Diary Of A Football Trader – Issue 10


Diary of a Football Trader


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.

Saturday, 10th October, 2020

It’s the International break again, which means not so many games with opportunities this week. It’s disruptive from a trading perspective, because the rhythm is lost for the teams and the leagues.  It’s also an unnecessary risk to players, having to travel internationally and it seems more players are testing positive for Coronavirus as a result. Considering that many of the matches being played are absolutely nothing friendlies, with fans not allowed in to stadiums, it’s even more surprising that this International break wasn’t cancelled or postponed by the relevant football associations.

However, some of the matches were traded, but as I’ve stated before, a more cautious approach is needed. Maybe a good mind-set would be to approach these games as learning or training opportunities, exploring new strategies you might have and with a reduced staking plan to reflect this.

So unfortunately this week has limited trading, but hopefully still offers some useful information.


Summary of Market Trading

Ukraine v Germany (UEFA Nations League)

This match is under the UEFA Nations League format, so is slightly more competitive than a basic friendly game.

Both Teams To Score (BTTS)

The starting price for a straight Germany win was too low to consider as an option.  Therefore, after carrying out analysis I believed the BTTS market offered most value. Shortly after kick-off and with the score 0-0, I took a back position on ‘Yes’ at 1.91 for £56. A few minutes later, I increased this position by £50 at 1.91.  With both teams scoring, this market produced £96 profit.



Under / Over 3.5 Goals

I took an early lay position on unders for £50 at 1.7. With the score 1-2 in the 76th minute, it appeared that there was time for either team to score again. Unfortunately, no more goals were scored and this position created a £35 loss.



Overall, this match produced £61 profit.


Sunday, 11th October, 2020

England v Belgium (UEFA Nations League)

Match Odds

50 minutes in to the match with the score 1-1, the back price on England was 3.1, which seemed to offer value. I took a position at this price for £50. When England scored a second, I traded out the position to bank £86 profit.



Correct Score

With the score in the match now 2-1, I decide to take a speculative position on this score for £15 at 5.  20 minutes later I traded this position out for £34 profit.


Overall, this match produced £120 profit.




Monday, 12th October, 2020

There aren’t any matches of note to get involved with today, and so the second part of the football trading guide will follow:

A Guide to Trading Football Matches

Part 2 

You can read Part 1 here


Market Selection / Analysis

This is the essential corner-stone to all matches and markets. The foundation of becoming a successful bettor or trader. There are two fundamental ways that match selection and analysis should take place, depending on your approach:

  • Match analysis and selection to fit a particular strategy
  • Match analysis, followed by implementing a strategy that you believe will be profitable for a particular match

Match Selection to fit a strategy

If you intend to predominantly use one or a set of strategies, you then need to find the right matches that fit with the strategy you are intending to use.  For example, one of the first and commonly used strategies is Lay the Draw (LTD). I’m not going to go in to detail about this strategy, but just use it as an example. As this strategy is based on a match not ending in a draw (or at least the favoured team to score first), then the matches you select to deploy this strategy, should for instance have the below characteristics:

  • Teams that are not too close to each other in their league table
  • Teams that have not had more than one draw in their last 5 meetings
  • Teams that have not had a 0-0 in their last 5 matches (both teams)
  • Teams that have not had more than 1 draw in their last 5 matches (both teams)
  • Matches where there is a dominant favourite
  • Matches where it is not a ‘derby’ game

This is an example, and not an exhaustive list. It is just to show how strategy will affect your match selection. For me, this type of approach is best automated, since a robot can be programmed to go through each match taking place on the day and use these criteria to weed out the matches that don't fit this profile and those that do. It is then possible to fine tune this with acceptable price points for entry and exit of the trade. 

If at first you are analyzing matches manually, then there are resources to help you do this quickly and effectively.  I normally would look at and for fast, insightful match analysis.  If you are keen on downloading more historical data to help build your strategies in MS Excel using pivot tables for instance, then is also a useful resource.


Match Analysis to implement a strategy

This is where you analyze a match, and then determine what strategy would be best implemented. The same tools as mentioned above can be used. For instance, if your match analysis showed that both teams frequently score in each of their last matches (and previous head to heads), you would perhaps look at the both teams to score market. If the teams frequently both have over or under 2.5 goals, then this market could be looked at for suitable positions to take. You would then look at the prices available in the markets, and calculate whether the price offers good value. Again, the most common tools I would use for this kind of probability to price analysis would be Preditcology, where the markets that offer value are highlighted for each match.

The below example tables are from the Leicester v West Ham game for the BTTS and over / under 2.5 markets:



There are many different markets available on the exchanges (Betfair, Smarkets, BetDaq), but the most commonly traded and which have the most liquidity are:

  • Match Odds
  • Goals Over / Under 2.5
  • Both Teams To Score (BTTS)

At the beginning, I would advise sticking to these markets where price movements are not erratic, and trades can be exited when needed (due to the higher liquidity).

