First, Last and Anytime Goalscorer


There are many bets that aren’t going to come in unless you correctly select the right result in one form or another, but that’s not the case with goalscorer bets. Simply choose your player(s) along with the type of goalscorer bet you want and then cross your fingers that they find the back of the net during the game – the end result simply doesn’t matter.

There are a variety of bets available to you when it comes to goalscorers. There’s the first goalscorer bet of course, but also now you can try your luck on last goalscorer, anytime scorer, and no goalscorer. Let’s take a look at some common rules before covering each of these bets.

Common Goalscorer Rules

Goalscorer Rules
Bigstock / lumyaisweet

Before we go any further it’s important to understand a few basic rules regarding goalscorer bets. The first one you need to learn is that own goals don’t count, so if you have a bet on Olivier Giroud to score first and the opening goal in the match sees a player put the ball through his own net, don’t worry your bet is still alive and well.

The second important rule actually applies to a lot of bets; only the regular 90 minutes of play counts. This means your chosen player can technically score the first goal and you could still be a loser. If the 90 minutes play hasn’t produced any goals and the game goes into extra time then your bet has gone down, regardless of what happens after that. Injury time counts as the regular 90 minutes.

Also, check the rules regarding substitutes. For example, you place a bet on Adam Lallana to be first goal scorer, but he starts the match on the bench and doesn’t get on the pitch until the first goal has already been scored, or doesn’t get on the field of play at all. There are some differing rules on this depending on where you bet, so check your bookies terms and conditions – you may get your stake back.

First Goalscorer

With this bet we’re looking to successfully choose the first goalscorer (excluding own goals) from the regular 90 minutes play. There are some decent odds available in this kind of bet, especially in games between two well-matched sides where there’s no prolific goalscorer. This can lead to a very open market.

If you fancy a defender to score the first goal then the odds are likely to be extremely attractive indeed. Look out for those defenders who have a habit of coming up for a corner and heading the ball into the net; Gerard Pique for example.

1st Goalscorer Gerard Pique

Rather than taking a chance on a defender, you could always go down a more predictable route and opt for the top goal scorer in the side that is favourite to win. You won’t get the best of odds but even the most prolific goal scorers might be around the 2/1 mark – see Lionel Messi in the example above.

The first goalscorer bet isn’t an easy one though. There are technically 22 players that could do it – some are extremely unlikely of course – and even if you choose the best player in the world and he scores a hat-trick, if it was another player who just happened to score the first goal, then you’ll be on a loser.

It’s sensible to pick a player from the favourite team to be first goalscorer, but it’s not unheard of for the underdog to get an early lead even if they do go on to get trounced. Their fate is unimportant, but your bet is dead in the water. This is where you might want to employ a saver bet on a player from the opposing team, so do a bit of research – have a look at who takes penalties for each side, for example. This is designed to see you break even if your main selection doesn’t come in.

In terms of entertainment, the first goalscorer bet may not give you much of a run for your money. A goal scored in the opening minute could finish your bet before it has even got started. If this is important to you then you might want to look at the options below instead.

Anytime Goalscorer

Goalscorer Anytime
Bigstock / ari-s

It’s called ‘anytime’ but remember extra time doesn’t count. With this bet, it doesn’t matter who scores the first goal as long as your selection finds the back of the net sometime in the regular 90 minutes.

This means your bet will be alive from the first kick of the game to the last, unless of course your selection scores, in which case you probably won’t mind the bet ending because you will have more cash in your pocket. In terms of fun, though, there is no chance of your bet ending quickly and unsatisfactorily as can be the case with the first goalscorer bet.

With the requirement not being restricted to the first goal, the odds available are understandably smaller for the anytime goalscorer since there is much more freedom within the bet. There are still some good odds available in this market, though.

This type of bet is a prime candidate if you fancy a goal from someone who doesn’t usually find the back of the net, such as a left back or a goalkeeper (stranger things have happened, ask Peter Schemeical or Alberto Brignoli). You can pick up decent odds on players who could well score, and also keep your bet alive to the final whistle.

Last Goalscorer

Man Utd Win Champions League 1999
Photo by Seán MurrayCropped and retouched by Danyele [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Another bet that has slightly reduced odds but will keep you interested for the whole game is the last goal scorer. Even if there have been six goals scored already, or if you are in the 89th minute, there is always time for another one – just ask the Bayern Munich Champions League Final team of ‘99.

It’s a tense bet that you can potentially ride for the whole game. You may well be on to a winner with your selection scoring the most recent goal, but you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat hoping no one else smashes one home to ruin your bet. Even if that does happen, the tension continues as you will be praying for your selection to score another.

You want to be focussing on teams that are known for scoring in the dying minutes for this one, or for those with well known super subs who have a knack for coming on for ten minutes and netting the winner. If you know a team tend to tire towards the end and hardly ever score past the 80 minute mark, it’s probably not a good idea to select their forward for a last goalscorer bet, especially if they are playing a team who score often.

If you bet on the same player to score first and last and they score the games only goal you are really flying.

No Goalscorer

Now you might be thinking why do you need to go for this bet, why not just bet on a 0-0 score. Well, remember that own goals don’t count, so the game may finish 1-0 or 2-0, but if the goals scored were own goals then as far as bookmakers are concerned there was no goal scorer.

