Diary of a Football Trader – Issue 29
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– All his pre match analysis
– How and Why he selected the match
– The exact markets to trade
– When to ENTER and when to EXIT
….AND.. what to do when things go positively and when things don't go to plan
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.
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.
Diary of a Football Trader – Issue 29
In my last diary entry, I discussed xG as a match analysis tool. The basic summary of the analysis concluded how it also needs to be incorporated with other tools to perform optimum match analysis and market selection. A more complete assessment can be made when further indicators, statistics and news are also utilized, in order to construct a clearer match view, and then a market approach to best attain high-value selections on a profitable basis. It’s like getting all your ducks in a row before deciding to pull the trigger.
Before delving in to the most useful tools to have at your disposal in football match analysis, it is beneficial to look at the use of tools and indicators in other, but similar contexts.
For many years, I have been interested in personal investment management, or trading my own portfolio if you like, or gambling as others see it. However you look at it, investment management is a multi-billion-pound industry, with fund managers picking up enormous fees, even if they don’t achieve great results. I therefore decided that I would manage my own portfolio, deciding exactly how it would be balanced and what to invest in. This has come about by both working within this industry, and by trying to grow anything that has been able to be put aside, whether it be in an ISA or SIPP.
It became almost a job within a job, where I used my desktop ‘work’ Bloomberg terminal API, to feed directly into my carefully constructed Excel spreadsheet, to display buy and sell signals from a variety of indicators on the entire FTSE 100 and AIM (Alternative Investment Market) shares.
The spreadsheet would take in approximately 30 live data attributes for every share in both indexes. I also had a live Reuters price and news feed, so I’d use that as well to confirm the buy/sell signals from the spreadsheet. This is just simple verification from more than one source. When all were aligned and in agreement, and live Reuters news was checked for anything that may contradict the selection , I would then buy or sell the share price using a spread-betting platform (that I still use today).
I had another friend and colleague, Tom, that was also interested in this analysis, and I referred him to the spread-betting platform I used. When he opened a new account, the firm sent me a delightful wicker hamper from Fortnum & Mason full of their world-famous delicacies. We would regularly sit at ‘work’ trading the spreadsheet selections, making tidy weekly profits. That was until Tom one day was rumbled by our manager, with the spread-betting platform open, about to execute a trade. What followed was a formal verbal warning for Tom, due to the multitude of company rules that had been broken. Later that day after work, we were stood outside The Lamb, Leadenhall Market on a warm summers evening. Tom was vexed following his first black-mark on his previously exemplary employment record. “I can’t believe it”, he protested. “I got a verbal warning, and you got a hamper!”. This was around 15 years ago, but it still makes me chuckle on reminiscence.
Anyway, this little anecdote does highlight three things:
- Just one reference point of analysis is not enough for making investment decisions, and that is also true for football match analysis
- Analysis can take a lot of time, due to the variety of factors that need to be looked at, data compiled and then understood for a market preference that also represents value.
- If elements of analysis can be automated (like the Bloomberg data spreadsheet), then this saves a great deal of time and effort and can cover a much wider spectrum of opportunities.
Although I haven’t managed yet to get to the crux of the five tools of the analysis tool-box, I think this was important to cover first, and the tools including key data sources and how this can be automated in the football markets will follow in issue 30.
Now let’s review the trade recommendations made this week, looking at how a match / market was selected and how the analysis fared in generating profitable gains.
Saturday, 27th February, 2021
Manchester City v West Ham United
Manchester City go in to this match as massive favourites, currently priced at 1.25, whereas West Ham are 13.5, with the draw at 7.4.
The last time these two sides met ended in a 1-1 draw. Both teams have improved since then admittedly. Manchester City have been on a good run, winning their last home games against lower table opposition (Tottenham, Sheffield United, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace & Brighton).
West Ham United though are now a totally different beast to what City played before and are now strong in every area. They will also counter-attack quickly and will be dangerous from set-pieces. New loan-signing Lingard is making improvements to the team and scoring goals, and all players seem to have a camaraderie and a sense of togetherness.
