The introduction of the VAR video review system has a significant impact on the number of goals, red cards and penalties in Premier League (Premier League) matches. Let’s take a look at how these changes affect bet placement in this top-tier national championship.

In Premier League matches, there has never been a shortage of conversations about a particular controversial situation that affected the final score. Former players have had successful careers discussing the controversial decisions of the referees on numerous sports channels, which happened literally on every round. Recently, however, an innovation has appeared that should at least reduce the ardor of their polemics – we are talking about VAR.

The video assistant referee system has been widely deployed since the start of the 2019/20 season and we have already seen quite a few examples of how it affected the outcome of matches, which naturally affects the world of betting. It is not possible to know in advance how many VAR checks will be in each match, but we can try to conduct our own research on this issue using online channels and match reports.

What we can say for sure is that all the goals that are scored, all the red cards that are shown, and all the penalties that are awarded are checked by a whole team of specialists in the center located in London’s Stokeley Park (where all information and monitoring of all broadcasts of matches), in order to ensure that the referee on the field makes the correct decision. VAR is also used to check the moments when a penalty was awarded by mistake, and then the referee in the stadium should be instructed accordingly.

But what impact did VAR have in the opening 17 rounds of the 2019/20 Premier League season? And how does this affect players’ bets? Let’s take a look at all three main categories.

Red cards

If we compare with long-term trends, then during the indicated segment of the championship there were no significant changes in the number of players who were shown red cards. A total of 21 people were removed from the field, up from an average of 21.8 at the same time in the previous 20 completed seasons.

However, if you take a closer look at the previous two decades of the Premier League on red cards, you will notice that the last three seasons have had the fewest. If in 17 seasons before that the indicator averaged 63, then in none of the last three years there have been more than 47.

The current season average of 1.23 red cards per round is not unusual, but it fluctuated from season to season, and in 2019/20, after 12 rounds, it was higher than in any of the previous three campaigns, so it’s definitely worth a look.

But only one red card was identified by VAR: Ryan Bertrand of Southampton against Leicester was sent off just 12 minutes after the starting whistle. The match ended 9-0 in favor of the away team, making it the biggest away win in Premier League history.

Bookmaker Pinnacle considered the outcome “under 2.5 goals total” as more likely on the closing line, evaluating it at 1.86 compared to 2.05 for “total over 2.5 goals”. The fatal 12th minute of sending, which would not have become such without VAR, resulted in such an unusual large result that it was costly for some bettors.

In contrast, Chris Basham’s 73rd minute red card canceled by the video review system during Sheffield United’s 2-1 victory over Norwich may have contributed to the fact that this match was no longer scored. heads.


It will not be possible to accurately assess the impact of VARs in the current season with respect to penalty kicks, as the rule of handing in own penalty area has also changed somewhat before the start of the season. So far, the number of penalties has dropped – 27 versus 29.2 in the first 12 rounds over the past 20 seasons.

There were also no changes in the ratio of penalties between home and away sides. In both Italian Serie A and North American MLS, the home penalty has declined since VAR was introduced, and the 2019/20 Premier League figure of 1.05 11-meters awarded to the home team for every penalty awarded the visiting team suggests that this could also happen in England.

The average home side penalty rate over the past five full seasons is 62.07%. However, home teams have earned only 51.4% of 11m so far this season.

There was also a fairly high percentage of penalties awarded in favor of the traditional “big” six teams, with four of them fighting for the championship and places in the Champions League this season. Over the past five seasons completed, top 6 clubs have earned 35% of their pitches assigned. In 2019/20, this figure is already 53%, however, mainly due to the fact that Manchester United have already taken penalties eight times.

Sometimes it may seem like there will be more exceptional results this season. So, in the tenth round, six penalties were assigned at once (a record figure for the last almost two years, or 68 rounds). One of them, in the Brighton vs. Everton match, became the first 11-meter awarded with the VAR.

On the same weekend, a penalty was awarded to Arsenal’s goal, which was initially missed by referee Martin Atkinson (moreover, he even first showed a yellow card to the Crystal Palace striker for the simulation), but VAR put everything on their places. In addition, in the Norwich – Manchester United match, the guests failed to convert penalties twice.

But there was not a single 11-meter in the matches of the 12th round, which became only the third “no-penalty” since the beginning of the 2018/19 season. The tour included a highly controversial handball incident in the Liverpool v Manchester City match that could have changed the game – and the entire championship race – if a penalty kick was awarded to the home side.


However, the VAR system undoubtedly affects the number of goals most of all, determining with millimeter precision whether a goal has been scored or not. In addition, now the side referees do not always raise the flag, fixing the offside position, and in doubtful cases they wait for the decision of the head referee, who, in turn, is assisted by VAR.

During the period under review, 488 goals were scored in the 2019/20 Premier League season, the highest number since 17 rounds in any of the last 20 seasons. The average was 2.87 per match, and it is, of course, also a record, although the tournament still has a long way to go, if, of course, the decision is made to finish it.

But we are not interested in the total amount of goals, but in their impact on the results and related rates. While it is impossible to say for sure whether a goal awarded or canceled will definitely affect the outcome, there have already been some Premier League matches where this happened.

The most notorious example was Gabriel Jesus’ missed goal by VAR in the 92nd minute of a 2-2 draw between Manchester City and Tottenham in August. Since there were only two minutes of added time left to play, it seems reasonable to assume that the Citizens would have won if the video viewing system did not exist.

There was also an example of the opposite situation, where in the 87th minute the winning goal was determined by the VAR when Crystal Palace beat West Ham 2-1 in October.

The new system doesn’t just affect the basic 1X2 match market. By canceling or scoring goals, VAR can also disrupt the market for Golden Boot winners, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang among the candidates who have been canceled due to VAR.

The market for betting that coaches will lose their jobs is also affected. Take Ralph Hasenhüttl from Southampton. After 12 weeks of play, his team won only two league matches, and in both matches, the opponents had a goal canceled by the video viewing system at 0: 0.

Since the Saints have taken just five points in the 22 Premier League games they conceded first, since the start of last season, Hasenhüttl might already be out of work if not for VAR.

Consider another example with Southampton, a 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers, in which Danny Ings brought the Saints a lead in the 53rd minute. Based on the Premier League match statistics since the start of the 2018/19 season, it can be concluded that if the first goal was scored between the 50th and 60th minutes, that game had only a 30% chance of ending over 2.5 goals total.

However, Raul Jimenez had goals canceled by VAR in the 29th and 43rd minutes. If the first of them had been scored, then there would have been a 61% chance of playing with over 2.5 goals total, based on the statistics of the last 500 Premier League matches.

There are also examples when an early canceled goal did not prevent both teams from scoring and making the total score of goals large enough – Aston Villa and Burnley finished their meeting 2: 2, although in the 25th minute the first was not counted here ball.

So, we have listed the main markets where VAR can have a huge impact on the success of your bets. Perhaps the worst thing for bettors is that it is impossible to know how and when the VAR will “strike.” After years of criticism for the lack of interference by the video review system in controversial situations, referees, using VARs, seem to be eager to award “extra” red cards, penalties and goals every week.

In a sport full of random factors, VAR is arguably the biggest of them all, which could mean bad news for bettors.

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