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How to pick Shots on Target bets

A guide on how to pick out shots on target bets

Shots on target bets have soared in popularity in the last 12 months, they’re now a staple inclusion in most punters bet builders. This has intertwined with the rising popularity of said bet builders, with more televised football than ever they’ve become the go-to bet for big games and shots on target selections provide an added element to track whilst also presenting some very attractive odds in some cases.

This article will highlight some of the methods I use when picking shots on target bets, from things I do by eye to the sites I find most useful when looking for statistics to help. Shots/shots on target bets can represent much more value than just picking a couple of strikers, once you know what you’re looking for you’ll be in a much more advantageous position when it comes to picking your next bet builder. 

Choosing the game

This is all heavy dependant on what your approach is with these bets. Betting is fantastic for enhancing your enjoyment of football so in that sense, the games very much pick themselves. If you’re watching a big game or your own team, having that additional bit of excitement is fantastic. Euro 2020 is a great example of this, many of us will have watched near enough every game and there’s a lot to be said for having something to cheer even if your nation isn’t playing. As long as you’re being sensible with stakes then any game is a potential suiter for a shot related bet.

Some games do of course offer you a better chance of a winner, in the same way that certain games are more likely to contain goals. I remember going for team shots on target in a couple of Champions League games, PSG vs Barcelona and PSG vs Bayern. These are prime examples of games where you can use your judgement, both were anticipated to be very open attacking contests – which they were. 

If you’re looking for games to give you the best chance of winning then here’s some things to look out for and some good places to find the relevant statistics:

  • Games featuring teams with high goal averages (scored/conceded) pretty self-explanatory this one, more goals means more chances created and more shots. Soccerstats.com is great for this, click the relevant league then ‘goals’ and you can see sides averages, clean sheet records and BTTS%.
  • Cross reference this with team shots on target stats, both whoscored.com and fbref.com have data available on this. So say a team like Atalanta last season, they had an obscene goal average of 3.6 per game. If you then go to a site such as FB ref, you can access their match logs and see how many shots on target they had in each game. They had 10+ shots on target in 6 matches this season, so you know they’re a great option. You can also see how many shots they conceded as well as their expected goals for/against.
  • Games with lots riding on them tend to be worth a look too if a team needs to win or even better if both sides do then you’ve got a good recipe for attacking football. Look at the clash between Croatia & Scotland in the Euro 2020 group stages. Both sides had to win to progress and that spawned a game that had 4 goals, 23 shots and 11 shots on target. The same applies on the flip side, games with little to no meaning are worth swerving.

Choosing the player

However you’ve come to a decision on what game you’re betting on it’s down to the nitty gritty, who are you backing to hit the target? There’s a number of schools of thought here dependant on what you’re wanting. You may want ‘bankers’ to bulk out a bet builder, you might be looking for value to back as a single or you might fancy a long odds bet with a small stake. Let’s go down these avenues:

Bankers – These’ll be players that stick out statistically, so this will be players with high shots/shots on target per game averages. Most likely forwards who you’ll expect to get the volume of chances. You’re looking at some pretty short odds on this calibre of players, for example, someone like Ronaldo was just 1.13 to get a shot on target against Belgium at Euro 2020. That’s because he averages almost 4 shots on target per game, takes free kicks & penalties and of course – it’s Ronaldo. He did manage one in that game, with a further 4 shots taken, but at such low odds you’ve got to evaluate if it’s worth risking your whole bet builder for a minimal boost on the potential returns.

I’d probably look for at least 1.3 for it to be worthwhile including. You can make some pretty good selections in the 1.3-1.8 bracket, perhaps swaying towards attacking midfielders/wingers as opposed to a central striker.

Value – We’re kind of leaning into this now anyway with the points made above. Ultimately it’s all down to personal preference but I’m always looking at risk vs reward on these bets and what is worthwhile at what odds. The Euros has been a fantastic example of opportunities for value picks in the shots/shots on target market. I highlighted Denmark’s Joakim Maehle before the tournament as a player to consider for these bets, on matchday 1 he was 1.91 just to have a shot and around 4.2 for a shot on target. By the time the clash against Wales came about he was as low as 1.73 to hit the target, he went on to score in that game and had 2 shots on target which had him as the tournament leader for shots on target after the game. 

