If you’re tired of usual football bets, card betting can be an interesting way to mix things up.
There are various yellow and red card betting markets you can take a punt on, and little research can go a long way to help you make smarter bets.
We’ll look at the different types of red & yellow card markets, stats on card betting and then look at some of the most infamous red card decisions.
What Is Card Index Betting?
Card Index betting is a type of sports betting that focuses on the number of yellow and red cards issued during a football match.
In the context of UK football, this type of betting is popular and allows you to bet on the total number of cards (yellow and red) that will be shown to players during a specific match.
How It Works
In most Card Index betting markets, a yellow card is typically assigned a certain number of points, commonly 10 points.
So, if a player receives a yellow card during the match, it adds 10 points to the Card Index total.
A red card is usually assigned a higher number of points, often 25 points.
If a player receives a red card during the match, it adds 25 points to the Card Index total.
The points for all the yellow and red cards shown to players from both teams during the match are added together to calculate the Card Index total.
Bookmakers offer various betting options related to the Card Index. These can include over/under bets on the total Card Index points or specific bets on the number of yellow or red cards shown.
They can also include which team or player will accumulate the most Card Index points.
Specific Number Of Yellow Or Red Cards
While you can bet on the card index, the more common market with bookmakers in the UK is ‘Total Cards.’
This is where you try to guess in advance how many total cards will be shown during a specific game.
If you bet with Betway, there are five options:
Over/Under 3.5, 4.5, 5.5, 6.5 or 7.5 cards. That is in total, for both teams during one Premier League game.
The odds on offer depend on whether you decide to bet over or under.
For example: Wolves vs Tottenham, 11th November 2023
If you think there will be OVER 3.5 cards shown in the game, the odds are 1/5. That means the bookies are convinced there will be at least FOUR cards shown in the game.
However, if you think there will be OVER 7.5 cards shown, so at least eight cards in total, the odds increase to 5/2.
Get £10 in Free Bets
How To Predict Yellow and Red Cards
While it’s never easy ot predict anything in football, there are a few ways to improve your chances of a success total cards bet.
First of all, check out the Premier League website for all the most update date stats on yellow and red cards.
As of the time of writing this article, Chelsea and Wolves have the highest number of Yellow Cards with 35 each.
Wolves are also joint second for Red Cards with three so far in the season.
Given that Wolves seem to find it difficult to maintain any discipline, it’s likely that when they meet Spurs (see example above) the card count could be quite high.
This becomes even more obvious when you see that Spurs also have three Red Cards and 31 Yellow Cards so far this season.
Basically we have two teams who combined from 11 Premier League games, have accumulated six Reds and 66 yellow cards.
That’s an average, between them, of 6.5 cards per game.
So a little bit of research into the stats goes a long way and can really help fine tune those bets.
Alternative Card Markets
Options such as the first player to be shown a card and a player to be sent off used to be more popular.
However, these days betting on a player to get a red is dubious at best, not least because the player themselves could deliberately get sent off as part of some kind of betting scandal.
So to keep everybody honest, most bookmakers now only have the ‘Total Cards’ market available to bet on.
Gary Lineker is the only player never booked during his senior career, he played 567 competitive games and scored 330 goals.
Another player with a perfect record is Sir Stanley Mathews; he played from 1932 – 1965 without entering the ref’s notebook.
On the flip side, Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney picked up 101 yellow cards during his Premier League career.
The player with the most red cards is former Colombia international Gerardo Bedoya; he took an early bath on 46 occasions!
The Colombians record makes Spanish bad boy Sergio Ramos looks like an angel with his trivial 28 dismissals.
If your team has a player prone to ill-disciplined on the pitch, you can leverage that knowledge to make smarter bets.
Stats On Yellow And Red Cards
Over the 2022/2023 Premier League season there were 1375 yellow cards shown.
Gareth Barry is the most yellow-carded player in Premier League history. He was cautioned on 125 occasions across his 20-year Premier League career.
