The early goal in Soccer catches the worm ?

Posted on: September 30th, 2016 by Jonny Grossmark

Some of you may be aware that my focus in terms of football data and analysis over the last few years is the effect of the early goal on accuracy as time decays in a game , and in recent months there has been a surge in interest in that area .

A site run by a very nice chap http://www.simplesoccerstats.com/blog/2014/07/24/the-early-goal-catches-the-worm-betting-school/ provides half time  historical  data on his blog which I look at regularly and it was in April 2013 ( link attacked ) when the site had a look at the early goal and noted that ;

“Looking at the table the first thing that stands out is the number of games in the Premier League that have been over 2.5 goals.  I have no idea why, but would presume this is a blip as it is way ahead of all the other leagues. “

I am in a position to explain that blip by looking at the effect of the early away goal ( opening goal by away team in the Premier League in the 0-20 minutes time band ) and we can see in the table below that in 2012-2013 , 81% of the early away goal games in the Premier League ended over 2.5 goals which was higher then the average which is around 75%

 

2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2014/2015 2015/2016
Games 45 54 69 62 69 65 59 63
Over 2.5 % 73% 69% 71% 69% 81% 74% 75% 76%

 

 

 

 

In the table below I have added the game weeks for last season in the Premier League showing in each game week how many games produced an early away goal and the % that ended over 2.5 goals

 

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
2 1 3 2 0 2 1 1 2 0 0 0
100% 100% 67% 100% 100% 100% 100% 50%
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
3 2 2 3 0 0 3 0 2 0 3 2
75% 100% 50% 0% 100% 100% 67% 50%
25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
2 4 2 3 0 1 5 2 2 1 3 0
100% 75% 100% 100% 0% 100% 60% 100% 100% 100% 100%
37 38
2 1
50% 0%

 

We can see in the Premier League  last season that there were 63 games where the away team opened the scoring 0-20 minutes and 76% ended over 2.5 goals  which was in line with expectation ( average at 75% )

The question that needs to be asked is does  seasonality play a role in the number of early away goal games and the % that end over 2.5 goals ?

 

If we look at Game week 16-18 over the last few seasons we see that over 2.5 goals was landed in 65% which is below the average ( 75% ) although the actual early away goal GAME  production is fairly high .

 

16 17 18
2015-12016 3 0 0
0%
2014/2015 1 3 3
100% 33% 100%
2013/2014 3 0 1
67% 100%
2012/2013 4 2 1
100% 100% 0%
Total 10 5 5
% Over 2.5 60% 60% 80%

 

36 37 38
2015-12016 0 2 1
50% 0%
2014/2015 1 0 1
100% 0%
2013/2014 1 1 3
0% 100% 67%
2012/2013 3 1 2
33% 100% 100%
Total 5 4 7
% Over 2.5 40% 75% 57%

 

 

 

Over the last few seasons Game week 36-38 in games where the away team opened the scoring 0-20 minutes in the Premier League and only 56% ended over 2.5 goals and there was a lower early away goal game production compared to Game week 16-18

 

Conclusion 

If you are backing goals in games before they start then my advice is to avoid game week 36-38 for the simple reason that there may be a lower goal production simply because of lowered expectation of ;

1. early away goal games

2. lowered expectation of the early away goal resulting in acceleration of goal production

It appears that in game  weeks 16-18 there will be a number of early away goal games in the Premier League but you should not assume that there will be acceleration of goal production in that Christmas period.