The introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) changed the nature of football betting. VAR has affected the odds on markets like match result, penalties and red cards. Due to the fact that nothing eludes the video referee’s eye, it’s more likely for a penalty to be awarded. This technology paved the way for new betting options as well as new types of promotions at sports betting sites. Meanwhile, live wagering has been influenced the most because markets are often suspended until a decision is made. Our guide aims to give you an advantage by analysing all the key aspects of VAR betting in football. We will take a look at crucial statistics while checking all the football leagues that have already implemented it.
VAR Betting Tips
Even if they are on the field or in the VAR room, referees have an unmeasured impact on football games’ outcomes. Officials make mistakes, some of which affect wagers. They play an active role in every low-level or elite match, so it’s critical to examine their stats and behaviour besides the players’ and managers’ analysis. You should also remember that some refs like awarding penalties or showing a player a red card. So, follow our VAR betting tips below and avoid losing your wagers while maximising your ROI.
Understand the impact: Referees, assistants and VAR referees have the authority to decide upon penalty calls, red cards and offsides after a possible goal. That’s why a bettor must understand the officials’ full impact on football matches and its effect in a low-scoring sport of contact.
Check referee reports: Research the officials involved in a football match, checking their stats, personality and behaviour. You can find even the last detail; if they are fit or not, experienced, as well as their results with each team. Also, following individual stats, you can get information about the total number of yellow/red cards, the penalties they decided during the season, and the percentage per game.
Pick the right bookmaker: All top 100 online bookmakers have responded to VAR’s implementation since 2019, adjusting their markets and odds to this technological innovation. If you consider it helpful for your bets, you should go after offers like VAR insurance; so you can find which bookies refund your stake if VAR affects your bet. Meanwhile, you have several options for VAR-connected betting markets, like penalty kicks, red cards and the total number of VAR decisions in a match.
How to Win from VAR Betting Tips
In many circumstances, VAR indicates violations that referees can’t see on the field. These decisions might affect your bets both pre-match and in-play. For instance, let’s say you bet on Team A to score a goal between the 10:01 and 19:59 minute period. During this time, a VAR stoppage due to a penalty/no-penalty decision can remove more than two minutes of actual play while the clock keeps running. We aim to overcome these obstacles and help you take advantage of our VAR betting tips.
Learn the VAR-related markets
If you are an experienced bettor, you certainly count the VAR in your decisions before you place a bet. Specific football actions can be reviewed, affecting many sports markets. Let’s check the main VAR-related ones:
Goal/No Goal decision: Numerous reasons can disallow a goal; a possible offside, a handball, an offensive foul or an out-of-play ball are some of them. VAR checks these possibilities before giving the green light to the referee to count the goal. These decisions affect the total number, odds/even, BTTS and goalscorers in at least 50% of the football betting markets.
Penalty kick/No Penalty kick: VAR overturns plenty of penalty decisions; incorrect awarding is the most probable scenario that can affect the match and your bets. It also often indicates a penalty the referee didn’t call. Betting on penalties and picking winners is VAR-related; so a bettor should check these markets, leagues and referees before filling up a betslip.
Direct red card: In the VAR era, every straight red card is subject to review, so cards betting is interrelated. The reasons for a sent-off are 1) violent play, 2) a handball to deny a big scoring opportunity and 3) abusive language or other insulting behaviour. The red cards market, where you can find high odds even on local derbies or other competitive matches, is affected by VAR, which may also downgrade a mistaken sent-off to a yellow card. In terms of penalties and cards, it's easier to check and award a penalty or a sent-off sentence. Undoubtedly, it makes sense to back these outcomes. Especially in leagues like the Italian Serie A, where referees are meticulous in their decisions.
Avoid low-level leagues
Corruption is always present in football. However, it’s substantially lower than most people think. Some referees favour specific teams due to bribery or threats, but such cases are scarce in high-profile leagues. Other officials were accused of fixing matches. If you are checking a ref’s history, you should separate their bio, skills and leagues as match officials. Referees are usually featured in a match analysis before an elite match (i.e., a Champions League or World Cup tie).
There you can find bets over their actions (number of yellow cards, possibility of a red card or a penalty kick), so the stats on them are more open to the public. Is it easy to find the exact same data for a referee and his assistants over a match of the fourth tier in Norway, where VAR isn’t available? Not really; so, our football betting guide is based on elite leagues where top referees are appointed to outweigh any possible inconsistency on how matches could be decided.
Use referee stats
The stats regarding referees and VAR betting are easily found, so you all need to smartly understand these numbers. However, keep in mind that if you take into account referees’ general behaviour, you may also unearth helpful information concerning the match result. Some websites offer statistics about the referees; the number of home and away wins, draws, yellow/red cards and penalty kicks. Indeed, these are real numbers, but they probably can’t lead to a safe conclusion about what you should bet on; the vast majority of this information is far too random or irrelevant.
For instance, let’s say a referee was in charge of eight matches and the home team won eight times. What’s the use of learning something like this if the home sides were actually better than the visitors? Stats can prove valuable if you examine the numbers. Divide the referee’s matches into specific categories and analyse his behaviour separately; now the question is not about how many home or away wins a referee officiated, is it?
Firstly, our experts check how many favourites or underdogs won when he was in charge. Then we check the home-field advantage and the referee’s behaviour on a favourite’s home tie, as well as how often underdogs make huge away upsets on his watch. Last, our process includes the number of penalties and red cards awarded to home favourites compared to how many the underdogs received.
