Expected Goals Stats and Football Betting

Expected Goals infographic



You may have heard of expected goals (sometimes known or written as xG) and wondered exactly what it is. Or you may have a good understanding of xG but never fully considered how it could aid in your football betting.

Either way, read on as we attempt to shed more light on this stat which is as loved by football data analysts as it is revered by (some) pundits!

Expected Goals Explained

Expected goals is a measure calculating a value between 0 and 1, and is based on whether the shot taking place will result in a goal or not. 0 means there is no chance of a goal being scored, while 1 implies a certain chance of the goal being scored.

There are many different factors and historical data used to determine the calculation, which are shown in more detail below. What the data allows us to do is work out how many goals a particular team should have scored in a game based on the chances they had. You can use this to work out if they have been unlucky, or whether they were beaten fair and square because they didn’t create enough chances.

Expected goals data can also be used to form an expected point stat too, which is the expected number of points a team should have won throughout the season based on the number of goals they should have scored. Calculations are made based on goals for and against, with that then being used to work out how many games won that would have given them.

Expected Goals - MOTD


What is the Calculation for Expected Goals?

Here are the six main components that are used to determine what the XG figure is for a shot on goal:

  1. Body part – was the shot taken with the player’s strong foot, their weak foot, a header or something else?
  2. The passage of play – Is the shot taken from open play or is this a set-piece situation?
  3. The distance from goal – Is the shot from close range or far out? Generally speaking, players are more likely to score the closer they are to the goal
  4. Angle from goal – Is the player directly in front of goal, towards the side or from a very tight angle. The tighter the angle, the more difficult the shot will be and the less chance of scoring there is
  5. How was the chance created – Is the shot from a through ball where the player is going in on goal, a cross into the box, a deflection, or something else?
  6. The actual shot – Is this a clean chance, a rebound, has the player beaten a man before shooting?

These are just the basics of the XG model, some companies who work these out go a lot more into detail, including what the defensive side of play looks like. This includes judgment on the goalkeeper, if players are close by to block or out of position and much more.

As you can see, the methodology behind this is very complex, but everything that has been listed above makes sense. A shot from the strong foot in open play, close to goal, directly in front of goal that is a clean chance has more chance of going in than many other shot types.

How to Use Expected Goals When Football Betting

XG data gives you a better look at recent games than the score line alone, and this is how you can use it to help when betting.

Example:

Manchester United have taken 1 point from their last three games.

This would be deemed as a bad run of form for them, and because of that, the bookmakers have priced them up at a bigger price than normal to win their next game.

The XG data shows that they have comfortably been better than their opponents in their last three games. This tells you that they are not playing poorly, but have been unlucky and are still playing well despite getting just one point.

From this data you would take that Manchester United are a value bet because of their price, the data suggests they are playing as well now as they have at any time, regardless of the points they have picked up.

You should only use XG data as a guideline to show how teams have been performing but if this matches what you believe will happen in a game then it adds additional strength to your selection.

Something else to look out for is teams creating chances when you are betting on the total number of goals. If the XG stats point to them creating many good chances, a higher number of goals in their games is more likely. Those creating poor quality chances, even if they are having a lot of shots on target, are less likely to score, and can be used to bet ‘under’ on the goals line.

That's it, in a nutshell, so next time you see the xG stat flash up after each game on Match of the Day, it should make more sense and can even be considered in your future betting strategies.


You might also be interested in:

How to bet on Football

Things to know when placing Football Accumulator bets

Top 20 Betting Offers

Betfred
Betfred
Bet £10 and get £50 in BonusesClaim Offer

New customers only. Register (excl. 13/04/24) with WELCOME50. First bet £10+ at Evens (2.0)+ on Sports within 7 days to get Free Bets: £20 In-Play, £20 Acca & 50 x £0.20 (£10) Free Spins on Fishin’ Frenzy within 10 hours of settlement. 7-day expiry. Eligibility & payment exclusions apply. Full T&Cs apply.

Copybet
Copybet
Bet £10, Get £50 in Free BetsClaim Offer

Full T&Cs apply. New UK customers only. The qualifying bet should be either a single or multiple bet, start at £10, and have 1.9 or greater odds. 5 Free bets include: 1 x £10 Free bet on horse racing, 1 x £10 Free bet on football, 2 x 10 Free bet in-play, 1 x £10 Free bet Acca. Max payout – £500. 7 day expiry. 18+ only. BeGambleAware.org.

