Football is the sport that tends to have the widest selection of betting markets. On the biggest games in the Premier League, Champions League and other important competitions you may see in excess of 700 (yes, 700!) markets on a single game. These range from the most simple and traditional, which tend to be the most popular, to the incredibly complex and rather niche. And, of course, as with any spectrum, there is the centre ground, which is where we would argue you would find the scorecast.
That said, the scorecast is actually a wager that has been around for a long time and, moreover, it is far from complex. Perhaps it leans more that way than the lying right in the middle but, that is not to say that it is a wager with which all fans of betting on football will be familiar. Handily, we will now look in more detail at this bet, explaining what it is, how it works, what sort of odds to expect and considering any tips and strategies you might think about.
What Is a Football Scorecast?
A scorecast is a bet where two markets are rolled into one. It is not an accumulator (acca) as we shall explain, but instead, it can possibly be viewed as one of the forerunners to a modern bet builder. With a bet builder, you typically include more than two markets and you also have the freedom to choose which markets, or bets, to build with.
A scorecast is far simpler though and is a wager on a specific game about which player will score first and what the final score will be. So, for example, you might opt to back Erling Haaland to score first and Man City to win 3-0. In order to win, you need both of these predictions to be correct; otherwise your bet loses.
If Haaland scores the second and third goals but Phil Foden got the opener and City win 3-0, you lose your stake. Likewise if Haaland bags a hat-trick to make it 3-0 but then adds a fourth in the dying seconds, your whole bet loses. There are a couple of rule-based points to make that, though fairly standard across many football betting markets, it still pays to know:
- Own Goals Do Not Count – In our example above, if City’s first goal is an own goal, scored by the opposition, for them, and then Haaland makes it 2-0 the bet will win if the match ends 3-0. If the first two goals were own goals and then the Norwegian made it 3-0 and it stayed that way until full time, this would also be a winner. On the other hand, if you predicted Haaland and 1-1, and Haaland scored an own goal first (i.e. a goal against Man City), before Foden made it 1-1, your bet would lose.
- Bet Is 90 Minutes (Plus Stoppage Time) Only – If you made the bet on a cup game that was 0-0 at full time your bet would lose, even if Haaland scored an extra time treble and City won 3-0 AET.
- Check the Team News – If your player doesn’t start the game, how your bet is treated will vary depending on what happens in the game and the bookie. For this reason, we advise only placing scorecasts once the team is announced and ideally just before kick off. See the strategies section below for more info on this matter.
A scorecast was the first bet of this type introduced by bookmakers but now there are several similar wagers you can place. These are now often grouped together, so in fact, rather than seeing the scorecast listed as a standalone bet, you instead have a dropdown box where you select the goalscorer, with the option to back them for first scorer, last scorer or anytime scorer, as well as the option to pick what score you predict at half time or full time.
Initially the secondary market simply allowed you to back a correct score (CS) alongside an anytime scorer but now you can choose between all three options in the same place. Additionally, a wincast was a common alternative to a scorecast but was easier to win because your score prediction was less specific. Rather than having to get the correct score, you simply needed to get the result right, alongside the first goalscorer.
Once again, this bet is now offered alongside all the others using various dropdowns. In addition, you are not restricted to the combination of predicting home, win or draw, and the first goalscorer; but instead can pick the match result along with first, last or anytime scorer. Whichever of these related markets you opt for, you basically have to make three choices:
- Scorer – Which player do you think will score?
- Timing – Do you want to back them to score first, last or simply at any time during the game?
- Score or Result – Do you want to back a specific score, such as a 3-0 home win or a 2-2 draw, or would you rather just pick any home win, any draw or any victory for the visitors?
Obviously, the more specific your prediction, the higher the odds will be. Opting for a correct score will generally offer greater returns than just picking the match odds (we say generally because if you back a huge outsider to win the game, the odds could well be longer than picking 3-0 or perhaps 4-0 to the favourite). Picking a first or last goalscorer will always offer longer odds than if you opt for the anytime option.
Typical Odds for a Scorecast
The other factor that affects the odds is the player that you name for your scorer. If you go for someone like Haaland, Harry Kane or Mo Salah, the odds for all the selections will be lower than if you, for example, picked Kyle Walker, Eric Dier or Joe Gomez. But just what sort of odds might you get on a bet like this?
To give you an idea of the sorts of prices available for a scorecast (and related markets), we considered a game from the 2022 World Cup. In the final round of group games, Wales played England, with the Three Lions big favourites. Gareth Southgate’s men were available to back at odds of 4/9, with the Wales win priced at 7/1 and the draw at 16/5. The table below shows a range of options and the odds. Note that the odds for first scorer are often the same as for last scorer, or certainly very similar.
|Scorer||First, Last or Anytime||Score or Result||Odds|
|Harry Kane||Anytime||England win||7/5|
|Bukayo Saka||Anytime||4-1 to England||35/1|
|Gareth Bale||First||Wales win||18/1|
|Gareth Bale||Last||3-2 to England||125/1|
|Gareth Bale||Anytime||Wales win||12/1|
This is just a tiny selection of the options with the relevant odds. The prices move in accordance with the likelihood of both the score and the scorer, as well as whether you play it safe with anytime, or instead opt for first or last.