Manchester City played just Wednesday in Europe in the Champions League, whereas West Ham have had more time to prepare for this match without European distraction.
With these points in mind, a split-trade recommendation is made:
Laying ‘Manchester City' at 1.25 made decent appeal. Predictology were also backing West Ham to win outright as high-value at 12.46. Long before kick-off, I took a lay position on Manchester City for £440 at average odds of 1.26. When Manchester City scored first, I increased this position by laying them further at 1.12 for £60 (liability £7.15). West Ham equalized just before half-time, and Manchester City’s price rose to around 1.66 and so I closed the trade for a £124 profit.
Backing ‘Yes' at 2.32 makes decent appeal. Predictology are also highlighting this selection as high-value at 2.09. I therefore took a back position on ‘Yes’ at 2.33 for £100. Before half-time, this trade was closed when West Ham equalized, banking a £179 profit.
Sunday, 28th February, 2021
Chelsea v Manchester United
Chelsea go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.3, whereas Manchester United are 3.55, with the draw at 3.4.
The last time these two sides met ended in a 0-0 draw.
New Chelsea manager Tuchel’s press-and-possess style has helped the defence because Chelsea has so much more of the ball than it had prior. But its attack has not been great or consistent at creating big scoring chances. Chelsea has created just 8.6 xG in six matches since the manager change.
However, Chelsea’s defence is now comfortably second-best in the Premier League behind Manchester City. They have yet to allow more than 0.7 xGA (expected goals against) in a match under their new manager.
Therefore, this again looks to be a cagey tight affair, with both teams looking to avoid defeat. Under 2.5 goals is therefore projected with xG also being cast at 2.33.
Over / Under 2.5
The day before kick-off, I took a back price on ‘Overs’ at 1.89 for £100. The match wore on as analysis expected, and later in the second-half with the score still 0-0, this was closed for £79 profit.
Monday, 1st March, 2021
Everton v Southampton
Everton go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.12, whereas Southampton are 3.75, with the draw at 3.7.
Everton looks to have turned a corner, and they should look to follow-up on last weeks win over Liverpool. Southampton's form has been poor away from home, and this looks set to continue with a host of fresh injury concerns that will miss this match. This includes Minamino, the goal-scorer in Southampton's 1-1 home draw with Chelsea. Romeu, Walker-Peters and Walcott are also out.
The momentum for this match will be with Everton, and with Rodriguez, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin all set to start, should be able to see off an injury depleted Southampton.
Earlier in the day, I took a back position on Everton for £100 at odds of 2.14. Everton scored early on (9th minute), and so the trade was in a decent position. Just before half-time, and half-expecting Southampton to equalize, I closed the trade and banked £50 profit.
Tuesday, 2nd March, 2021
Manchester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Amongst many indicators, analysis showed that Wolves had a decent scoring record against Manchester City, having scored 6 goals against them in their last three meetings, as well as winning two of the last three between these sides. Therefore, it was decided to take a split-trade approach to this match, backing:
- BTTS ‘Yes’
- Wolves +2 goals
Before the start I took a lay position on ‘No’ for £65 at 1.58, and then a back position on ‘Yes’ at 2.74 for £40. In the 61st minute, Wolves scored to make it 1-1 and the market was closed banking a £132 profit.
Wolves +2 (goals)
Before kick-off I had backed Wolves +2 goals at average odds of 2.22 for £85. With the score poised at 1-1, this trade was closed to bank a £54 profit. In fact, it wasn’t until the 80th minute that Manchester City took the lead 2-1. Manchester City did score two late goals in added time, but this trade was already proved profitable.
Wednesday, 3rd March, 2021
Crystal Palace v Manchester United
Manchester United go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.45, whereas Crystal Palace are 8.8, with the draw at 5.
Crystal Palace's top goal-scorer Zaha has scored nine of Crystal Palace’s league goals this season. No other Palace player has scored more than four. In the past four matches without Zaha, Palace have failed to score three times. They have a total of two goals in that stretch (on 1.4 xG).
