Diary Of A Football Trader – Issue 5
Diary Of A Pro Football Trader – Issue 4
Welcome to the latest edition of “Diary Of A Pro Trader”, you can read all the past Issues 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.
Saturday, 5th September, 2020
It’s another night of 9 UEFA Nations League matches. Following the previous two days, I have the propensity to believe it’s not always going to produce competitive games.
However, I will be looking at three matches that are of most interest, both for viewing and trading.
- Iceland v England
- Denmark v Belgium
- Portugal v Croatia
Due to the perhaps non-competitive nature of the first two days and lessons learned, I am now looking at reducing the scope to trade on to just match odds market for today’s games.
Summary of Market Trading
Iceland v England
I started this match with the expectation of an England victory. However, exercising caution due to the nature of the game, I waited to see how events would begin to unfold. At 26 minutes in to the second-half, I layed the draw at 1.69 for £50. As a 0-0 score continued, I then added to this position at 1.6 and again at 1.47. Due to an England penalty late in the game (and another being fortuitously missed moments later by Iceland), this position was closed and banked £82 profit.
Denmark v Belgium
I started this match with the tentative expectation of a Belgium victory. Before kick-off, I backed them at 2.52 for £50. When Belgium scored in the 11th minute and half expecting a rapid Danish reply, I closed the trade for a £30 profit.
Portugal v Croatia
From my analysis, I started this match with the confident expectation of a Portugal victory. Earlier in the day, I backed them at 2.06 for £100. Before kick-off, my position was already showing over £10 in profit. After Portugal scored their second goal, I closed the trade for just under £100 profit.
All in all, a £212 profit was banked on the above matches. This shows that applying caution and market choice can produce profits. I have said previously that under 2.5 goals is the way forward with these matches, and it would have been correct on 2 or the 3 above, and 6 of the 9 played today. However, as games continue I am expecting them to become more open, so perhaps this strategy will need reviewing, and / or a stricter match selection applied.
Sunday, 6th September, 2020
It’s another day of 10 UEFA Nations League matches and I will be looking at two matches that are of most interest, both for viewing and trading.
- Wales v Bulgaria
- Hungary v Russia
Summary of Market Trading
Wales v Bulgaria
From my analysis, I’m expecting a narrow Wales win in this match. However, the starting price to back Wales at kick-off was around 1.68, which held little appeal. My strategy here was wait until their price improved. At around 30 minutes in to the match, it was now 2.06, so I took an initial back position at £50.
Back price of Wales from kick-off to 30 mins in
As the game continued 0-0 and with their price gradually rising, I then continue to take smaller positions to increase my back price average – incremental drip-feeding. At 63 mins, I have £100 on the position at an average price of 2.28 – vastly higher than if I had backed them from the start at 1.68.
I increased again when Wales’ price hit 3.75, resulting that a Wales win would bring £183 profit, and any other outcome resulting in a £120 loss. When my trades reached a negative of 50% of my stake, I normally close them, and in this instance I believed that the probability it would end 0-0 was high enough, and so they were closed for a £50 loss.
Before kick-off I placed a tentative position on 1-0, and later in the game 2-0.
The match ended 1-0 and £42 profit was banked in this market.
This was another exceedingly dull game, with obvious time wasting and anti-football being played by Bulgaria… very similar to yesterday’s Iceland v England encounter. Had I let the match odds trades run, a £225 profit would have been made from the match. Instead, it ended with an £8 loss. However, the goal was scored deep into added time, and to leave open and take this risk would have run against my basic rules of trading.
Hungary v Russia
Match Odds / Over 2.5 Goals
From my analysis and having watched both teams play, I thought that this would be a decent tie, have goals, and therefore trading opportunities. I backed Russia from the start at 2.1 for £100.
I also layed under 2.5 goals at 1.75. Now, as I have noted previously, it seems a lot of games in this competition are producing under 2.5. However, I expected this game to go against this trend and produce over 2.5, and took positions accordingly.
36 minutes into the match and the score is 2-0 Russia. I believe that more can be squeezed out of these positions and so instead of closing, they are left open. These two markets can also be used to hedge against each other, for example: As the profit shown on Russia increases, the profit on over 2.5 goals decreases with time. However, if Hungary score, the profit on Russia will fall slightly, but the over 2.5 goals market profit will be banked.
