Diary of a Football Trader – Issue 23

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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 and enjoy travelling (when permitted).  In his spare time, he is writing a series of books, enjoys outdoor pursuits with his family, and of course, trading football markets.


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Diary of a Football Trader – Issue 23


It’s still a very busy period of fixtures, with Premier League matches being played on six of the seven coming days. Covid-19 has continued to have an impact on matches, with players missing, sometimes managers missing and even matches being postponed due to an outbreak. Of course, the biggest impact has been the lack of fans in the stadiums. I think this benefited some sides, whilst negatively impacting others. The latest numbers from the Premier League show that between 11-17 January, 3,115 players / staff were tested, with 16 coming back as positive. However, it is expected that after a spell of quarantine (10-14 days), and then testing again as negative, they are then fit to play.

This however is not the reality. Having recently had Covid-19 myself, I can confirm that the effects of the virus can continue on far past a negative result. For instance, one of the symptoms that can be experienced is an inability to focus and concentrate as normal. Lethargy and tiredness are also symptoms that can continue. These attributes that are impacted are probably the most important for a footballer to operate at an optimum level.

One such high-profile player that has been impacted by the after-effects is German International and Chelsea player Kai Havertz, who tested positive in November, and said he spent seven to 10 days “just in my bed and everything was hurting”.

Havertz missed three games with the virus but has started Chelsea's past three games in all competitions. A lot of speculation has been on whether his sub-par performances for Chelsea are due to the after effects of the virus.

From a match trading perspective, this is again another variable that needs to be considered. Even if a player returns from quarantine, are they going to be performing at their peak, or are the after-effects still taking hold, limiting their impact on a match that would normally be expected?


Saturday, 16th January, 2021


Summary of Market Trading


Leicester City v Southampton

All analysis for this match pointed to both teams scoring. I believed this would be the case, and so the Trade of The Day recommendation was just that. However, there was a slight concern that Danny Ings would be out (Covid-19 strikes again), but he had been out for a few games due to injury prior to this anyway. Would this again be a case of the corona-virus having an impact on a match?


BTTS – Yes

I took a back position on ‘Yes’ for £50 at 1.9 a few hours before kick-off. I then increased this position by laying ‘No’ at a further £25 at 1.74. Leicester scored in the 37th minute, and the position was now in profit.  However, Southampton didn’t go on to score, whilst Leicester scored another, with the match ending 2-0 and a £68.50 loss. A disappointing start for the first Trade of The Day of the week.



Sunday, 17th January, 2021


Liverpool v Manchester United

Liverpool go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.96, whereas Manchester United are 4, with the draw also 4.

Considering that big games like this often produce tight, cagey affairs with both teams more concerned with not losing, combined with Liverpool's recent Premier League goal draught (1 goal scored in their last 3 matches), the under 2.5 market made most appeal.


Under / Under 2.5

I took a lay position on over 2.5 goals at 1.61 for £75. At half-time with the score 0-0, I closed the trade for a £39 profit. As it turned out, the match ended 0-0 and greater profit could have been taken if the trade had been left to run. But sometimes with these sorts of games it’s best to get out when ahead rather than watch profit disappear.



Monday, 18th January, 2021


Arsenal v Newcastle United


Arsenal go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.45, whereas Newcastle United are 9, with the draw 4.8. Whilst I expect Arsenal to win this match (1-0 or 2-0), the low-price on offer isn't enough for a trade recommendation.

Considering that these sides have played each other recently in the FA Cup (0-0 FT), and that Arsenal haven't conceded in their last 4 matches, another repeat of a low-scoring match seems likely.

The BTTS ‘No' market is currently trading at 1.79, this makes some appeal, since I don't see Newcastle scoring in this match (apart from a penalty).

With 4 of Newcastle's last 5 matches producing under 2.5 goals, the under 2.5 goals market appeals at 2.08. It should also be noted that just last month, Liverpool failed to score past Newcastle, and Manchester City managed to win at home just 2-0.


