down cross right results icon premium content video video hollow icon audio lifeNews icon-comment tick starFilled betSlip hot icon-liveCommentary refresh spinner arrow-down
coral logo ladbrokes logo betway logo williamHill logo bet365 logo paddypower logo unibet logo betfair logo skybet logo tote logo
TODAY'S OFFERS
TODAY'S BOOKMAKER OFFERS
Exclusive to new customers:
  • View offer
    GET UP TO £100 IN FREE BETS
    Claim this offer
    New customer offer. Place 5 x £10 or more bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
  • View offer
    £10 risk-free first bet
    Claim this offer
    Place your first bet on Pools and if it loses we'll refund your stake in cash. Max refund is £10. Qualifying bet is the first bet added to the betslip. Totewin will be the qualifying bet when a Totewin and a Toteplace bet are struck at the same time. E-wallet deposit restrictions apply.
  • View offer
    £20 RISK FREE FIRST BET
    Claim this offer
    New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy's Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply.
  • View offer
    Money back as a bonus up to £40
    Claim this offer
    Money back as a bonus up to £40 if your first racing bet loses + £10 casino bonus. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min odds of 2-5 (1.40), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in. T&Cs apply
  • View offer
    Bet £5 get £20 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open an account with Ladbrokes and place £5 of bets, you'll get £20 in free bets. 18+ New UK+Ire customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1-2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
  • View offer
    Bet £10 get £30 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open an account with William Hill using promo code P30, bet £10 and get £30 in free bets. Min £10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15, 30 day expiry, free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply. T&Cs apply
  • View offer
    Up to £30 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Join betway, opt in, deposit £10 or more and you will get a 100% matched amount, up to £30 as free bets to split however you like. T&Cs apply. 1 x wagering at odds of 1.75+ to unlock free bet. Deposit by card or paypal only.
  • View offer
    Bet £10 get £30 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open a betting account with Coral through our site and when you place your first bet on horse racing (£10 or more) they'll give you 3 x £10 free bets. 18+. UK+IRE New Customers Only. First bet at least £10 or £10 each-way, at fractional odds totalling 1/2 or greater. Free Bets credited as 3 x £10. Free bet valid for 7 days. Free bet will not be included in any winnings. T&Cs Apply
  • View offer
    Up to £100 in Bet Credits
    Claim this offer
    Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
  • View offer
    Bet £5 get £20 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open an account with Sky Bet and get £20 in free bets when you place a £5 bet. First single and EW bet only. Odds of 1-1 or greater. 2x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions. Further T&Cs apply. 18+
  • View offer
    Bet £10 get £40 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open an account with William Hill using promo code W40, bet £10 and get £40 in free bets. Min £10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 4 x £10, 30 day expiry, free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply. T&Cs apply
  • View offer
    UP TO £50 IN FREE SPORTS BETS
    Claim this offer
    Place a single £10 Sportsbook bet and get money back as a free bet if it loses. There are x5 Free Bets available. Max refund per qualifying bet is £10. Only deposits made via Credit/Debit Card will be eligible for the promotion. T&Cs apply.
  • View offer
    Bet £5 get £20 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open an account with Sky Bet and get £20 in free bets when you place a £5 bet. First single and EW bet only. Odds of 1-1 or greater. 2x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions. Further T&Cs apply. 18+
  • View offer
    Up to £100 in Bet Credits
    Claim this offer
    Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
  • View offer
    Bet £10 get £40 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open an account with Ladbrokes and place £10 in bets and you'll get £40 in free bets. 18+ New UK+Ire customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £10 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1-2 = 4 x £10 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
  • View offer
    UP TO £50 IN FREE SPORTS BETS
    Claim this offer
    Place a single £10 Sportsbook bet and get money back as a free bet if it loses.There are x5 Free Bets available. Max refund per qualifying bet is £10. Only deposits made via Credit/Debit Card will be eligible for the promotion. Paddy's Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply.
  • View offer
    Bet £10 get £40 in free bets
    Claim this offer
    Open a betting account with Coral through our site and when you place your first bet on horse racing (£10 or more) they'll give you 4 x £10 free bets. 18+. UK+IRE New Customers Only. First bet at least £10 or £10 each-way, at fractional odds totalling 1/2 or greater. Free Bets credited as 4 x £10. Free bet valid for 4 days. Free bet will not be included in any winnings. T&Cs Apply

How much time-wasting is there in the Premier League and how can it affect bets?

