When it comes to football betting new markets are cropping up all the time. Bookies try to get creative to offer something their rivals don’t or invent a market which proves a hit with the majority of punters. The reality is, however, that most people who bet on football tend to stick to a relatively small group of core markets.
One of those is the half time/full time bet, which is often written as HT/FT. Whilst it can be made on many sports, such as rugby or American football, it is most typically used by football bettors. This bet is really popular with punters and is a nice way to boost the prices from the standard match odds.
The 90-minute market, or HDW, 1X2, or whatever else you want to call it, remains the most common bet in football. However, if you think a favourite is too short and offers little reward, you fancy a real long-odds outsider, or you think the clash will be a topsy-turvy affair, HT/FT could be the market for you. Those are just some of the potential benefits of using this market, but how does the bet work?
If we think of the standard “to win” market as being “FT”, as in full time, then HT/FT becomes easier to understand. It is a bet on what the match result will be at half time, and then also at full time. So the options for betting on this include two predictions: who you think will be winning (or if it will be a draw) at the interval, and also what the overall position will be at full time.
Options and Odds in HT/FT Market
To illustrate this, below we can see the options you might have for a game between Man City and Liverpool. We have also included the odds to give you an idea of what sort of prices you can expect. For reference, this relates to a clash at the Etihad, with Man City the big favourites at 8/13, the Kop club out at 4/1 and the draw priced at odds of 16/5.
|Manchester City||Manchester City||8/5|
If the game, for example, was a thriller, where City led 2-0 at half time and then the game ended 3-3, the winning selection would be City/Draw as City were ahead after 45 but the game ended in a stalemate, albeit a highly entertaining one. On the other hand, if we witnessed a rather dourer affair, that finished 0-0, Draw/Draw would be the winning pick (obviously if the clash ends 0-0, it was also 0-0 at the break!).
Hopefully those examples make it clear how this bet works: you are predicting the match result at half time and at full time. This can be viewed as a same-game double, or even a mini-betbuilder. However you think of it and whatever you call it though, the outcome of your wager hinges on the half time score/result and that at the final whistle. And of course, both “legs” must win for you to land your bet.
What the odds in the table above show us is just how much of a boost to the prices this market provides. Not all that many punters would be tempted to back City at 8/13 – risking £100 on Pep’s men would see you end up just £61.54 richer should they win but £100 down if they drew or lost. It might be very tempting as an acca, but as a single you might prefer to plump for Draw/City (15/4), or City/City at 8/5.
If you expected City to be dominant against a Liverpool side that had been struggling all season, 8/5 seems a nice price for City to be in front at the break and then go on to win the match. To get the same £60+ win you would need to take around £39, which might be far more appealing. If you went for Draw/City, risking less than £17 would yield the same sort of reward.
Alternatively, you might have had a strange dream where Liverpool came storming back in the second half from 2-0 down to win 4-2. Or more realistically, you might just fancy a bet at long odds so you can risk a small stake with the potential for a tasty win. Either way, if you thought that City might throw away a half time lead then backing City/Liverpool might tempt you at the big price of 40/1.
When it comes to rules there isn’t anything within this market that you really need to be aware of. Assuming you have understood the info above and how the market works, that is all there is to it. Otherwise, normal football betting rules apply, which means that extra time does not count, but that is implicit in the name of the bet really, with half time and full time being the key phases of this wager.
We began this feature by talking about how new markets are being invented by bookies all the time. In recent years many of these new offerings have been related to existing bets, often offering a current market but just for the first or second half. In some regards, such bets are quite similar to HT/FT betting in the way they are centred on what happens in each half. These might include the number of cards, corners or goals in each half, or a player to score or be booked in both halves – the list goes on.
There are lots of bets, then, that can be seen as broadly related to this one. However, there are only a few that we would say are likely to be considered as alternatives to half time/full time. These are listed below:
- Half time – this is a bet on the result of the game at half time, in other words just the first part of a standard HT/FT bet
- Match odds – this popular bet needs little further explanation other than to state the obvious: it is the second part of a HT/FT wager
- Second half result – just as you can bet on the result of the first 45 minutes, so too can you bet on the result in the second 45. Note that this is not the result at full time, but rather the result in the second period viewed in isolation
- To win both halves – this can be a trickier bet to land than you might think. As the name suggests, the team must win both halves, which is subtly different from, say, backing Man City/Man City HT/FT. A score of 2-0 at half time and 2-0 at full time lands the latter bet but not the former. In contrast, whenever “to win both halves” wins, the HT/FT option will always be a winner
- To win either half – if you are looking for a safer option then backing a side to win either half can be a good shout. Each period of 45 minutes is considered separately and if your team scores more goals than the opponent in either (or of course both), you’re a winner
We will look in more detail at betting strategy for this market shortly. However, some basic stats might help you get a better idea of how likely each outcome is in general terms. Stats vary over time and between leagues but fundamentally there are no major reasons why the frequency of the various HT/FT options should change too much in different competitions.
