Own goals can be cruel, comical, baffling and occasionally even quite majestic but our main focus here is how they affect your bets. In other words, which betting markets include own goals and perhaps more importantly, which do not?
Here we will explain how own goals impact upon some of the most popular football betting markets. We’ll also consider how often own goals occur and also look at some related facts and stats.
What Football Markets Include Own Goals?
Own goals count for most of the major football bets, which means for the most part you do not need to worry about them. Just place your bets, sit back and watch the goals fly in. Whether they are 30-yard stunners by your mercurial number 10, bullet headers from your pie-loving centre half, in-off-the-shins of your midfield general or are indeed own goals, their impact on most bets is the same.
For example, let’s say you place a bet on over 2.5 goals and the score is 1-1 in the 93rd minute. In a late goalmouth scramble, a defender inadvertently wallops the ball into their own net and the final score is 2-1. Bets on over 2.5 goals are winners and bets on under 2.5 goals are losers. The fact that the decisive goal, or any of the goals, or even all of the goals are scored at the wrong end is unimportant.
In the same hypothetical example, had you made a bet in the main match winner market, the own goal stands and whichever team officially wins the game is settled as the winner, even if all of their goals were actually own goals scored by their opponents at the wrong end. As we have said, the majority of bets do include own goals and the following markets all count own goals in exactly the same way they would a “normal” goal:
- Match Odds
- Both Teams To Score
- Over/Under Goals
- Correct Score
- Double Chance
- Draw No Bet
- Handicaps & Asian Handicaps
Note that the above is not an exhaustive list and with many of the best football betting sites offering literally hundreds of markets on the biggest games there are lots and lots of other football bets that include own goals. This includes the half-time variations on the above (for example half-time result or correct score) as well as combinations of the above, such as match result and both teams to score or match result and over 2.5 goals.
Some bookies may even offer specials that directly relate to own goals and obviously OGs count for these purposes. Indeed, in a market such as “Own Goal To Be Scored”, such goals are the only ones that count.
What Bets Don’t Count Own Goals?
Given how many bets do count own goals, it is perhaps more instructive to note which ones do not. Conspicuous by their absence on the above list are the many popular goalscorer-type bets. Of these, the most popular are anytime goalscorer, first goalscorer (FGS) and last goalscorer, though others exist, for example, to score two goals or to score the second goal.
None of these markets count own goals, so if a striker has a shot that is going wide and is deflected in by the defender, neither the striker who took the shot, nor the defender who will be “credited” with the own goal are classed as the goalscorer for these bets. Indeed, for the sake of these bets, it is almost as if the goal simply did not happen at all.
So, for example, if you back Harry Maguire to score the first goal of the game, your bet will not be a winner if he opens the scoring for the other side with an own goal. However, should old Slabhead make immediate amends for his error by powering home from a corner into his opponents’ net and this is the next goal, your bet will be a winner. His own goal is, for the purposes of the bet, disregarded, making his “legitimate” strike the first goal of the match.
What’s more, if the clash finishes 1-1, anyone who backed Maguire in the last goalscorer market will also have a winner. And that would remain the case if the game ended 2-1 and it was an own goal from Luke Shaw that proved decisive in the context of the match result. Like the first, the second OG would be discounted from a bet-settlement perspective. This means that, from the bookie’s point of view, Maguire’s strike at the right end of the pitch was both the first and last, even though in terms of the game it was actually the second of three!
In the same way, if you back a player to score the second, third or whatever goal of a game, own goals are also disregarded. This wager tends to be one that is made in-play. For the sake of simplicity let us stick with the example above but assume that after Shaw’s own goal made it 2-1, Marcus Rashford scored for the Red Devils to make it 2-2. In such a scenario this strike would be classed as the second goal of the game, with the two own goals ignored.
The other market we have mentioned where own goals do not count is for a named player to score two (or more), whilst such unwanted goals do not count in the “to score a hat-trick” market either.
Aside from these standalone bets, there are some goalscorer-related combination bets where once again, own goals do not count. The two most obvious ones are the scorecast wager and the wincast. These bets are very popular with the scorecast being the older of the two. This bet combines the first goalscorer and correct score markets. For example, you might make a bet on Dominic Calvert-Lewin to score first and Everton to win 2-1 at odds of 12/1.