Zaha again is fully expected to miss this match due to injury, and with Manchester United conceding just 2 goals in their last 5 away games, it looks unlikely Crystal Palace are going to score here.
I took a back position on ‘No’ at 1.92 and was matched for £56.18. As the match went on goalless, I closed the position for a £45 profit.
Thursday, 4th March, 2021
Liverpool v Chelsea
Liverpool go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.28, whereas Chelsea are 3.4, with the draw at 3.65.
Just 1 point separates these teams in the league table, with Chelsea on 44 and Liverpool on 43. One of the key match selection criteria for the classic LTD (lay the draw) strategy, is that the teams should be some distance apart in the league – i.e. the closer they are, the more likely a draw is to occur. In fact, the last time these sides registered a draw in the Premier League was in 2018 – when Liverpool were 2nd and Chelsea were 3rd in the table.
It should also be remembered that both these teams drew 0-0 when they played Manchester United last, further showing that these types of marque matches are not the goal-fests often expected by fans.
This match does have all the makings of a draw, with both sides looking ‘not to lose' as paramount. However, the risk with backing the draw, especially with VAR, is that a penalty could easily decide the outcome of an otherwise closely contested match.
Therefore, with both sides currently displaying a lack of goals, a low-scoring, tight affair looks most likely. In fact, Predictology are calculating that the best-value and most probable score-line is 1-1.
Under 2.5 Goals
The day before kick-off, I took a back position on ‘Under’ at average odds of 2.1 for £199. Although I was confident in the analysis, there had been a few goal-scoring opportunites, including a Chelsea goal being ruled off-side. Whilst the score was still 0-0, I began coming out of the position in increments, as can be seen in the screen-shot below. In the end, with the match ending with just a single Chelsea goal, this trade made a £79 profit.
Friday, 5th March, 2021
Huddersfield Town v Cardiff City
Cardiff go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.3, whereas Huddersfield are 3.7, with the draw at 3.45.
Cardiff are pushing for a place in the play-offs, and have been in a good run of form having won 4 of their last 5 away games. Huddersfield however have won just 1 in their last 5 at home. With Cardiff having won the last 3 meetings between these sides, it is expected they will make it 4 with another win here.
Before kick-off I took a back position on Cardiff at average odds of 2.19 for £87. Annoyingly Cardiff scored in the first-half but it was flagged off-side and so didn’t count. Cardiff had further chances, and even until late it looked as if they would get a winner. I slightly increased my position by laying the draw at 1.8. Because it looked as if Cardiff would score late on, the trade was left to run, but the match ended 0-0 in the end resulting in a £87 loss.
It’s been almost a full week of Premier League action, with matches on every day except Friday 5th March. In fact, every Premier League match recommendation was profitable, with the Championship match being the only down-point from the week. Maybe this is because I’m not so familiar with the teams in this league, but the analysis and stats showed an in-form Cardiff City should win the match. I was actually close to taking under 2.5 goals for this, but the odds were only 1.69, and so the better odds on Cardiff City appeared the higher-value selection.
Overall, the recommendations this week produced 19.11 points from 22 points staked:
Looking ahead, this weekend we have all the top European leagues in action, including eight Premier League matches, followed by a further two on Monday. Tuesday gives us two Champions League matches between Juventus v Porto and Dortmund v Sevilla. Wednesday poses a tricky match selection dilemma, with Manchester City v Southampton taking place in the Premier League, whilst Liverpool take on RB Leipzig and there’s PSG v Barcelona in the Champions League second-leg ties.
Thursday continues the trepidation with the Europa league, with one of the stand-out matches being Manchester United v AC Milan. Before we know it, it’s Friday again and there’s a Premier League match between Newcastle United and Aston Villa, as well as matches from the other top European Leagues.
All in all, with so many exciting matches taking place, the difficult and time-consuming part will be match selection. With staggered kick-off times on some of the days, there is a potential for double-trade recommendation days, but this will only be confirmed on the day following match analysis.
Enjoy the matches this 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.