Football is one of the most popular betting markets in the world. This makes it a very attractive prospect for trading.
In this football trading guide we will explain some of the multitude of football trading strategies for you to try out yourself.
There is no one magic strategy that works every time, so don’t believe the hype and get suckered in. That’s not to say there is no way to make money in the long run.
By using a combination of different strategies and applying the most effective method each time, you can build yourself a nice profit.
Maybe even enough to quit your full-time job!
Table of Contents
Is Football A Good Market To Trade?
Football is a hugely popular sport. The nature of the game, with comebacks and capitulations a common feature, make it an exciting sport to bet on. This makes the football markets some of the most liquid markets out there.
This means there is a lot of money flowing into and out of matches. Any bets you wish to place are more likely to be matched, and will be matched faster.
This helps us get into a market quickly, and exit quickly when the time is right.
This Premier League match between Liverpool and Newcastle is not for another 2 weeks, but there has already been almost £28,000 in matched bets on Betfair Exchange.
The English Premier League tends to have extremely liquid markets, even on weekdays.
Generally, the lower down a league is, the less bets are placed on matches. This means there is less money available to have your bets matched.
How To Trade Football
There are many different recognised methods for trading football effectively and profitably. There is not one technique that always works.
To be an efficient football trader, you will need to understand several different methods and apply them accordingly.
Fortunately, most are easy to understand, and once you get some practice in feeling when the time is right to enter/exit a market, you can get started making decent profits.
Trading football is basically the same as buying and selling stocks.
The general rule is to buy low, sell high. Unlike the stock market however, a football match has a specified end-point; once the 90-minutes plus stoppage time are up. This creates an opportunity for trading.
Some of the most popular football trading techniques are based on this ‘time decay’.
For example, if a match is 0-0 at 75 minutes, the odds of a draw will be fairly high.
As more time passes and no goals are scored, the higher and higher the likelihood of a draw will become. Therefore, the odds will trend slowly toward 1.01, reaching that point at the end of the match.
Football traders always prefer a more liquid market. Some of the best football trading systems will not work if the market is not liquid enough.
Almost every technique relies on someone matching your exit bet. If there is not enough money available to match that bet quickly, it can go unmatched. This is an easy way to lose money.
Any market that is liquid enough can be traded on. As long as there are punters actively backing a laying in a market, there should be enough opportunities to get your bets matched.
Being able to effectively read a market is key to football trading. You need to have a good feel for certain situations which commonly arise in matches, and how they affect the price of odds.
To practice and gain experience, next time you watch a match, keep tabs on the price of odds. Observe how certain events cause the odds to change and by how much.
Another method relies on the changing odds at half-time. On Betfair, the market for half-time scores is known as ‘Half Time’.
However, this market is not nearly as liquid as the full-time score market. Therefore, methods using this technique should only be used on extremely popular matches.
To get an idea of which markets are the most liquid, and therefore more preferable for trading, you can check ‘where is the money’ on Betfair.
This can be found in the very bottom left of the Betfair Exchange home screen. It will bring up a list of the markets with the most matched and unmatched money available.
Pre-Game – Trading Team News
One popular method for football traders occurs before the match even begins.
Trading the team news is easy once you get a feel for it and know what to look out for. This technique relies on knowing which players are essential for a team, and how each player affects certain odds.
For example, let’s say a top striker is left out of a big match.
The final outcome odds might not change much, but the goals market could certainly shift. Likewise, if a top defender is benched, the odds for goals scored by the opposing team could certainly shift.
You need to be fast when trading team news. The market will shift very rapidly as many traders make their bets.
Betting software is recommended, so that you can place your bets as fast as possible, and spend more time analysing the market and less time placing the bet itself.
Another opportunity for pre-match trading is when the groups are announced in large tournaments.
The mix of stronger and weaker teams in each group will have an effect on the odds of each team qualifying for the knockout round and getting to the final.
In-Game – Trading Match Result
Trading in-play is exciting, and can be very profitable if done properly.
Speed is essential here, and using betting software is recommended in order to get your trades locked-in as fast as possible.
A common tip for trading in-play is to use a radio rather than watch the match on TV. There is a slight delay in TV broadcasts compared to radio. Getting that extra 1-2 second head-start can make the difference between profit and loss in a highly liquid market.
Having a feel for how a match is going is a big help in football trading.
If you watch a lot of football matches, you can almost sense when a team is on the ascendancy and is likely to have a chance at a goal. It is important to know both of the teams, and what their motivation is for winning.
