Of all the various moments in football that can have a feeling of either delight or despair, perhaps none are as clear-cut as own goals. When you don’t have a bet that is affected by an Own Goal, the feeling of schadenfreude is undeniable. Watching someone put the ball into the back of their own net is never not funny, unless that goal is scored by someone that plays for your team or results in your bet becoming a losing one, of course.
Yet how many bets are actually altered by the scoring of an own goal? Do all wagers get effected by it, or only some? What do you need to do if you’ve bet on a match and there’s an own goal in it? Those are the sorts of questions that I’ll be trying to answer here, though as I always say, this isn’t a definitive explanation of every single bookmaker’s rules on the matter, so be sure to check out how your bookie deals with Own Goals in the market that you’ve bet on.
What Constitutes an Own Goal?
Another thing I always say is that you can’t assume knowledge when it comes to betting. I’ve placed a bet on tobogganing in the past, yet I could write down what I know about the sport on the back of a postage stamp. Football might be one of the most popular and most watched sports in the world, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there that bet on it without a clear understanding of all of the ins and outs of the rules of the game. If you are a regular football watcher and / or bettor then feel free to skip over this section, though I would say that it’s always worth double-checking that you are correct in the assumptions that you’ve made – especially when it comes to how bookmakers treat things.
An Own Goal is a goal scored by a player against his own team. Sometimes this can be from something as obviously as a mishit backpass that has too much power behind it for the goalkeeper to stop, whist on other occasions it can come about because of a series of unfortunate coincidences. This can include something as convoluted as an attacking player having a shot that hits the post, bounces down and hits the goalkeeper on the back of the head as he jumps across to try and stop it before it ends crossing the line. If there’s any debate of the scorer of a goal then, in the Premier League at least, the Dubious Goals Committee will review it and decide who scored it. There is nothing in the Rules of the Game that stipulates how an own goal should be awarded, which can sometimes lead to confusion and debate.
Most football governing bodies look at whether an initial shot was on target before taking a deflection to decide whether or not it should be counted as an own goal. If it was on target and likely to have resulted in a goal before the deflection then it is normally awarded to the attacker, whilst if it was off target or the goalkeeper looked as though he was going to stop it before it struck the other team’s player then it will go down as an own goal. The majority of bookmakers use the result as declared by the Press Association, including the goalscorer. If the assigned scorer of a goal is later changed by the Dubious Goals Committee or other similar body, that will not alter the awarding of the bet. In other words, when it comes to wondering whether or not you’re able to celebrate a goal being scored or have to bemoan the fact that it’s gone down as an own goal, check out what the PA are saying and you should know for sure.
One thing that is worth noting when it comes to the Rules of the Game is that they specifically stipulate that it’s not allowed for a player to score an own goal from any of the kick-off, a goal kick, a dropped-ball, a throw-in, a corner kick and a free-kick, regardless of whether it’s direct or indirect. Now admittedly it would take something special for a player to score an own goal from the likes of a corner or direct free-kick, but it’s specified that they can’t in the rules anyway. If an own goal is scored from one of those manners of re-starting the match then a corner kick is awarded to the opposition.
Own Goals and Goalscorer Markets
Perhaps the most interesting way that bookmakers deal with own goals can be seen in the Goalscorer markets, such as First Goalscorer, Last Goalscorer or Anytime Goalscorer bets. In essence, it’s as though the goal simply doesn’t exist. Obviously when it comes to Anytime Goalscorer wagers there’s no impact that an own goal could have, given that you’re betting on a player scoring at any time rather than in a specific order during the match. When it comes to the other two bets, however, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a goal scored by a defensive player against his own team might ruin your bet. But before you go ripping up your betting slip or throwing your phone against the wall, bear in mind that it probably won’t have changed anything.
Let’s say that you’ve placed a bet on Paul Pogba to be the First Goalscorer in a game, but instead Marcus Rashford has scored an own goal. Fear not, for betting purposes that doesn’t count as being the first goal in the game, so as long as Paul Pogba scores the game’s second goal (or third or fourth if there are two or three own goals) then you’re fine. However, if the opening goal of the game is an own goal scored by Pogba then it’s worth remembering that that won’t count towards your bet either. He’d still need to score the first non-own goal of the game in order for your bet to be a winner.
When it comes to Last Goalscorer bets then the same thing is true. Let’s stick with the idea that you’ve selected Paul Pogba as the player who will score the last goal of the game. In our new scenario, Pogba nets after two minutes of the game you’re betting on, with no further goals in the game until Marcus Rashford scores an own goal with one minute left on the clock. If the match finishes 1-1 with those two goals being the only ones scored then your bet will be a winner. That’s because the own goal isn’t counted as far as Goalscorer bets are concerned, so the one scored by Pogba early on was, in effect, the only goal of the game. That means that as well as being the First Goalscorer he’ll also be considered to be the Last Goalscorer and you’ll be in the money.
