How will the Introduction of VAR Affect Football Betting?

The Video Assistant Referee, otherwise known as VAR, is on the horizon for the Premier League and it could change the game significantly. English top flight clubs haveagreed to the introduction of the technology from the 2019-20 season onward but thisstill requires the seal of approval from FIFA before it is officially confirmed. VAR wasmade famous at the 2018 Russia World Cup, and there were mixed views aboutwhether it is beneficial for the game or not. Bettors should start paying a keen interestto other leagues which already use VAR, as it is likely to change the way people stakeon games.

What is VAR and when is it coming?

VAR refers to the video assistant referee, which is usually a group of people in a room who analyse a football match via video link as the game happens. Traditional referees on the pitch will still make most of the decisions but can call upon VAR if they need assistance with something important. Referees can also be contacted by the video assistant if they have missed something that the video has spotted. It can only be used for match-changing decisions which include goals, penalties, and red cards.

There is a huge debate over whether VAR should be used in football. Some people believe that it will slow down the game too much, while others contest that it is imperative to reduce the number of incorrect decisions which affect games. The most recent outburst from a player about VAR was by Southampton’s Charlie Austin when he had a goal disallowed against Watford. The Saints are struggling in the top flight and are at odds of 15/4 with Betway to be relegated this season. Austin’s disallowed goal effectively cost Mark Hughes’ men two points and a vital first home win of the season at Saint Mary’s Stadium. When poor decision making by referees could ultimately consign a team to relegation, it is clear that some things have to change.

Football has become a much faster-paced sport over the years, and it is getting harder for referees to make decisions based on what they have seen on the ground. With the technology in place now to deal with this, it seems like a no brainer that it should be implemented. For this reason, VAR will be coming soon and could be used from the start of the 2019-20 Premier League season onward.

In what way could VAR Affect Football Betting?

When VAR does get introduced, there could be an immediate rise in the number of penalties given per game, along with the number of goals scored. Bookies will likely adjust their odds in these markets as more evidence from matches is acquired but, during the teething stages, there could be some anomalies for bettors to capitalise on. Looking at the statistics from last summer’s World Cup reveals a major point of interest for bettors, and that is the level of late drama. In the five preceding World Cups to the one in Russia, there had never been more than ten goals scored after 90 minutes. In 2018, though, there were twenty goals scored in added time. This was due to the fact that VAR had brought about a significant difference in the amount of injury time, with an average of 7.16 minutes added on in each game according to research from The Sun. Prior to 2018, there had never been a higher average than 5.40 minutes.

Statistics on VAR gathered by the International Football Association Board suggest that its usage won’t be that noticeable. Sky Sports reported that of 972 matches analysed, 672 of those games passed by without the use of VAR. Only 5.5 percent of them had more than one review. When VAR was called into action, 57 percent of the time it was for penalty reviews and goals, while the other 43 percent of uses were for red cards. Going by these figures, bettors may not need to change their tactics too much when VAR comes in.

During its initial stages, there may be a sudden spike in the number of penalties given and goals scored which would affect the way people bet on games. However, once the teething period has passed, betting on football games is likely to be much the same as it is now.