What Is Shots on Target Betting in Football?

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Shots on target – While there are 11 positions on the pitch, all with their own priorities and objectives, every single player on the field wants to score goals. Whether they are a striker or a goalkeeper, there is nothing better than seeing an effort fly into the back of the net. This is why there is nothing more exciting than watching a player let fly from 30 yards or a poacher tapping home a squared ball from a yard out.

This means that goal betting has become very popular, with the ability to bet on shots on target also growing in popularity. This begs the question, what is shots on target betting? In this betting guide, we will look at shots on target betting, how it works, and if it is worth it.

shots on target betting

What Is A Shots On Target?

A shot on target is usually defined as:

  • Anything that goes into the back of the net, regardless of the intent
  • A clear attempt to try to score that is blocked by the goalkeeper or blocked by a player is seen as the last man when a goalkeeper does not have a chance at preventing the goal, is known as a last-line block.

It is important to note that a shot that is blocked by a player who is not deemed to be the last man does not count as a shot on target. This means that if a player shoots and it is going to go in before it is blocked by a player with others behind them, then the shot does not count as a shot on target.

If the ball hits the frame of the goal, then it will not count as a shot on target. However, if the ball hits the frame of the goal and goes in and is awarded as a goal, then it counts as a shot on target.

What Is a Shot Off Target?

A shot off target is defined as such:

  • An effort that goes over or is wide of the goal without making contact with any other player.
  • An effort that would have gone over or wide but for being stopped by an outfield player of a goalkeeper’s save.
  • A shot that hits the frame of the goal and does not end as a goal.

How Does Shots on Target Betting Work?

Footballer making goal

There are a number of different ways for a bettor to wager on the shots on target betting markets. You will usually be met by the betting market that gives you the chance to bet on a particular player to register a certain number of shots. For example, if you think that Robert Lewandowski will have ‘3+’ shots in the game, then you can back this. A bet written as ‘3+ shots’ means three shots on target or more. It is worth knowing this as some punters get confused and assume this means more than three shots.

Backing Multiple Players

Some bookies will offer bettors the chance to wager on multiple players recording shots on target. For example, you may see Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, and Marcus Rashford all record 1+ shots on target. This will usually offer better odds than wagering on one player alone depending on the footballers you are backing.

This type of betting market can also be utilized across a number of different games. A bookie might offer you Ronaldo, Harry Kane, and Romelu Lukaku all to record 2+ shots in their respective games. Finally, you can also see a shot on the target market that lets you bet on the total shots a team will take in a game. This will usually see bettors wagering on a team to have over a certain number of shots on target.

Only Available for Bigger Teams & Competitions

It is worth noting that you will usually only see shots-on-target betting for the bigger teams and competitions. This means that if you prefer to bet on the smaller teams and the lesser-known leagues, then you will likely miss out on the shots on target betting markets.

This is usually because this betting market is one that is often quite difficult to price. It means bookies will often only provide the market and odds if it will draw in a lot of betting interest, something the bigger games are more likely to provide.

If you do miss out on the shots on the target betting market for your game of choice, then look out for bookies that offer the request a bet features. This means you can ask the bookies to create a betting market with odds that are not currently provided on their site.

What Are The Rules For A Shot On Target?

If you are used to placing bets on the most popular markets, you will find that the rules around the shots on target are pretty complicated at first. For bookmakers and statistical organizations, the shot on target is not defined as only hitting the ball toward the goal or target. For instance, OPTA defined a shot on target as a ‘clear attempt to score that would have gone into the net but was saved by the goalkeeper or by a player who was the last man with the goalkeeper who had no chance of avoiding the goal’.

Let’s visualize better with one example: for instance if Lionel Messi shoots, and the shot was initially going off target, but it is deflected into the goal, Messi will not be assigned a shot on target. Similarly, shots blocked by other players who are not the last man in the defense are not classified as shots on target. So if Messi shoots from range and the shot is blocked by a midfielder who had a defender behind him, he will not be assigned a shot on target. A similar rule also involves the woodwork. If a player hit the woodwork and goes out, it does not count as a shot on target. However, if the shot hit the woodwork but then goes into the goal, it is counted as a shot on target.

What Drives Shots on Target?

There are two main things to consider when betting on shots on target: talent and systems. Looking at the data, we can clearly see that teams with more talented players produce, on average, more Shots on Target. If we take, for instance, Manchester City, we can see that they do generate lots more SOTs compared with teams that are fighting to avoid relegation. The logical explanation for this is that stronger sides create more goal opportunities than sides that spend most of their games worrying about defending.

