Diary Of A Football Trader – Issue 2

Diary Of A Pro Football Trader – Issue 1



Welcome to the latest edition of “Diary Of A Pro Trader”, you can read Issue 1 here.

At his request, we have to keep is identity a secret, but here is what we can tell you about our new Pro Trader


ProTrader started his career and fascination with the financial markets as an Index Analyst at FTSE.  He has since consulted for 15 years for some of the top Financial Institutions and Investment Banks in the world, where he specialized in financial instruments, pricing data, trading platforms and risk management solutions.  He first started trading sports markets in early 2000, after the introduction and discovery of Betfair. He now trades the financial markets whilst working on entrepreneurial ventures with a focus on sports trading apps and e-commerce. He lives with his wife and young daughter between their homes of London, Sardinia, Odessa and Sochi.  In his spare time, he is writing a book, enjoys outdoor pursuits with his family, learning Russian and of course, trading football markets.


Each week, ProTrader will be sharing his trading exploits and insights from his previous weeks trading and, if we're lucky, from time to time he'll also be giving a few pointers on upcoming trades that he'll be targeting.

This is something new for us but we are sure you are going to enjoy and benefit from ProTrader's insights.

So please do show your love and appreciation in the comments (plus any questions and suggestions), so that both Football Advisor and ProTrader know this is something you want to keep seeing in the future.


Without further ado, I'll hand over to Pro Trader.


Thursday, 13th August, 2020

I begin to prepare for the second quarter final of the Champions League (CL), between RB Leipzig and Atletico Madrid.  I have two laptops powered up and ready, one that I will use just for following the Betfair markets, set-up on a VPN with a static IP, and the other as a back-up should the first one fail, or for anything else that may be needed. I also have 3 different internet connections available, should one fail, which can happen where I am based.  This may sound excessive, but it’s purely risk management, and making sure I’m prepared for the worst. The large LCD screen on the wall in front of me will show the match.

For this game, I will be mainly focusing on the following markets:

  • Match Odds
  • BTTS
  • Over / Under 2.5
  • Over 4.5 Cards

I expect Leipzig to come out strong, in their usual attacking style.  However, they have lost their top-scorer, Timo Werner to Chelsea recently, and so he won’t be featuring.  This has created a slight doubt, but I will stick to my game plan anyway.


Summary of Market Trading

Match Odds

I always saw the value in backing Leipzig either before kick-off or shortly after, because I imagined they would come out strong whilst Atletico Madrid would sit back and soak it up.  Since this was the case, 6 mins into the match, I placed a back bet on Leipzig of £50 at a price of 3.3.  Now because their price was basically too high for a CL QF, even after half-time with the score 0-0, this trade was only showing a £5 negative (this was also to do with the numerous chances they were creating). Shortly into the second half, Leipzig scored, so I closed the trade, banking around £50 profit.  I then placed a lay trade on Leipzig for £50 at 1.56, expecting Atletico Madrid to equalize, which they duly did.  I then closed this position also, securing a £90 profit from this market.



I was interested in this market because from my analysis, it did appear that both teams would score during the match.  However, the starting price was too low for my liking, and so waited until 26 mins in before placing a lay trade on ‘no’ for £50 at 1.68 (£34 liability).  Both teams scored and so £50 was banked on this market.


Goals over / under 2.5

I waited until just after the start of the second half until entering this market. The start price for this market was approx. 1.8 to back.  As the price continued to fall with time, I entered a lay position on unders for £100 at 1.2.  However, as the match entered in to the 83rd minute, and still at 1-1, I closed the trade for just over £18 profit.  However, had I waited 5 more minutes (when the 3rd goal was scored), £100 could have been banked from this market.  Even still, a small profit is always better than a loss.


Chart showing the rapid fall of over/under 2.5 goals market


Cards over 4.5

As per yesterday’s match between Atalanta v PSG, I expected to see cards in this game.  I envisage Leipzig players becoming frustrated with the defensive containment and possession applied by Madrid, and also a few professional fouls exhibited by both teams.

Again, this is a pure speculative bet, because once the match starts, this market cannot be traded.  Before kick-off, I placed a £50 back at 1.92, and fortunately there were 5 cards, all in the second half, producing £46 profit.


