Friday, 29 April 2011

Sometimes you just call it wrong, but can still come out smiling

Did a Scatter Gun last night in a Copa Libertadores match involving Penarol and Internacionale. For those who don't know much about Latin American football, the matches tend to start late (UK time 11pm to 1am!) and the quality of the football is perhaps not what we're used to in the major European league and cup fixtures. The games can be frenetic and pacy, but too often the quality of passing, shooting and crossing is poor. They do, however, usually produce goals so make ideal trading material.

As this game started at 11.30 I was able to secure £11 on under 1.5 goals before kick off, thus eliminating 0-0 and 1-0 or 0-1 from my trade. I backed 1-1, 1-2 and 2-1 in the usual way at kick off and added 2-2 in play at about the half hour mark whilst the game was still 0-0. The screenshot below shows my position about 10 minutes in...

Penarol opened the scoring at 37 minutes, and although they were the home side they were also slightly the underdogs so this suited the trade quite nicely. I immediately sought, and got, some green on U2.5 goals so now the danger score of 2-0 was also covered nicely. My correct score market at half time is shown below..

As can be seen I could have taken a small green from the trade at this point and gone to bed! But you've got to read the market, and in this case the market obviously fancies 1-1 more than 2-0 so it's worthwhile staying in for a while.

The early stages of the second half were all Inter, and just as I was thinking of putting a small back on 2-0 to cover a breakaway goal by Penarol the equaliser came - and the score central to a successful SG - 1-1 - was attained! At this stage my U1.5 trade was toast, and obviously the odds on U2.5 shot out as well. Remember I had 2-2 covered so was quite relaxed about the Correct Score element of the trade - the only real danger was two very quick goals taking it to 1-3 or 3-1. I decided on the evidence of the game so far that a winning goal was likely, and so laid my 1-1 stake of £5 off that score, leaving me in the position shown below.

The more I watched the more convinced I became that another goal was coming, so I took the decision to green my U2.5 position for about 3 quid and to green 1-1 completely to leave a nice result on both 1-2 and 2-1. Of course you can guess what happened - the bloody game ended 1-1! In my infinite wisdom I'd managed to turn a £27 result on 1-1 and a £12 green on U2.5 into £11 and £3 respectively....

Looking back on it I would have been better placed to have let one of those trades stand - and if I had my time again I'd have left 1-1 alone and greened the 2.5 as that one was dead with one more goal whereas I'd still have been looking good at 1-2 or 2-1 especially with an unmolested £70  on 2-2!

My final position on Correct Score is shown below:

I'm happy that I played a reasonable trade here and although I unnecessarily gave away a lot of profit to some rather lucky backers I managed to turn an £11 stake into an £11 profit - 100% return - try getting that from a building society in a year, never mind a couple of hours! The £3 from the goals markets sweetened the situation somewhat, especially when the very most I ever had exposed in play was the £50 I scalped U2.5 with for about 5 minutes and the original £11 stakes (most of which was covered most of the time!).

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Examining the enhancement.....the pros and cons

My suggestion to back U2.5 in the event of an early goal when trading the Scatter Gun has caused at least one reader a problem and cost him money, for which I'm truly sorry. So I think it's probably wise to discuss the pros and cons of this move in a bit more detail.

The main thing to understand is that the aim of this move is twofold in reality. Firstly, it enables you to not have to worry about the score staying 1-0/ 0-1 or indeed if it goes to and stays 2-0 0-2. Your SG stakes are covered. Secondly, the idea of getting in deeper to get out is effectively buying a degree of flexibility in your trade. The downside is that two more quick goals and your U2.5 stake is toast! If it is 2-1 or 1-2 true you still have the possibility of winning the original trade, but at 3-0 0-3 you are looking at a wipe-out! So make this move with that fact in the back of your mind!

So let's just look at two ways of approaching this idea - both based on the assumption of a £10 total stake on the original trade and a goal before 20 minutes. We'll assume U2.5 goes to 2.6 to keep the sums straightforward.

Option 1 - straight cover of SG stakes. To cover £10 at 2.6 costs 10/1.6 or £6.25. Assuming you do nothing more your situation is as follows:  if the score stays as it is you have scratch trade (minus a bit of commission). Your total exposure is now £16.25. If the game goes to 1-1 and stays there you win both trades. If it goes 2-1 1-2 you will win that part of the SG trade but lose your U2.5 stakes. Any other score is a wipe-out.

Option 2 - cover twice your SG stakes - at a cost of 20/1.6 or £12.50 giving a total exposure of £22.50. Why on earth would you consider doing this? It goes back to flexibility.... more on which in a while. If you do nothing else your situation is now as follows: score stays as is you are £10 up minus commission. It goes 1-1 and stays there you've hit a double trade. 2-1 1-2 probably about scratch, any other score a sizable loss.

So where's this 'flexibility'? After a goal is scored, the odds on U2.5 shorten as time goes by because there's obviously less time for there to be two more goals! If the score stays as is and the odds on U2.5 drop to 1.8 in this instance you can lay U2.5 for £12.50 to give you £10 on under 2.5 goals and zero liability on over. In other words you've bought 'free' insurance! If you are confident that goals are hard to come by you might at this stage choose to lay part of your 2.5 stake - i.e take advantage of the falling odds not only to cover u2.5 but to give a bit of profit on overs as well! You might even take the 'tiger line' and decide to sweat the odds all the way down to 1.4 to have a £10 green book on the 2.5 market. In short - you have bought yourself choices!

That's all fine and dandy if there are no more goals - but what if a second goal goes in fairly soon after the first? Your U2.5 trade is now looking decidedly dodgy, and if it has gone to 2-0 or 0-2 your SG is on its last legs as well - not pretty! 1-1 is not so bad, as you are still very much in your SG trade and could in fact probably scratch the overall trade if you wish as the odds on 1-1 1-2 and 2-1 should enable a profit on CS and you could take the loss on the goals trade.

If you are bullish and relatively risk averse you might choose to re-enter the U2.5 market - at much higher odds! The price I promise will hover for a few minutes after the market reforms, and then, assuming no more goals will start to move in. A relatively small increase in liability buys a lot of cheap green! But it's cheap for a reason - the odds are against you collecting on it! So only the brave, foolhardy or supremely confident should do this! If you are not risk averse, my suggestion would be to get out for what you can, put it in the file marked 'experience' and move on!

There are, of course, many other permutations and considerations - for example did the home side score first, or the away side? have there been any red cards? does the match outcome really matter massively to either team? These are the sort of questions you should be asking yourself about any trade anyway and it would be impossible to consider all possibilities without writing the trading equivalent of War and Peace!

Hopefully the above will give you some food for thought - unfortunately there are very few 'givens' in trading live football matches - but in general the more flexibility you can build into your trading the better at it you will become.