As the profit for match odds moved close to £100, Hungary scored and the price dropped. I decided to wait for it to rise again. Then a few minutes later, Hungary scored a second, so now instead of banking £100, I’m looking at £60. Hungary at this stage definetley had the their tails up and the wind in their back, so I’m cautious of them equalizing and closed the match odds trades for a £70 profit.
The goals over 2.5 was closed automatically once the third goal was scored on 46 minutes and banked £50 profit.
I also took small position on the correct score market at various times in the match for 0-1, 0-2, 0-3 and ‘any other away win’. I closed these positions just after the re-start of the second half for £35 profit.
A decent match for once, even though Hungary’s late resurgence reduced my potential profit by £40. In the end, £155 profit was banked when the match finished 2-3 to Russia.
Monday, 7th September, 2020
Another day of 8 UEFA Nations League matches and I will be looking at one match that is of most interest:
- Netherlands v Italy
The markets I will be interested in taking positions in are:
- Match Odds
- Over/Under 2.5
Summary of Market Trading
Netherlands v Italy
From my analysis, I’m expecting a tight game; possibly ending in a draw, like many of the matches so far in this competition. Both teams have quality in all areas, just oozing skill, tenacity and gallons of guile. I am thinking that they may just cancel each other out and a low-scoring draw is on the cards, so from this assumption, I decide to back the draw before kick-off for £100 at 3.4. Just before the half-time whistle, Italy scored and the price moved against my desired position. I contemplated leaving this open, but Italy had been breaking forward at pace and with ease and I was concerned that they could easily follow-up with a second, so I closed this position for a £19 loss.
Over / Under 2.5
Just after kick-off I opened a position on unders at 1.81 for £62. I let this run, and with the match ending with just a single goal, it produced £50 profit.
This was a good match to watch due to the play and skill displayed by both sides, although it was more difficult to trade due to the uncertainty before kick-off on how teams would approach it. If I had more faith in under 2.5 goals, then more profit could have been produced, but the goal threat posed by both teams and the obvious risk to this position made me take a tentative approach in this market. In the end, a conservative approach was adopted and it produced £31 profit.
Tuesday, 8th September, 2020
Another day, another 9 UEFA Nations League matches. The standout matches for working on are:
- Georgia v North Macedonia (this match has an earlier kick-off time, so will also allow one of the later kick-off games to be followed)
- Sweden v Portugal
Summary of Market Trading
Georgia v North Macedonia
Over / Under 2.5 goals
From my analysis, I’m expecting a low scoring affair, possibly 0-0 or 1-1 at most, but I am keen to view how initial events unfold before taking a position. In the 13th minute, Georgia are awarded and convert a penalty. As the back price on overs drops, I then take a lay position on overs for £100 at 1.78. In the 33rd minute, North Macedonia equalize! It now appears to the market that over 2.5 goals will prevail, and so my position is showing negative, which concerns me slightly.
I don’t want to close the trade just yet, and am prepared to let time tick by and hopefully get the trade back in the green. I really couldn’t envisage anything more than one more goal either way, so I then look at the correct score market in order to take a hedge position to cover this risk.
The match did indeed end 1-1, and this position was traded out late on to produce £93 profit.
This was not a market I was intending on entering for this match. However, with two first half goals and having a position laying over 2.5, I took out two positions covering 2-1 and 1-2. This would minimize my risk on the overs market. However, it remained 1-1 until the end and this hedge position cost £45. However, I have no regrets in taking this action, since when you don’t look to protect capital and profits, is when the unexpected will happen.
This was a scrappy match, with 6 yellow cards (one resulting in a red). It was quite stop / start, which is good for when you are backing under 2.5 goals. But with both teams scoring in the first half, this was unexpected and additional action was needed to cover this. In the end, even with the £45 loss from the hedge a £48 profit was banked.
Sweden v Portugal
I was expecting a Portugal win here, especially with the return of Ronaldo from a slight injury. They were dominant against Croatia a few days earlier, winning 4-1 (even without Ronaldo) due to their vast skill, experience and strength in-depth. I have watched Sweden play many times, especially against England and they have proved difficult to breakdown many times. But the starting price on Portugal seemed high for what I considered would end-up a one-sided game.
