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Fouls Won market is the latest addition to Paddy Power’s popular Bet Builder feature, you can now place a bet on a player to win a foul (also known as drawing a foul).
Opta’s definition of ‘Fouls Won’ is “when a player wins a free kick or penalty for their team after being fouled by an opposing player.”
Importantly, “there are no fouls won for a handball, dive, back pass, illegal restart, dissent, GK 6-second violation or obstruction where a free kick is conceded.”
Throughout this article, I will outline how I would research and predict players to win fouls, which should prove useful when placing this type of bet.
1️⃣ Check Opta’s ‘Fouls Drawn’ statistic for players
I have made this data point readily accessible through my Bet Builder Stats tool, and as it’s official Opta data, you know it’s accurate.
By using this tool, you’ll be able to identify precisely which players win the most fouls for any upcoming match in the Premier League, Champions League, English Championship, and other major competitions.
For instance, at the time of writing, I’m looking at the upcoming Manchester City v Liverpool Premier League fixture.
At a glance, I can see that the player who draws the most fouls for Manchester City is Jack Grealish, averaging 2.97 fouls won per 90 minutes played.
Similarly, for Liverpool, Cody Gakpo stands out as the most fouled player, with an average of 2.55 fouls won per 90 minutes played.
I can sort the list of players by who wins the most fouls and then create a shortlist for a possible bet, but more digging needs to be done…
2️⃣ Identify potential opponents
Next, we want to find players who commit a lot of fouls and figure out who they might face in the match based on expected or confirmed lineups.
You can find the official Opta ‘Fouls Committed’ data on my Bet Builder Stats tool, which makes it easy to see which players commit the most fouls for both teams.
For example, in the Manchester City v Liverpool match, summer signing Alexis Mac Allister commits 2.14 fouls per 90 minutes and could be battling against one the world’s best midfield and attacking lineups that love to cause defences trouble.
When considering a ‘Fouls Won’ bet, it’s essential to identify who these players are likely to be up against during the game, and who’s going to be pitted against one another in a fight for possession.
Manchester City have the leading possession average in the Premier League with 63% per game and playing 644 passes per game, they love to control the midfield battle. The likes of Jeremy Doku and Phil Foden are drawing in 2.46 and 1.86 fouls per 90 minutes respectively, and are pivotal in that transitional play from midfield to attack, Mac Allister and co could have their hands full.
Could Jeremy Doku be considered for 1+ Fouls Won as a bet?
There’s more research to be done…
3️⃣ Additional data points
How does a player draw a foul? Typically, it happens when they play aggressively, taking on opponents directly with dribbles or when they are heavily involved in the game and get tripped or pulled after making quick moves.
There are other useful Opta data points to consider, such as:
- Take-Ons Attempted: This measures how many times a player tries to dribble past a defender.
- Touches in Attacking Third: This simply counts how often a player touches the ball in the attacking third of the field.
When you look at Manchester City players, the top two in both Take-Ons Attempted and Touches in Attacking Third also rank high in Fouls Won.
For instance, Jeremy Doku is 1st in Take-Ons Attempted (59), 5th in Touches in Attacking Third (239) and 2nd in Fouls Won (15).
Phil Foden is 2nd for Take-Ons Attempted (43), 2nd for Touches in Attacking Third (329) and 1st for Fouls Won (19).
Think about it logically, if a player attempts a lot of take-ons, they’re more likely to draw fouls.
Similarly, if they have many touches in the attacking third, opponents are more inclined to foul them in that area. There is a clear correlation so these data points should also be considered.
4️⃣ Finally, how many minutes is the player likely to play?
Just like with any player bet, it’s crucial to gauge and understand how long a player is likely to be on the field during the match.
There’s nothing more frustrating than when your chosen player gets substituted before the event you’re betting on can happen.
While it’s impossible to predict how many minutes each player will play, you can use data to spot trends.
You can calculate a player’s average minutes played using Opta data on FBref. Simply divide the total minutes they’ve played by the number of matches they’ve participated in.
For instance, let’s take Phil Foden as an example. He has played a total of 920 minutes in 12 matches, which means he averages 77 minutes per appearance — this is considered a strong average. Jack Grealish, on the other hand, only averages 47 minutes per appearance, which makes him a less appealing option for a fouls won bet than Foden. Recent rotation trends need to be considered.
It’s important to remember that forwards and midfielders are more likely to be substituted during a match, and the rule allowing five substitutes increases the risk of any player you bet on playing less than the full duration of a match.
I hope you found my guide on betting on player Fouls Won helpful. Feel free to reach out on Twitter or Instagram to let me know your thoughts, and share your winning bets if you’ve had some luck using my Bet Builder Stats tool.
To wrap up, here’s a list of the top 10 players who have drawn the most fouls in the Premier League so far this season:
- Jordan Ayew of Crystal Palace (41)
- James Maddison of Tottenham (30)
- Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle United (26)
- Bukayo Saka of Arsenal (25)
- Lucas Paqueta of West Ham (24)
- Joel Veltman of Brighton (24)
- Joao Pedro of Brighton (24)
- Amadou Onana of Everton (23)
- John McGinn of Aston Villa (23)
- Raheem Sterling of Chelsea (23)
*Stats as of Gameweek 12
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