If you’re a football fan then you would have, over the last few years at least, learned the art of restraining yourself when a goal goes in. Gone are the days when you would celebrate uncontrollably before setting off on a euphoric lap of the garden with your shirt being swung above your head. Sure, you can still do that, but you may come back to a living room full of smug people who have just seen VAR rule it out for a foul in the build-up.
These days, the regrettable reality is that you have to put your celebrations on ice when a goal appears to be scored given that a host of referees in a room far away from where the action is taking place will proceed to put the last 30 seconds of play under the microscope. With this in mind, the question has to be, is VAR making it harder to win a bet?
Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino was flagged offside before putting the ball in the net against Aston Villa and the decision was confirmed by VAR— Premier League (@premierleague) November 2, 2019
The red line signifies Firmino and was aligned to his armpit, which was marginally ahead of the last Villa defender#AVLLIV pic.twitter.com/a2OnNWnz2E
Can you beat the bookies?
It’s worth saying that your first thought may have been that the advent of VAR would, in fact, make it easier to win a bet as there is a pause in proceedings when the video referees look for any reason as to why they can’t award the goal. Essentially, the theory is that you would use this time to change course if you had, for instance, bet against both teams scoring and were all of a sudden in danger of that outcome happening.
Put another way, you would use the moment before the goal was confirmed to back the other option in the ‘both teams to score’ market. Alas, bookmakers may have been slow to cotton on to this loophole at first but now, they’ve updated their software to stay ahead of the game. Indeed, bookies had to, like everyone else in the football world, also adapt to the quirks of VAR.
These days, they’ve turned to companies like Sportingtech, who offer the ultimate sportsbook experience for global bookmakers, and subsequently, this change has seen their operations become far more streamlined. In some ways, it’s easy to forget that bookmakers too had to tweak their technology and look for solutions. Needless to say, it came in the form of iGaming platform providers who provided them with world-class betting software suited to the modern game. So, with this in mind, the answer nowadays has to be that the break in play doesn’t hand punters an advantage anymore.
“He’s completely missed it”— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 7, 2021
After a lengthy VAR review, West Ham’s early goal has been allowed to stand! ✔️
It’s gone down as an Alisson own goal.
📺 #WHULIV on Sky Sports PL
📲 https://t.co/fszbcsgA26 pic.twitter.com/J6udIaKzcU
VAR can be a friend and foe
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that VAR is making it harder to win a bet. Yes, as mentioned, there will be times when VAR makes incredibly tight calls that go against your selected odds, but for every armpit that disallows a goal for offside, as reported here in the Daily Mail, there is a bettor who benefited from the goal being chalked off.
The verdict has to be that it is six of one and half a dozen of the other when you consider that these things will almost always even themselves out. Indeed, one day you’ll have a penalty decision that costs you a bet, and the next you will be awarded one after VAR intervenes to hand you a late reprieve. So whilst the inescapable truth is that celebrations may now be delayed, it doesn’t mean that VAR is harming your efforts in winning a bet.