It is worth understanding that, as already said, this bet is not an acca. If you tried to place a bet in a physical shop as an accumulator on Bale to score first and Wales to win, there is a chance that your bet would get accepted in error. It would indeed be an error and even if the bet was struck, the bookie would be within their right not to pay out, at least not at the full odds.
The odds for those selections on the game in question were 9/1 and, as said, 7/1. A £10 double would, if indeed it was a double, return £800, equivalent to odds of 79/1. But as our table shows, the Bale first/Wales win combination was actually priced at just 8/1. Why the huge discrepancy?
Well, this is because the two “legs” of this not-an-acca are “related contingencies”, to use bookie’s parlance. In simple terms, this means the two legs are related. It does not take an expert to understand that the odds on Bale scoring first are 9/1 but once that bet has won, the odds on Wales winning the game are no longer 7/1. Should one leg win the other leg becomes far more likely and for this reason this wager is a single – with odds calculated by the betting site – rather than a double.
Scorecast Strategy Tips
When it comes to this sort of bet and strategy we have to be boring and point out the things we almost always do. First, as with any bet, you need to arm yourself with as much knowledge and information about the game as you possibly can. That means understanding form, team news, weather, tactics, morale, motivation and anything else that might be relevant.
The issue that punters still face, though, is that the bookies are doing exactly the same thing. And they have experience, financial and analytical resources, and expertise on their side. Oh, and the fact that the odds favour them, thanks to the overround, which can be viewed as their margin and essentially means they always offer odds slightly lower than the probabilities of those events happening would indicate.
However, there are a few little points that are well worth bearing in mind with regards to this market and indeed the core goalscorer markets (so scorecast and related bets but stripped of the correct score element). Finding value, real value, will always be hard, especially at the top of the game but you might just be able to find some overly generous odds lower down the football pyramid where the bookies tend to be less thorough in their research.
If you happen to know, for example, that a defender has been switched to penalty and free kick duty, rather than the usual wide man or striker, there is every chance you could bag a slice of value by backing them to score at odds that do not account for this change. Equally if you get early news of an injury or illness crisis at a club you might discover that a centre back is expected to stand in up front, once again meaning their odds to score are likely to be higher than they should be – if you act quickly.
All that said though, even if you manage to get value through the goalscorer route, you are still up against it with regards to the score or result. Even should you uncover something there, the fact remains that landing such a bet is very tricky and a certain degree of luck will be needed. If you plump for a true scorecast (correct score and first scorer) you will probably be looking at odds no shorter than 10/1.
Let’s assume you have found real value and the true odds are more like 6/1: that still means your bet will probably lose the vast majority of the time. If you could uncover lots of bets like this on a consistent basis you would expect to beat the bookies eventually but even then, with all these huge “ifs” in your favour, you are open to huge variance. In simple terms, this means that there remains a fair chance you could lose, even with the best of plans!
For this reason, and because it remains sensible advice for all bets, especially ones that are so fiendish to predict, we strongly advise you treat scorecast bets as a bit of fun. They are appealing to many because the long odds offer the chance to land a decent sum from a small stake. But those payouts and long odds reflect the fact that landing a scorecast is very tricky!
Rules to Note
When it comes to strategy, one of the rules we mentioned earlier plays a key part. As noted, it is very advisable to make such bets only once you are confident your selected player will actually start the match. Should you become aware of a change in penalty takers, an alteration to a player’s position, or anything else that might give you an edge if you snap up a price quickly, you may have to take your chances. But for most punters, most of the time, waiting until just before kick off is best.
If you select a player for your scorecast (or related bet) and they do not start, there are many variables affecting how the bet will play out. These include the bookie, most importantly, and the type of bet (including if it is a scorecast, wincast or other bet, and also whether you back first, last or anytime scorer), and also how the match pans out, including if goals are scored and when they occur in relation to substitutions.
In general, when it comes to bets based on the first scorer variations, with some bookies, bets will be void if your player does not start, whilst other sites may reduce the bet to a correct score single. Others may allow the bet to stand if your player comes off the bench before a goal has been scored. As a general rule, if a player begins the game but is taken off, all bets count as normal.
There is also the issue of own goals, and some bookmakers, rather generously in our opinion, settle games where the only goals were own goals based on the correct score market. In other words, if you pick Kane to score first and 1-0, and Harry Maguire scores an own goal that sees Spurs win 1-0, your bet will be a successful 1-0 CS wager.
When it comes to last scorer wagers, again, rules can vary. Once again, some betting sites may void the entire wager if your player fails to start the game. Alternatively, if your selection comes on whilst the game is 0-0 the bet may be allowed to stand, only being voided if a goal has already been scored (even though there remains a chance your player could bag the last goal).
Last, in general, when it comes to bets involving a player to score at any point, things tend to be more simple. Typically, unless the specific market you opt for states that bets will be voided unless the player starts, all wagers stand on anyone who takes part in the game. As such, even if your player gets injured at kick off and plays less than a minute, or alternatively comes on late in stoppage time, the wager will be live.