Additional Market Traded – Correct Score

Just before half-time with the score 0-0, I took a back position on 1-1 for £15 at 7.4.  Once the score became 1-1 as expected, I closed the trade for £38 profit.  At this stage, I was still expecting it to remain 1-1 and ET to follow, but still closed the trade to ensure profit was taken. As it happens, Leipzig managed to find a winner via a lucky deflected shot.



For a CL QF (reduced to a single-leg), this was quite a dull game, and I expected to see much more from both sides.  Atletico Madrid were too cautious and left it too late.  But from a trading perspective is was ok and banked £242 profit in total.




Friday, 14th August, 2020

Tonight it is to be what I consider one of the biggest and potentially most exciting games in European Football: Barcelona v Bayern Munich.  I’ve just returned from a relaxing afternoon at the beach with my wife and young daughter, because as a rule, I don’t trade financial markets on a Friday (I don’t like having any positions open over a weekend).  As my wife settles our baby daughter under her bedsheets, I scan the announced team sheets. As I read through the Barcelona team, I am filled with feelings of doubt: Pique, Alba, Busquets, de Jong, Vidal, Messi, Suarez… and on the bench Rakitic, Dembele, Griezmann… all serial winners.  I then scan the Bayern Munich team sheet, and as I reach number 9, Lewandowski, a wave of relief and calm washes over me.  Lewandowski has scored more goals than all of the above mentioned Barcelona players put together in this seasons Champions League (13 so far, Messi has 3).  If you look up ‘goal machine’ in the dictionary, there will be a little black and white etched picture of him.

However, I’ve already planned what I will be doing from my analysis.

For this game, I will be mainly focusing on the following markets:

  • Match Odds – Backing Bayern Munich to Win
  • BTTS – Backing ‘Yes’
  • Over / Under 2.5 – Backing Overs
  • Correct Score – Looking at 1-2, 1-3 and ‘any other away win’


Summary of Market Trading

Match Odds

I can’t see anything past a Bayern Munich win, so earlier in the day, I opened a back position on Bayern Munich for £150 at 2.08.  Later on, their price has dropped to 2.02.

The match starts and it looks like it’s going to be a lively affair as expected.  However, 4 minutes in Bayern score.  Such an early goal is unexpected, and I contemplate closing the trade, but as I decide on the action to take (if any), Barcelona are level at 1-1 due to a Bayern own goal! The price on Bayern rises to 2.2.  I half kick myself for not reacting quick enough.  Normally I would always lay the team that scores first, especially early on when they are evenly matched.  But perhaps these teams are not evenly matched? Instead I take the opportunity to place another back position on Bayern for £50 at 2.22.

Bayern then scored again in the 31st minute, so I decide to close these trades and take an early £87 profit.



I didn’t take any positions in this market, due to it being closed so early on. This has been an unusual game due to the early goals.  The starting price was too low for me to consider, so I was hoping to wait a few minutes in and then take a position.


Goals over / under 2.5

Similar to the above, I didn’t take any positions in this market, due to the early goals.


Additional Market Traded – Correct Score

Just before the match started, I backed 1-2 and 1-3.  These were the end score lines I was expecting. Later on after it became 1-1 I backed ‘any other away win’.  In the end I closed this market shortly afterwards, taking a small £11.75 profit.



Unbelievably, this match finished 8-2 to Bayern.  This was a great, crazy game to watch, and it really showed how strong Bayern Munich are and that they will win the Champions League.  I imagine the trophy engraver has already put their name on it and gone on holiday. From a trading perspective, it held a lot of opportunities.  However, due to the early goals, it meant that many market positions would have had to be taken prior to kick-off to benefit.  However, I’m not keen on doing this in cup games, because of their unpredictable nature. I stuck to my trading game plan, and it did bring rewards.  In the end just under £100 profit was made from the match.


Saturday, 15th August, 2020


Tonight it’s the last quarter final of the Champions League, between Manchester City and Olympique Lyonnais.  Since the restart of European competitions on 5th August, I’ve only had one game where I failed to produce a profit from trading matches.  This was Manchester United v Copenhagen.  I wonder whether I’m subconsciously biased towards English teams, and this is blurring my expectations and judgement. Like when Saturday comes and fans pack the bookies to back their own team to win, purely on the fact that they support them.  But this is not an unpredictable Manchester United side that failed to score a goal during 90 minutes past Copenhagen.  This is Manchester City; an entirely different, hungrier beast.  And tonight, I’m expecting that they will be having Lyon for dinner.  This is not to say that I expect the French side to come out waving little white flags.  No, far from it, and not forgetting they have knocked out Juventus, I expect they will show great resilience.  The question is, from a trading perspective, for how long?

