Diary Of A Football Trader – Issue 26
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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.
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 and enjoys 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 26
It’s been another busy week, with matches taking place every day, including three FA Cup matches. One of the main challenges when dealing with cup games, is trying to predict the starting line-ups. This can have a huge impact on match and market selection and trying to find the best value. With a league match, it’s more obvious a strong team will be announced and who will most likely be starting, and absentees are usually already known.
However, when a team has reached the fifth round of the country’s most prestigious cup competition, and a place in the quarter-finals is up for grabs, you can more likely assume a similarly strong team will be fielded in order to go for glory. Apparently not so for Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo, who decided to field a vastly changed and weakened team against Southampton. Given the Saints poor recent form, this was a match that Wolves could have realistically approached for a win with a full-strength team. If Wolves were in a relegation fight in the league, the team selection would have made more sense, but they are not. The Wolves manager reluctantly made changes, bringing on their top-scorer Neto and winger Traore, but it was too little too late and they ended up losing 0-2 at home. The Premier League was clearly given priority in this instance, where Wolves play away on Sunday… against Southampton again!
Not only can team selections change from the expected in the context of cup games, but so too it appears team tactics. Tottenham for instance have conceded the second fewest goals in the Premier League, with Everton the 7th. Both team’s managers are known as defensively minded, and yet all of this seemed to go out the window when they met during the week in the FA Cup. To be fair, it was an unexpectedly exciting match, and much better than the usual ‘score first then park the bus’ tactics commonly seen from Tottenham. Prior to this, Tottenham’s last three matches have all featured under 2.5 goals, as have Everton’s last three Premier League home matches. However, here they served up a nine goal thriller, with Everton edging it 5-4 in extra-time.
Tottenham have in fact previously been leading from an early goal against Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Wolves, and most recently Fulham. They then went on to draw each of these 1-1, dropping eight points in the process. Had the bus parking tactics not been used and they had maintained their lead in these games, Tottenham would be on 44 points and 3rd in the league. Could the recent FA Cup tie against Everton signal a change of tactics for Tottenham, and perhaps be transferred to the Premier League starting with their match this Saturday against Manchester City? It’s doubtful, but only time will tell – but uncertainty does not sit well with match or market selection, which is the crucial starting point of every football trade.
Saturday, 6th February, 2021
Summary of Market Trading
Fulham v West Ham United
West Ham go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.12, whereas Fulham are 3.9, with the draw 3.6.
In their last 5 home matches, Fulham have managed just a single goal, whereas West Ham have scored 7 in their last 3 away matches, whilst winning all 3.
In terms of xG (expected goals), Fulham are averaging 0.9, whereas West Ham are averaging 1.89.
Combined with the fact that West Ham won all the previous 5 meetings, and a West Ham win looks likely and appealing at a decent price of 2.12.
Before kick-off I took a back position on ‘West Ham’ for £100 at odds of 2.14. West Ham looked more sluggish than they have of late, and Fulham looked decent. However, it did look likely that West Ham would score late in the second-half. In the end, no goals were scored and the match finished 0-0 resulting in a £100 loss.
Sunday, 7th February, 2021
Sheffield United v Chelsea
Chelsea go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.5, whereas Sheffield United are 8, with the draw 4.7.
With Sheffield United scoring the (joint) lowest goals in the league, and with Chelsea looking at tightening their game up in their last 3 matches under new management (conceding 0 goals, scoring just 3), this looks to be a low-scoring affair.
If pressed to pick a score-line, it would be Chelsea 2-0. The Betfair correct score market is also showing a preference for this, with the favourite score 0-1 at 7.2, followed by 0-2 at 7.6.
Under / Under 2.5
Backing ‘Unders' in this market makes most appeal at a decent value price of 2. Predictology and Infogol are also high-lighting this selection as high-value at 1.94 and 1.85 respectively. Before kick-off I took a lay position on overs at 1.98 for £100. This trade was looking good, even late in the first-half when Chelsea scored on 43 minutes. I also increase my position at this stage by backing under 2.5 at 1.85. However, 10 minutes in to the second-half, disaster struck when Chelsea scored an idiotic own goal (Rudiger). Just three minutes later, Chelsea are awarded and score from a penalty. Trade done and a £123 de-banked.
Monday, 8th February, 2021
Leeds United v Crystal Palace
Leeds go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.92, whereas Crystal Palace are 4.3, with the draw 4. Leeds however have won just 2 of their last 5 home games, and have failed to score against Arsenal, Spurs, Brighton and Wolves this season.
Fortunately for Leeds, Crystal Palace are without their main goal-scorer, Zaha (injured), that has scored the majority of Palace's goals this season (9). Crystal Palace struggle for goals, especially away, and have scored just 2 goals in their last 5 away matches. Without Zaha, this is more of a problem, and manager Roy Hodgson will most likely revert to his most defensive of tactics, and will likely prove incredibly hard for Leeds to breakdown.
Leeds will obviously try and attack from the beginning, but their finishing is not clinical usually and most chances will be squandered. Therefore, against market expectations I am expecting a low scoring affair, with under 2.5 goals.