More footballing philosophy and stats analysis from our soccer boffin

Referee Lee Mason awards a yellow card during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Manchester City at Bramall Lane
1 of 1

Earlier this season I tipped under 3.5 cards in a Premier League game between Manchester City and Southampton. In added time Ederson dawdled over a goal kick and became the fourth player booked.

I was disappointed the bet lost, but not surprised by how it lost.

Many cards are shown near the end of a match. In the Premier League the 90th minute plus added time account for about five per cent of the period players are on the pitch, but in it referees show about ten per cent of all cards.

Everything that happens in a match is connected. City were behind from the 13th minute until the 70th and did not lead until the 86th minute. Ederson was relieved City were now in front. He wanted to improve the chance of them staying there. So he tried to reduce the time the ball would be in play before the final whistle.

Wasting time can provoke cards. So can some other late-game tactics. They can influence different betting markets as well. When the ball is in play, for example, a team who are ahead might take it into a corner. This can lead to fouls, throw-ins, goal kicks or corners.

How much time is lost waiting for restarts?

Academics Elia Morgulev and Yair Galily answered that question in a brilliant paper published last year in the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. It was called “Analysis of time-wasting in English Premier League football matches: Evidence of unethical behaviour in final minutes of close contests”.

Morgulev and Galily studied the length of each stoppage in every Premier League match during season 2014-15. They found that leading teams spent longer than trailing teams over most types of stoppage, and that the differences went up as the clock ticked down.

Here are some lumped-together figures for three of the commonest types of stoppage: free kick, throw-in and goal kick.

After the 80th minute when scores were level the average length of each stoppage was 21 seconds. For some teams a draw would have been a bad result, but for each of those there was an opponent for whom it would have been a good result. So let us treat 21 seconds as the standard.

After the 80th minute when one team led by a goal they took an average of 26 seconds over each stoppage. Five seconds more. Each time. However, teams who trailed by a goal averaged 16 seconds. Five seconds fewer. Each time.

One team were trying to minimise ball-in-play time, the other trying to maximise it. One team were slow to restart, the other quick. Both had similar numbers of restarts. The net effect seems to have been that no more time was wasted by one than was saved by the other.

I should say this is a conclusion I reached after playing around with the data in Morgulev and Galily’s paper. They did not say it. So if you take exception to it blame only me, not them.

The average time taken over a corner after the 80th minute was pretty much the same whether teams were level, ahead or behind: between 20 and 22 seconds.

Why? Morgulev and Galily consulted coaches then summarised their answers:

“Trailing teams wait for ten players – and, in extreme cases, even for 11 players (including the goalkeeper) – to take their right positions in the box area, which takes time, in order to maximise their chance of equalising. Leading teams, on the other hand, play cautiously and often prefer to take short corners – a simple pass to a player within a few metres in order to maintain the possession. This does not take too much time even if a player engages in time-wasting.”

Before moving on I should add, just in case you were wondering, that Morgulev and Galily removed from their data all stoppages during which there was a substitution.

Wasting time and saving time in the last few minutes seem in many instances to more or less cancel out. However, playing time for a whole match can still vary enormously, and differences in it can affect all betting markets. The less time the ball is in play the less time there is for most things to happen. Though, as Ederson discovered, cards can be provoked even when the ball is out of play.

Ball-in-play time can be influenced not only by the length of each stoppage but also by the total number of stoppages and how long the referee adds on for them.

The shortest match in the Champions League this season was a Group H fixture between Valencia and Lille during which the ball was in play for 51 minutes and three seconds. The longest was a Group C fixture between Shakhtar Donetsk and Manchester City during which the ball was in play for 71 minutes and eight seconds – just over 20 minutes more.

At the 2018 World Cup the difference between the shortest and longest matches (ignoring extra-time) was exactly 23 minutes. At the 2014 World Cup it was almost 26 minutes.

It is probably no coincidence that the best use of technology in football has been a simple one. Foam squirted on the ground keeps defenders ten yards from free kicks.

Another basic use of technology would be to stop a watch each time the ball goes dead so every match has the same playing time. Let spare referees do this rather than turning them into VARs and baffling them with geekish computer software.


Sign up to emails from Racing Post Sport and get all the latest news and tips

Today's top sports betting stories

Follow us on Twitter @racingpostsport

Like us on Facebook RacingPostSport

Wasting time and saving time in the last few minutes seem in many instances to more or less cancel out
Bookmaker
Price
E.W. Terms
Sporting
BetVictor
Boylesport
RaceBets