Betting School

Published on February 5th, 2022 | by Fraser Neary


How To: Stay Card Happy!

Cards betting is an art. If you can navigate the card markets properly, healthy profits can be made. We’ve already covered research, however mainly related to props betting. When it comes to cards betting there are several key areas to consider: 

  • Team discipline/cards for
  • Referee card averages
  • Cards drawn/against
  • Fouls Draw/committed

Team Discipline

This one is probably the most obvious of the above and probably the one most people consider when putting on card related bets. The website I use for researching this one is ‘The Stats Don’t Lie’. We’ve already touched on this source in the previous article. It covers a variety of leagues including the main European leagues.

The Stats Don’t Lie Card Averages

The Stats Don’t Lie breaks each teams yellow and red cards into an overall average, an average per home game and an average per away game. Whilst the overall average is important, I recommend close attention is paid to the average both at home and on the road. There can be a big difference in a team’s average depending on the venue, often dictated by their home/away form. 

Referee Card Average

There are a few sources I use for this – Soccerbase, Whoscored and The Stats Don’t Lie, each for different reasons.

First of all you need to establish who the referee is going to be. You can find out on most of the football association websites in each respective country. Another method is Flashscores where the referee is usually listed under the ‘Match Information’ section. 

I then use Whoscored. This is best for providing an average number of cards per game given by the referee for each competition they officiate. Whoscored also allows you to filter by all time career averages or just for the current season.

Whoscored Referee Stats

Soccerbase I use for spotting trends. It lists the referees matches officiated in chronological order and very clearly states the numbers of yellow and reds given in each game. I tend to use this to see how consistent a ref is; some refs can have a very high average but this can be skewed by not only the volume of games refereed but also by games which see extraordinarily high card numbers. The reverse can also be true. 

Lastly I revert back to The Stats Don’t Lie, the site ranks referees in order of their card average for most of the major leagues which can be very useful to quickly scan over how the referee in question compares to their colleagues. 

Cards Drawn/Against

This stat is closely linked to the fouls drawn. Generally a team that draws a higher number of fouls will also draw a higher number of cards. Although this is generally speaking, it is not always the case.

Again we’re back to The Stats Don’t Lie for this one. Under the cards section the site also allows you to filter the stats by the number of yellow and red cards each team draws per game both home and away. 

Fouls Committed/Drawn

As above, the number of fouls drawn is generally closely linked to the number of yellow or red cards drawn from opponents. The number committed is usually also linked to the number of cards given per game. 

FBRef Fouls Committed

I use another familiar source for this, . I usually search for the league the desired team plays in and then use the table to rank the teams in the league by the number of fouls drawn and/or committed. The site also allows you to ‘toggle’ per 90 stats. Rather than displaying the total number of fouls drawn/committed so far in the season the table will display the average number per 90 minutes.

Other factors to consider

So far we have covered the main factors to consider but these are of course not the only ones. Below are a few other things to consider.

Cup competitions

Cup competitions can be a minefield. Sometimes you’ll find lower averages per game particularly in David v Goliath situations. Card numbers tend to increase into the latter stages of these competitions. In European competitions such as the Champions League, the last 1 or 2 games of the group stages can also be tricky to navigate. Keep an eye out for teams that need to pick up points in order to progress, as they tend to see a higher number of cards.


I am probably stating the obvious here. However, derbies tend to see a much higher number of cards. Sometimes there may be games you are not aware of that are derbies/rivalries so it pays to do your research. The M23 derby springs to mind.


Lineups also play a massive part. If a player who frequently either receives or draws a high number of cards per game is out this can massively effect the outcome.

That’s a whirlwind tour of card betting, keep an eye out for more Betting School articles coming up!

About the Author

Like many other bettors, I started off gambling casually. My interest grew, particularly as I enjoyed researching each bet and I learned how to make a consistent profit over time. This led to me starting FN Sports Betting where I’ve made around 100 units profit and an ROI of over 20% since tracking in May 2021. Being Scottish my main interest is Scottish football, however my selections cover most of the major European leagues.

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