Diary Of A Football Trader – Issue 3

Diary Of A Pro Football Trader – Issue 3



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, 20th August, 2020

Match Analysis

There’s not any matches on today that generate any interest for me or warrant any trading opportunities, so instead I look ahead to tomorrow’s Europa League Final between Spanish side Sevilla against Italian side, Internazionale (Inter Milan).

This immediately appears to be a very close affair and a difficult final to call… it really does seem it could go either way on the night.  Just one mistake, one moment of brilliance or one piece of luck could settle it.  I begin preliminary analysis to and look at the latest form of both sides.

Sevilla – last 7 matches

  • In all competitions, they have W6 D1 L0
  • They haven’t scored over 2 goals in a match
  • They have conceded just 2 goals (total)

Inter Milan – last 7 matches

  • In all competitions, they have W6 D1 L0
  • They have scored over 2 goals on 2 occasions (5 against Shakhtar, 3 away to Genoa)
  • They have conceded just 1 goal (total)

I now look at goals scored and conceded and their timing in the Europa League for both sides.


Sevilla have scored on average 1.82 goals per game, and conceded just 0.45.  Inter Milan have scored an average of 2.6 and conceded 0.4.  However, these results are slightly skewed, since Inter Milan joined the competition after being knocked out of the CL. Therefore, their stats are showing for just the last 5 games, whereas Sevilla are showing 11. But one thing does interest me, and that is the average time from this table shows that the average time of the first goal for Sevilla is 46 mins, but for Inter Milan it is 33 mins.

I realise that Sevilla have won this competition for a record 5 times, but these historical achievements are not so much of interest (to me), since these are not the same sides playing, so I prefer to look at latest form.  I also think about the goals that Inter Milan are scoring, particularly by Lukaku who is in great form this season following his transfer from Manchester United.  Their latest outing in the semi-final against Shakhtar really surprised me, scoring 5 and conceding 0.  This makes me believe perhaps they have hit their best form, at the best possible time. And with the goal threat they possess, may just look at scoring one more than Sevilla.

Following analysis and these other mentioned considerations, I expect the following markets to offer the best trading opportunities:

  • Match Odds – Backing Inter Milan to Win (pre-kick-off)
  • BTTS – Yes, but waiting for odds to improve from kick-off
  • Over / under 2.5 goals – Expecting overs, but again more in the second half, so will wait for the price to improve
  • Correct Score – expecting to cover the following: 0-1, 1-2, 1-3, and trade if the opportunities arise
  • I am also expecting Lukaku to ‘score anytime’, but this would be more of a bet than a trade

With this type of match however, it really is a case of wait and see how they come out and approach the game before taking any positions.


Friday, 21st August, 2020

Tonight is the second biggest final in European competitions, involving Spanish side Sevilla against Italian side Internazionale (Inter Milan).

As stated in my match analysis the previous day, I would be focusing on the following markets:

  • Match Odds – Backing Inter Milan to Win (pre-kick-off)
  • BTTS – Yes, but waiting for odds to improve from kick-off
  • Over / under 2.5 goals – Expecting overs, but again more in the second half, so will wait for the price to improve
  • Correct Score – expecting to cover the following: 0-1, 1-2, 1-3, and trade if the opportunities arise
  • I am also expecting Lukaku to ‘score anytime’, but this would be more of a bet than a trade


Summary of Market Trading


Match Odds

I was expecting Inter Milan to come out and dominate this match.  I backed them before kick-off at 2.4 for £100.  In the end it took a few trades on this market to come out with a profit, but a profit was attained.  Normally match odds trading is more simple, but not in this case as you will see from the numerous trades made, due to the unpredictable scoring and them ultimately losing, it was more difficult:

In the end, even though backing Inter Milan at the beginning, trading this market produced a £27 profit.



I didn’t enter a position in this market due to the early penalty goal.  However, even at short odds it would have paid, but from a trading perspective, it wasn’t worth it.


