Here are some statistical takeaways from the group stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
There was clearly an adjustment period as the teams came to terms with penalty calling. A penalty was awarded in 9 of the 16 games in the opening round of the group stage. This figure fell to 2 penalties in the second round and 3 penalties in the third round.
Underdogs Rewarding Punters
Underdogs have rewarded punters well so far this tournament. Below are the profit margins for backing the favourite, the draw and the underdog in each of the group stage rounds.
Entire group stage:
Favourite: -19% (50% win frequency)
Draw: -27% (21% win frequency)
Underdog: 97% (29% win frequency)
The third round was particularly strong for the underdog due to the four games that involved a side that had already guaranteed progression. All four teams that had picked up 6 points in the opening two rounds went on to lose their third game. This goes to show how important motivation is in the third round of the group stage.
Tunisia 1-0 France
Japan 2-1 Spain
Cameroon 1-0 Brazil
South Korea 2-1 Portugal
The 4-leg multi odds for those winners was over 1,600.00.
Low Scoring First Half
So far this tournament 50% of the games have gone into halftime at nil-nil and 77% went under 1.5 goals in the opening spell. In the 48 group stage fixtures there were 43 goals scored in the first half and 77 scored in the second half.
First half average goals: 0.9 (median: 0.5)
Second half average goals: 1.6 (median: 1.5)
Full time average goals: 2.5 (median: 2.0)
For those who like to wager on which half will be the highest scoring, below are the stats thus far:
First half highest scoring: 21%
Second half highest scoring: 56%
Equal goals first and second half: 23%
Generally you get 2.05 odds for the second half to be the highest scoring, so the second half pick has been profitable, but not by a massive margin.
Full Time Total Score
So far this tournament 31.3% of the games went under 1.5 goals, 60.4% went under 2.5 and 79.2% went under 3.5.
On three occasions a team came back from a halftime deficit to win, once by Saudi Arabia (against Argentina) and twice by Japan (against Germany & Spain).
The most common result was for the game to be drawn at halftime before a team secured the win.
The HT/FT stats for the group stage are:
(W = one team was winning, D = teams tied)
WW: 33.3% (3.00 fair odds)
WD: 6.3% (16.00 fair odds)
WL: 6.3% (16.00 fair odds)
DW: 39.5% (2.53 fair odds)
DD: 14.6% (6.86 fair odds)
Both Teams To Score
Both teams have scored in 37.5% of the games thus far.
The key trends for this tournament thus far are:
– low scoring first half (50% goalless at halftime)
– underdogs have rewarded punters
– Draw/Winning team has been the most frequent HT/FT selection
For those looking to extrapolate these trends into the knockout stage of the tournament, keep in mind that the quality of the matches will now go up a notch, so not all of these trends will necessarily hold. We also enter the phase were defeat means automatic elimination from the tournament, something that often wasn’t the case in the group stage.