Red & Yellow Card Betting

Red and Yellow Card Index

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.


The ‘card index’ refers to a points tally based on the number of cards shown by the referee during a football match. Paddy Power works out the card index like this. A yellow card is worth ten points, a red card is worth 25 points, and two yellows leading to a red is worth 35 points.

The bookmaker will then set up the expected number of points/cards that will be shown during the game. A typical example would be 50 points, punters can then bet over 50, under 50 or precisely 50 points. Different odds will be given for each of these possible outcomes.

It’s worth checking out the Premier League website for all yellow and red card related stats. This link shows that Arsenal had the most yellow and red cards in the Premier League during the 2019/20 season.

Before Arsenal’s recent fixture with Manchester City, Paddy Power offered odds of 3/1 that they would finish with over 30 points and 6/1 that they would finish with over 40 points.

However, when it came to the match, Arsenal retained their discipline and only had one yellow card.

You can bet on the Card Index in nearly all football games, including big competitions like the Champions League. This link showcases some fascinating stats which shows the players punished with most yellow cards during the 2019/2020 Champions League. Fourteen players received four yellow cards in the competition last season. Surprisingly, one of these was the Ajax Goalkeeper André Onana.


There are a few more card markets worth looking at seriously. You can bet on a First and Second Half Card Index. Other options include the first player to be shown a card and a player to be sent off.

As we all know, some players are more likely to be sent off or booked than others. 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 102 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 26 dismissals.

If your team has a player prone to ill-disciplined on the pitch, you can leverage that knowledge to make smarter bets. Typically, defenders can be the players more likely to being shown red and yellow cards.

Paddy Power





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Over the 2019/2020 Premier League season there were 1281 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 102 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.

The Guardian Newspaper reported: 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, instigated by Bruce Grobbelaar pretending to have been injured by the shy and retiring Darren Carr.


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.

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.

In the Champions League, Sergio Ramos has had the most yellow cards. He has been booked 38 times in the competition since he made his first appearance in 2005. The Spanish defender has also had the joint highest number of red cards, alongside Zlatan Ibrahimović and Edgar Davids. Throughout the whole of his career, Ramos has been sent off 26 times.

The English Championship is renowned for its competitiveness. The number of yellow cards throughout the 2019/2020 season is testament to that claim. Gary Gardner, Joe Williams, and Lewis Travis were all booked 13 times during the season. Charlton Athletic had a poor season and were relegated on their last game. Throughout their 46 matches, they had 101 yellow cards which was the highest amount by some distance.


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.

Zinedine Zidane – France v Italy – 2006

On the biggest stage of them all, and Zidane’s last match. It was going to be the crowning moment of an incredible playing career, but it all went horribly wrong. 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.

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?