Although the lexicon within soccer has been largely unchanged in the past few years, there is a term that has grown in prominence and one that is connected to the explosion of data usage within the beautiful game. While the term in question is none other than Expected Goals or xG as it perhaps better known and for those who are still unaware of its meaning, it is measure that is expressed as a value between 0 and 1 (lets explore expected goals and betting).
While this value is awarded when trying to analyse whether a given shot will result in a goal. Anything closer to 0 and the likelihood is low, anything closer to 1 and the likelihood of breaching the opposition’s net is much higher.
A likelihood that first considers a range of factors and previous data. While in doing so, allows those who love their statistics, the opportunity to identify how many players a goal or team should be scoring on the quality of chances that they created.
Going Even Deeper – Expected Goals and Betting
As mentioned above, an xG of 1 is the highest single value a shot can be. Something that indicates that a player has a 100% chance of scoring and therefore, this value would be attributed to a tap in from a yard or two out.
However, there is something else to consider and that is the value of npxG. A measure that looks at xG when removing goals scored from the penalty spot and the reason for this, is because a goal from 12 yards in this instance is worth a value of 0.76.
Which means the attacker is given just over a 75% chance of success in this situation and the thing to consider here, is that if a player like Mohamed Salah scores plenty of penalties in a given season, it has the ability of distorting his overall xG for the campaign.
Which is why the use of npxG is considered as the truest measure. If only because it only considers goals that are scored in open play, and this gives a more rounded view of how either a team or player performs.
While before the introduction of xG into the world of soccer, it was the statistic of shots that took on a lot more weight when offering an analysis at the final whistle. Although like this new metric, it did not always tell the full story.
Because if Manchester City had 27 shots and failed to score, while Bournemouth had just six across in 90 minutes but managed a 1-0 win at the Etihad, the result has a far differing narrative when compared to the number of chances for each team.
Which is where a combination of two factors is always considered more helpful. Again, looking at Manchester City playing host to Bournemouth, we can build a far better picture when using shots and xG.
Looking at Manchester City and their 27 shots, we can say that their total xG in this encounter in this theoretical example was 1.89. A value that suggests for all their attacking endeavour, Pep Guardiola’s men were incredibly wasteful in front of goal.
While by comparison, Scott Parker’s Bournemouth side managed a total xG of 2.45. Which means even though the Cherries had far fewer opportunities in the penalty area, they were certainly more efficient when it came to taking their chances.
The Calculations – Expected Goals and Betting
Now that we have gone some way to explaining just how it works, it probably makes sense to look at how the values themselves are calculated and what exactly are the variables that make up expected goals:
Distance – the further you are from goal, the lower the value.
Angle – the more acute the angle, the lower the value awarded.
How was the shot executed – Strongest foot, weakest foot, or header.
Passage – Did the chance come from a set piece (corner or free kick) or was it in open-play.
Creation – Was the ball previously crossed into the box or has the attacker received a through ball.
Shot – Did the attacker beat a defender first, is it following up from any initial goalkeeper save.
Although that is how the values are calculated, there is one point to consider here. That is the fact that neither the person taking the shot or the goalkeeper trying to stop it, are taken into consideration.
Which means just because Harry Kane is taking a shot from six yards, he does not earn a higher rating because he himself has a greater likelihood of scoring. While the same lack of bonus is awarded to someone such as Ederson, who will have a greater chance of making a save.
Place Your Bets – xG
Now that we know what xG means and how it is generated, it is time to highlight how you can use it to your advantage and because you are reading it on our website, it means an advantage over the sportsbook operators.
Because the use of expected goals as a metric, is something that can also uncover the value that is hidden in the 1×2 market and if a team has either been exceeding their xG metric or even under-performing during a sample of results, they will return to their average in the end. This is important to consider when looking at expected goals and betting.
There is a sense that you cannot outrun your xG and it will get you in the end. Let’s say that Tottenham have only picked up one point from nine, even though they won the head-to-head battle when it comes to xG.
This means that in Tottenham’s next fixture, they may be priced at higher odds than usual and this where punters can take advantage – as Antonio Conte’s men will be expected to return to form and pick up a win. Something that means more profits to you.
Of course, xG is not the gold standard when it comes to tools to beat the sportsbooks and like many other statistics, it does have its flaws. However, it certainly offers insight that was not there a few years ago and is certainly worth your consideration before this new soccer season begins.
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