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Analysis | Tuesday, June 11, 2024 1:41 PM (Revised at: Thursday, June 13, 2024 5:51 PM)

History Says.....Back the Draw In The Knockout Stage

History Says.....Back the Draw In The Knockout Stage
Granit Xhaka of Switzerland gestures during a Friendly game vs Denmark, at Parken, Copenhagen, Denmark, ahead of Euro 2024 - Associated Press / Alamy Stock Photo

Betting on a draw is often overlooked in 1X2 betting. This is largely because fans prefer to bet on their team to win out of loyalty, hope, or faith. Alternatively, neutral fans may not enjoy spending their free time rooting for a tie. As a result, few bettors opt for the draw.

Since most of the money is usually wagered on either team to win in 1X2 betting, the odds for a draw can sometimes be higher than they should be, simply due to market dynamics.

In this article:

In this analysis, I’ll examine the profitability of betting on a draw during the knockout stages of both the Euro and World Cup tournaments.

But First, bettingexpert’s Free Euro 2024 Betting Guide is out NOW!

The bettingexpert Euro 2024 Betting Guide


Our guide takes a different approach to any other tournament preview. The analysis and insight you’ll find in the document is based on our in-house betting data which goes back decades. This betting data is on the following markets:

  • Match Result (1X2)
  • Handicap Betting
  • Total Goals (Over/Under 2.5)

Using this as a foundation, we’ve split the guide into several different sections:

  • 8 historical tournament  analysis articles
  • 24 team-by-team articles
  • BETSiE projections for every team and group
  • Unique analysis from our experts including exclusive quotes from Mikael Silvestre and John Barnes

For a free copy of the Euro 2024, click the button below:

Download the guide

Betting on the Draw In International Football

International football is often seen as defensive, especially during the knockout stage of tournaments. This defensive style usually leads to fewer goals, increasing the likelihood of a draw.

But just how defensive is international football during the knockout stage? And more importantly, does it exceed the expectations set by bookmakers? Has betting on the draw during the knockout stage of major international football tournaments proven to be profitable?

In this article, we will examine the 1X2 betting outcomes for each Euro tournament from 2000 to 2021 and World Cups from 1998 to 2022. We’ll assess the profitability of betting on the draw and Under 2.5 goals at even stakes, meaning betting the same amount on each bet.

Betting the Draw in Euro and World Cup Knockout Stages

Table 1: Performance of betting the draw in the knockout stage of Euros and World Cup’s since 1998

Tournament Games Draws Draw P/L DRAW ROI%
Euro 58 24 22.1 38.1%
World Cup 105 37 23.52 22.4%
TOTAL 163 61 45.62 28.0%

Looking at the data, it’s clear that historically, bookmakers haven’t factored in the defensive nature of knockout stage international football. Betting on the draw during these matches has proven to be profitable.

Backing the draw in all knockout stage matches at both the Euros and World Cup since 1998 has yielded significant profits. For instance, betting a single unit on the draw in each of the 58 Euro and 90 World Cup knockout stage matches since 1998 would have resulted in a profit of just under 46 units, representing a return of 28%.

Specifically, betting on the draw in the Euros would have generated a profit of over 38% across the 58 knockout stage matches played from 2000 to 2021. Similarly, betting on the draw in the World Cup would have produced a profit of just over 22% across the 90 knockout stage matches played from 1998 to 2022. These profits were achieved in standard 4.5% margin 1X2 betting markets, and opting for the best available odds would have increased the return even further.

Moreover, analyzing the data across each stage of the tournament reveals that a profit has been consistently returned at every stage.

Table 2: Performance of betting the draw in the knockout stage of Euros and World Cup’s since 1998 by stage

Stage Games Draws Draw P/L DRAW ROI%
Final 13 7 8.73 67.2%
Semi Final 26 10 6.58 25.3%
Qtr Final 52 19 11.35 21.8%
Round of 16 72 25 18.96 26.3%
TOTAL 163 61 45.62 28.0%

Betting on the Draw Tournament to Tournament

Of the 13 tournaments in this analysis, backing the draw in the knockout stage has returned a profit in 9 with the worst results coming in the World Cups of 1998 and 2010 and the Euros of 2012 and 2016.

Best results? The World Cup of 2014 delivered over 16 units of profit from 15 units wagered while the Euros of 2021 returned near 14 units from 15 units wagered.

Table 3: Performance of betting the draw in the knockout stage of Euros and World Cup’s since 1998 by tournament

Tournament Year Games Draws Draw P/L DRAW ROI%
World Cup 1998 15 4 -0.76 -5.1%
Euro 2000 7 3 3 42.9%
World Cup 2002 15 5 1.26 8.4%
Euro 2004 7 3 3.01 43.0%
World Cup 2006 15 6 4.44 29.6%
Euro 2008 7 3 3.45 49.3%
World Cup 2010 15 4 -1.98 -13.2%
Euro 2012 7 2 -0.76 -10.9%
World Cup 2014 15 8 16.18 107.9%
Euro 2016 15 5 -0.29 -1.9%
World Cup 2018 15 5 1.46 9.7%
Euro 2021 15 8 13.69 91.3%
World Cup 2022 15 5 2.92 19.5%
TOTAL 163 61 45.62 28.0%

Conclusion: Consider Backing the Draw

Firstly, it’s important to note the standard disclaimers: never place bets solely based on historical trends, regardless of how significant they may seem. Bookmakers readily adapt to inefficiencies in markets, and blindly following historical data can be risky.

Additionally, we must consider the relatively small sample size of 163 matches analyzed here, with only 58 matches across six Euros tournaments over 20 years. The landscape of sports betting has evolved significantly during this time, with bookmakers having access to more data and advanced market analysis in 2024 compared to previous years.

However, despite the common belief that knockout stage football is more defensive, the data shows that it’s indeed defensive, even more so than what bookmakers have historically factored into their odds for Euro and World Cup 1X2 markets since 1998.

While we don’t advocate blindly betting on the draw, it’s worth considering this analysis when evaluating matches for the knockout stage of the 2022 World Cup.

Additional links for your consideration:


At bettingexpert, we always take a safe approach to gambling. We’ll never bet more than we can afford or chase losses. For more advice, head to our Safer Gambling hub.

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