xG Predictions Trading

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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. This tool can then be used to help with both pre-game and in-play trades (see below):
V2 football xg Spreadsheet

Pre Game 

  • Use the spreadsheet (uploaded twice weekly on the blog) to identify games which are showing value.
  • Perform further research into team news, injuries, current market direction.
  • If the value appears genuine, open a trade.
  • Remember, you will only be profitable long term if you are obtaining odds higher than the closing-line (odds at kick-off).  Closing-line odds are when the markets are at their most efficient.
  • Pro-tip: avoid placing bets at kick-off time as all the value in the market will have usually gone.

In-Play 

  • Use the spreadsheet (uploaded twice weekly on the blog) to identify games which are expecting high amounts of goals or low amounts.
  • Watch the game and when the game looks lively (lots of attacking pressure and shots) open a trade on the goal markets.
  • Conversely, if we are not expecting goals and the game in not lively, this can be a good opportunity to back the unders markets.
  • If a goal does go in, the spreadsheet provides stats on how a team usually performs when going ahead or behind.  Decisions can then be made on whether to close the trade or leave it open.   Odds dependent, it could even be valuable to reverse the trade.
  • Pro-tip: in-play betting is no different to pre-game betting, in that you always need to obtain value.  e.g. it may look like a goal is coming in the 90th minute but if the odds being offered are not providing value, then the opposite trade is often the best trade.

Beginners In-play Trading Strategies:

  1. 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.

xG Predictions Trading Strategy

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.

Simple Method

  • Let the trade run.  If it wins it wins, if it loses it loses.

Simplish Method

  • A goal is scored in our favour: odds should drop and then we either:
    • (1) close the trade if the sustained pressure drops,
    • (2) keep the trade open if a second goal looks likely (as soon as a second goal does not look likely, close the trade).
  • No goals:
    • if the sustained pressure drops, close the trade for a loss (if before half time (excluding strategy B), the loss should not be too big especially if it’s fairly short priced).  To limit losses, exiting prior to 60 minutes is recommended.
  • For strategy A only; other team scores first against the run-of play: I’ll emphasize this should be against the run-of play, because if the other team started to dominate then we should have closed the trade.
    • If our team continues to pressure, leave the trade open and only close when they are in front.
    • If the game dynamics have changed (i.e. our team does not look like they will come back into it), then close the trade for a loss (the earlier this is in the match, the smaller the loss will be).  The max loss will be 1pt.

Advanced Method

  • See how the game progresses and close out the position if the sustained pressure drops.  If the pressure comes back, then reopen the trade (small losses will occur so reopen the trade for the initial stake less any losses).
  • If a goal goes in our favour, there is potential to keep open the position if we expect the team to continue pushing for a second (see simplish method).  The odds will continue to drop during this period, further increasing the profit.  Alternatively, partially close out the position or put all the profits on the team we expect to win for a no loss situation.
  • For strategy A, if the other teams scores first against the run of play, and our team is showing sustained pressure then potentially open/reopen the trade (this will depend on two factors: (i) our team: how good the winning stats are after conceding the first goal, (ii) opposition team: how good their winning stats are after scoring the first goal).  If we open a new position at this stage, the odds will be significantly higher but this will be reflected in the lower strike rate.

Strategy A1 – Back Home Team (min odds 1.45)

Strategy A1

In this strategy we expect the home team to win. 

  • If the odds are above 1.45 we enter the trade pre-match (back the Home team).  If there is sustained pressure (see example above with strong green bars) we stay in the trade and the odds should actually drop (contradicting time decay).  If the home team is not dominating the trade, we exit the trade for minimal loss.  We then keep an eye on the game and look for opportunity to enter again when the home team is starting to dominate. 
  • If the odds are below 1.45, wait for an opportunity later in the game before entering the trade. 

Strategy A2 – Back Away Team (min odds 1.7)

Strategy A2

This is the same as strategy A1, except we expect the away team to win. 

  • If the odds are above 1.7 we enter the trade pre-match (back the Away team).  If there is sustained pressure (see example above with strong green bars) we stay in the trade and the odds should actually drop (contradicting time decay).  If the away team is not dominating the trade, we exit the trade for minimal loss.  We then keep an eye on the game and look for opportunity to enter again when the away team is starting to dominate.   As you may have noticed in the example above, even though the away team dominated they ended up losing.  Always be aware that not every trade will be a winner and be prepared to handle losing runs.
  • If the odds are below 1.7, wait for an opportunity later in the game before entering the trade. 

Strategy B – 1st Half Goal (max loss 1pt)

Strategy B

This strategy is where we expect a goal in the first half from either team.  Per the example above, we’re expecting to see lots of strong green or blue periods of pressure.  One team dominating (e.g. graphs in A1 and A2 are also good)

We need 3 criteria to enter the trade: (i) The games is still 0-0, (ii) the “Lay 1st Half Correct Score” or “under 0.5 goals” odds are less than 3.0, (iii) there are chances being created (either dominating home (per A1), away (perA2), or mixed high bars (per the above).  NB: the max loss is 1pt (i.e. if lay at 3.0, hedge out at 1.5 if no goal.  If lay at 2.0, the trade can run until Half time).

Strategy C – 2nd Half Goal (max loss 1pt)

Strategy C Lay CS

This strategy is where we expect a goal in the second half from either team.  Per the example above, we’re expecting to see lots of strong green or blue periods of pressure.  One team dominating (e.g. graphs in A1 and A2 are also good)

We need 3 criteria to enter the trade: (i) There has been no goals in the second half, (ii) the ‘Correct Score Lay‘ odds have gone below 4, (iii) there are chances being created (either dominating home (per A1), away (per A2), or mixed high bars (per the above).  NB: more liquidity may be present in laying the current unders (e.g. if the HT score is 1-1, lay the Under 2.5 market).  Also, the max loss we’re aiming for is 1pt (i.e. if lay at 4.0, take the loss at 2.0. If lay at 3.0, hedge out at 1.5 if no goal.  If lay at 2.0, the trade can run until Full-time).

Strategy D – Back Over 2.5 Goals (min odds 1.8)

Strategy D O25

This strategy is where we expect goals in the game.  Per the example above, we’re expecting to see lots of strong green or blue periods of pressure.  One team dominating (e.g. graphs in A1 and A2 are also good)

We need 2 criteria to enter the trade: (i) The ‘Over 2.5‘ odds are above 1.8, (iii) there are chances being created (see above example and other strategy examples).  NB: a drip entry strategy is an option for this trade, along with exiting and entering the market multiple times as goals are scored and/or pressure drops.

Strategy E – Back Both Teams To Score (min odds 1.8)

Strategy E BTTS

This strategy is where we expect both teams to score (BTTS).  Per the example above, we’re expecting to see lots of strong green or blue periods of pressure. 

We need 3 criteria to enter the trade: (i) The ‘BTTS‘ odds are above 1.8, (iii) there are chances being created (see above example), (iii) if a goal has been scored, the team that hasn’t scored should be creating chances.

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