Reading Time: 2 mins

Finding Edges With xG (Expected Goals): By now most punters will have heard of xG (Expected Goals). It’s come onto Match Of The Day and Sky Sports now, but are you using xG to find the right bets?

In this article we’ll explain the key indicators for xG and how to correctly apply it to a match in betting terms.


What Is xG (Expected Goals)?

xG is just a way to measure the probability of a goal from a chance created. The range is between 0 and 1, with 1 being the max obviously because it’s equal to a goal! As a general way of understanding what xG is, the average penalty has an xG of 0.78. Although xG doesn’t consider of the player quality when shooting, it is still very accurate.

Some of the variables that get considered are;

  • Distance from goal
  • Angle of shot
  • Shooting foot
  • Open play v set piece
  • Did the chance come from a cross or through ball
  • Was it a rebound or anything like that

A lot of variables come into play, but it’s generally accepted that xG is the best way to understand a football game.

Applying xG To Sports Betting

xG is clearly very helpful from a sports betting point of view. Of course, bets can be unlucky, and we’ve often seen teams with a better xG lose. However, over the long run xG will be reflected in the league table.

The idea is that the final score of the game might not be a proper reflection of how the game went. You can apply the same logic to the league table and many sites actually create a league table using xG.

It also represents the true probability of the chances a team creates. So, imagine a team who dominates procession and has plenty of shots, but the average chance might only be 0.1 per chance and while the other team plays counter-attacking football and might only have “three chances” – those chances might have an xG of 0.5 each and in theory they have had more chance of winning the game. Many punters find this bit hard to understand, but basically it is the quality of the chances versus the quantity.

xG is also an incredible way to look at the form when studying a game. For example, if a team has lost their last three games but their xG was actually showing that they should have won those games, you can imagine that they would offer good value in the market. The average punter would assume they are in bad form, but xG would actually show they are playing very well.

With the advancement of xG and general football stats, you can even find what the xG of each player playing is. You can see how helpful this would be for first goalscorer bets etc. You’ll also have team expected goals and expected conceded goals which helps for betting on goal lines likes over 2.5 or under 4.5 goals.

Over all, using xG can only help your sports betting. It’s not hard to understand, and to be honest you don’t fully need to understand how it is calculated just what the xG is! xG is a true reflection of how each team has played, and therefore over the long-term can only point you in the right direction.