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Player Fouls Bets: 7 Factors to Consider Before Picking a Bet

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Player fouls bets have only just been introduced into football betting, and it’s quickly found itself as one of the favourites among punters both in a bet builder or as a standalone bet.

The excitement factor is trying to picture the scenario where a player makes a foul and then it plays out exactly how you expected. It could be a crunching tackle from Granit Xhaka in midfield, or it could be Harry Maguire climbing on the back of an opponent from a corner.

The fouls market arrived at the perfect time as cards/bookings became increasingly difficult after the big push to get referees to show leniency over fouls and allow matches to flow. Now there’s the opportunity to find value elsewhere which is always bonus.

WHAT COUNTS AND WHAT DOESN’T FOR as a foul for player FOUL BETS?

There are so many situations in which a foul can happen. A late tackle in midfield, the classic taking one for the team, showing too much physical contact at set pieces and even a handball. 

Most bookmakers use Opta’s data when it comes to settling these selections, so it’s worthing knowing what constitutes as a foul. Opta’s definition of a foul is ‘an infringement penalised as foul play by a referee that results in a free-kick or a penalty.”.

With that definition in mind, it’s worth noting that a situation where a referee chooses to play an advantage isn’t a foul conceded. Offsides and foul throws are also not counted as a foul conceded, the latter results in the other team taking the throw.

EVALUATING TEAMS FOR FOULS BETS

Like everything else in football, all teams are different and in this case, some are dirtier on the pitch than others. If you’re looking at a particular football match for a bet builder, with fouls markets specifically, it’s worth deciding which team you believe will commit the most fouls.

For the majority of teams, it’ll come down to how they play. For instance, if it’s Manchester City versus a minnow, their opponents will likely commit the most fouls simply because they’ll see little of the ball.

Study team statistics and players

Team statistics are worth looking at, especially things like possession for the reasons above.

It’d be hard to expect a team who keep the ball for large periods to make a lot of fouls. Whereas you might expect the opposite for a team who sit in for a result and will do anything to keep hold of one.

current form and performances

A team’s current form, as well as player performance, will also impact a fouls bet. It’s all well and good sifting through both team and player statistics and perhaps taking a punt on a player who averages 1.50 fouls per game, but form can often dampen the significance of some stats.

Form breeds confidence, and a team in form are more likely to be willing to take the game to their opponents. This could work in one of two ways. A form team full of confidence may look to try and control as much of the game as possible against an inferior opponent, thus limiting the number of circumstances in which fouls could occur.

Contrastingly, a form team could also look to take the game to a much bigger side, snapping into challenges and exhibiting endless energy, ultimately resulting in more fouls.

Player form and performance is also a hugely significant factor when it comes to fouls bets. Someone in solid form, and high on confidence, is more likely to drive at the their defender, forcing fouls out of them in the process.

Take Marcus Rashford as an example. The English forward is in scintillating form, but is only fouled 0.73 time P/90. Yet, you’d fancy him to trouble any full back right now, and the recent stats suggest that his form is having an impact of sorts on fouls bets, as he’s ben fouled 5 times in his last 5 league games.

past records and head-to-heads

Head-to-head stats aren’t a primary factor when it comes to betting but they’re important to consider. On the fouls front, a team may average a low number of fouls and cards generally, but those averages may rocket when they play a certain team, for instance a rival.

Celtic and Rangers may have low foul counts because they’re so dominant in the Scottish Premiership, however when they come together, it can be a completely different kettle of fish as every football fan is aware of.

HOW TO PICK A PLAYER FOULS BET

Where to PLace your Fouls Bet

The fouls market is still relatively new, and not all bookmakers have caught onto its popularity as of yet. However, there are still a number of places that provide you with the option to bet on fouls.

Both Paddy Power and Betfair have consistently offered competitive odds in the fouls market, with both having been two of the first bookmakers to pioneer fouls bets during the World Cup. Both offer the option to bet on 1+ or 2+ fouls for the majority of players on either side, and this can be done as part of a bet builder, or as a standalone bet.

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Unibet certainly stand out for fouls bets, and they seem to be growing in popularity alongside the fouls markets. Unibet themselves are offering competitive prices for over 0.5 and over 1.5 fouls, with the market line depending largely on the player in question.

What’s really interesting is that Unibet also offer a ‘players fouls won’ market on selected matches, a unique and exciting twist on fouls bets.