Cups may be different, especially dependent on whether they use a replay or extra time and penalties to settle the outcome. Equally, in lower-scoring leagues, draws, both at the break and final whistle, tend to be more common. However, given the Premier League is, for many punters (certainly in the UK) the number one focus, we will look at the stats for that.
Note that the information in the chart below is for the 2022/23 season and includes all matches played up to the end of March. The numbers below are the percentage of matches that have each of the half time/full time outcomes.
We are about 70% of the way through the season and for comparison we will also look at the results for the Championship at the same point of the campaign (in terms of date, not number of fixtures played).
Premier League HT/FT Stats
Unsurprisingly the most common outcome is for the home side to be winning at both half time and full time. Barring anomalous seasons this is, we suspect, likely to be the case most of the time in every major football league in the world. Looking at around 30 major divisions across Europe, at the time of writing this outcome has occurred between 39% of the time and 16% of the time.
In Scotland’s Premier League, the home side has dominated games almost 40% of the time. The next highest is the Bundesliga, with almost 32%. At the other end of the spectrum we have the top two tiers in both Japan and Ireland. However, in each these four leagues no more than 66 games have been played, so the sample is small, with the J1 League the lowest at 15.55% (over 45 games).
Equally predictably the least common result is for the home side to be ahead at the break and yet go on to lose the game. In 2022/23 so far the Turkish Super Lig leads the way in terms of Home/Away outcomes but even there it has only happened 3.5% of the time.
Championship HT/FT Stats
As the chart below shows, by and large we see a similar picture in England’s second tier as well.
There really is very little difference between the two leagues, with home/home, then away/away, the most common outcome in both. Draw/draw and draw/home are in reverse position in terms of how often they land, but in percentage terms the numbers are very similar.
There are many different things that leap out from these stats. Aside from the most obvious ones and those we have covered, it is worth noting that in both leagues, the result at half time is the same as the result at full time well over 50% of the time. In addition, in both, the draw at half time is the most likely outcome, occurring around 40% of the time (longer-term stats over a range of leagues see a slightly higher figure of about 42.5% for this).
Half-Time/Full-Time Betting Strategy
The numbers above are all well and good and certainly give us a good idea of how often each of the nine possible HT/FT outcomes occur. However, they do not do all that much to help us find value when it comes to specific games.
It’s fine and dandy seeing that Home/Home (1/1) wins in the Premier League roughly three times per gameweek. It is quite another thing to then automatically assume that if you get odds of 5/1 you have found a value bet. If the home team is Everton and the visitors are Man City, all of a sudden Everton/Everton begins to hold a lot less appeal.
As with all markets, you have to do thorough research into all the factors relevant to the specific game you are betting on. To a large degree the odds for HT/FT are derived from the match odds. Indeed, if you are betting on smaller leagues, where bookies spend less time and energy setting their odds, the HT/FT prices might be entirely based on the 90 minute prices.
Due to this, you might just be able to uncover some genuine value when it comes to this market. There are definitely factors that you can consider that might make certain outcomes more or less likely than a cursory analysis of the teams would suggest. Things to think about are:
- Crowd – some home crowds are great if their team score early, whilst others only get going when they are losing. This can be a big factor when it comes to HT/FT wagering
- Good front-runners – some teams are naturally good front-runners and rarely drop points from winning positions. Others are the exact opposite
- Fightback kings – some teams collectively drop their heads when the opposition score first, whilst others spring into life and fight back – this can have a big impact in this market
- Tight – teams that have strong defences and feature in low-scoring clashes are very likely to be level at the break, most usually 0-0
- Team news – when managers opt to rest players but have them on the bench, usually when they are favourites, there might be value in backing the opposition at half time and the favourites at full time, after they have called for the cavalry in the second half