Maehle’s role as a wing back is what made him such a great value bet in the early games, similarly to Denzel Dumfries of the Netherlands and Robin Gosens of Germany. The tournament was awash with sides utilising these modern wing backs, players who were down as ‘defenders’ but had been tasked with creating chances and also getting into the box as often as possible. Dumfries had a shot on target in every Dutch group game, all 3 named players have been on the scoresheet too. You could’ve made a good few pennies on such players early in the tournament before the bookies began to drop the prices.

Another thing to consider is set pieces. Players who play in deeper positions may get few chances from open play, hence a high price in shots markets but if they take FK’s/penalties that could be all you need. James Ward-Prowse is a great example, possibly the best dead ball specialist in the world he’s often above evens for a shot on target as he doesn’t take a particularly high amount from open play. However a player like that needs just one foul in the right area to produce a shot on target, so there’s a reason to check foul data or even referee statistics – there’s always something to check that can give you an edge. 

Long shots – I mean that in terms of the bet, not players shooting from range. If you’re wanting a higher odds shots bet then where should you be looking? Well, the simple answer is defenders. Whether that be full backs which we’ve already covered or even centre halves, there is scope to find some gems. A number of factors can play into this, teams who take a lot of corners or play heavily for set pieces are obvious front runners. Then looking at their team, whose the aerial threat? That’s when you can then check player stats to find the best option. Players like Harry Maguire, Thiago Silva and John Stones all spring to mind for me. Shots on target for these players will be up in the 5-7/1 range, so even a small stake could be a very handsome win. Look at England v Germany at Euro 2020, Maguire had 2 shots and 1 on target; as a double, you’d have made a very tidy profit there.

Where can I back player shots on target?

As I said, the interest in this market has grown and grown it’s now regularly available with most major bookmakers. Betfair and Paddy Power offer odds on every player for the games that they cover, so if it has player shots on target matches then you can choose whoever you fancy. They also cover the same number of players for shots too.

Some other bookmakers, such as bet 365 who only recently added the market will have a much smaller selection. Normally it’s around 5/6 players and they only offer certain values for each, some player’s odds might only begin from 2+ or higher. Other bookmakers only offer some combinations by request. With Paddy Power and Betfair, they offer all players and all prices start from the same number of shots/shots on target so you have more maneuverability on those sites.

On both sites you can find shots on target within the ‘bet builder’ section for a game, they’ll let you add as many as 20 different selections to your bet builder and you can combine both shots and shots on target for the same players. It’s a pretty flexible system and it’s worth playing around with to familiarise yourself.

Enhanced prices on shots on target bets

It’s worth keeping an eye out for enhanced prices on shots on target. It’s a common sign up offer on some sites, they’ll offer someone like Ronaldo or Harry Kane to get a shot on target at big odds like 30-40/1, these selections would normally be 1/8 or something similar so it would be worth considering if you see one for a bookmaker you’ve not joined. These offers are often £1 max stake with mainly free bets paid but it’s a great option for such a minimal outlay. You could easily turn those free bets into cash winnings with a couple of well placed bets and now you’ve got the help of this article, that should be easier!

Also, some bookies offer enhanced prices every week for all customers, SkyBet is the most well-known. They normally have the shortest priced player for a televised game boosted to evens with a £10 max stake which is often very enticing when it’s someone like Mo Salah or Harry Kane. Other bookies often offer enhancements similar, Betfair quite often have boosts available on a couple of players and there are also in-play boosts too normally for players to have another shot on target or perhaps one in each half.

Summary 

As with any bet you take on I’d always advice to keep stakes sensible and stick to a pre-determined budget. Shots bets are something that do have a very appealing look to them but can often frustrate people as something that looks so certain still has plenty of luck involved. It’s also worthwhile reading up on the rules of what classes as a shot on target, most sites use Opta to settle their bets on this market so make sure you’re aware of what constitutes a winner or a loser. Every week you see people on social media trying to claim a winner for a shot on target that was quite clearly a cross or pass. The stats on these often update pretty quickly in game and your bookmaker will settle them when the shot or shot on target has been confirmed.

There’s often more to a shots bet than meets the eye so think about how you want to apply them to your bets and when/if they’re worthwhile for the bets you’re placing. You could build a cracking bet where you nail 3 players to get a card at some superb odds, you’d kick yourself if you let that down by throwing in a shot selection at 1.08 odds. As I said previously it’s about risk and reward.

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