soccer tips

In contrast to higher scoring sports like rugby and American football, a soccer match has a high likelihood of ending in a draw. Mark Taylor, our soccer expert, explains how to forecast which matches are more likely to result in a draw in this article. Is it easier said than done? Continue reading to discover out.

Between the 2013/14 and 2017/18 seasons, roughly 24% of Premier League matches ended in a draw. The most common drawn score was 1-1 (42% of all draws), followed by a scoreless game (32%), and 2-2 (22%).

As a result, draws account for around a quarter of the results in a Premier League game over the course of a season and are an important component of bets placed in handicap betting markets.

Once the venue is taken into account, it appears that a draw is more likely between two teams of nearly equal talent.

When a championship contender hosts a weak team, the implied probability of a stalemate is typically given at around 14%, however when two mid-table teams compete, the suggested probability rises to around 30%.

This is proved by applying the well-known Poisson Distribution to two ostensibly equal sides.

Although a pure Poisson approach in football significantly underestimates the likelihood of a draw, necessitating an adjustment, the methodology is rather simple.

Calculating the probability of a Soccer Premier League draw


Consider a Premier League game between two evenly matched clubs in which an average of 2.5 total goals is projected to be scored. In this scenario, each team will average 1.25 goals each game versus the other.

The Poisson Distribution indicates that both teams have a 29% chance of failing to score, therefore multiplying these two probabilities together yields the unadjusted likelihood that the game ends in a 0-0 draw.

0.29 * 0.29 = 0.08

According to Premier League stats, a 1-1 tie has a better likelihood of happening – roughly a 13% possibility.

After these figures for all possible drew score lines have been calculated, the probabilities for a 0-0, 1-1, 2-2, and so on can be added together to determine the total possibility of a draw for a normal Premier League game between two evenly matched clubs.

In this scenario, and without any correction to account for a Poisson’s slight divergence from reality, a draw is anticipated to occur approximately 27% of the time.

While the proclivity of evenly matched sides to play to a stalemate is obvious, the expected scoring profiles of each side is sometimes overlooked when projecting draws.

Fewer anticipated overall goals in a match inevitably increases the likelihood of each team having lower individual scores.

The probability of a team failing to score in a less goal-laden environment, when the total expected goals in an evenly contested match is only 2.2, rises from 0.29 to over 0.33 in the prior example.

As a result, the likelihood of the game ending 0-0 jumps from 0.08 to 0.11, and the cumulative unadjusted draw probability rises to more than 0.29.

So choosing matches that are more likely to finish in draws necessarily leads us to teams of comparable quality and who may have shown a tendency to be good defensively yet lacking an offensive cutting edge.

Making OKbet betting predictions for soccer draws

However, being able to identify such draw prospects does not guarantee that the increased likelihood of a stalemate has been adequately incorporated into the available pricing.

It is also vital to remember that a squad that performs at extremes, even over the course of a season, may become less extreme in the future.

A team may appear to be a draw specialist, in part because they participate in low scoring matches, but the permanence of this trait may be overstated, and future draws may appear to have value where none exists.

Between 2006 and 2016, the Premier League teams with the most draws in a season were typically mid-table clubs such as Stoke, West Bromwich Albion, and Aston Villa.

They averaged nearly 16 draws per season as a squad, compared to the league average of slightly under 10.

However, the number of drawings created by these potential draw experts plummeted from 16 to slightly over 10, which was close to the league average.

A similar destiny befell the largely successful sides, such as Manchester City and United, Tottenham and Chelsea who looked to eschew draws as a final game conclusion.

After drawing fewer than five games per season the previous season, they regressed the following season and averaged eight draws between themselves, closer to the league average of ten draws.

It is critical to understand the factors that may contribute to drawn matches in football, though as always, regression towards a less extreme mean should be considered. As the season comes to a close, it is also worth considering instances where a draw is mutually beneficial to both teams, particularly in Italy’s top flight league.

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