Scalping the time decay is common in football trading. This is an easy way to make small profits, and if done consistently, can build up to a decent amount.
As a match progresses, the likelihood of the current score being the final score increases.
If the score is 0-0 at 75 minutes, there will be a high likelihood of the final outcome being a draw. If the score remains at 0-0, the odds will slowly tick down as time passes, eventually ending up at 1.01.
Under/Over 2.5 Goals
Another common market for football traders is goals scored. Two of the most popular bets are Under 2.5 Goals and Over 2.5 Goals.
If you are betting on Under 2.5 Goals, this means if two or less goals go in, you will win. If you are betting on Over 2.5 Goals, you will win if three or more goals go in.
Of course the principal is the same for Under/Over 1.5, 3.5 etc, but the 2.5 markets tend to be the most popular, and therefore the most liquid.
Scalping Under 2.5 Goals is a method that relies on the time decay of match. As long as no goals are scored, you can predict exactly which way the price will move.
A standard technique here would be to ‘back’ Under 2.5 Goals toward the start of the match when the price is high, and then to ‘lay’ Under 2.5 Goals as the match progresses and the price drops.
If an early goal does go in, you still have the ability to exit your position without a total loss.
This is where betting software comes in; if you are listening on the radio and can sense that a team is playing very attacking or dominating another team, you can quickly exit your position to avoid a loss.
Trading Over 2.5 Goals is popular because everyone loves to see goals. This method is essentially the opposite to the previously described technique.
If a match looks exciting and aggressive, you would back Over 2.5 Goals just as a goal is about to be scored, then exit out by laying after a goal is scored.
This strategy sounds simple, but it relies on goal timing. If your team does not get the goal you predicted, the odds will get higher and higher as the match goes on, and you have the potential for a loss.
Laying The Draw
This is another very popular technique, and relies on goals being scored in a match. This method works by placing a ‘lay’ bet on a draw, while the match is still a draw, usually at the start of a match.
Now all you have to do is wait for a goal to go in, and should be able to exit your position for a profit.
This method is popular because it doesn’t matter which team scores, as the odds should move in your favour either way.
Bear in mind though that this may not always happen. If one team is a clear favourite at the start of the game and you lay the draw, but then the underdog gets a goal, the chance of a draw occuring may increase.
This can cause you to make a loss. No technique is perfect!
Back The Loser
This is another popular method that involves matches where one team is highly favoured. This works well when a team is likely to win and odds of around 1.50 or less are offered for their victory.
We would watch the game, and look for the underdog scoring an early goal, or a goal against the run of play.
An opposition goal would immediately swing the odds by some amount, depending on the time of the goal and several other factors. Now however, the odds for backing the favourite may have risen to around 2.50. This is the time to back them.
Take this upcoming match between Bayern Munich and Crvena Zvezda in the Champions League for example.
Clearly Bayern Munich are favourites to win this game, and the best odds we can get for backing them right now are just 1.09. At this price, even the very low risk of them not winning is barely worth the gamble.
However, if Crvena Zvezda get an early goal, the odds of Bayern Munich winning will go up. Probably to around 1.5 or possibly higher, depending mostly on when the goal is scored, and which team is looking more up for the match.
This would be a good time to back Bayern Munich, even though they are behind. If it seems highly likely Munich will get a goal back, then we can ‘green up’ when they do get their equaliser.
Greening up is a common term for exiting out of your position for a profit.
Even though the profit you will get for exiting out of your position before the match is up will be smaller than if you wait until the end of the match, a sensible and professional trader will always lock in the guaranteed profit rather than go for the risky extra buck.
As you can see in the above image, we have created a situation whereby whatever the outcome is, we will ‘come in green’.
If Japan or Paraguay win, we will win £12, and if there is a draw, we will still win £17. If you want to be a trader rather than a gambler, you should always ‘green up’ for a guaranteed profit when given the chance.
Getting greedy is where most people will fail.
Successful trading is all about locking in your profits when you can, and knowing when to accept failure and cut your losses.
Remember that there is no one strategy that works every time.
To trade successfully, you need to learn as many methods as possible, and know when to use each one.
Start with some of the more basic techniques such as laying the draw and backing the losing favourite.
Once you are more confident, take a free trial on some betting software, and practice the methods which rely on speed, such as scalping the time decay.
Over time, you can increase your stakes as you become more comfortable. You are bound to make a few mistakes early on, so don’t let this discourage you.
Thanks for reading this article on Football Trading Strategies. If there is anything that you are still unclear about, don’t hesitate to shoot us an email. One of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.