad bets


After reading this article, hopefully you’ve learnt something new. We have tried to highlight how important to see the big picture and not to focus on one single stat. When it comes to live betting on over 2.5 goals, you must take into consideration situational stats. If you want to take advantage from the Goalstatistics Daily Football Data Sheets, register here.

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