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Feb 24, 2017
Feb 24, 2017

Corners betting in soccer: Value in a lesser known market

Learn about the basics of betting on corners in soccer

Find out which statistics can inform your corners betting

Corners betting in soccer: Value in a lesser known market
While you'll be hard pushed to find a bookmaker who doesn’t collate a wealth of data to form their soccer betting odds, moving away from the standard 1X2 and Handicap markets might give you a chance to exploit discrepancies in the odds. Read on to find out how you can benefit from one of these alternative markets - betting on corners.

Finding a niche market in betting can often lead to value - this can be anything from specialist knowledge of handball betting to extensive experience in betting on the Oscars. Providing you know more than the bookmaker, there is money to be made.

Why bet on corners

Corners betting in soccer has become increasingly popular in recent years. In addition to offering bettors a chance to take advantage of a bookmaker’s lack of knowledge or attention to minor details, the fluctuation of odds in live corners betting is another reason sharp bettors will choose this specific market.

It’s not as simple as the favourite in the betting will win the most corners

Betting on corners in soccer is very different to other markets like the 1X2 or Handicap. The outcome of a match can correlate to the corner count for each side, but this isn’t always the case. Because soccer is such a low scoring sport, draws and underdog victories are easier to come by compared to other sports.

The underdog may sneak a 1-0 win or hold on for a 0-0 draw, however, each team’s corner count tends to be more reliable in terms of following pre-game expectations. After looking at what could influence the number of corners in a game and analysing past statistics, corners betting in soccer will most likely become a more attractive option for bettors.

How to bet on corners

Pinnacle offers three different markets for corners betting - Totals, Handicap and Money Line - across the major soccer leagues in Europe and the Champions League. 

In Totals corners betting, the bookmaker will set a figure for the expected combined number of corners and bettors can choose whether they think the number of corners in the match will be over or under that amount. 

While more shots leads to more corners, the team’s that use more width in their play or hit more crosses are also more likely to see the ball deflected or cleared away for a corner

Handicap corners betting is the same format as Handicap betting on the NFL, in basketball or any other sport - the bookmaker gives one side an advantage (indicated by a + figure) and the other a disadvantage (indicated by a - figure) to counter a perceived bias.

For example, in a game between Sunderland and Manchester City, Sunderland might be +3 corners and Manchester City -3. Manchester City would have to win 4 more corners than Sunderland for a bet on them to win - this would give them +1 corners after the handicap. Sunderland would have to win more, the same, or anything up to two fewer corners than Manchester City in order for a bet on them to win.

Money Line corners betting market is very straightforward - it is simply a match-up of who will win the most corners within the 90 minutes of a game (or however long is left when betting in-play).

Corner betting analysis

A corner in soccer can come from various scenarios. It is widely accepted that corners come in clusters - this isn’t to say that one corner will always be followed by another, just that corners can come in bursts of two, three or even more in quick succession.

If you know how to bet on corners, the next thing to do is work out which teams are most likely to win corners and which are more susceptible to concede them. In terms of winning corners, shots for is a big contributor - a lot of shots is an indicator of offensive dominance and they will often be deflected or saved and result in a corner.

Below is a table of the five teams that have averaged the most shots per game in the Premier League since the start of the 2012/13 season:

Premier League highest shots per game averages

Team
2012/13
2013/14
2014/152015/162016/17*Average
Liverpool 19.5 17.1 15.5 16.6 16.9 17.1
Manchester City 17.3 17.7 17.6 16.2 16.0 17.0
Tottenham Hotspur 17.9 15.2 13.9 17.3 17.6 16.4
Chelsea 16.5 18.2 14.8 13.8 14.3 15.5
Arsenal 15.7 13.8 16.1 15.1 15.8 15.3

When comparing this to a table of the top five teams to average the most corners per game in the same time period, the connection soon becomes apparent:

Premier League highest corners per game averages

Team2012/132013/142014/152015/162016/17*Average
Manchester City 7.1 7.5 7.2 6.8 7.0 7.1
Tottenham Hotspur 6.9 6.1 5.9 6.7 6.9 6.5
Liverpool 7.5 5.9 5.2 7.0 6.1 6.3
Arsenal 6.8 5.6 6.7 6.0 5.6 6.1
Chelsea 6.3 6.6 6.0 6.3 5.3 6.1

A similar approach can be taken when looking at who is most likely to concede corners in a game. The shots against and blocks per game stats highlight teams that are under more pressure and most likely to concede corners.

The table below shows the teams who have faced, on average, the most shots per game in the Premier League since the start of the 2012/13 season (the sample only included teams who have played in the Premier League for each of the last five seaons):

Premier League highest opposition shots per game averages

Team2012/132013/142014/152015/162016/17*Average
Sunderland 16.7 16.7 16.5 15.0 18.2 16.6
West Ham 16.4 17.9 15.5 13.7 13.4 15.4
WBA 15.6 13.0 14.4 14.4 13.6 14.2
Swansea 14.9 12.7 14.6 13.7 14.3 14.0
Stoke City 14.3 14.4 12.0 14.1 14.7 13.9

Unsurprisingly, the teams in the league who have faced the most shots have also averaged the most blocks since 2012/13:

Premier League highest blocks per game averages

Team
2012/132013/142014/152015/162016/17*Average
Sunderland 4.7 3.8 4.4 3.8 4.3 4.2
West Ham 4.4 5.2 4.3 4.2 3.0 4.2
Stoke City 4.2 4.1 3.5 3.9 4.3 4.0
WBA 4.2 3.3 4.1 4.5 3.7 4.0
Swansea 4.2 3.1 3.8 3.5 3.8 3.7

A table of the teams that have averaged the most corners conceded per game shows how valuable the previous statistics can be when betting on corners:

Premier League highest opposition corners per game averages

Team2012/132013/142014/152015/162016/17*Average
Stoke City 5.9 6.0 6.1 6.3 7.1 6.3
Sunderland 6.7 5.7 5.8 6.0 6.5 6.1
West Ham 5.7 6.8 5.6 5.2 4.9 5.6
WBA 6.6 4.9 5.0 5.8 5.5 5.6
Swansea 4.9 5.0 5.5 5.2 4.9 5.1
*Data correct as of 10/02/2017

Tactics as well as statistics

It’s not just the aforementioned stats that should be taken into consideration when betting on corners. A team’s strengths, weaknesses and tactics used in a game can have a major impact on the number of corners they win or concede.

A lot of shots is an indicator of offensive dominance and they will often be deflected or saved and result in a corner

While more shots leads to more corners, the team’s that use more width in their play or hit more crosses are also more likely to see the ball deflected or cleared away for a corner - this is another reason why teams like Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool feature at the top of the list for average number of corners won per game.

One important thing to note when corners betting in soccer is that it’s not as simple as the favourite in the betting will win the most corners, nor is the team who wins the most corners the most likely to win the match. Continuing with the Premier League sample above, fewer than 3% of corners have been converted into a goal since the start of the 2012/13.

Despite the lack of correlation between match results and the numbers of corners won or conceded, betting on corners is still an interesting market that gives bettors the opportunity to find an edge over the bookmaker.

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Benjamin studied English with Creative Writing (BA) before pursuing a career that combined his love of sport and fascination with betting. An avid fan of numerous sports, his writing now covers anything from in-depth major sporting event previews, to examining betting trends and techniques.

By Benjamin Cronin

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