Whilst own goals count in terms of the correct score market, they do not count for the purposes of FGS. So, should the Everton striker make it 1-0 to the opposition with an own goal from a corner, this bet will not be a winner even if the game ends 2-1 to the Toffees. Unless, of course, the former Sheffield United man scores at the right end for the first non-own goal of the clash.
A wincast bet is very similar and combines the anytime goalscorer and correct score markets. In this scenario you might opt for DCL to score at anytime and Everton to win 2-1 at shorter odds of perhaps 8/1. If the forward scores an own goal this does not count but if he scores either of Everton’s “normal” goals, the bet is still a winner.
Own Goals Do Not Count in Bets Related to an Individual
The key point to note is that in general own goals count towards bets that consider the match as a whole and are concerned with the score or the result. However, when it comes to goalscorer bets where a specific individual is named, own goals do not count.
The only exception to that is where the bet is explicitly on a player to score an own goal. As said earlier, in such markets OGs do count but we would think this was fairly self-explanatory.
Own Goal Betting Tip for Correct Score Fans
One nice little tip for anyone who fancies a bore draw in a given game is to make sure they check the goalscorer markets as well as the correct score one. This sounds a little strange: why check the odds on a player to score in a game you think will end 0-0?
Well, in the first, last or any goal markets, you will usually also find an option for “no goalscorer”. Often, though not always, this will be available at the same odds as 0-0 in the correct score market. However, if you back 0-0 and, unsurprisingly, you are only a winner if the game ends 0-0.
In contrast, if you back no goalscorer in any of the available markets and you will be a winner if the game ends 0-0, but you might be a winner if the game ends 1-0, 1-1, or even, in theory at least, 5-5. How so? Well, as we have seen, own goals do not count for the purposes of these bets so if the only goal or only goals in a match are own goals, it doesn’t matter what the score is – no goalscorer will still pay out as a winning wager.
What Is an Own Goal?
It might seem like a silly question because, of course, we all know what an own goal is. An own goal is a goal scored by a player past their own goalkeeper, at the wrong end of the pitch. Some own goals are obvious, such as many on the clip below:
Several of these could only possibly be own goals because it is clear that no attacking player has had a shot on target. With some, a viewer catching only part of the clip may well not even realise that the scorer is actually a defender rather than the attacker.
However, often own goals come about due to deflected shots and the matter is far less clear cut. Asking what is an own goal might not seem so silly if you have a bet on the line that depends on whether a particular strike has been credited as an own goal or whether it has been awarded as a “normal” one for the attacking team.
Interpretation has changed over the years and can vary between leagues. Because own goals do not really matter as far as the football authorities are concerned, there has been less effort to create a universally accepted definition of an own goal. Indeed, Opta, a UK company which was created in the mid-90s to analyse the Premier League and provide stats, notes that “Different governing bodies have different rules” and that they try as far as possible to reflect these in their data.
Because Opta is so closely linked to the PL and to the decisions of many UK betting sites, most fans probably think of an own goal in the way that it is defined by Opta. The company explain that “Regarding deflections, normally a goal is awarded if the original attempt is on target. An own goal is usually awarded if the attempt is off target and deflected into the goal by an opponent.”
Most UK bookies settle bets according to the official decision given during the match. This may come from Opta, as is the case in the Premier League, or the Press Association or the broadcaster and usually it is fairly clear whether or not a goal is an own goal or not, often based on the ruling above. Whilst leagues such as the EFL have a dubious goals panel or committee, it should be noted that such bodies only convene infrequently, usually long after the bookie has settled your bet.
The PL has a similar body, called the Goal Accreditation Panel. In the event that such a body corrects an earlier decision made at the time, that would have meant your bet as a winner rather than a loser, it may be with getting in touch with your bookie. There is no obligation on their part and there are no guarantees but if you ask nicely and get lucky, they may resettle your bet as a winner or, more likely, give you your stake back as a free bet.
Own Goal Stats & Trivia
Now we’ve fully covered own goals from a betting perspective, let’s look at them from a stats point of view. This may actually be relevant to betting if you decide to back one of the own goals specials market, or want to try and calculate the extra value you can get backing no goalscorer rather than 0-0.
Our own goal trivia, on the other hand, is only useful for showing off to friends and possibly winning Football Geek of the Year. Let’s start with some stats:
How Often Are Own Goals Scored?