William Hill
William Hill
Bet £10, Get £40 in Free BetsClaim Offer

18+. Play Safe. From 00:01 on 18.10.2022. £40 bonus. New customers only. Minimum £10 stake on odds of 1/2 (1.5) or greater on sportsbook (excluding Virtual markets). Further terms apply. #ad

Virgin Bet
Virgin Bet
Bet £10, Get £20 in Free betsClaim Offer
£10 min deposit. First bet mins odds 1.5 placed within 14 days of sign-up. 2 x £10 in Free Bets: valid for 7 days, free bet stakes not returned. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org. 18+ T&Cs apply.
talkSPORT BET
talkSPORT BET
Get up to £40 in football free betsClaim Offer

18+ New customers only. Opt in & bet via mobile up to £40 (min. £20) on any football market at odds of 2.00+, in 7 days. Get up to £40 in free bets on selected markets. Bonuses expire in 7 days. Card payments & Apple Pay only. T&Cs apply. begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly.

Bzeebet
Bzeebet
Bet £10, Get a £10 Free BetClaim Offer

18+. New Customers Only. Max one £10 Free Bet. Qualifying bets at Odds of 1/1 or greater. Paid as Bonus Token Min 4/5 Odds Req. Skrill, Neteller, Paypal not eligible. T&Cs Apply

LiveScore Bet
LiveScore Bet
Bet £10, Get £20 in Free BetsClaim Offer

*New members. £10 min bet on sportsbook (ex. virtual) 1.5 min odds, settled in 14 days of sign-up. Free Bets: accept in 7 days, valid 7 days on sportsbook (ex. virtual). Stake not returned. Full Terms apply. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org. 18+

FafaBet
FafaBet
Sports Offer - Free Bet up to £50 + 20 Casino BonusClaim Offer

New Customers only. Deposit and bet on any Sportsbook Markets with min odds of 2.0. Get 50% Back of your first days' losses as a Free bet up to £50+£20 Casino Bonus.

Coral
Coral
Bet £5 Get £20 in Free BetsClaim Offer

18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Min first 5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 1 x 20 free bet. Stake not returned. Free bets expire in 7 days. Full T&Cs apply.

BetMGM
BetMGM
Bet £10, Get £40 in BonusesClaim Offer

New cust only. 7 days to opt in by placing a £10 qualifying bet at 1/1 (2.0) odds or greater, to receive 4 x free bets. 1 x £10 Horse racing, 1 x £10 Free Bet Builder, 1 x £10 Acca and 1 x £10 Football. 7 day expiry. Exclusions apply. Stake not returned. T&Cs apply.

32Red
32Red
150% Casino Bonus up to £150!Claim Offer
18+. BeGambleAware.org. New accounts only. Min. £10 deposit, debit card only. Up to 50x wagering, game contributions vary, max. stake applies, 7 day expiry. See full terms. #AD
Ladbrokes
Ladbrokes
Bet £5 Get £20 in Free BetsClaim Offer

18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 to get 4x £5 free bets. Stake not returned. Restrictions + Free bet T&Cs apply.

Bet365
Bet365
Bet £10, Get £30 in Free BetsClaim Offer

Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. Registration required

BetVictor
BetVictor
Bet £10 Get £30Claim Offer

18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £10 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days, no cashout. Get 6x £5 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. 7 day bonus expiry. Debit Card / Apple Pay payments only. Click for T&Cs. Please Gamble Responsibly.

SBK
SBK
Bet £10, Get £30 in Free BetsClaim Offer

Place a bet of £10 at min odds of 1.5 and get £10 upon settlement. Further £10 Multiple token will be credited after 24 hours and a further £5 Horse Racing Multiple token and a £5 Football Bet Builder token will be credited after 48 hours. Full T&Cs apply.18+. BeGambleAware.org.

NetBet
NetBet
Bet £5 Get £10Claim Offer

New Customers, deposit and place a qualifying bet with bet builder, min stake £5, min odds 3/1 (4.0). Receive a £10 free bet, valid for 7 days. Full Terms apply, 18+ begambleaware.

BetZone
BetZone
Up to £60 in Free Sports BetsClaim Offer

Promo Code: NEWWELCOME60. For NEW UK customers only, deposit using UK debit card, and certain qualifying bets of Evens or greater. Terms apply 18+

Bresbet
Bresbet
50% Bonus up to £25Claim Offer

T&Cs apply. 18+ New customers only. You must place 3 x £10 sportsbook bets to qualify. Money back as free bets up to £25. Must use code welcome25afs when creating an account.

SportingIndex
SportingIndex
Bet £10 Get £20Claim Offer

New customers place a £10 fixed odds bet at minimum odds of 1/2. Get 2 x £10 free fixed odds bets. 18+ begambleaware

BetGrouse
BetGrouse
Bet £15, Get 10 Free BetClaim Offer

New customers only. Max. one £10 free bet. Qualifying bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 (2.00) or greater. Paid as bonus token with min. 4/5 (1.80) Odds req. T&CS APPLY. 18+