·         Strategy

·         Trade Execution

Due to other commitments and projects this week, these sections will follow later


Part 3 will cover: Strategy, Entry/Exit (Trade Execution), Game Plan Management


Tuesday, 13th October, 2020

Germany v Switzerland (UEFA Nations League)

Over / Under 3.5

From my pre-match analysis, I was expecting a tight game with a narrow Germany win (2-0 or 2-1 seemed most likely). After Switzerland scored early on in the game (5th minute), the lay price on overs was appealing, and I opened a position. Surprisingly, Switzerland follow-up with a second goal, and Germany reply two minutes later.  This position was now looking in danger, but it wasn’t worth it to trade out I’m opinion.  With the match ending 3-3, this position created a £24 loss.



Wednesday, 14th October, 2020

England v Denmark (UEFA Nations League)

Over / Under 3.5

I was expecting goals in this match, so just after kick-off, I layed unders at 1.27 for £100. Annoyingly, England had a man sent off in the first-half, and moments later Denmark awarded a strange penalty decision. This changed the complexion of how the game could have unfolded, and no further trades were made on this match, which resulted in a £27 loss.



When a red card is shown in a game, it is normally best to close any open positions, and not open new ones.  The reason being, is that the analysis carried out on a match is now less effective.  For instance, the team that are a man-down, can sometimes just sit back and defend for the remainder of the match, making them hard to breakdown. However, it all depends on the match or what your open positions are.




Thursday, 15th October, 2020

Looking ahead to tomorrow, the French Ligue 1 resumes with two matches taking place.

  • Dijon v Rennes
  • Nimes v PSG

Pre-match analysis for the second match now follows.


Pre-Match Analysis


French Ligue 1


Nimes v PSG


16th Oct 2020

Kick-Off Time (GMT):



Key Match Stats:

  • Nimes have scored in 13 of their last 14 matches
  • PSG have won their last 5 matches against Nimes (all competitions)
  • PSG have won by 2+ goals in their last 4 matches against Nimes (all competitions)
  • PSG have won their last 4 matches (Ligue 1)
  • PSG have won by 2+ goals in their last 3 matches

Previous Head to Head Summary:

  • PSG have won all of the last 3 historical meetings
  • Over 2.5 goals have been scored in these last meetings
  • Nimes have scored in just one of the last meetings (home game)


Team Form (last 5 matches):



·         Nimes have started the season relatively poorly, with a record of W1 D2 L2

·         Nimes have failed to score in 1 of the last 5

·         3 of their last 5 matches have produced under 2.5 goals

·         BTTS ‘Yes’ has occurred in 3 of the last 5




·         PSG have now begun the season more strongly, with a record of W4 D0 L1

·         PSG have scored in 4 of their last 5 matches

·         2 of their last 5 matches have produced over 2.5 goals

·         BTTS ‘Yes’ has occurred in 1 of the last 5


Goal Scoring Minutes

The table below shows at what times in the match each team most often score. However, this is a low sample size based on just 6 matches in to the season. A point to note however, is that both Nimes (6) and PSG (8) have scored 67% of their goals in the second-half.


Trading Markets Considered

Historically, this match has favoured PSG.  They also have seemed to return to goal-scoring form, scoring 6 in their last league match.


Backing PSG at the beginning doesn’t appeal at the 1.3 odds on offer. However, markets that could be profitable and offer value are:


Over 3.5 Goals

Laying unders, but I would suggest waiting for the match to begin to determine if either teams are looking particularly dangerous from the start. If not, then 20 minutes in this market should offer better value (it’s currently 1.5).



If it does appear PSG start quickly, then this market to back PSG/PSG offers value at around 2.





Friday, 16th October, 2020

Nimes v PSG (French Ligue 1)

Half-Time / Full-Time

I took a back position on PSG/PSG just before kick-off for £55 at 2. An early sending off for Nimes instantly put this position in profit, and when PSG scored in the first-half it was looking better. This trade was traded out later in the second-half for £52 profit.



Over / Under 3.5

Just after kick-off I took a lay position on unders for £60 at 1.58. Later on in the match, when PSG really began to find their stride, I increased this position by £20 at 1.54. When the fourth goal was scored late on, this position secured an £80 profit.



25 minutes in to the match, the price to back PSG in this market was 1.98, which I believed offered value, since Nimes were down to 10 men and PSG were beginning to make it count. I took a back position at this price for £83 and then traded it out shortly before half-time at 0-1 for £72 profit.



A quiet week on the trading front due to the International break. Only a handful of games were looked at, with some unexpected results not helping the bank. Overall, this week produced £334 profit.

Thankfully tomorrow sees the return of all the top European leagues, including the English Premier League. Tomorrow morning will be busy on match analysis and selection criteria, similar to that detailed in yesterday’s post.


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  • Neil Fraser

    Really enjoy reading this diary of a pro trader. Fascinating insight into how matches are selected and traded. Also appreciate the snippets of advice and information.


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