As with all such stats, the numbers vary over time and according to the competition. This latter issue is particularly relevant where a league, cup or tournament uses a different interpretation of what an own goal is. For example in Italy, for a long time, goals were simply accredited to whichever outfield player touched the ball last, so any minor deflection off a defender was classed as an own goal.
This meant that, for example, in the 1995-96 season centre back Giovanni Lopez recorded three own goals in just 26 games. That season 43 different players put through their own goal, with five of those doing so more than once. Those are, as we shall see, big numbers, especially for an 18-team league.
To give a more general idea of how frequently own goals are recorded we will look at the most recent seasons of the Premier League. This is the most bet upon and most widely watched league in the world so is certainly a good place to start; moreover, the interpretation of an own goal is generally in line with the majority of the rest of the world.
|Season Ending||Total Own Goals||Games Per Own Goal|
|Total for 5 seasons||162||11.73|
As we can see, own goals happen around once every 11 to 12 games, or around once per gameweek. Put another way, they occur in around 9% of games, meaning they are far from a common event but at the same time, not something anyone should be shocked to see.
Most Own Goals
When it comes to the Premier League there must be something in the Scouse water because the three leaders, or worst offenders, depending on how you look at it, all have either a red or a blue connection.
The clear “winner” when it comes to own goals in the English top flight is Richard Dunne, the centre back who first made his name at Everton. Behind him comes another player very much linked with Everton, whilst joint second on our list we have an Everton fan and Liverpool legend, Jamie Carragher. Here are the other offenders:
|PL Own Goals||Player||Games Played|
As we can see, in terms of games played per own goal, it is actually the Northern Irish defender Gareth McAuley who has the worst record. His six strikes at the wrong end came from just 203 appearances, meaning he notched an OG once every 34 games. Dunne fared better in this sense, only scoring at the wrong end once every 43 games, whilst Jagielka’s rate was once every 54 matches.
It may also interest some to note that Scott Dann, Liverpool-born and a fan of the Reds appears on the list, as does former Liverpool and Slovakia defender Martin Skrtel. We do not believe there is anything meaningful or causally relevant in this but it is an interesting quirk of the stats nonetheless.
Best Own Goal Trivia
Perfect for the pub quiz, if you randomly get a very obscure question about own goals, or just for getting one up on your mates, here are our 10 best own goal pieces of trivia.
- 149 Own Goals In Game – in protest at previous refereeing decision that meant their game with AS Adema was a dead rubber, Stade Olympique L’Emyrne scored a staggering 149 own goals on purpose!
- Four The Real Record – in a normal game the most own goals was four, Catania losing 5-0 to Inter Milan back in 1961. Check out the vintage highlights below!
- Three For One – in terms of the most OGs in a game by one player, the unwanted record lies with Germinal Ekeren defender Stan van den Buijs. Anderlecht won 3-2 without scoring a single goal of their own!
- Three Own Goals And a Red – think you’ve had a bad week? Back in 2016 Blackburn’s Shane Duffy (Mersey connection: he started at Everton!) managed three own goals and a red card in two games in a single, sorry week.
- Bad Seven Minutes – if Duffy had a bad seven days, Sunderland had a very bad seven minutes. In just seven first-half minutes they registered three own goals in a 3-1 defeat to Charlton in 2003.
- Four Goals Per Season – defenders chipping in with goals is great and four per season isn’t a bad return. But sadly not if they are at the wrong end. In the 2013-14 campaign Skrtel notched four at the wrong end, a feat since matched by Lewis Dunk in 2017-18.
- 1,000 Up For EPL – the 1,000th own goal in Premier League history was recorded on the 19th May 2021 by Sergio Reguilon. Check out all angles here!
- Crossley No 1 – fact fans may know that Brian Deane scored the EPL’s first-ever goal but it was Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Mark Crossley who scored the new league’s first own goal in September 1992.
- Making Amends – any player scoring an OG is sure to be desperate to make up for it and more than 50 PL players have done so in the best possible way, scoring a goal at the right end as well as past their own keeper. It is illustrious company too, with David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Gareth Bale just three of the players to achieve this feat.
- Football Shouldn’t Be Life Or Death – Bill Shankly’s famous quote was said tongue in cheek, but tragically Colombian football Andres Escobar’s own goal at the 1994 World Cup cost him his life. The goal meant that Colombia were eliminated and this cost a drug lord a huge stake on a lost bet. Less than a week after the own goal Escobar, capped 51 times by his nation, had been killed.