Over / Under 2.5

As above, I didn’t create a position in this market pre-kick-off, so nothing was lost or made. However, due to the early goal (and expecting more) I took a lay position on under 4.5 goals, at 1.4 for £100 (a liability of £40).

The match ended 3-2 to Sevilla, so once Sevilla scored the 5th, this position produced a £100 profit.

Even when the goal target of over 2.5/3.5 isn’t achieved in a match, it still allows for a decent trade, since the swing in the price when a goal is scored will allow for profit to be taken.



Correct Score

I entered this market and made just a £20 profit from around 10 trades.  This can be a tricky market to trade successfully, and unless you get it just right, first time, it can be a lot of hassle.  It can fluctuate a great deal, and also show as suspended very often.  I would suggest to those just starting out in trading football markets to stick to the main markets with the most liquidity.  On the flip-side, correct score markets can be lucrative, or used to take a hedge against other positions that you have made. Personally I use this market a lot, but I wouldn’t recommend them for a new football trader just starting out, because it’s more akin to gambling, and not trading.


Anytime Goal Scorer

Yes, I did back Lukaku to score in this market, even though it’s not tradeable.  I placed a small stake on him, and he duly delivered £30 profit to add to the total of £177 profit on the match.



Saturday, 22nd August, 2020

Match Analysis

Tomorrow is the Final of the Champions League, where PSG and Bayern Munich will compete for the highest club accolade in European competition.

I have stated many times in previous posts that I expect Bayern to lift the trophy, and I still maintain this view.  However, I’ve also stated that one-off cup games can produce the unexpected and run against form, can change complexion with just one mistake, one moment of brilliance or even a refereeing decision.

I look at both teams performances in recent CL encounters:

It’s apparent both teams score goals, and lots of them.  PSG have averaged 2.5 per game, Bayern 4.2 (skewed by their recent demolition of Barcelona).  But more importantly, is the timing, and a PSG first goal averages at 45 mins, and Bayern 31 mins.  Also of note, is that neither team have failed to score.

I conduct further analysis, and look at likely line-ups, team news, injuries and even some other pyseudo-science (called bio-rhythms) to see how players are faring on this particular day.  I also use this successfully in trading tennis matches, when it’s one against one. Unfortunately, I don’t have space to report everything is this diary blog.

From my analysis, the markets I am most interested in are:

  • Match Odds (backing Bayern at the start)
  • Goals over 3.5 (expecting overs, (but will wait for price to improve)
  • BTTS – Yes
  • Correct Score (2-1, 3-1 and 3-2 Bayern). I think these score-lines are realistic, and thus tradeable.

If we see an early goal, both teams will attack.  If it gets to HT at 0-0, it could be more cagey. I’m thinking the former, and so will place my trades, but most importantly, look forward to and just enjoy the match. Good luck to everyone.


Sunday, 23rd August, 2020

Tonight it’s the Champions League Final, featuring PSG and Bayern Munich.

Summary of Market Trading


Match Odds

As planned, at the beginning of the match I take a £150 back position on Bayern at the price of 2.00 (evens).  20 mins in to the match and still 0-0, Bayern’s price has risen to 2.24, so I increase my position by a further £50. 10 minutes later, and the price available to back Bayern is now 2.34, so again I increase my position by £50 at this improved price.

Half-time arrives, and the score is still surprisingly 0-0.  Just after the restart, Bayern’s price is now 2.4, so I increase my position by a further £50, which increases my average backing price to 2.16 at £300.

Bayern eventually break the dead-lock in the 59th minute, and their price falls to 1.4. I partially close my position, half-expecting Bayern to follow-up with a second goal.  At around 80 mins in and still just 1 goal in the match, I fully close my positions and bank £150 profit from this market.  Had I left my positions open, it would have generated an additional £199 when the match ended 0-1 Bayern.  However, I believed the risk of PSG equalizing late on was too great, and keeping trading discipline ensured that both capital and profit was protected from this possible scenario.