However, I’ve already planned what I will be doing from my analysis. For this game, I will be focusing on the following markets:

  • Match Odds – Not to start, since Manchester City’s price is too low at 1.25, but if they go a goal down
  • Over / Under 2.5 – Backing Overs
  • Over / Under 3.5 – Backing Overs


Summary of Market Trading

Match Odds

The starting price on Manchester City was around 1.25, which is too low to think about taking a back position in.  The game starts, and as expected it appears Lyon’s game plan is to defend and then counter-attack.  Lyon score in the 24th minute, through a long over the head ball that is then skillfully put away. I then take out a back position on Manchester City, at the much improved price of 1.94 at £100.

Manchester City then equalize in the 69th minute, and I’m able to take around £30 profit.  However, I expect them to follow-up with further goals, so it is left open. As it happens, Manchester City do not score the expected goals, but Lyon do, so a £100 loss is made on this market.


Goals over / under 2.5

20 minutes into the game and still 0-0, I take a back position on overs at 2.02 at £50.  This is a much better price from what the game started with at around 1.5. I left this open, and as the game progressed the market closed on the 79th minute, for £50 profit.

Goals over / under 3.5

I expected to see goals in this game, so just before kick-off I layed unders at 1.73 for £100.  I anticipated earlier goals, which would allow me to close this trade for a good profit. As the time breached 80 mins and the score at 1-2, I closed this trade for a small £8 profit.  However, should I have left it open for just another 6 minutes, it would have made £100.  But, since for most of the match it was showing a negative, I was happy to close it and not lose the £100 stake entirely.



This was a very disappointing performance from Manchester City, where they started as massive favorites. Sterling missed a 6-yard tap in during the latter stages of the game, which even my grandmother would have scored, and changed the outcome. This match made a £42 loss in total.  However, this isn’t terrible considering how the match unexpectedly turned out. I begin to wonder if Manchester City just didn’t want to win, to save them from a humiliation by the waiting Bayern Munich.  I think they dodged the bullet, and left it for the French side to take it on Wednesday 19th August.  Or maybe I’m just not good at trading European games where English teams are involved. As always, I look ahead to the next match and trading opportunities… oh great, tomorrow it’s Sevilla v Manchester United!


Sunday, 16th August, 2020


Because of the coronavirus and the stoppage of all Football leagues in the world, except Belarus, I traded the Belarusian Premier league, mostly 3 matches a day at weekends. I began to learn about the teams, their style and how they would approach matches, but almost as importantly, about the referees.  Without going in to detail, it is clear that when an obvious penalty is waved away, or free-kicks only seem to go in one direction, that something else is going on.

As a trader, you tend to think a lot.  Every event, every permutation, what could happen next and why. It’s like a heightened awareness that is developed to help prevent you from making mistakes, and protecting you from the subsequent losses.

Today I’m wondering about the connection between UEFA and the European Union (EU).  Just from browsing the UEFA website, it is clear that the two institutions definitely have a very close relationship.

“Over the years, UEFA has established solid and sustainable relations with the main political institutions of the EU and the Council of Europe through permanent dialogue, the participation in working groups, events and cooperation agreements.”

In 2017, UEFA set-up an office in the Centre of Brussels, purely to have “a focal point for the coordination of its day-to-day activities with the political institutions”.

Recently we have seen English teams eliminated from the latter stages of the European competitions; Wolves against Spanish side Sevilla and most recently Manchester City against French side Lyon.

Tonight it’s the first semi-final of the Europa League – Sevilla v Manchester United, the last remaining English team in contention for European silverware.  I begin to wonder if laying Manchester United to qualify at 1.84 could be the unobvious trade of the day.  But of course, that would be based purely on nothing more than a political conspiracy theory; utter madness!

