FOOTBALL is a team game but the glory always goes to the goalscorers, the guys who get fans off their seats to celebrate the ball hitting the back of the net.
It's often said there's no better feeling than seeing your team score a goal but I don't agree with that. The joy you feel is multiplied when you've backed the scorer at the bookies and can scoop a pile of cash as well.
Lots of punters enjoy a flutter on which player will break the deadlock as the odds are usually pretty decent, even for the most prolific scorers. However, it's far more profitable betting on the anytime scorer market as it keeps your wager alive right up until the final whistle, unless your player suffers the ignominy of being substituted.
There's nothing worse than sitting down to watch a game as a neutral, only to see your emotional stake in the game ruined in the first five minutes when someone other than the player you have backed for first scorer opens the scoring.
In the anytime scorer market that doesn't happen and you can stay on the edge of your seat for the whole game, often punching the air in triumph when your man scores in the dying seconds.
The odds for anytime scorer naturally aren't as big as the ones on offer for breaking the deadlock but there's plenty of value to be found if you do your homework.
The main men up front
Some players can always be relied on for a goal like the striker Zlatan Ibrahimović and superstars such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. But the odds on them scoring at anytime are usually skinny so you often have to look at backing them for two goals or more to find some value.
However, in big matches such as derbies, cup finals, Champions League games and top-of-the-table clashes, even these deadly operators are usually available at odds above evens.
And some top strikers thrive on the biggest stage, with Barcelona star Messi scoring an incredible 26 times in 41 games against Real Madrid and Celtic's Odsonne Edouard scoring six times in just eight Old Firm derbies.
When punting on strikers, be aware that some teams play a style of football where the man up top brings others into play rather than offering a goal threat himself. The best example is probably Sheffield United's David McGoldrick, who puts in a power of work but has only netted once in 22 appearances for the Blades this season.
So even though logic suggests the centre forward is the smartest bet for a goal, that's not often the case. And more value can be found backing those playing off the main striker.
Wide boys and midfield masters
My go-to guys in the anytime scorer market are the wingers and attacking midfielders. While these players usually aren't as prolific as centre-forwards they offer more value as the odds are higher.
The key is finding players who regularly get on the scoresheet but keep a lower profile. And it often pays to back someone playing for a dominant team in a weaker league, such as the Scottish Premiership or the Dutch and Portuguese top flights. Ajax midfielder Dusan Tadic netted 15 times last season while Pizzi had taken his tally to 20 this term for Benfica.
The top sides in those leagues often score four or five in a game, making it more likely that your pick will come up.
Boys at the back
Defenders are there to stop the opposition from scoring but they can often chip in with a goal at the other end and it can pay off handsomely if you've backed them.
Most stoppers will be priced at odds of 15/1 or more for a goal, although that could be shorter for full-backs or regular free-kicks or penalty-takers.
Even if a defender takes the set-pieces they are still available at good odds, which can often give the bookies a bashing. Rangers full-back James Tavernier weighed in with 17 goals last term and was always a great option for anytime scorer, even though he's now off the penalties after missing a few this term.
So do a bit of homework and find out which defenders regularly take penalties and free-kicks as it could help you make a tidy profit.
Centre-backs are often worth a speculative punt at long-odds given they are a threat with headers from set-pieces. Brighton's Shane Duffy scored five Premier League goals last season while Virgil van Dijk (below) chipped in with four for Liverpool.
Games between evenly-matched sides are often decided by a goal from a set-piece so that could be the time to take a gamble on backing a stopper at long odds.