Wayne Rooney sits below Barry with 101 yellow cards during his time with Manchester United and Everton.
Several players hold the dubious honour of having the record most yellow cards in a single season.
Etienne Capoue, Jose Holebas, Lee Cattermole, Cheick Tiote, Paul Ince, Robbie Savage, Mark Hughes, Olivier Dacourt all had 14 yellow cards in a season between 98/99 and 18/19.
In terms of red cards, Duncan Ferguson, Patrick Viera and Richard Dunne were all sent off on eight occasions which is the current record.
Roy Keane and Lee Cattermole were both sent off seven times.
Two matches from 1997 currently hold the British record for most red cards in a single game.
The first one was a Second Division match between Chesterfield and Plymouth in February 1997.
A Plymouth player was sent off for a two-footed challenge, and then four players – including Kevin Davies for Chesterfield – were sent off following a mass brawl in the final minute.
Later in 1997, five players were also sent off in a league game between Bristol Rovers and Wigan Athletic. Four of those were from Bristol Rovers and Wigan onto win the game 3-0.
Red Card World Record
Those are nothing compared to the current world record for most red cards in a single match.
An incredible twenty players were sent off in a league match between Sportivo Ameliano and General Caballero in Paraguay.
This occurred when two Sportivo Ameliano players were sent off. A 10-minute fight followed and the referee dismissed a further 18 players.
The match, not surprisingly, was then abandoned.
Famous Red Cards
Zinedine Zidane – World Cup Final 2006
It was the biggest stage of them all, and Zidane’s last match. What was supposed to be the crowning moment of an incredible playing career, all went horribly wrong.
It was the World Cup final and with the two sides drawing 1-1 in extra-time, Marco Materazzi appeared to say something to Zidane.
The former Juventus and Real Madrid midfielder turned around and headbutted the Italy defender in the chest.
Zidane received a red card from the referee, Horacio Elizondo. He was sent off, leaving France with only 10 players for the remaining minutes of extra time.
France went on to lose the match to Italy in a penalty shootout, with Italy winning 5-3 on penalties after the score remained 1-1 in regulation and extra time.
Italy was crowned the 2006 FIFA World Cup champions.
In 2010, Materazzi revealed some details of the exchange in his autobiography. He admitted to trash-talking Zidane and insulting his sister, but he did not specify the exact words he used.
Eric Cantona – Crystal Palace v Manchester United – 1995
The red card here eventually became secondary to what happened following the dismissal. Cantona produced a moment that will never be forgotten.
The United legend turned towards the stand and unleashed a flying kick at a Crystal Palace fan.
He was later suspended by both United and the Football Association and would not play again until the following season.
Sheffield United v West Brom – 2002
Otherwise known as the ‘Battle of Bramall Lane’, this was a game between Sheffield United and West Brom that which was abandoned after 82 minutes.
The controversy started when Sheffield United committed multiple fouls and got three of their players sent off by the 65th minute.
Two of these players were substitutes, leaving Sheffield United with only eight players on the pitch.
Before the end of the game, two other players got injured and were taken off, leaving United with only six players.
The referee abandoned the game in the 82nd minute because Sheffield United did not have enough players to play the rest of the match.
Josip Simunic – Croatia v Australia – 2006
This is one of many infamous moments that occurred during the 2006 World Cup.
English referee Graham Poll showed Josip Simunic three yellow cards. The player should have been sent off near the end of the match when Poll booked him for the second time.
Simunic struggled to keep his cool at full time, he carried on arguing with Poll and received a third yellow card.
Robin Van Persie – Barcelona v Arsenal – 2011
In Arsenal’s 2011 last 16 Champions League game away at Barcelona, van Persie was shown a second yellow card after shooting towards goal a second after the referee flagged him for an offside.
The sending off was controversial and played a big part in Arsenal in ultimately exiting the competition.
Judge for yourself. Worthy of a second yellow card?