How do we trade?

Unless you have a crystal ball, second sight or otherworldly connections it is impossible to predict the result of a football match, the exact score, who will (or won't) score, when the goals, if any, will come etc etc.

Fortunately with Betfair we can benefit from being able to adjust our position in the market whilst the game is being played. We can react to what happens, and we can prepare for what might happen. With experience and skill we can look to maximize our winning trades, and minimize the inevitable losing ones.

Trading football in-play is effectively about two things: the current score and the amount of time left. Everything that happens in all the in-play markets (and in a big game there are loads of in-play markets per match!) is linked to these two factors. Other things - bookings, injuries, substitutions etc have an effect, but those two are the key driving forces of the markets.

The simplest way to illustrate this is with the 0-0 scoreline. At kick off in a typical reasonably well matched game this will be available to back somewhere between 10 and 14 depending on who is playing. There are 90 minutes plus injury time left to play, so there is quite a large chance that 0-0 will not be the final score. If we fast forward to half time and neither team has managed a goal, half the game has gone! The chances of the final result being 0-0 is now considerably smaller than it was at kick off. The 0-0 score might now be available to lay at between 4.2 and 6.3. How can we potentially profit from this?

If we backed 0-0 with £10 at odds of 13.5 we stand to profit by (£10 * (13.5-1))=£125. If it stays 0-0 we win £125 - if a goal is scored we lose £10. Simple! The screenshot below shows this initial position (always make sure the 'What If' facility on Betfair is turned on - this isn't an actual trade - it just demonstrate the outcomes if you make this bet!). The green figure by 0-0 is our profit if that is the result, the red £10 by all other scores represents our loss if any of those is the full time outcome.

If, at half time, we LAY 0-0 at 5.9 for say £20 our position will be shown in the following screenshot:

Suddenly, our profit on 0-0 is now only £27, but on every other score we now stand to make £10! We have effectively sold our bet back to the market for more than we paid for it, and the profit is ours to keep. How cool is that? I can turn the computer off and disappear to the pub for the rest of the evening knowing that whatever happens in that game I am £10 minimum better off than I was at kick off!

What about if it is still 0-0 at 87 minutes, and you hadn't laid at half time? The odds on 0-0 now, with relatively little time left will be around 1.2 - which means that for every £100 backed the potential win is £2! Amazingly people still bet thousands of pounds at low odds every match. How does that affect the position? The screenshot below shows us that if we lay 0-0 for £100 at 1.2 we would win £105 if the game stays 0-0 or £90 with any other result!

Please understand I'm not recommending this as a trade! Only 11% of matches finish 0-0 - I just want to illustrate how trading works. The key thing to understand is that we aim to buy low and sell high! The last two screenshots show football trading nirvana - the magical and sought after 'all green screen' - i.e. all bases covered and not a negative red figure in sight! If you see the phrases 'greening up' or 'greened up' (which hopefully you will!) this is what is being referred to.