Examine advanced VAR stats
As football fans and bettors know, technology has always been a controversial subject. For many, it hasn’t gone down well, while others have restored some justice in the sport. Regarding VAR betting, it’s critical to comprehend the differentiations it creates. That’s why you should check all the VAR-related stats for referees, leagues and teams before you place a bet on a VAR-connected market; like Over/Under VAR decisions, the total number of penalty kicks and red cards in a match. Let’s see how VAR has affected the number of goals scored and the penalties scored and awarded in previous seasons.
Focusing on the Big-5 European Leagues (i.e., the English Premier League, the Italian Serie A, the Spanish La Liga, Germany’s Bundesliga and the French Ligue 1), statisticians spotted a 15% increase in awarded penalties compared to the era before the 2019/2020 season. This fact dramatically influences all the Over/Under bets. Another stat that’s vital to know is the new length of injury time. Since the technology has been implemented, the matches’ duration has become 71 seconds longer on average. In all competitions, domestic or continental, injury-time goals are a possibility. Thus making it an essential factor you should understand, not only for what you are planning to bet but for cash-out decisions too.
VAR & No VAR Leagues
Most bettors prefer leagues with VAR because the referees play a lesser impact on the final result. The research before placing a bet used to include a team’s current form, stats, position in the table, home-field advantage, injuries and bans. However, the ability to check the monitor has become a vital part of online betting.
Ηigh-level European leagues, such as the Premier League, the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, and Ligue 1, use VAR; major continental club competitions, like Champions and Europa League, have adopted VAR, alongside national team tournaments (e.g., the FIFA World Cup, UEFA’s Euro Championship, the Copa America, the African Nations Cup).
On the contrary, there are several tournaments, like the Europa Conference League, the early rounds of the English FA Cup and lower domestic divisions where this technology isn’t yet adopted. Several live bettors avoid VAR betting, considering technology as a momentum killer in football due to the frequent suspensions of markets it causes. As a result, they prefer betting on these leagues, making quicker decisions without VAR stoppages.
Can VAR betting be profitable?
Following productive football strategies, you can reduce the effect VAR has on your bets. 2021/22 English Premier League shows us why; with or without VAR, Manchester City (points without VAR: 94 / actual points: 93), Liverpool (points without VAR & actual points: 92), and Chelsea (points without VAR & actual points: 74) would have still been the table leaders. At the bottom of the table, Burnley (36 vs. 35), Norwich (23 vs. 22), and Watford (20 vs. 23), respectively, would have been relegated as it eventually happened.
Generally, the differences are tiny, so the conclusion includes our advice to count the referee/VAR factor, backing at the same time the team which has more winning chances. Still, you shouldn’t risk money without examining all the other parameters of a football match. These are our main VAR betting tips towards helping you to make money from football:
- It’s critical to understand referees’ and VAR’s impact on football betting, separating VAR betting markets from the rest.
- You can still find VAR promotions on specific bookies, such as VAR insurance, where your stake is refunded if a winning goal is disallowed by technology.
- Βookmakers suspend in-play betting markets until a VAR decision is made. If you think that this kills your momentum, avoid live betting on matches where VAR is available. You should check to avoid scam betting sites that cancel bets under these circumstances.
- Add referees’ research to your homework, alongside teams’ and players’ latest news.
- Compare the statistical overview of your beloved leagues and tournaments, and check how VAR affects them over time.
Where to get the highest odds and offers for VAR betting in football
Explore the list below and discover all the reliable bookmakers for football that offer the best odds for VAR betting markets. You can also find the most valuable VAR promotions for successful betting.
Besides star players, referees have the ultimate power to leave their footprint in a football game and determine the outcome and the VAR betting markets. At a glance, awarding a penalty can affect that specific market, the correct score, the Over/Under and the goalscoring markets. Also, when a player is sent off the field by the referee, it affects the card market and maybe the match result; this act can give an advantage to the team that will remain at full strength.
It’s self-evident how referees can influence a football match and your bets. So, a bit of standard advice for all bettors is to secure enough information (e.g., behaviour in the field, cards & penalties stats, a record of their previous results) and evaluate all this data. Match officials are always announced a couple of days before kick off, so there’s sufficient time to do deep research before placing a bet ref.
Some bookies offer betting options such as how many VAR decisions a referee will make in a match, but it’s critical to check which football markets are VAR-impacted. Undoubtedly, in the VAR era, it’s more frequent than before for a penalty kick or a red card to be awarded. So, it’s optimal for your strategy to examine these options where this refereeing technology exists.
If you take advantage of VAR in football betting, you can make quick and accurate decisions following specific markets. Firstly, you should learn to check the VAR-related markets, like red cards and penalties. Then, picking bookmakers where you can find promotions, such as refunds if the VAR disallows your team’s winning goal would be optimal.
Referees can affect football games and bets in many ways, but it’s rare and bizarre to see an official scoring a goal. Although, there are some examples of referees getting on the scoresheet. For instance, in May 2019, Maurice Paarhuis accidentally scored HSV Hoek’s second away goal with his left foot, in their 4-2 defeat against Harkemase Boys in the Dutch 4th tier. Remember that he was right to count the goal because, according to the official rule, the referee is a ‘natural obstacle’ on the field.