Over / Under 2.5

I took a back position on backing unders at an average price of 2.09 for £70. At half-time, the score was 0-0 and a decent profit could have been taken. However, deciding to let it run further it was left open. Arsenal however scored shortly after the break, but the position was still in profit. Ten minutes later, they followed up with a second and the position is looking a little precarious, but the decision was made that this would be the end of the goals in this match and that the trade would prevail. Arsenal however had other ideas and put away a third goal in the 77th minute, creating a £65 loss.




Tuesday, 19th January, 2021


West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion

West Ham go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.63, whereas West Brom are 6.6, with the draw 4.1. Whilst I expect West Ham to win this match, the price on offer isn't good enough for a trade recommendation.

From analysis of both teams’ form, with West Ham scoring and conceding at least 1 goal in 4 of their last 5 home games, and West Brom scoring and conceding in all 5 of their last 5 away games, the Both Teams To Score ‘Yes' market looks appealing, which is currently trading at 2.04.


BTTS – Yes

Before kick-off, I took a back position on ‘Yes’ at 2.08 for £70. 20 minutes in to the match, I increased this position by laying ‘No’ at 1.65. Just before half-time, West Ham score.  A few minutes after the break, West Brom equalize, with the market closing banking an £89 profit. West Ham went on to win 2-1.




Wednesday, 20th January, 2021


Manchester City v Aston Villa

Manchester City go in to this match as huge favourites, currently priced at 1.29, whereas Aston villa are 12.5, with the draw 6.6. Although expecting Manchester City to win here, this price would be unreasonable and unsuitable for a trading recommendation.

Therefore, other liquid markets are looked at. With both teams having the tightest defence in the league, I would expect goals would not be so free-flowing as markets suggest. I would go for the under 2.5 goals market, but this is higher risk if Aston Villa manage to score (which I actually expect them not to). Let’s not forget there will be no Aguero for City, and Aston Villa haven't played since 1st January, so they are likely to be a bit off their game.

The price on over 2.5 goals is currently 1.53, which I will probably lay from the beginning before closing out soon after.

However, the under 3.5 goals market makes good appeal and is still priced at decent value at 1.74.


Over / Under 3.5

Before kick-off, I took a back position on unders for £100 at an average price of 1.72. It was left late, but Manchester City score their first goal in the 79th minute, before following up with a second (penalty) on the 90th. However, this was good enough for the trade and banked £71 profit.




Thursday, 21st January, 2021


Liverpool v Burnley


Liverpool go in to this match as huge favourites, currently priced at 1.23, whereas Burnley are 18, with the draw 7.4.

Again, this is not going to be a high scoring goal-fest that many imagine. Burnley will soak up the pressure and Liverpool will struggle against this tight defensive unit.

Personally I may trade the under 2.5 goals market, at least until half-time. BUT for a trade recommendation I would opt for the under 3.5 goals market for an easier more profitable trade.


Over / Under 3.5 Goals


Before kick-off, I took a back position on unders at 1.69 for just over £65 (I was trying to get matched for more but it wasn’t possible). As the match continued 0-0 deep in to the second-half, the trade was in very good profit, and it was left to run (there was very low risk there would now be 4 goals). In the 83rd minute, Burnley score from a penalty, but that’s it for the match and the position banked £44 profit.




Friday, 22nd January, 2021


No Trade Day




A week of Premier League games covered on all but one day. Southampton failing to score skewered one trade (I blame Ings Coronavirus), and Arsenal finding their groove again (or Newcastle getting worse) foiled another, which was disappointing.

However, 8.72 points profit was banked from this week’s trade recommendations.




Tomorrow (Sunday 31st), there will be a second instalment of the Trading Diaries, where all action from last week will be covered. I must apologise that it is coming out a little bit later than normal, but if you need something to blame, then look no further than Public Enemy No.1… the Coronavirus.

There’s also 6 Premier League matches taking place, with Arsenal v Manchester United looking like a Trade of The Day contender (although not confirmed yet with more analysis required).

I wish you all a happy, profitable and safe weekend.


Pro Trader


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