Do bookings have effect on live soccer betting?

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Do bookings have effect on live soccer betting?

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One of the most significant events at a soccer match is the red card. The article below shows the importance of both red and yellow card (bookings), how the game is affected by them, what are the adjustments the managers do and how are teams put in disadvantageous positions because of bookings.

How does a red card change the game?Soccer Betting Resources

The immediate effect of a red card is undoubtedly the loss of a player. But, statistics show how this affects negatively and to which extend a team is affected when one player receives a red card.

In a sample of 60 Premier League games in 2012, where a team received a red card, in 20 % of the games teams had a decrease in points compared to their predicted points which were based on the score before the player was given a red card.

In a sample of 20 teams in the Premier League, which were in a draw at the time of receiving the red card, 65 % lost the game in the end, 30 % ended up in a draw and only 5 % of them managed to win.

In a study by Titman et al. (2012) treats the matter of what are the benefits that teams that play against a team which has received a red card. The findings from the study are that the rate of goals scored by the team without a red card earned increases for 64.5 %.

Other studies treating this matter in the Premier League seasons show that if a team loses a player in the first minute, due to a red card, their average goal difference in the game would be reduced by about 1.5 goals. This decreases to 0.85 if a red card is given to a player at half time and to 0.62 at 60 minutes. This means that the longer a team is without a player, the worse off they will be.

Taking the above into consideration, a bettor is able to measure if live odds have been adjusted to reflect the red card events and also to measure the effects of yellow card, which the most common indicators to red cards.

What is the significance of the yellow card?

The bettors should acknowledge the importance of the yellow card because a yellow card is one step to a red one. Therefore, the probability that a player will get a red card grows as more and more yellow cards are given in the course of a game and according to Titman et al. (2012), a yellow card to any of the player on a team in the Premier League more than doubles the hazard of a straight red card to any other player on that team.

Another curious fact, according to Titman, is that a team’s booking rate increases by 25 % if the opposing team receives a yellow card and this reinforces the notion that referees have a tendency to ‘even up’ decisions during the game.

How do managers change tactics after cards?

The situation when a team loses a player due to a red card requires reaction by the manager to change his tactics. In this way, the bettors should be able to think like the manager and correctly weigh the situation to determine how important is the player that was sent off to the team, how the card affects the shape of the team, what can be done to smooth the situation and how the red card will affect the rival.

If we analyze the last 16 Champions League second-leg game between Manchester United and Real Madrid in 2013, we can see how a red card makes impact on the game. United were controlling the game and nullified Madrid’s potent attack by using Danny Welbeck to restrict Madrid’s most creative player Xabi Alonso, after the score of an own goal made by Sergio Ramos. This put Manchester United in a leading position with 2-1.

However, in the 56th minute, the winger Nani was sent off and besides having one man less, United also had to move Welbeck to left midfield so that they are able to preserve their second bank of four – and this allowed Alonso to roam free and become more creative.

In just four minutes, Madrid’s manager Jose Mourinho made a substitution where he replaced Arbeola with Luka Modric and swapping Sami Khedira to right back.

All of these events changed the game and with Modric controlling the centre of midfield with passing sequences and delivered the equaliser, collecting a pass some 20 metres from goal. After the equalisation, Real retained the ball and scored their second goal within 13 minutes of Nani’s red card.

Does being away place teams at a disadvantage?

As we have already written about the Home Field Advantage, home teams are always in a slight advantage than the away teams. But, is it possible that they also get help by the referees?

Statistics from the Champions League, from 2002-2007, show that in only 24.3 % of games, the home team received more yellow cards than the away team. This suggests that perhaps the probabilities of yellow and red cards are different for home and away teams.

In that period between 2002-2007, home teams received red cards in 6.42 % of games, whereas the away teams received them in 11.82 % of games. Therefore, in percentages, away teams earned red cards 84 % more often than home teams. On the other hand, in 82.89 % of the games, there no red cards.

According to Anders & Rotthoff from 2004 to 2009, the effect of cards on the home team is different to that of the away team.

Titman et al. (2012) found that a home red card increases an away teams’ scoring rate by 60 % and decreases the home sides’ scoring rate by 17 %.

Increase by 69 % in scoring is evident for the home team after a red card for the away team is given and the chances of the away team decrease by a massive 42 % and thus the handicap for the away team is more severe.


A red card presents an opportunity and a challenge at the same time to the respective teams.

In basic terms, a red card is a potential game changer, but the game still has to change. In the course over many games, there will be benefits for one team when facing a team which has fewer players. However, in a one-off game, the team has to exploit their advantage and to do so, they need to adopt different tactical approach.

Live soccer bettors should always take into consideration the data on the impact of red cards to goal probability and to gain an in-play advantage, this data have to be used together with subject analysis of specific game dynamics.

Profiling referees is also important because they also tend to favour home teams when giving cards to away players and there are inconsistencies across individual referees’ tendency for cards. However, this profiling of referees is most probably already calculated in the odds provided by the bookmakers. What could be of use is doing more investigations about the referees themselves.

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