I then take a position in this market to lay Manchester United:

I then conduct my usual match analysis to determine the markets I believe will bring the best trading opportunities and rewards. The markets that I have determined that potentially offer most value, are:

  • Match odds – laying the team that scores first, if it’s before approx. 60 mins
  • BTTS – Yes, but waiting for the price to improve (currently 1.9)
  • Goals over/under 2.5 – expecting overs, but after the price improves (currently 1.84)
  • Correct Score – Backing 1-1, 2-1, 1-2


Summary of Market Trading

Match Odds

Manchester United score first, with an early penalty in the 9th minute, I take a lay position on Man U at 1.54 for £50.  When Sevilla equalize 17 mins later, I close the position at 2.58.

The chart below shows my entry point (yellow arrow) and then exit point of this trade (green arrow).

This is a classic swing style trade, where big movements occur and you are able to capitalize. It’s actually much easier and less stressful than scalping (where small ticks are taken continuously throughout an event). In future diary entries, I hope to be able to teach you more about this technique and when and how to use it.




Due to the early penalty goal, I did not open a position in this market.


Goals over / under 2.5

After the early goal in this match, I took a back position of overs at a somewhat shortened price of 1.46 for £100.  However, due to the early goal time, it normally (but not always) means that further goals will be more forth-coming.  Once the 3rd goal was scored, this market is closed automatically, creating a £46 profit.


Correct Score

As planned following my match analysis, I backed 1-1, 2-1 and 1-2 pre-kick-off, believing this would cover all eventual scenarios.  It did this job, and I then proceeded to trade this market to minimize risk on these selections, ensuring a guaranteed profit.


To Qualify

Ok, so this position was taken in a somewhat frivolous nature. Without getting too political on this topic through, I believe that nothing untoward occurred during this match.  This is supported by the early penalty awarded to Manchester United. Even still, this position still delivered a decent profit.



I can’t say I was surprised by the result, not like last night with Manchester City. I can’t say I was disappointed, since I don’t care who wins. The only thing I care about when trading is being on the right side, making the right judgement, at the right time. This match resulted in £140 profit. I realize that it could have been a lot more, but, protecting capital and profit is rule number 1.  Perhaps tomorrow, if I have space and time, I will tell be able to share with you rule no.2



Monday, 17th August, 2020


Being an independent trader allows you a lot more freedom than someone that has to be in the office, or somewhere 5 days a week.  It’s not a normal 9-5, but as long as you have a laptop and a decent internet connection, you can effectively work from anywhere whilst the markets are open.  Our baby daughter Kiera was born last year whilst we were living at our Sardinian home, Italy.  By the time she was 12 months old, she had visited 12 different countries.  She’s even been to Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania, which she will not remember, or any of the other famous monuments visited, but when she is older we have many photos to share with her. It’s now summer, and we are mostly spending time at the beach on the Black Sea, at our home in Odessa, Ukraine.

Tonight is the Europa League semi-final between Italian side Internazionale and Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk. I begin to wonder what team Kiera would support in these circumstances, being half-Ukrainian but born in and spending her first year in Italy?

Following match analysis, the markets that I have determined that potentially offer most value, are:

  • Match odds – laying Inter
  • BTTS – Yes, but waiting for the price to improve
  • Goals over/under 2.5 – expecting overs, but after the price improves


Summary of Market Trading

Match Odds

Pre-kick-off, I place a lay position on Inter at 1.64 for £150, expecting Shakhtar to come out quickly and create chances. Inter score first in the 19th minute. Their price drops rapidly, and I’m still expecting Shakhtar to reply with an equalizer.  I increase my lay position on Inter, at 1.22 for £100 (£22 liability).

However, in the 64th minute Inter follow-up with a second goal.  As their price drops further, it’s not even worth closing this position, so at full-time and 5-0 to Inter, I take a £118 loss in this market.



Due to the fairly early goal, fortunately I did not open a position in this market.


Goals over / under 2.5

With the price improved, as I was preparing to take a lay position on unders, Inter score and the price moves rapidly, and unfortunately I was unable to take the targeted entry point in this market.



I was surprised by this outcome, especially with Shakhtar failing to score, and Inter scoring 5!  Inter have only scored more than 2 goals once in their last 5 matches.  And in Shakhtar’s last 5 matches, they haven’t failed to score, averaging 3.5 goal per game.  Anyway, sometimes things don’t turn out how you expect and run against previous form.  As I’ve said before, one-off cup games can be unpredictable, and a conservative approach is worth taking.  Looking ahead to tomorrow, it’s RB Leipzig v PSG, and I’m expecting PSG to be much improved since their last fortuitous win over Atalanta


Tuesday, 18th August, 2020


Tonight it’s the first Champions League semi-final with German team RB Leipzig v French side Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).  Even though PSG luckily made it to the semi-final and played poorly mostly throughout their last game, I now don’t see any other outcome except a PSG win.  The reason being, Bayern Munich will be in the final after tomorrow, and UEFA (the tournament organizers) do not like having two teams from the same country in a final.  This may seem like spurious logic to base one’s trading strategy on, but sometimes judgement just based on instinct is the best approach to take. And I expect it will be one of those nights.