Goals over/under 3.5

18 mins in to the match, and the lay price for under 3.5 has fallen to 1.6, and I take a position on this market for £100 (£60 liability).  As half-time approaches, and seeing that it’s not going to be the expected goal-fest, I close this position for a £36 loss.



BTTS – Yes

35 mins in to the game and still 0-0, the back price for Yes has risen to 1.88 and I take a £99 position. As the match continues in to the second half, the price on this market continues to increase (creating a potential loss).  Once Bayern score, the price again drops back to 1.98 and I decide to close this trade fearing that time was running out for PSG to score, which created a £5 loss.


Correct Score

I took small back positions in the correct score market, covering 0-2, 1-2 and 1-3.  After Bayern scored, but now expecting a low-scoring match, I closed these positions taking a £5 profit.


From looking at the Betfair markets prior to kick-off, such as over/under 2.5, I was not alone in thinking this game would have goals (overs was trading at around 1.5).  However, this match went against most the markets expectations.  These expectations were probably increased further following Bayern’s comprehensive destruction of Barcelona in the semi-final.  However, due to my belief in Bayern, I was mostly leveraged in the match odds market, which proved to be a sound decision to take.  Overall, this match generated around £120 profit.


Monday 24th – Wednesday 26th August, 2020

With the completion of yesterday’s Champions League final, it’s suddenly the calm following the storm of the recent tsunami of football.  There are football matches on, but nothing that I’m interested in trading on, due to either being unable to view the match, or having low market liquidity.

I check my automated trading strategy robots to see what how they’ve been faring over the last few days.  Again, the last trade placed by any one robot was yesterday in the French Ligue 1, on the Nice v Lens match.  As this robot is still in test mode (although using live market data and real money), the stakes are small.  However, it has been generating a profit and did so again on this match.  Further testing is needed though, to ensure it is stable and profit producing before increasing stakes.  But like my own parameters in choosing matches, the robot will dismiss any markets where the liquidity is less than £5k.

The English Premier League will return on 12th September, as will the Spanish La Liga. German Bundesliga will start on 18th September.  Italian Serie A will start on 19th September.  All of the matches in these markets will have enough liquidity to satisfy this basic rule of the robots.  However, they are set-up with other strict rules, which if not met, will not place a trade.

The next two weeks will be important in fine-tuning these rules and parameters to ensure they are able to function and produce a profit.  I find that the rules and parameters need to constantly evolve, not just by the league they are used in, but at many points during the season.  The first few weeks of a season starting is also the most difficult for the robots, because they don’t have as much fresh data to go on, such as ‘result of last 3 home matches’ for instance.

Once I’m happy with this strategy that is being tested, I will happily share the details and results of it.

On Friday 28th August, I will be following the French Ligue 1 match between Lyon and Dijon.  This will be Lyon’s first game in the new French Ligue 1 2020/21 season, since they were beaten 3-0 by Bayern Munich.  I’m expecting Lyon to come out quickly following their recent Champions League exploits and be too strong for a mild Dijon side that just last week lost at home 0-1 to Angers SCO.  Tomorrow I intend to write pre-match analysis and strategies around this game.

And on Saturday, 29th August, we have the English Community Shield match between Arsenal and Liverpool.  I will also be conducting analysis and hoping to implement a solid trading game plan to generate profit from this match.



Thursday, 27th August, 2020

It’s been a quiet last few days in the footballing world, but tomorrow evening there’s a French Ligue 1 match between Lyon and Dijon that is of interest.  I’ve checked the market liquidity, and there’s already over £250,000 matched on this game (match odds). I decide to carry out more in-depth analysis to try and assess how this match will pan-out.

Match Pre-View and Analysis – Lyon v Dijon

Firstly, I check the recent head-to-head meetings of both sides:

Surprisingly, the last 2 matches (and Lyon were at home), Lyon failed to win. However, in the 2 matches prior to this, when Dijon were at home, both results went to Lyon. Another observation from these previous 4 meetings, shows that 3 of them had over 2.5 goals.

