A popular betting option in soccer is the over/under 2.5 goals scored market. For most it allows them to have an interest in the game, without emotionally investing into the success of one team. It's true to say that most punters who bet on this market do so more out of interest than from a financial perspective. It's to this point that they are missing out on perhaps a sound investment opportunity.
The first thing punters need to have is access to a table that splits Home from Away performance. One of the best is http://www.espnfc.com/barclays-premier-league/23/table as it also allows easy access for prior seasons which help the punter identify trends that happen year after year. Whilst nothing beats current season trends, you need at least 15 games to be played for statistics to be reliable. 1 December onwards offers the best view of the season's trends.
The best starting place is the bottom half of the ladder. Sides down here often have vast differentials in their abilities away from home than they do at home. Norwich illustrates this perfectly. At home they were 6W, 6D, 7Losses, scoring 17 goals, and conceding only 18 for an average of 1.84 goals per match. Away however they were 2W, 3D, 14L scoring only 11 goals whilst conceding a whopping 44 for an average of 2.89 goals per match. The 2012/13 Season was also similar for Norwich. The very easy strategy here would be to take the under 2.5 in Norwich home games (14 of 19 matches), and the over 2.5 in Norwich away games (9/19). The numbers however indicate that taking the overs away from Norwich is not viable as it saluted less than half of the times and relied too heavily on their opponents scoring blowout wins against them.
Another strategy is to look at the teams from the previous year who had the highest goal totals in their home games (both teams combined), and then looking for the team with the lowest differential, suggesting that an open style of football is played where goals can be scored equally by both the home team and the visitors. Last year, ruling out the top 2 sides Man City and Liverpool who proved too dominant, we see 15th placed Swansea's home fixtures producing 59 goals from 19 games or 3.1 goals per match with only a 7 goal differential between home and away. The over 2.5 goals got up in 13 of 19 matches so would have returned a handy profit, meaning that on average, the odds for overs needed to only be $1.50 for you to turn a profit over the season
In both the Norwich and Swansea scenario's above, you may have been able to further improve those percentages by taking the statistical performances of their opposition in any given game in to account.
If you had put $10 each week on both unders in Norwich Homes, and overs in Swansea Homes, you'd have placed a total of 38 bets for 27 wins, a strike rate of over 70% and a solid profit.
Of course, it's not just the 2.5 goal line you can bet on. If the stats say there should be over 2.5 goals in a game, why not think about taking the over 1.5 goal option for lower risk. Conversely, if you think there will be under 2.5 goals in a game, consider taking the under 3.5 option for some extra insurance
betfair-free-bet offers live betting on the Over / Under 2.5 goals options and charges a lower commission rate than Betfair, and doesn't charge long term winners a premium charge like their opposition. With odds over and above what sportsbook companies are offering it's a win/win situation for punters at Betfair