The same thing is true for Scorecast bets, incidentally. If you’ve had a flutter on the Scorecast market and you’ve opted for Pogba First Goal and Manchester United to win 2-0 then your bet will be a winner even if the first goal is an own goal and Pogba scores the second. In that instance the Scorecast result will be Pogba-Manchester United-2-0.
Own Goals and Both Teams to Score Bets
Whilst bookmakers might be happy to ignore own goals when it comes to the Goalscorer markets, they’re not as quick to dismiss them when you’re placing a bet on whether or not both teams playing in a match will score a goal. In that sense, the only thing that matters is the scoreline at the end of the ninety minutes (presuming that you’ve bet on a ninety minute market). If you’ve bet on Both Teams To Score and the final, official scoreline of the match is anything from 1-1 to 100-100, your bet will be a winner. It doesn’t matter if the goals were own goals, brilliant finishes or smashed into the back of the net by Mother Theresa re-incarnated.
The reverse of that, of course, is if you’ve placed a bet on the ‘Both Teams To Score – No’ market. Unlike with Goalscorer bets, own goals will count there and so even if the match finishes 1-1 with both goals being an own goal, you’re still going to end up losing your bet. In short, if you’ve bet on either of these markets and want to know whether or not your bet is a winner, simply look at the final score and don’t pay any attention whatsoever to who scored the goals – that will tell you everything you need to know.
Own Goals and Correct Score Betting
Just as with BTTS bets, Correct Score wagers are settled according to the final score with no quarter given for who the goalscorers were. In other words, a bet on a Correct Score of 3-2 will be a winner even if all five goals were scored by the defending team agains their own side. If you’ve bet on 3-2 and an own goal is scored in the ninetieth minute of the game to make it 3-3, your bet will be a loser. Sorry. Once again, head to the Press Association website to see what they’ve declared the final score to be an look at your Correct Score bet to determine if it’s a winner or not. Nothing but the score at the end of the ninety minutes will change whether or not you’re in the money. Unless you’ve bet on the Correct Score at the end of extra-time or similar, of course.
Own Goals and the No Goalscorer Market
Here’s a little tip for you, should you wish to take it. Bookmakers usually offer two different markets that seem to be covering the same thing but actually aren’t: a Correct Score of 0-0 and a No Goalscorer selection in the Goalscorer market. On the outside that might look like the same bet, but we already know that bookies don’t pay any attention to own goals when settling bets on the Goalscorer market but do include them when looking at Correct Score wagers. In other words, a match could finish 4-0 with four own goals and a bet on No Goalscorer will be a winner, whilst a wager on a Correct Score of 0-0 won’t be.
Here’s an example of what I’m taking about from BetVictor’s coverage of Watford versus Bournemouth in the Premier League during the 2017-2018 campaign. The bookmaker offered odds of 17/2 for a 0-0 draw, but odds of 8/1 for there to be No Goalscorer in the game. In other words, you could get odds that were only slightly worse on a market that would allow a goal to be scored in the game as long as it was an own goal than you could on the market that required there to be zero goals, regardless of the scorer. By taking the No Goalscorer offer instead of the 0-0 you would be taking a 50p hit per pound bet, but you’d be giving yourself the insurance of your bet being a winner on the proviso that any goal notched up was officially marked down as an own goal according to the Press Association at the end of the ninety minutes. Is that a hit worth taking?
Own Goals and In-Play Markets
One more thing that’s worthy of a quick mention is the world of In-Play betting. Most bookmakers will offer you a price for ‘Own Goal’ if you have a look a the ‘Next Player To Score’ market. That means that if you’ve placed a bet on Paul Pogba to score next and the next goal is an own goal then your bet will be a loser. If you’ve bet on ‘Own Goal’ and Pogba scores, then that bet will also be a loser.
The same sort of ruling applies when you bet on the ‘Next Team To Score’ market. If you’ve bet on Liverpool to score next and Pogba scores an own goal then your bet will be a winner. Unlike with goalscorer bets placed pre-match, own goals will count when you place those sort of bets after a game has already kicked-off.
A Quick Way to Remember If Own Goals Count
There are countless markets being invented by bookies all of the time, which can muddy the waters when it comes to thinking about whether or not your bet will be a winner or loser depending on whether of not a goal was scored by a player against his own team. With that in mind, then, here’s a relatively easy way to figure out whether or not a market will be affected by the scorer of the goal:
If the bet involves the amount of goals – so Both Teams To Score, Correct Score etc. – then own goals will count. If the bet involves who scored the goal – meaning First / Last / Anytime Goalscorer bets etc. – then own goals will not count. The only time the latter is not the case is when ‘Own Goal’ is offered as a market. Hopefully that clears things up!