What is a Clean Sheet?

In football, a clean sheet is when a team prevents its competitor from scoring. If neither team scores, then the game ends 0-0 with two clean sheets.

The Origin of the Clean Sheet

football scoreboard 0-0 man changing numbers

Many sports enthusiasts and bettors believe the origin of the phrase “clean sheet” was established in the 1930s. During this period, the scores were physically maintained on paper sheets. When one team didn’t score, its side of the paper sheet remained clean or empty, creating the scoreless reference.

Theories that support this thought reference early sports reports and how game officials would use different sheets of paper to record event day statistics, including the number of scores. Fouls, saves, and assists were recorded on separate sheets, among other outcomes. The pieces of paper that goals were recorded on were white, resembling a clean or fresh-washed sheet.

This pictorial connection of a fresh or clean laundered bed sheet also leads to a clean sheet or blank canvas. Matches can also end with two participating teams recording zero scores, ultimately ending in a draw. Depending on the game’s result, clean sheets can be two-sided or one-sided.

Clean Sheet Markets

clean sheet market example

The concept of a team in a match stopping the other side from scoring goals is easily understood. But the number of markets involved when it comes to betting is massive.

Some of these markets are more popular and difficult to understand. In contrast, others are only available on the most significant betting sites that cover popular games from top competitions like the Champions League and Premier League.

The most common clean sheet markets include:

  • Both Teams To Score – No: Selecting ‘no’ in the both teams to score market means that one team has to keep a clean sheet.
  • No Goalscorer: If a game ends 0-0, it means that nobody scores. A no goalscorer wager can win if the score is 0-0 during the standard playing time. The bet can also payout if the match ends up on any score, which can be 1-1, 4-3 or 1-0. But the goals in the game must be own goals.
  • Clean Sheet: A clean sheet market requires a punter to place a bet on a given team, keeping a clean sheet in a game. The prices vary massively from one betting platform to the other and are connected to the likelihood of each of the teams winning the match. You can place a clean sheet bet on either one side or all sides. Placing an all-sides clean sheet simply means the game outcome will be a 0-0 draw.
  • Total Goals Under: An under 0.5 bet will only win if one or both teams are able to prevent their opponents from scoring a goal.
  • Correct Score: A correct score wager that involves either team not scoring is reliant on one or none of them keeping the other off the scoresheet.
  • To Win To Nil: When you’re placing a to-win-to-nil bet, your team of choice must win the match and also make sure it doesn’t concede a goal. If this is the final outcome, then your bet wins.
  • Total Goals Exact: In this betting market, you don’t say which team will win the game; you predict the total number of goals that will be scored. Any number of goals could be scored with one side keeping a clean sheet. A clean sheet comes into play if you back one goal or no goals to be scored. In reality, any low number of goals is based on the logic of one side preventing the other from scoring.

It would help if you were wary when choosing and placing clean sheet bets. For example, if you choose to win-to-nil, total goals exactly, total score, and total goals under, an own goal affects the wager’s outcome.

If an own goal occurs, it counts, and your bet loses. The best market is the no goalscorer since an own goal will not count, and your bet will payout. If you bet on other clean sheet markets, your bet will lose.

Practical Examples of Clean Sheets

no goalscorer market example

After knowing the origin of the phrase “clean sheet” and the betting markets linked to it, it’s essential to look at some examples in football. For example, if Liverpool is playing against Manchester United and the scoreline is 1-0, then Liverpool was able to keep a clean sheet in the game because they didn’t concede.

Another example can be if Chelsea is playing against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League tournament and the game ends up in a 0-0 tie, then a clean sheet bet would win. In this game, both Chelsea and Atletico Madrid prevented each other from scoring, and the result was a clean sheet. Keep in mind that a clean sheet is a standard time market and doesn’t include extra time goals or penalties after 90 minutes. Also, you don’t have to place a wager on both teams in this betting market. Betting on either team is recommended.

A few factors impact clean sheet chances. If you take the Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid game, for example, aspects such as defensive tactics, style of play, the defenders’ and goalkeepers’ roles and the performance of players played a significant role in keeping the clean sheet. Both Chelsea and Atletico Madrid are renowned for defensive solidarity that has been drilled into them by the management staff, and they take particular pride in keeping teams out. Such a game can be massively appealing to punters looking to place clean sheet bets.

What is a Clean Sheet?

A clean sheet means a team has finished a specific match without conceding a single goal. When defenders have successfully kept the strikers out of their goal for the duration of the game, the scoreboard will remain empty, which means the team has kept a clean sheet. Remember that a match that ends 0-0 is a clean sheet for both sides.

To win a clean sheet wager, you must predict whether a particular team contesting a game will or won’t concede a goal by the end of the regular playing time. The betting market includes stoppage time but not extra time.