Before kick-off, I backed a Portugal win for £100 at 1.73. With Sweden having a man sent off near the end of the first half, and Ronaldo scoring from a free-kick seconds later, I decided it made perfect sense to let this trade run and produce £73 profit at the final whistle.
The match unfolded almost as expected, with Sweden defending and being resilient to the attacks and shots from the Portuguese. With a goal in the first half and Sweden being a man-down for the entire second, I was expecting more goals, but even still the 0-2 score-line satisfied my match odds position.
In the end, covering both these matches on the day resulted in £121 profit.
Thursday, 9th September, 2020
Tomorrow is a match I’m interested in trading. It’s a French Ligue 1 game between Lens v PSG.
The first thing that strikes me about this match, is the high-odds available on Betfair for a PSG win. They are trading around the 1.74 mark, which is unusual considering Lens are a newly promoted team, and PSG are the current French Champions and finalists in the recent Champions League.
Now many bettors would have jumped on this price I would imagine, thinking it’s a magnificent opportunity to back PSG at this price just to win the game against the newly promoted team. I decided that further research and analysis was needed to see what was really going on and why this price was so high. Many sites were backing a PSG win with their predictions, such as squawka.com, leaguelane.com, kickoff.co.uk. They had compiled data, looked at previous head-to-heads and done every bit of analysis from reading their reports. But none of them mentioned that PSG would be without 5 of their key players, including Mbappe, Neymar and Di Maria due to a Coronavirus outbreak in their camp. Basically their most lethal strike-force would not be featuring. I think this team would be unsettled, and not the usual goal-scoring machine we have come to expect. I think they will not be going forward in numbers and attacking at will… and this gives the perfect opportunity to Lens to get points on the board against what would normally be an impossible side to stop.
I looked at head-to-head results of these sides, but since they last met in 2015 it is unreliable and can be ignored. I thought about the recent defeat and the plague that has seem to hit PSG and think it may have an effect on them, even if other players are pulled in to fill these gaps. Lens being newly promoted will be looking at having a good start, and eager to impress. For these reasons, I begin to understand why the price is so high on PSG to win – and it’s not a good bet or trade.
From looking at the actual facts, this could actually be a dull 0-0, with neither team wanting to lose. It could be a late goal from either side, or no goals at all. From this perspective, I decide the markets that I will approach and offer most value are under 2.5 and BTTS – No.
So this analysis is not based on previous head-to-heads, last 5 match team form, or anything else historical. This is based upon actual current up-to-date information about how a team might be feeling and then perform on the day.
Thursday, 10th September, 2020
Following yesterday’s analysis, I will be approaching the match in French Lique 1, Lens v PSG.
To re-cap, Lens are a newly promoted team to this division, and PSG are the champions and also were finalists in the UEFA Champions League. This match should be easy to predict, right?
Summary of Market Trading
Lens v PSG
Over / Under 2.5 goals
Earlier in the day, I took a back position on unders at exactly 2.0 for £100. At around half-time I decided to close the trade just in-case there was a late resurgence from PSG, banking a £60 profit. However, there was no more goals and the match finished 1-0. Although greater profit could have been made on this market, statistically more goals are scored in the second half than the first in football matches. This can be a useful strategy to adopt, especially when you expect a low scoring match – but just remember to close the trade and not become greedy, or profits could start running out of the door.
BTTS (Both Teams to Score)
I decided to back ‘no’ because I thought PSG could score, and Lens would not. As it turned out, this was the opposite on this occasion. Once Lens scored however, this position was at risk, because the market believed (as I did), that PSG would at least equalize. Because of this I closed the trade later on. Nevertheless, it produced £6 profit with no loss.
I also traded the correct score market when 1-0 Lens was looking more likely. These trades added a further £21 to the bank.
All in all, it played out almost as expected with a low-scoring game and PSG not winning. I would have preferred Lens not to score first and the BTTS trade would have produced more. Nevertheless, £87 profit was banked from this match.
