Diary of a Football Trader – Issue 28
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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.
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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 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 28
Last week in Issue 27, I showed the multiple uses of xG (expected goals) including identifying suspicious match results. A table was compiled for the forth-coming Premier League fixtures, to try and predict the way each match would play out, using just xG as an indicator to base potential match strategies. Below is the completed table showing the actual results.
For simplicity, a straight one point was awarded for each potential strategy that would have profited on each match, or one point deducted if it did not. However, if this was done at market prices, the results would be slightly different. For example, backing Wolves would offer a market price of better than 2, as would the Fulham back price. Overall, just following xG, one point profit could have been made for this weeks Premier League fixtures:
Now let’s look at the four match results that dropped points and didn’t follow xG predictions, and what can be learned from this:
Southampton v Chelsea
Southampton played a very good match here, and maybe could have won it overall. Chelsea still look like they lack goals, with their only goal of the match coming from a penalty. However, they do seem solid defensively, and so going forward matches involving Chelsea could favour under 2.5 goals.
Liverpool v Everton
Everton haven’t beaten Liverpool at Anfield in 22 years! And yet this is what happened in the match, with also Liverpool surprisingly failing to score. Two predictions from xG were made on this match, for Liverpool to win and goals over 2.5. However, this did not occur and so two points were deducted from the xG table from this unexpected result. It was however noted in issue 27 last week that Liverpool are now in an unpredictable run of form, which would lead to this match being avoided from a trading perspective.
Aston Villa v Leicester City
xG predicted a dominance from Aston Villa in terms of goals. However, with Aston Villa missing their best player, and play-maker (Grealish), as well as their usual right-back (Cash), this did not happen. The xG rating would not have known about these absences, which simply proves that using multiple tools to analyse football matches is essential. One of which is looking if the starting line-up is strong and mostly unchanged from previous winning matches, and that key players are not missing. In this instance, this match would have been avoided, or at least a different approach would be taken.
Brighton v Crystal Palace
xG predicted 1.62 goals for Brighton, but just 0.61 for Crystal Palace. As it turns out, Crystal Palace won 2-1. Brighton to be fair are a decent team, and do create a lot of chances and have the sixth highest number of shots in the league (hence their xG rating). However, their main issue, and one that could see them drop further, is that they really struggle to score and put the ball in the oppositions goal. There is no team in the Premier League that would benefit as much from a decent out and out striker as Brighton, because in most other areas they are good. Until that happens, Brighton are best avoided for outright backing.
Looking at the matches objectively following the above, it was noted in the last issue that Liverpool had dropped in to the unpredictable category, having lost their previous last three Premier League matches. Therefore, this match would have been avoided. The same would be true of the Aston Villa match, where two key players were missing from their starting line-up, therefore the xG prediction would have been by-passed and not taken at face-value.
Taking just these two matches out of the mix, we now have a four-point positive result from these fixtures.
It is clear that xG is a useful indicator, but it needs to be incorporated alongside other indicators as part of your overall match analysis tool-box. Next week, I will share what the five most useful tools are to have and use for consistent, profitable analysis, match selection and finding market-value.
Saturday, 20th February, 2021
Southampton v Chelsea
Chelsea go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.8, whereas Southampton are 5.1, with the draw at 3.95.
Looking at other markets for value, over 2.5 goals appeals the most at a decent 1.88. As much as I like the price, Chelsea have seen under 2.5 in 4 of their last 5 matches. The only one with over, being against Sheffield United which involved an own goal and a penalty.
The safer play here, then looks to be the straight Chelsea back at a decent price of 1.8.
The day before kick-off I placed a back position on ‘Chelsea’ for £250 at odds of 1.8. However, Chelsea’s price began to fall and it didn’t get matches over-night as expected. Therefore, the price eventually matched was 1.75. Chelsea were disappointing, and even at 1-1 this trade was left to run expecting them to score a late winner. However, this did not materialize and £250 was de-banked on this decent Southampton performance.
Sunday, 21st February, 2021
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.64, whereas West Ham are 2.96, with the draw at 3.45.
This price on West Ham appeals, although I will watch how the match opens first, since Tottenham have an early average first goal time (28 minutes). The xG rating is also showing that West Ham are 1.38, whereas Tottenham are 0.94.
Looking at other markets for value, over 2.5 goals appeals the most at a decent 1.97. Considering that West Ham have seen over 2.5 goals in 4 of their last 5 matches, as have Tottenham in away games, and that 3 of their last 5 meetings have seen over 3.5 goals, then this looks like a decent value trade.
Over / Under 2.5
The day before kick-off, I took a back price on ‘Overs’ at 1.98 for £100. Within five minutes, West Ham had scored and the trade was in a healthy position. In the 47th minute, West Ham scored a second goal to further improve the trade. On the 64th minute, Tottenham scored their consolation goal and the trade was closed for £96 profit.
Monday, 22nd February, 2021
Brighton v Crystal Palace
Brighton go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.8, whereas Crystal Palace are 6, with the draw at 3.55.
I don't expect this to be a high-scoring match, given that Brighton have seen under 2.5 goals in 4 of their last 5 Premier League matches, and the fact that Zaha is absent for Crystal Palace. Looking at the under 2.5 goals market, to back is currently 1.7.
There is no reason to overthink things when something looks so obvious from the stats. You have one team going places and looking up; another looking down towards the relegation zone. The xG (expected goals) analysis also has Brighton on 1.62, with Crystal Palace on a poor 0.61. Therefore, backing Brighton in the match odds market makes most appeal at a decent price of 1.8
The day before, I took a back position on Brighton for £100 at odds of 1.82. This was then increased by laying Crystal Palace at 2.17. With Brighton again failing to win a match, this resulted in a £188 loss on this market.
