Under 3.5 Goals Betting Market Explained

Written By: Conor Rafter
Last Updated: May 25, 2023

Before each game, most fans and pundits will predict a scoreline with three goals or fewer. Our brains are virtually hardwired to expect low-scoring affairs. Not only are we afraid of being incorrect, but the fear of appearing outlandish places constraints on our way of thinking. There is good reason to expect a small number of goals in football matches, though, and predictions of such scorelines should be rewarded. Even those of you that predict a 5-4 every week can take advantage of a rewarding – even if just a little bit – betting market.

Under 3.5 Goals Meaning

Under 3.5 goals is a football betting market. Bets placed on this market will win if there are less than four goals scored in the match. If four or more goals are scored, your bet will lose.

What is Under 3.5 Goals In Betting?

Under 3.5 Goals is a market that will payout as long as there are under four goals scored.

The decimal point ‘.5’ after the number ‘3’ is vital, as it ensures that the threshold for a losing bet stands at four goals.

This is because half-goals cannot be scored in football. Therefore, bookmakers round up to the next whole number to determine the point at which a bet is considered lost. 

In the five premier league seasons between 2016-2017 and 2020-2021, matches ended an average of 2.74 goals scored per game.

Very few conclude with four goals on the scoreboard.

As a result, the odds for this market and generally quite low – but that’s not to say it is not a profitable betting option.

You must be diligent and picky to make any sort of meaningful return.

But first, you need to understand what the market is. Most bookies provide an online glossary which details each market listed on their respective platforms. We’ve pulled a definition of ‘Under 3.5 Goals’ from William Hill’s official Help section.

William Hill Definition

Predict whether the number of goals scored in a match will be under the number specified.

Under 3.5 Goals Betting Market Explained - William Hill description
William Hill description of the total match over/under market.

In the case of ‘Under 3.5 Goals’, you’re predicting that the total number of goals scored in the match will be under four.

While the market states that you’re wagering on ‘Under 3.5’, the fact of the matter is that teams cannot score 3.5 goals in a game. The next highest number stands at four, and it is this figure which represents the limit for this bet. If exactly four goals are scored, the bet loses.

Should any fewer than four goals be scored (0, 1, 2, 3), the bet wins.

Under 3.5 Goals Examples

Final ScoreTotal GoalsUnder 3.5 Goals Bet Win or Lose
A table showing example scorelines, match total goals, and whether and under 3.5 goals bet on this match would win or lose.

Winning scorelines for under 3.5 total goals bets:

  • 0-0
  • 1-0
  • 0-1
  • 1-1
  • 2-1

Example losing scorelines for under 3.5 goals bets:

  • 2-2
  • 3-2
  • 2-3
  • 3-3
  • 4-3
  • 3-4
  • 4-4

Here’s a table with some example scorelines, the total goals in the match, and whether or not a bet on this match on under 3.5 goals would win or lose.

What Betting Markets Are Similar To Under 3.5 Goals?

The opposite betting market to this is the over 3.5 goals betting market. The next “unders” betting market is the under 2.5 goals betting market, or the under 4.5 market.

If you wish to bet on there being at least three goals, if not more, check out the over 2.5 goals market which is usually the standard “line” for most matches.

Strategy & Tips For Under 3.5 Goals Betting

In a similar vein to the above, it is rather unwise and unprofitable to punt money at a bet without having a reason for doing so. We say this with good reason, as the primary money-maker for bookmakers is the impatient and eager nature of bettors hunting a big win. You must ask yourself a very important question before diving into a bet:

Would you prefer many little wins or many losses as a result of the lust for a big win?

Whatever your answer, it’s acceptable. Betting is meant to be enjoyed, not loathed. If chasing a massive bag of cash at the detriment of your bankroll is what appeals to you, so be it. Follow our strategy guide if you’d rather acquire small lumps of money via bets on markets like ‘Under 3.5 Goals’.

1. Go Big vs Little For Best Odds

Look, we all know that the teams with more cash flow will win in the end. They hold most of the talent and throw their wads of cash around when a weakness in the squad becomes apparent. They’ll win title after title and pretend it was all part of some journey that could not have happened without the fans.

In increments, though, little teams stand a chance. The smaller clubs won’t beat the more imposing outfits over an entire campaign but they can do so within the confines of 90 minutes. It’s happened before and it will happen again, with minnows striking decisive blows against giants. All it takes is one folly by the bigger side to change everything.

The best part about ‘Under 3.5 Goals’ is that you don’t need the smaller team to win to make a profit. Rather, all that’s necessary is that the weaker side can hold the opposition out and away from their goal for an extended period of time. The result should be a low-scoring affair (preferably below 4 goals) and a win for your bet.

For example, Nottingham Forest head to the Etihad Stadium on Matchday 5 of the 2022/23 Premier League Season. All of Forest’s opening four matches have had under four goals, with no more than two on the board in any fixture. Manchester City, on the other hand, have slotted home on many occasions in the first several weeks of the new campaign. The odds are in their favour, but Forest are certainly capable of holding firm for a defeat by two or three goals. 

SkyBet’s odds on ‘Under 3.5 Goals’ for Manchester City vs Nottingham Forest are 2.50 (6/4). A £20 wager would return £50, making a £30 profit. This is the type of matchup you should look out for.

2. Use Doubles, Treble & Accumulators For Bigger Odds

They’re the most popular multiples in the world of online betting. Doubles, trebles and accumulators are simple to build, easy to play with and highly profitable when done right. For everything we said earlier regarding “many losses in your lust for a big win”, we cannot ignore the power held by multiples.

