Backing a team to win the first half of a sporting event can sometimes be a smart tactical bet, as some teams are notoriously quick or slow starters. By betting on the first-half winner market, you are aiming to identify which team will lead at the break or whether the deadlock will remain and the draw is worth backing.
Quite often teams are more likely to start true to recent form, and many teams are usually stronger in either the first half or the second half of a game. By betting on the first half of a game alone, you take away the risk of backing a full-time winner that starts brightly but falls by the wayside due to one of the many factors that can alter the course of a game, including a stern half-time talking to!
Pros and Cons of the First half winner market
- Pro - Half-time betting allows you to zone in on current form and make the most of how teams are currently performing, given they could start the game in the same fashion.
- Pro - A lot of teams, particularly in football, do follow patterns and make a habit of slow or quick starts. There are plenty of stats on offer to exploit this market.
- Con - The risk is higher simply because a team you back have a much shorter period of time to outscore their opponent. Also, because the betting period is shorter, the available odds will be shorter to reflect the reduced probability of different outcomes.
- Con - The best teams are just that because they find ways to triumph over the full course of a game. This may often involve overcoming adversity, and by limiting yourself to betting on the first half alone, you may find yourself betting on a team that is hit and miss in the first half but finds a way to get the job done eventually. You may find you can make better profits by backing them in the full-time market.
What is the first half winner market?
Backing a first-half winner is a shortened version of the match result, 12 moneyline or 1x2 moneyline market. They all require the team that you select to be in the lead come the end of the stated period, be it full-time or half-time.
The half-time winner market can be applied to US Sports, Rugby, Handball and some other sports, but it's less commonly used. In some cases that may be because the odds are not fantastic, or in US sport the outcome may be far less predictable.
Football betting is where the half-time winner market is most commonly used. When two teams compete in a 90 minute football match and you use this market, you are betting on the first 45 minutes only. That means when the referee toots that whistle to signal half-time, the score at that moment will be used to settle your bet. Below is an example.
You've bet on Manchester City to lead Manchester United at the break. Below is the half-time and full-time scores from the match.
Half-Time: Manchester City 2-0 Manchester United
Full-Time: Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United
Your bet is a winner. Why? Because Manchester City scored more goals than Manchester United in the first 45 minutes (first-half) of the game. It doesn't matter that Manchester United turned the game around and won at full-time, or if Manchester City actually had gone on to win 5-0. The only thing that matters is that the team you select scores more goals than their opposition in the first 45 minutes of the game.
Half-Time Betting Factors: Motivation, Situational and Statistical
There are some easy mistakes to make when using the half-time betting market. Not all things are equal in 90 minutes of football. If a team are expected to win the game, it's careless to expect that they'll probably be leading at half-time. If a team is expected to play a game with three, four or maybe even five goals, it's dangerous to expect without research that those goals will come equally in the first and second half.
But there is definitely a lot of money to be made using the first-half winner betting market, just not by diving into unknown with a blindfold on. There are more and more betting strategies that are being shared in recent times, and some of them focus on the first-half winner market (half-time result).
Don't bet on a team to win the first half because you just feel like they might. Bet on a team to win the first half because you have months' worth of trends and statistics to call upon, as well as team news, and the consideration of factors like motivation behind that decision.
An example of motivational factors
Some teams are actually very good in one half and much weaker in the other. Lesser teams do not generally come out and play at the same tempo and quality as the better teams do for 90 minutes. A lesser team travelling to a top team may be one to be more more wary of in the first half than the second half, for example. They'll come out with more energy and a determination that they won't be blown away early - that's a motivational factor.
The visiting team may be pretty average on the road, and they could be travelling to a side that are hard to beat at home. That might be reflected over 90 minutes, but for the purpose of your first-half winner bet, you know that the home team are safe or already promoted, whilst the away team are coming here needing to fight for survival. Games like that late in the season always throw up results you wouldn't usually expect, and this team may just come and make a very fast start.
An example of situational factors
There are many things that can be considered when you look at a situational betting decision. What this means is to overlook stats, sometimes you may combine with motivation, and take a closer look at the circumstances surrounding the game. For example, one team is fresh after a nine day break. The other team is playing their third game in eight days. Their last game was a tough European midweek cup tie that went to extra time amd involved a long journey home. The situational circumstances here are this team could be very tired and sloppy in the first half, or maybe they choose to play a second string side that aren't as well prepared as their opponents.
Another could be team news. The visitors may generally be tough to beat on the road. They might just have two centre backs are built like NFL players and head and kick everything in sight, but suppose they're both out with an injury today. That's a big loss and it can have a mental effect on the players around them, as well as their replacements not being quite as well equipped. That's another situation you may wish to use to your advantage.
An example of statistical factors
And then there's good old statistics. You don't necessarily have to have a deeper understanding of why a team is so good in one particular half, but if one team hasn't lead at the break all season and their opponent haven't trailed at the break all the season, then it's safe to assume the unbeaten side will have their chances to take a lead into the break. Some teams are notoriously fast starters and that will be reflected in the fact they may have led at the break (and won the first half) in seven of the eight home games so far this season.
This market applies to sports such as football, rugby, US sports, handball and volleyball. Whilst a casual punter may well use this market, it seems unlikely.
Who uses the first-half winner market?
Good and proper use of this market requires some thorough thought and research and if a casual punter isn't going to put that time in, it makes sense not to limit themselves and stick to betting 90 minute outcomes.
For a professional bettor it's a market of zoning in further on good form and eliminating some of the risk of betting on a 90 minute match. Whilst a 90 minute match gives the team you've backed longer to do what they need to do, a team in form/out of form may quite predictably start the game well or bad.
There are also many inconsistent teams that hold particularly good or bad records in the first half and a professional bettor could exploit this.
Betting on the winner of the first half outright carries more risk. Quite often with football bets, things don't come full circle until the final moments.
The best of teams can have a bad half, and it's not uncommon to see a team huff and puff and fail to find their way through in the first half, before running riot in the second half. But it is a high probability market with just three options to choose from, good probability being easy to come by and just one requirement to satisfy a successful outcome in that the outcome must be successful in 45 minutes in any which way.
This type of betting is a stable betting market to add to any professional betting portfolio.
Got the hang of the different bet types? See how successful tipsters make their mark by exploring our betting strategy guides.