What Type of Shots Count as a Shot On Target in Betting?

This completely depends on your bookmaker of choice. However, many bookies will see the below as a shot on target:

  • A deflected shot that would go in if not for the goalkeeper saves it.
  • Goals that hit the frame of the goal before going in.
  • A goal that scored directly from a corner kick.
  • A shot that cleared off the line by a player deemed to be the last man.
  • An effort that was going to hit the target but is blocked by the shooter’s teammate.

What Type of Shots Do Not Count as On Target?

Just like the shots that do count as on target, there are a number of ‘shots’ that will not count in betting, as articulated below:

  • A cross that would be going into the goal but is caught or saved by the goalkeeper.
  • A blocked shot that a ‘keeper does not save but collects due to a lack of power in the effort.
  • A blocked or deflected shot hits the frame of the goal.
  • A shot that the goalkeeper saves that was not on target.
  • A corner that would be going in but the goalkeeper stops.
  • A clearance by a defending player hits the opposition and goes toward the goal before the goalkeeper saves it.
  • An effort that hits the frame of the goal then hits the goalkeeper and bounces out of play.
  • A shot hits the frame of the goal and rolls onto the line before a defender clears the ball.

Shots on Target Betting Tips

When it comes to betting on shots on target, or any other betting market for that matter, it is important to note that no market is a genuine banker. Even with the best strategy and tips, you need to ensure you are fully aware of the risks of wagering your money on any player, team, or sport. When it comes to betting on shots on target in a game, you need to keep a number of things in mind.

Don’t Just Look at the Attack

When it comes to shots, people immediately think of the attacking side. If Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba are all playing for the same side and are in great form, then the temptation can be to blindly wager on them hitting the target multiple times in the game.

However, if they are coming up against an Atletico Madrid side that is in great form and has only conceded three goals in eight Champions League games, then the equation changes dramatically.

On the flip side of this, a team that is poor defensively could see more shots on target against their goal than a good attacking team takes at goal. This, therefore, means that it could be more beneficial to wager on a team that plays against a poor defensive side, rather than betting on a good attacking side.

Back Players That Are Starters

It is important to note that when wagering on the shots on the target betting market, the more time your player has on the pitch the better. If Harry Kane plays all 90 minutes of a match it stands to reason that he will have a better chance of registering more shots on target than Lucas Moura, who was only on for 20 minutes.

However, if an attacking player comes on as a substitute in a contest in which their side needs goals, they could actually still register the relevant number of shots.

The State of Play

Different matches will have different pressures on them, meaning that there could be more or fewer shots and goals depending on the situation. For example, a playing game at the end of the season between two mid-table sides with nothing to play for could see very few shots and goals as the players are mentally already on holiday.

However, if a side that is battling against relegation and usually concedes a lot of goals is playing against a side at the top that is fighting for a Champions League spot, then it stands to reason there will be a lot of shots on target. Both sides have something to play for with a lot on the line.

This also works well with two-legged ties too. If Chelsea beat Real Madrid 2-0 at Stamford Bridge before traveling to Spain for the second leg, the Blues will likely look to sit on their lead and remain solid defensively. Meanwhile, Madrid is chasing goals and so will likely see a lot more of the ball, possibly resulting in more chances being created.

Research the Players

Whether you are watching a match at the local park or at Old Trafford, there are always players that love to take shots, while others will always shy away from it. For example, N’Golo Kante is a world-class player in his own right, but he is not a prolific goal scorer. It, therefore, stands to reason that he will not likely take many shots. This is even more relevant when you take into account the fact Kante is a defensive midfielder and does not often get too far forward.

On the other side of things, other players love to take shots. Ronaldo is one such example of this, with the Portuguese star always looking to score goals, which means he usually takes a number of shots at goal. Be sure to take a look at the player, their position, and the style that their team plays when trying to wager in this market.

Fouls & Free Kicks

This is a more interesting strategy when it comes to betting on shots on target. If a side concedes a lot of fouls in their own final third, then this could constitute an excellent game to bet in.

Then it is likely that the opposition team will try to take a shot on target if a foul is given close enough to the goal. If you were to bet on a match with Southampton playing, then James Ward-Prowse would be an excellent candidate to bet on. This is because he is a brilliant free-kick technician that commands the respect of his team in a dead-ball situation.

So, it is very important that players keep their shots on target as much as possible. If not for the sake of their own team, then at least for the success of your bet! For more helpful articles, follow us at Football Terms!

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