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Are goals scored just before halftime worth more? An old soccer wisdom statistically tested

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  • Henrich R Greve
  • Jo Nesbø
  • Nils Rudi
  • Marat Salikhov

Abstract

There is an old soccer wisdom that a goal scored just before halftime has greater value than other goals. Many dismiss this old wisdom as just another myth waiting to be busted. To test which is right we have analysed the final score difference through linear regression and outcome (win, draw, loss) through logistic regression. We use games from many leagues, control for the halftime score, comparing games in which a goal was scored after 1 minute remained of regulation time with games in which it was scored before the 44th minute. Our main finding is that the home team scoring just before halftime influence these outcomes to its advantage, compared with scoring earlier with the same halftime score. We conclude that a goal scored just before halftime has greater value than other goals provided it is scored by the home team. In other words; the wisdom may be old, but it’s still wise.

Suggested Citation

  • Henrich R Greve & Jo Nesbø & Nils Rudi & Marat Salikhov, 2020. "Are goals scored just before halftime worth more? An old soccer wisdom statistically tested," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(10), pages 1-11, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:plo:pone00:0240438
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0240438
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