We cannot recommend splashing money at unlikely outcomes. What we can encourage you to do, though, is to collect each game you perceive to be low-scoring and add it to your betslip. This will create a multiple bet with greater odds and a more impressive payout if successful.

Instead of betting on loads of small teams to perform well against bigger sides (that’s something we recommend on a one-by-one basis), you should do the following:

  • Add a few games between low-scoring sides to your betslip.
  • Add one match involving a small side and a bigger side to your slip.
  • Set your stake according to your bankroll.

For example, here’s our Under 3.5 Goals betslip for Matchday 6 of the 2022/23 Premier League season at SkyBet:

  • Aston Villa vs Manchester City at 1.57 (285/500)
  • Nottingham Forest vs Bournemouth at 1.25 (1/4)
  • Wolves vs Southampton at 1.29 (87/300)
  • Brighton vs Leicester City at 1.30 (3/10)
Under 3.5 Goals Betting Market Explained - Skybet betslip

A £25 wager at 3.28 (285/125) odds would return £82.08, making a profit of around £57. All of the outcomes are realistic and could realistically take place, making this bet a solid one. Incorporate research alongside this betting strategy to inform your future decisions when it comes to creating multiples on ‘Under 3.5 Goals’.

Best Bookies & Odds For Under 3.5 Goals

Every punter has a favourite bookie, whether we like to admit it or not. Some like the user-friendliness of SkyBet’s app, while others prefer the simple nature of Bet365’s website. It’s all down to personal opinion.

However, there are indeed select sportsbooks that outshine competitors when it comes to markets. To be specific, we mean that there are bookies that consistently upload early odds on markets like ‘Under 3.5 Goals’, whereas some industry leaders fall back and wait until the last moment to get their ducks in a row.

Regardless of where you like to bet and for what reason, you can rest assured that the following bookmakers will serve you well for Under 3.5 Goals betting:

  • Bet365
  • SkyBet
  • Paddy Power
  • Betfair

Here’s an example of how the market looks at each bookmaker’s website, with betslips and odds for selections included. You should have a good idea of what to expect at all four operators’ platforms by the end of your reading.

Under 3.5 Goals Example Bookmakers & Their Odds 

Here are four main UK betting sites and their odds for an under 3.5 goals bet.

1. Bet365 – Liverpool vs Newcastle United at 1.72 (18/25)

Bet365 - Liverpool vs Newcastle United at 1.72

2. SkyBet – Chelsea vs West Ham United at 1.40 (2/5)

SkyBet - Chelsea vs West Ham United at 1.40

3. Paddy Power – Tottenham Hotspur vs Fulham at 1.45 (9/20)

Paddy Power - Tottenham Hotspur vs Fulham at 1.45

4. Betfair – Leicester City vs Manchester United at 1.44 (11/25)

Betfair - Leicester City vs Manchester United at 1.44

Each sports betting site has a unique take on the market and how it displays its odds. You need not do anything but make sure you feel comfortable betting on the site, for there is no such thing as one greatest bookmaker.

Terminology For Under 3.5 Goals

Much like leaves on a windy autumnal day, your money can be whisked away in an instant by betting on something you don’t understand. Oftentimes, bettors will jump at the chance to take a punt on a market that doesn’t fit within their budget, or they create bets with high potential payouts due to odds in the hundreds. Smart punters won’t make this mistake. 

To truly know what you’re betting on, you must come to terms with the terminology of a market. The bet type we’re discussing today is one of the easier markets to get to grips with as it’s just three words in length, serving as a good starting point for novice bettors.

To begin, let’s run through the opening word in the market’s title: ‘Under’. The word ‘under’ is another way of saying ‘below’, ‘fewer than’, or ‘less than’ and immediately gives us insight as to what kind of bet this is. Right away, we can tell that whatever it is we’re betting on must sit below a set threshold. If that threshold is met or exceeded, our bet is lost.

Now we know what the first word means, it’s time to discuss the second: ‘3.5’. By connecting ‘3.5’ to the very first word listed in the market’s title, we can decipher that 3.5 is the upper limit at which the bet loses. However, this is just a number. We must continue to break down the final term in the title to know exactly which statistic this bet refers to. As thing stand, we could estimate that we’re betting on there being fewer than 3.5 corners, shots, bookings, or shots on target. 

Goals’ are the key to every footballing puzzle, including this one. With this term tacked on to the end of this betting market, we can infer that it is the number of goals scored that decides whether we are to win or lose. To be concise; fewer than 3.5 (rounded up to 4) goals will see us win our bet. If there are more than four goals during the course of 90 minutes (unless otherwise stated), the bet will not win.

What Are Goals?

Goals are the point system utilised in football. Both teams are tasked with attempting to outscore their opponents by striking the ball across the goalline with any part of their body that is not a hand or arm. In most cases, the ball hits the back of the net when a goal is scored. However, there are some instances where the ball crawls beyond the goalline by one or two centimetres, making it difficult to determine whether or not the ball has crossed the line. 

The introduction of Goal Line Technology has put such arguments to rest, as most elite footballing stadia have implemented this technology to alert the referee when the ball crosses the line. This means that you won’t be ripped off by poor decision-making by the officials if, for instance, they thought the ball had not crossed the line when it had.

Conor Rafter
Conor Rafter

I’m a freelance writer who loves all things sports & betting related. Having worked in this field since 2018, I’ve experienced a wide range of intriguing bookmakers and online casinos. With this expertise, I strive to create helpful, honest articles. My primary goal is quite simple: to guide and inform readers using facts and analysis.

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