You can get some decent odds for this bet. It all depends on the overall odds of the two teams playing the match. If there is an overwhelming favourite then the chances of the game ending without a goal scorer will be slim and that will be reflected by some high odds. If it’s a closely fought game between two sides struggling for goals then the chances of the game ending with no goal scorer won’t be anywhere near so high.

No Goalscorer

So what are you looking for? Two teams that struggle to find the back of the net to put it simply. Or two teams both with a strong defence but no known goal scorer. Maybe even smaller teams well known for keeping a clean sheet against more powerful sides, there may be some sneaky good odds there.

Since records began, around 7% of all English football games have ended in a 0-0 draw, which gives you some idea of how often it occurs.

Who to Choose

If you are betting on the first goal scorer, then by default you need to also pick the correct team to score first. You should have a look at goal stats for that team to figure out if they regularly score early at home and/or away before you do anything else. If they regularly grab early goals then you could be onto a winner even if they go on to lose 5-1, all that matters to you is that first goal.

You will then go on to look at the individual players. First goal bets will have better odds than anytime goal bets, so choosing a player who regularly smashes home 20+ goals a season could still be a good bet with a decent return. The same player will carry less rewarding odds for an anytime goal bet.

As an example, in a game where Chelsea took on the mighty Huddersfield, Eden Hazard was 10/3 to be first goalscorer and 16/5 to be the last (almost exactly the same odds), whereas the odds of him scoring at any time were a measly 1/1. Hazard was Chelsea’s top scorer at the time, so if anyone was going to score it was likely to be him, which explains the odds.

Eden Hazard Statistics

In general, when picking a player for a goal bet you need to be looking at their recent record and also who they are facing. A prolific striker in the middle of a goal drought but facing a weak defence might yield a healthy return, for example; whereas someone who has netted in their last 4 games will probably come with less favourable odds but a higher likelihood of scoring. Also, do they commonly score at home or away; how does that affect your thinking?

If you can find someone who isn’t the most obvious choice but who has been itching for a goal for a month, or who has a history of scoring against a specific team due to the way they defend, then you need to exploit that knowledge.

Variations on the Theme

Bookies give punters more choice than ever these days, with bets of every type adorning their websites. Some associated bets not covered below include first goal scorer for a specific team rather than for the match; goal scored by selected player in both halves; goal scorer plus, where you can bet on a player scoring before/after a certain time – Hazard after 15 mins.

Each Way Goalscorer

Each Way Goalscorer
Bigstock / Jointstar

Here you can get a return if your selection scores either the first, second, or third goal in the game. It’s just like each-way bets on the horses; half your stake goes on your selection to score the first goal, the other half is on him being one of the first three goalscorers. There are of course reduced odds for this bet but a win is a win isn’t it?

If your selection is the first to score a goal then all your bet is a winner. However, if someone else gets that first goal your bet is still active, and if your selection scores the second or third goal you’re still on a winner but the win half of your bet is lost.


This is an accumulator for all intents and purposes, where you are not only betting on the first goal scorer of the match, but also the final score. This is very difficult to correctly predict, but the odds reflect this and are usually attractively long.

Scorecast Goalscorer

Amateur bettors are often snared by this trap, and end up losing £20 wagers on 27/1 odds that were never likely to come through. Remember, those odds are strong for a reason, so if you are going to try a bet of this type then research thoroughly and don’t over stake.

Using the same Chelsea/Huddersfield fixture mentioned above, Eden Hazard to be first goalscorer and Chelsea to win 2-0 was 18/1.

Goalscorer Coupons

Moneyback Special GoalscorerKeep an eye out for some great offers when it comes to goalscorer bets. Some bookies offer first goal scorer accumulator coupons. Get five right and the odds are over 1000/1.

Another coupon required you to correctly predict eight anytime goal scorers and you could win over £250,000. This one was even free to enter.

There are also bets available where if your selection does score the first goal, the odds you are given are increased if they go on to score more goals in the game. A 5/1 win could become 15/1 if your selection gets a hattrick in a game, for example.

Money back as a free bet is an increasingly popular offer. If your selected first goalscorer bet goes down but they then manage to score the second goal in the game, you could get the money back as a free bet to use again.

In-Play Betting

In-play Betting GoalscorerIt’s possible now of course to bet on games live as they are being played. That means the odds will be fluctuating throughout the game and new markets are being formed all the time.

This is also the case with goalscorer bets, with odds forever changing and new markets being created for the next goal scorer once a goal goes in. This opens up a whole new world of opportunity if you are able to watch the game, and also allows you to do a bit of your own analysis as the game goes on. Before kick off you might have been certain you would bet on Eden Hazard to score anytime, but actually, watching him struggle for form on the day you have changed your mind and are pleased you waited.

Equally, if that bet of yours went down early there’s still chance to redeem yourself with a correct goalscorer bet and make a profit to cancel out your previous loss, with the added advantage of having eyes on. Just don’t get carried away.


Betting on goal scorers really is an exciting bet. There are some good odds available and with most of the bet types your bet remains alive throughout the game. Make sure you do some research before the game, work out who’s in goalscoring form and who isn’t, and also look for penalty takers (especially if a dirty game is likely) or defenders who can occasionally get on the scoresheet.