Tuesday, 23rd February, 2021
Atletico Madrid v Chelsea (UEFA Champions League)
Atletico go in to this match as slight favourites, currently priced at 2.86, whereas Chelsea are 3, with the draw at 3.1.
At this moment, it is expected Luis Suarez will be starting for Atletico Madrid. He is currently on 16 goals for Atletico and their top goal-scorer. Given his time at Liverpool, he will be relishing the opportunity to score again against the Blues. Meanwhile, Chelsea's top goal-scorer is Tammy Abraham on 6 goals.
Watching Chelsea play Southampton at the weekend, they disappointed, were uncreative and couldn't score from open play – with their only goal coming from a penalty.
It is unlikely and unexpected if this Chelsea side can beat the current top-placed La Liga team, well known for their strong defensive record. On top of this, Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has been at the club now for a number of years and knows his players inside out. The same cannot be said for the new Chelsea manager, Tuchel whom does not have the same understanding of his squad.
From this point of view, it is favourable to back Atletico in the match odds market at a good value price of 2.86.
Before the start I took a back position on Atletico Madrid at 2.88 for £200. As the match progressed goalless, and with little ambition from Atletico this trade should have been closed. However, it was still anticipated that Atletico would get the home goal required to help ensure progression from this tie. However, Chelsea scored in the 68th minute, putting the trade in an unfortunate negative position. Still Atletico did not really threaten, and the match ended at this score-line, resulting in a £200 loss.
This was both a disappointing and surprising performance from the current No.1 placed Spanish team. This is against Chelsea, the team that failed to win against an out of sorts Southampton (that haven’t won in their last 5 League matches… which include a 9-0 drubbing by Manchester United, and a 3-0 beating by newly promoted Leeds United). Of course we are comparing teams from different countries and leagues, but for the top club in Spain (on league position) to lose at home and appear to have no intent is mystifying. The Euro Club Index also has Atletico Madrid ranked as 6th (across all the major European leagues), whilst Chelsea are ranked 10th:
Source: Euro Club Index
Wednesday, 24th February, 2021
Borussia Monchengladbach v Manchester City
Manchester City go in to this match as big favourites, currently priced at 1.33, whereas M'Gladbach are 10.5, with the draw at 6.2.
Manchester City have the tightest defence so far in the Premier League. Just last weekend, Arsenal were unable to score whilst Manchester City maintained possession. I am tempted by the goals under 2.5 market at 2.68, although the risk is if Manchester City get an early goal and then follow-up with two more. From this point of view, it does not look like M'Gladbach are likely to score against this solid City unit.
Therefore, the BTTS (both teams to score) ‘No' market makes decent appeal at 2 (evens).
This market was backed from the beginning and then traded a fair bit, before closing to bank a £66 profit, with the match ending 0-2 to Manchester City.
Thursday, 25th February, 2021
Arsenal v Benfica
Exactly one week ago, this same match was recommended with the same trade (the reverse first fixture).
Arsenal go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.85, whereas Benfica are 4.6, with the draw at 4.
The first-leg of these ties are normally more cagey affairs, because the home team doesn't want to concede. Now, with the score at 1-1 Benfica simply must score, else they go out because of the away goal rule. This means that Benfica cannot just sit back for 90 minutes. As stated, Arsenal are third in the Premier League in terms of lowest goals conceded. They also showed what happens when teams come out against them, with their recent 4-2 victory against Leeds United.
With this in mind the over 2.5 goals market appeals at 1.91. However, the slightly safer and also high value alternative is the match odds market on an Arsenal win, currently trading at 1.85 to back.
The day before kick-off, I took a back position on Arsenal at 1.85 for £200. Arsenal duly went ahead in the 21st minute, and the trade was in a healthy position. However, as this roller-coaster of a match played out, Arsenal find themselves 1-2 down in the 61st. The trade is now not looking so healthy. However, Arsenal were pressing and creating chances and so it was left open to breath a bit more. Fortunately, Arsenal found their second goal, and then a winner late in the game. The trade was then closed for a £143 profit.
Friday, 26th February, 2021
Werder Bremen v Eintracht Frankfurt (German Bundesliga)
Eintracht Frankfurt go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.87, whereas Werder Bremen are 4.7, with the draw at 3.95.
Eintracht Frankfurt are currently 4th in Bundesliga and coming in to this match after beating Bayern Munich last weekend 2-1. Conversely, Werder Bremen are currently 12th, and have won just once in their last 5 Bundesliga home games.
Looking at other markets. over 2.5 goals market appeals at 1.98, as does both teams to score ‘Yes' at 1.89. However, although Frankfurt's matches normally have goals (4 of their last 5 away have seen over 3.5), Werder Bremen have scored just one goal in their last 3 Bundesliga matches.
On current form, the best trade to take here looks to be backing Eintracht Frankfurt in the match odds market.
Before kick-off I took a back position on Frankfurt at 1.87 for £100. Frankfurt promptly scored in the 9th minute and were looking dominant. The trade was looking good until half-time. Werder Bremen then decided to up their game, scored and then followed up with a second 15 minutes later. The three trade considerations mentioned above however were all taken, all though the main one made a £100 loss, that the other two almost covered.
It’s been a full week, including Premier League, Europa League and Champions League matches, as well as a Bundesliga match. Overall, the week’s recommendations generated a 5.64 points loss, with the two Chelsea matches contributing a disappointing -8.5 points on their own.
Looking ahead, next week there’s more Premier League matches taking place from Monday – Thursday. Friday has matches from the English Championship, Spanish La Liga and German Bundesliga, before moving in to the weekend where all major European leagues are in action.
Enjoy the rest of your week, 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. 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.