Following no match analysis, the markets that I have determined that potentially offer most value, are:

  • Match odds – backing PSG
  • Goals over/under 3.5 – expecting overs, but after the price improves and then trading out


Summary of Market Trading

Match Odds

Before kick-off, I placed a back position on PSG at 1.86 for £100.  7 minutes in and noticing how PSG looked like a hungrier, sharper team (as anticipated), I added to this position with a further £100 at 1.88.  PSG scored in the 13th minute, and I immediately closed these positions for an £80 profit.  I was half expecting a quick response from Leipzig at this point, but in hindsight, I would have profited a great deal more if they were left open.  However, rule number 1 is always protect your capital and profit.  And rule number 2 is, always protect your capital and profit!


Goals over / under 3.5

I expected that PSG would score goals in this game. Di Maria and Mbappe are both hard-working talented players and I expected they would both be on the score-sheet.  Neymar, not so much. Before kick-off, I layed unders at 1.69 at £100.  Once the 3rd goal was scored, I closed the trade for £67 profit.  If I hadn’t had closed the trade, it would have resulted in a £69 loss if left to run.



I wasn’t surprised by this outcome. It banked £147 profit, but could have been more if I left the match odds trade open a little longer. As I said previously, a French team facing a German team in the final is the perfect final for UEAFA / EU. Once Bayern Munich win tomorrow, and they most certainly will, it will be Bayern v PSG in the final, which Bayern will again most certainly win.


Wednesday, 19th August, 2020


Tonight it’s the second Champions League semi-final with French team Olympique Lyonnais v German side, Bayern Munich.  As I have already said yesterday, I can’t see any other outcome except a Bayern Munich win.  The question is though, by how many goals?  However, the main market for match odds has Bayern at around 1.28, which does not interest me.

Following analysis, I expect the following markets to offer the best trading opportunities:

  • Over / under 3.5 goals
  • Half-time / full-time
  • Over / under 2.5 goals


Summary of Market Trading


Over / under 3.5 goals

Earlier in the day, I placed a lay position on overs at 1.8 for £100.  Shortly before kick-off, this is showing that a profit can be taken.  Because of this, and because I begin to doubt whether goals will be under 3.5, I close the position for a small £8 profit before the match starts.

In hindsight, if I had let this position run, it would have made £100 profit.  But as the match played out, it was evident many more goals could have been scored, and the total goals could have well been over 5.


Half-time / Full-time

I expected that Bayern would score first, and in the first half, then proceed to win the game.  I placed a position on this market to back Bayern / Bayern.  Many times, when the match odds market does not seem appealing due to the short prices, this market offers better value when you want to back a team that normally score goals, and have an early average goal time.  This was the case with Bayern, but because it’s still a cup game, a more conservative position was taken.  I backed this position at 1.76 for £50.

I then closed this position shortly before half-time to lock in £33 profit in this this market.


Over / under 2.5 goals

This market was trading at a very short and an unappealing price at kick-off.  However, in the last 10 minutes of the game, and the score 0-2, I took out a lay position on unders at 1.89 for £50.  I still think this price was too high for the match time, but it did appear that another goal was coming.

This was a slightly risky position, but I had already positioned myself to close this trade if the loss reached a certain figure.  As it happened, Bayern scored a third goal, and £50 was banked.



Again, I wasn’t surprised by this outcome. It banked £90 profit, but could have been over £180 if I left the under 3.5 goals trade to run. As I’ve said before, cup games are curious things, and the unexpected can happen.  It is always best to take a conservative approach and ensure profit is protected, and your bank is not put under unnecessary risk.  However, when PSG meet Bayern in the final on Sunday 23rd August, I expect


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  • Anthony Strachan

    Very interesting read, I try to concentrate on one market in a game, however it is food for thought to try different positions as the match progresses.


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