Friday, 11th September, 2020
There’s a lot of matches on today, with many leagues restarting. I am interested in the Watford v Middlesborough game in the English Championship that is taking place later. Anyway, as I am looking through the other games taking place, both live and later, I often scan for games that are at the half-time (or thereabouts) mark where it is still 0-0.
One such game caught my eye, which was Rizespor v Fenerbahce in the Turkish Super league. The score was 0-0, so I quickly undertake basic analysis that shows that Fenerbahce normally win this fixture, and in the 6 of the last 7 meetings, goals have been over 2.5.
Summary of Market Trading
Rizespor v Fenerbahce
With the score 0-0 at half-time, I take a back position on Fenerbahce for £100 at 1.98. Just under 10 minutes later, at still 0-0 their price is 2.14, so I increase my back position. Annoyingly, Rizespor score first, and the position is now showing a negative. However, it appears Fenerbahce are creating many chances, and the question is not if Fenerbahce will score, but when? A penalty is then awarded to them, and they follow-up with a second goal 10 minutes later. I close all trades and £150 profit is banked.
Watford v Middlesbrough
From my analysis it would appear that both teams would score. However, this match is made more difficult due to the fact that Watford are a newly demoted team to the Championship division from the Premier League. After Watford scored, I decided to lay them, but as time went on I closed the trade. I then layed them again further on, but was not feeling confident they would concede to Middlesbrough and then closed the trades again. In the end, a £6 loss was made, but I was happy to close these trades and walk away, rather than risk a greater loss.
Overall, trading these two matches produced £144 profit.
This has been a difficult week in terms of trading, due to many of the matches being international friendlies (re-branded of course), and some other league matches that I’m not so familiar with. However, from the matches followed this week, £790 profit was made, tax-free (minus 5% Betfair commission).
However, the English Premier League returns tomorrow, and with staggered kick-off times, there’s potentially four matches of trading potential. I wish you all good luck and remember to stay safe, stay conservative and protect capital, since the opening day can produce the unexpected!
Friday, 4th September, 2020
Today is another selection of the UEFA Nations League games (International friendlies, re-branded).The selection available to choose from, and their respective results following full-time are below.
As I stated yesterday, from the 10 games played, 5 ended in draws. Tonight’s results are a slight improvement, with just 3 ending in draws. However, 6 of the 8 games played tonight had under 2.5 goals. Again, this backs up my theory that this is not a competitive ‘competition’, and that perhaps teams are simply going through the motions, rather than playing their best football. Italy (ranked 13th in the world) drawing with Bosnia-Herzgovina (ranked 49th in the world) is again an example of this.
The match I decided to watch and potentially trade was Netherlands v Poland. I imagined this would be the most exciting game to watch… how wrong I was.
Summary of Market Trading
I looked at the price on Netherlands before kick-off, and it was trading at just below 1.5. Now, for an uncompetitive competition, this did not appeal, so I decided to wait and see how the match progressed.
Graph shows back price of Netherlands prior to start
Netherlands had most of the possession in the first half and looked most likely to score, so at half-time with the score 0-0, I took a £100 back position on the Netherlands at the much improved price of 1.78. Around 10 minutes later, their price had increased to 1.95, so I increased my position by a further £50. In the 61st minute, Netherlands score courtesy of Bergwijn. I close the trades almost instantly to produce just over £80 profit.
I opened a lay position of ‘no’ in this market just after kick-off for 1.72 for £50. When it really appeared this was going to be a dreaded dull-fest, I closed the position for a £17 loss.
Correct Score Market
Once it was clear this was not going to be a high-scoring match, I decided to move in to the correct score market. Once it was 1-0 I backed this score line for 3.5. I then traded it out for £15 profit when I imagined that another goal might be scored! I also traded the 2-1 score market, but nothing eventful come of this.
A very dull match, and it is clear already that the teams and players are not taking this seriously, are fatigued, or both. It produced £78 profit, but I think to back under 2.5 goals is predominantly the way forward with matches in this ‘competition’. Maybe things will improve, and I will be watching and possibly trading on Iceland v England tomorrow.
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. In his spare time, he is writing a series of books soon to be published, enjoys outdoor pursuits with his family, learning Russian and of course, trading football markets.