I then check recent matches of both teams in all competitions:

Looking at Lyon’s last 3 games, they have all been in CL, where they lost to Bayern, beaten Manchester United 3-1, and lost 2-1 to Juventus (although qualified to the next round).  Top European teams, in the top European competition, and Lyon scored a total of 4 goals in these 3 matches.  In Dijon’s last 3 games they lost at home to Angers, lost away to Lens and lost at home to Metz, and scored a total of 1 goal.

It is quite clear that Lyon are strong favorites for this, but just to take a position in this market is unappealing because the back price is 1.29.  However, looking at the Half-time/Full-Time market, Lyon / Lyon is 1.87.  This could be worth taking a small position prior to kick-off, and then trading out accordingly.

Next, the BTTS market, No is around 1.8, which does seem to offer good value from a trading perspective to take, and then trade out.

Over/under 2.5 goals is around 1.65 to back.  Looking at other stats, it is evident Lyon do score a lot of goals (33%) in the 75-90 time-frame.  I am thinking of watching the match progress, and taking a position on overs once the price has improved to around evens.

To summarize, the markets that I am most interested in from a trading perspective are:

  • Half-Time/Full-Time
  • BTTS
  • Over/Under 2.5


Friday, 28th August, 2020

The last track on Jay-Z’s coveted Black Album is titled ‘My First Song’.  It begins with an intro, taken from an interview with Notorious B.I.G. in 1996:

“Gotta try to stay above water, y’know?

Just stay busy, stay working

Puff told me, like, the key to this joint

The key to staying on top of things

Is treat everything like it’s your first project, nomsayin’?

Like it’s your first day, like, back when you was an intern

Like, that’s how you try to treat things like, just stay hungry”


The key message here, is never become complacent.  Don’t become lazy, neglect to carry out analysis or due diligence, or approach any trading scenario without a plan, and a plan b.  As soon as you do this, the markets will take a large bite out of your ass and your bank balance.

Tonight I’ve targeted a French Ligue 1 match between Olmpique Lyonnais and Dijon.  I wouldn’t normally trade French Ligue 1 games, because I don’t know the teams or players as well as other leagues. However, I’ve already completed my analysis, so I now have a strategy on how to trade this match.


Summary of Market Trading



As I’ve stated previously, if match odds on your favoured selection are too short, look at this market instead.  Just after kick-off, Lyon/Lyon was available to back at 1.93, whereas just backing Lyon was less than 1.3.  I opened a position at this price for £58.  At half-time, with the score 3-1 Lyon, I closed the trade for a £52 profit.


I was planning on back Yes, but due to the relatively early goal (14 mins), I didn’t open a position in this market.


Over/Under 2.5

I was planning on back overs, but as above, due to the relatively early goal I didn’t open a position in this market because the price had dropped too much.


Match Odds

Now, at the beginning of this match the price on backing Lyon was just 1.29, which is too short for me to consider.  However, with Dijon scoring early, it led to an opportunity to back Lyon at 1.84 for £125. A few minutes later, and witnessing the dominance of Lyon I increase my position by £50 at 1.85.  Just before half-time, with the score at 3-1 Lyon, I closed these positions for £135 profit.



I don’t normally like to watch or trade matches from this football league.  However, it was available and from my analysis, I believed it held opportunities.

At half-time, with my positions closed and £187 profit banked, I switched the match off (Lyon went on to win 4-1).  There’s always a temptation to continue trading, maybe move in to the correct score markets, but it’s best to maintain discipline, stick to the plan, and look ahead to the next project.  In this instance, it’s tomorrow with Arsenal v Liverpool in the Community Shield.  My immediate thought, is that Arsenal will surprisingly win this game, but of course, I must first conduct analysis, stay diligent, and stay hungry.



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