Football managers use substitutions to replace injured players, to exploit the weaknesses of an opponent or for other tactical reasons. In this guide, we will explore how substitutes can influence a match, popular markets for substitutes betting, as well as betting tips and strategies.

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All teams are usually allowed three substitutes per match.

Substitutes play a big role in a football match. A manager may introduce substitutes to lay into or expose the weakness of an opponent, to counter a change in tactics (made by an opponent), to support a change in formation, to bring a pair of fresh legs to the team, to see out a game, to replace an injured player or for other tactical reasons.

A substitute could also score a winning goal or help secure the defence. Football matches take place over 90 minutes plus injury time (and at times extra time as well), and substitutes play a key role throughout.  A strong squad is essential to the success of a team over a long season of play.

While substitutes may or may not be the usual starting eleven players, their importance to a team’s success is paramount.

What is a Super-Sub?

A super-sub is a player renowned for appearing off the bench, and contributing significantly to the success of the team; super-subs are goal scorers and game changers. From Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to Javier Hernandez and Divock Origi, the English Premier League (EPL), has been graced with several splendid super-subs over the years.

Punters should pay attention to super-subs as these players can easily influence the outcome of the game. If there is a high chance of a super-sub coming off the bench, goalscorer bets could prove to be quite rewarding.

When you compare high-profile clubs such as Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, or PSG to clubs with less financial muscle, a bigger club has the financial might to attract and purchase the biggest names in the game.

To achieve sustained success, a club must have a strong squad. With the number of games that players have to play in domestic cup competitions, European competitions, international friendlies, international tournaments and domestic leagues, injuries are inevitable. For this reason, a manager has to rotate his starting eleven and rest key players from time to time, making the most of substitutions.

Bigger clubs have a definite edge over smaller clubs when it comes to substitutions. If we take Chelsea’s squad as an example, the squad boasts 4 strikers, 5 wingers, 7 midfielders, 7 defenders and 2 goalkeepers at the time of writing. Manager Frank Lampard has a wealth of options to choose from, and several impact players to bring off the bench. Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Liverpool boast similar squad depth. It is clear that bigger clubs gain an edge from substitutions.

Yes, betting can be affected by substitutions. If you want to place an Anytime Goalscorer, Last Goalscorer, Multi Scorer, or Anytime Scorecast bet on a player who has a knack of scoring late goals coming off the bench (in other words, a super-sub), the odds can be quite lucrative. 

If you are placing a Correct Score, Both Teams to Score, or Result/Both Teams to Score bet, and are hoping that your favoured team keeps a clean sheet, you could lose your stake if a substitute scores a goal, assists a goal, or contributes towards a goal being scored against your favoured team. Similarly, a substitute could help you win a bet if he scores a goal, assists a goal, or contributes towards a goal being scored. Over/Under markets could be greatly affected by the impact of a substitute.

Markets like Player to be Booked and Player to be Sent Off could be impacted as well; the introduction of a controversial player could rile up opponents, leading to more bookings. Quick and skilful substitutes can draw fouls as opponents gradually tire during a match and tend to make uncharacteristic errors, particularly towards the end of the game.

A Winning Margin bet could also be impacted by a late goal, as could a Handicap bet.

Here are a few of the most popular markets for betting on substitutes:

There are several factors you should consider when betting on a player who may be substituted or brought off the bench. A good idea is to go through team news, injury news, past match results, and team form guides. A football manager may decide to shuffle his team and rest key players ahead of a match.

Similarly, a manager may replace a key player with one that has a good track record against an opponent. An injury may force a manager’s hand as well. Bets may be affected by these decisions, so you should be thorough with your research.

If a goal-scoring player is returning from an injury, a manager may be keen on giving him minutes. Remember, players take time to settle in after a long injury layoff. Even if a player is likely to appear off the bench, he may or may not perform to the best of his ability.

Avoid placing a 2 or More Multi-Scorer bet on a player who may be substituted ahead of a key fixture in the league, or in another tournament. A manager is likely to substitute such players to keep them fresh once a result has been secured. 

Players usually have a point to prove against former clubs. Such players may either perform exceedingly well against a former club or succumb to pressure. Place a bet on such players on the basis of their mentality, ability, and track record.

Finally, do not expect a super-sub to score in each and every match. The highest scoring super-sub in EPL history, Jermain Defoe, has scored 24 goals off the bench in 149 substitute appearances.

3 substitutions are permitted per match. In case of extra time, an additional substitution is allowed.

Substitutions allow football managers to replace players during a match in the case of injuries, to counter the tactics of an opponent, to attack the weaknesses of an opposing team or to see out a match.

The most popular betting markets for substitutes betting are Anytime Goalscorer, Over/Under, Anytime Scorecast, Last Goalscorer, Team Goalscorer, Player to be Booked, and Player Assists.

A strong squad is vital to the success of a team; it is impossible to play a league season with just 11 players. Some players are renowned for their ability to influence a match from the bench, while others add to squad depth and ably contribute to the success of a team. With so many bookies offering different football betting features, it can be a challenge to choose the bookmaker that is right for you – so we’ve done the work you and ranked the best online football betting sites.

When placing a bet on a player who has been named on the bench, or who is likely to be substituted, you should take into consideration the betting tips and strategies mentioned in this guide. While there is no particular market as such for substitutes betting, betting on substitutes, or players who may be substituted, can often require you to perform in-depth research in order to place successful bets. 

WRITTEN BY Ben Gibson View all posts by Ben Gibson

Ben has been writing professionally for over a decade. His articles are a great outlet for his inexhaustible supply of sporting facts and enthusiasm. He resides in Yorkshire, where his work is powered by the ever-present sound of a kettle.

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