The football markets are very efficient. This means the chance of a team actually winning (or scoring for in-play trades) is often very closely related to the odds. Accepting the odds being offered by the market/bookmaker without assessing whether they are providing value, will make you an unprofitable trader in the long-term.
Most professional sports traders will tell you the best way to win money consistently is to either:
- Pre-game: Make value bets (measured by consistently beating the closing price I.e. obtain better odds than the final odds at kick-off time).
- In-Play: Watch the games and get in and out the market when a goal looks likely to be scored.
Football xG provides a great resource to help with your trading:
- An Excel summary of all upcoming matches (it includes the predicted xG, % chances for each result outcome based on an adjusted Poission model, games where there appears value in the odds, and historical statistic averages across 2,5, and 10 games). This is an invaluable tool to help make better trading decisions.
- This tool can then be used to help with both pre-game and in-play trades (see below):
Beginners In-play Trading Strategies:
- Below are 6 strategies to use for trading the football markets where goals are expected (I’ll emphasis these are games to trades and should not be placed as outright bets). Further guidance and examples are given below.
1) The above shows the games where we expect to trade (see the column on the right for details of each strategy).
2) Watch the games (and/or use sofascore.com) and when the game we expect to have a goal starts to show a period of sustained pressure, we enter the market (how to enter the market varies by strategy). If there is no sustained pressure (i.e. doesn’t look like a goal is coming) we don’t open the trade. Maintaining your bank is key, so only open a trade when a goal looks like it is coming and only ever bet a small percentage of your betting bank.
3) Once the trade is opened, there are multiple ways to play it (See below)
Pro-tip: always consider if there is value in the trade. The easiest way to do this is to think in percentages rather than odds. For example, if the odds of a goal in the last 20 minutes are 1.8: (1) convert this to a percentage (1/1.8 = 56%), (2) based on the current game state and historical stats of late goals for the given teams, ask yourself this question: “if the game was played 100 times with these exact circumstance, how often do you believe there will be a goal?”. If the answer is greater than 57 out of 100 (i.e. 57% or greater), then the odds are providing value. Identifying true odds/percentages is arguably the most challenging part of in-play trading (in simple terms, if you continually obtain odds better than the true chance of it happening, then you will be profitable in the long run). More guidance on this will be provided in future updates.