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How to Pick a Fouls Bet

Picking a fouls bet out is incredibly simple, and I’ve put together a quick step-by-step guide on how to pick one out using the available markets on Paddy Power:

Firstly, log onto the Paddy Power App, and navigate to the game that you want to bet on. You can search for it by tapping on find in the bottom left hand corner and using the search bar, or by using the competitions tab under football.

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Once you’ve picked out a specific match, putting together your fouls bet is simple. You can access the fouls market in one of two places, either through the popular tab, or the bet builder tab.

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Once that’s done, scroll down to the section that read ‘Player To Commit 1 or More Fouls’. This will be directly above ‘Player to Commit 2 or more Fouls’.

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There you’ll be able to access a drop down list consisting of players from either team, and you can tap on the odds on the right of your screen to add that specific player to your bet slip.

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Once that’s done, tap on your bet slip towards the bottom of your screen. There, every player that you’ve added to your fouls bet, and the specific selections, will be visible and you’ll be able to place them as a bet builder, or as single bets, by selecting your stake and pressing the green button.

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Consider the Odds in relation to your predicted outcome

When putting a fouls bet, as with any bet for that matter, you need to consider the odds in relation to your predicted outcome.

You might look at a player who commits 1.80 fouls P/90, and consider them a shoe in for a foul. But if they’re at odds of 1.08 for 1+ fouls, and only minimally increase the returns on your bet builder, it might not necessarily be worth the risk.

Alternatively, a player who averages 1.10 fouls P/90, but at much better odds of say 1.5 for 1 or more fouls, may look more favourable when considering the odds in relation to your predicted outcome. That player is still capable of committing a foul, and the odds certainly look better in relation to the stats when adding them to your fouls bets.

OTHER FACTORS FOR FOULS BETs

THE REFEREE AND THEIR TENDENCIES

While looking for player fouls selections, you can look at all the player and team stats you want, but don’t ignore the style of the referee who will play a large role in whether your bets wins or not.

Referees for matches are always announced relatively early in the week, so you have an opportunity to look into their behaviour pattern.

For example, if they’re someone who likes to play a lot of advantages and allow the game to flow, that’s going to be a hinderance at some stage.

The nationality of a referee is a factor too; something to look at when it comes to things like Champions League matches.

Spanish, Italian, and Eastern European officials may have a more ‘no-nonsense’ attitude and blow at any chance possible. Cards-shy and lenient English officials may be more frustrating in comparison.

weather and pitch conditions

There’s factor after factor when it comes to what can cause a foul, and another underrated one is the weather and pitch condition.

If there’s heavy rain and the players are running on a wet and slippery surface, players could slip into a challenge they aren’t intending on and that’s something you see relatively often.

There’s also the chance that the ball can get away from players after they underestimate the speed of it and that’s where players can lunge into tackles to recover the ball.

In a situation where the weather has affected a pitch more seriously, and you’ve got a muddy pitch for instance, that can have the opposite effect where the ball can stop dead and short unexpectedly, and that can lead to collisions also.

motivation, injuries and key players

For individual players, you also need to look at the bigger picture to see if they’d be less motivated to make challenges and potentially commit fouls.

If they’re on four yellow cards and their team has a big game coming up, they may shirk a tackle to reduce the risk of committing fouls and potentially receiving the booking that causes a suspension.

Also, is the player you’re considering carrying an injury? Are they a player who’s at risk of getting injured? Yet another factor to consider, because it’s quite frustrating having a player in your bet who pulls up and is substituted out of the game early doors.

Your bet is likely done at that point although some bookmakers, like Paddy Power and Bet365 have customer offers where you can get your stake back if a player is substituted before half time.

recap on what affects player fouls betting

To finish up, fouls bets are great fun and will continue to be popular, and there’s often good value to be found.

There is lots to consider if you’re wanting to give yourself the best possible chance of winning a bet. It’s not as simple as picking out a player who’s known for a tackle.

Remember to keep in mind:

  • How does their team play? On and off the ball.
  • How does the referee like to officiate, do they protect the flow of the game?
  • What are the weather/pitch conditions like pre-match?
  • Player mindset, are they at risk of a costly suspension?
  • Who is the manager and how do they like to play

final tip for picking a fouls bet

Last but not least, you want to think about player versus player match-ups, who can draw a foul and who’ll be the one to commit one in order to pick a winning fouls bet. For example, if you see Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha in their line-up, you’d expect the opposing right back to have a long evening on his hands.

It’s not all about how many fouls a player commits, if their opponent in the match draws a lot fouls per game then you know for sure that there’s potential there.

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