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09/02/2007 No.3
Kevin Pullein
Friday February 9, 2007
  Match Corners
One of the best strategies for trying to win money in the more obscure football markets is to try to identify little-known but well-established patterns in a team's play that are not fully appreciated by everyone else. It can be applied, among other places, in the increasingly popular range of markets on which team will gain more corners in a match. You can have either a straightforward win/draw/loss bet or, alternatively, take your pick from a selection of handicaps.

It has been argued here before that when you are betting on the total corners in a match the best-value prices will often be at the extremes - those on either the high numbers or the low numbers. In other corner markets, the best value will often be on teams who have unusual corner-gathering habits, like Liverpool and Fulham. As a general rule, the more goals a team score the more corners they gain. It stands to reason, really. Both are potential consequences of attacking play. It means that the team likely to score more goals will, in most matches, also be the team likely to gain more corners.

The precise relationship, however, differs from team to team, and it has differed most of all, in the Premiership, for Liverpool and Fulham. In each of Rafael Benítez's three seasons, Liverpool have gained a much bigger share of the corners than could be anticipated from the goals they have scored and conceded. They have scored more goals in 56% of matches but gained more corners in 71%.

If points were awarded for gaining corners rather than for goals, Liverpool would be top of the league this season and at the bottom would be Fulham. In each of Chris Coleman's four seasons as manager, Fulham have won a small share of corners. Overall, they have conceded more goals in 41% of matches but conceded more corners in 68%. The markets do not always acknowledge how ingrained these patterns are.

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