Over / Under 2.5
Backing ‘Unders' in this market makes most appeal at a decent value price of 2.36 Infogol are also high-lighting this selection as high-value at 2.25. Before kick-off, I took a back position on unders at 2.36 for £100. After the first goal was scored in the 3rd minute, I took the opportunity to increase this position at a better price. Before-half time with the score still 1-0, I begin to come out of the trade to minimize risk. In the end, with the match ending 2-0 a £53 profit was made.
Tuesday, 9th February, 2021
Manchester United v West Ham United
Manchester United go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.72, whereas West Ham are 5.3, with the draw 4.3. Looking at other markets, the both teams to score market ‘Yes' offers 1.75. Over 2.5 goals market is trading at 1.72 (from a previous low of 1.56)
Antonio looks like being rested for West Ham, and new loan-signing Lingard is unavailable to play against his parent club. Whilst Manchester United are favourites, their recent home form of W1 D1 L1 doesn't inspire confidence at this price.
As this competition progresses, it should be noted that teams are more likely to not be as free-flowing, and will play a cagier, more chess-like game in order not to avoid conceding, especially early on.
It is noted that Fernandes has scored 13 goals for Manchester United, but nearly half of those (6) are from penalties. West Ham have also conceded just 3 goals in their last 6 away matches, so perhaps the high-scoring game anticipated by the market isn't on the cards for this one.
Over / Under 2.5
Backing ‘Unders' in this market makes most appeal at a high-value price. Before kick-off I took a back position on unders at 2.56 for £175. As the price dropped (still before kick-off) I traded some of this out at 2.34, and before half-time I closed the trade for £47 profit. Admittedly this could have been left to run, but my concern was that Manchester United may play better in the second-half (as they commonly do), although they didn’t and the match went to extra-time, with Manchester United winning 1-0.
Wednesday, 10th February, 2021
Everton v Tottenham Hotspur
Everton go in to this match as slight favourites, currently priced at 2.74, whereas Tottenham are 2.9, with the draw 3.35. Looking at other markets, the both teams to score market ‘Yes' offers 1.9. Over 2.5 goals market is trading at 2.16.
At this time, it is not certain what the starting line-ups are for each side. This obviously has a big impact on the trade recommendation. It is assumed at this point that Kane and Son will not be starting for Tottenham, therefore both their top-scorers and assist makers are to be missing.
Over / Under 2.5
Backing ‘Unders' in this market makes most appeal at a decent-value price, and so before kick-off I opened a back position at 1.81 for £100. With Tottenham scoring in the 4th minute, I actually increased my position by laying overs at 1.57 for £125. However, when the second goal was scored in the 36th minute, I decided the best thing to do was close the trade and take the £72 loss.
Thursday, 11th February, 2021
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Southampton
Wolves go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.48, whereas Southampton are 3.3, with the draw 3.4.
Southampton have been poor of late, not winning in their last 5 away games. Wolves however seem to be improving slightly, with their last game a draw with Leicester and before that beating Arsenal.
Although this looks to be a low-scoring match, the back price on under 2.5 doesn't appeal at just 1.74. Instead, the match odds market of backing Wolves is trading at a decent price of 2.48.
Before kick-off, I took a back position on Wolves at 2.48 for £100. After the team news was announced, the price rose considerably on Wolves (around 25%), and the position was already negative. Wolves were fielding a vastly weakened side, and Southampton although had also made changes, looked strong. Still believing that Wolves could score against an out-of-sorts Southampton, the trade was left alone. However, in the 49th minute Southampton score. There’s still time though for Wolves to get back in to it, surely. But no, they had one shot on target the entire game, Southampton scored a second in the final minute of time, and a £198 loss was made in this market.
Friday, 12th February, 2021
Blackburn Rovers v Preston North End
Blackburn go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.04, whereas Preston are 4.2, with the draw 3.6. Given that Blackburn have scored just 3 goals (total) in their last 5 matches, backing them outright doesn't appeal. Combined with Preston scoring just 3 goals (total) in their last 5 away matches, this looks to be a tight derby match, with a low amount of decent chances and goals.
Over / Under 2.5
Backing ‘unders' in this market makes most appeal at a decent-value price of 1.84. Predictology and Infogol are also high-lighting this selection as high-value at 1.77 and 1.75 respectively. Before kick-off, I take a back position on unders at 1.85 for £100. In the 19th minute, Preston score, which is a shame. However, I take the opportunity to increase my position by laying overs at 1.63. Against current form however, this turns in to a 1-2 away win for Preston, and results in a £132 loss.
An uneventful week for ‘Trade of The Day’ recommendations, with the first losing week in seven weeks. There are many factors that could be contributed to this, such as a lethargic West Ham, Chelsea scoring an own-goal (and given a penalty), Mourinho deciding not to park the bus for once, Wolves fielding a weak team in the latter stages of the FA Cup… this list goes on. But these weeks can and will happen – it’s inevitable, but if there’s just one in every seven, then I will happily accept that.
This week, a disappointing 10.78 points loss was made.
However, football for the meantime continues (although without fans), and it’s a bumper week ahead; there’s all the top European Leagues in action at the weekend, including 8 Premier League matches, then a further two Premier League matches on both Monday and Wednesday. There’s also the return of the Europa League on Thursday (16 matches), and lastly Wolves v Leeds on Friday. There’s also no FA Cup matches to negotiate. That means a fresh new week to apply the principles and analysis to target the high-value winning trades.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, stay safe, and stay profitable.
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.