Diary of a Football Trader – Issue 30
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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.
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Diary of a Football Trader – Issue 30
In the last couple of issues, the need to use a clear set of tools and indicators for match analysis has been discussed, with comparisons made to the financial markets, from both an investing and trading perspective. To recap, this started with a basic review of using xG (expected goals) across Premier League fixtures. Applying xG alone to the matches was shown that it would have generated a single point profit. However, when applying further tools (in this case using latest form and expected team selection), then four points would have been made by simply omitting two of these match selections.
Although this was carried out for just one set of fixtures, the point of the exercise was to show how a range of tools and information should be consulted for a more complete, bigger picture market before taking a market view. A good starting point for analysis is to develop a ‘tool-box’, where each tool is applied in the same manner to all matches under analysis. This not only gives you a common process to follow, ensuring that no key points of analysis are missed, but following the same process each time allows you to complete match analysis a lot quicker than without having a structured approach.
The below tools are a good starting point as a suite of analysis tools to help predict how a match will play out, and deciding what market selections offers best value. I will always check and decipher this information first, before verification with other sources if needed:
Current Team Form
- How has a team performed in their last 5 fixtures, looking at wins, losses and draws? It is also useful to look at the other teams these results have come against e.g. beating Liverpool at Anfield would have a higher bearing than winning a match 1-0 at home against a bottom three side.
- Look at goals scored and conceded – do they usually have high-scoring or low-scoring matches? Does it differ between home and away matches?
- How confident does a team look from previous matches. Have they been free-flowing and creating chances, or seem to sit-back and are nervous going forward? If you had to give teams a ‘confidence score’ out of 10, how do these compare between the teams being analysed?
Injuries / Team News / Starting Line-ups
- Are key players out injured, and other less experienced players will be covering their position(s)? Or perhaps players will be asked to play out of position, leaving weakness in other areas. How could this affect the player’s overall confidence in each other, and thus performance?
- Is there a more important match coming up for a team, such as a cup game, where players may be ‘saving themselves’ for the next match? Will the manager perhaps ‘rest’ key players in order to be fresher for the next game?
- Is the starting line-up and bench similar / unchanged from their last game, or have many changes been made that could be detrimental to the teams overall understanding and rhythm?
Goals & Supremacy / xG / xGA
- What are the xG (expected goals) and xGA (expected goals against) for both teams?
- Does one team create a lot more chances than the other, and are therefore likely to score more goals?
- Equally, are a team prone to defensive or goal-keeping errors, or concede goals often from corners or free-kicks? Are certain teams awarded more penalties, or concede more than the other team?
Previous Head to Head
- What has happened when the sides have met previously? For instance, if they have drawn their last three matches, it would appear that this is more likely to happen again.
- When did the teams meet last; if it was a few years ago, then the result is not as relevant as if it was less than 6 months ago. Have any key players moved on or come in since that time?
- Were there any factors in the last meeting that may have benefited a particular team e.g. a penalty or a sending-off, or key players out injured etc.
Other Algorithmic Analysis Sources
- There are other match analysis sources available, that pulls the key match stats together in one-place, but also use this data along with market prices to come up high-value market predictions.
- The one’s I always check before settling on a market position are:
- Predictology, which is like automating your analysis against market prices. It’s a very powerful suite of tools and data repository, that can also be used to compile tables where specific market selections are high-value, such as over / under 2.5 goals, or home or away wins etc. or even to create your own custom trading models and strategies
- Infogol is another source of predictions relying on data to come up with predictions based on prices, percentages and xG.
- If these tools are also in align with selections, and showing high-value, then it gives more confidence to open a position in the favoured market.
Once the above is complete and you have acquired your view on the match, the exchange markets should be checked for price information. It is sometimes (but not always) useful to look at the general direction of the price. For instance, a falling price will indicate the sentiment of the market as being positive on that result, which can also be an indicator. Market volume / liquidity should also be assessed, and anything too low (below 5-10k – but depending how long before kick-off), requires more caution. However, it can also allow for pre-match trading (but more on that another time).
In the next issue, I will be covering trade management during a match, and how to reduce risk and protect profits, especially when the unexpected occurs in the market selection.
Now let’s review the trade recommendations made this week, looking at how a match / market was selected and how the analysis fared in producing profitable trades.
Saturday, 6th March, 2021
Brighton & Hove Albion v Leicester City
Brighton go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.68, whereas Leicester are 3, with the draw at 3.35.
Both teams are in a slight mini-slump, with neither having won in their last 3 matches. Brighton have put in some good performances, but struggle to score goals. Leicester are missing some key players to injury, namely Barnes and Maddison. These two players are not just the second and third highest scorers for Leicester, on 9 and 8 goals, but they are also key assist providers, on 4 and 5 respectively.
Top Leicester goal-scorer is recently back in the team following surgery, but perhaps is still not 100%.
Taking these factors in to account, a tight low-scoring match is expected.
Over / Under 2.5 Goals
I took a back position on unders at 1.7 for £100. As the match progressed, I began to lessen exposure on this trade and before half-time closed it for a £25 profit.
Sunday, 7th March, 2021
Manchester City v Manchester United
Manchester City go in to this match as big favourites, currently priced at 1.56, whereas Manchester United are 7.2, with the draw at 4.4.
Looking at the goals scored and conceded both in their recent matches, and historically, this does not look like a high-scoring match. For instance, in Manchester United's last 3 Premier League matches, they have recorded a 0-0. They have recently failed to score against Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Arsenal, whilst managing just a single goal against West Brom. Considering this, it is hard to imagine how they will score against the best defence in the Premier League when they are likely to have a low ball-possession %.
Manchester United however have also not been conceding many goals, which their run of 0-0 results show.
Manchester City seem to score early and then are happy to sit back and control possession, often just passing it around the back. Their last match against Wolves was another example of this, where defence was prioritized right until the end when they scored twice in added time.
Taking these factors in to account, a tight low-scoring match is expected. City actually have an xG of 1.78 for this match, with United having 0.62 – so 2.4 in total.
Under 2.5 goals is available to back at 2.08, whilst BTTS ‘No' is 1.95. Therefore, the better value offered is the under 2.5 goals market.
Over / Under 2.5
Before kick-off, I took a lay price on ‘Overs’ at 1.3 for £85. Amazingly (or not), and against the trade, Manchester United were awarded a penalty in the 1st minute! This put the trade in an immediately difficult position, but through trade management, this trade was eventually closed for a thankful £41 profit. The match however, did actually end with under 2.5 goals.
Monday, 8th March, 2021
West Ham United v Leeds United
West Ham go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.14, whereas Leeds are 3.65, with the draw at 3.75.
West Ham are currently 7th in the table, but a win here could put them back in to 4th (depending on the result of the earlier match between Chelsea v Everton). Leeds are sitting in 11th, and are perhaps both the most unpredictable and inconsistent team in the Premier League.
West Ham in terms of fewest goals conceded, sit in 6th (31), whilst Leeds are in 15th with 44 conceded. In terms of goals scored, there's not a lot to separate them, with West Ham on 40 and Leeds on 43.
With the above taken in to consideration, and with West Ham's greater consistency and improved goal-scoring capabilities (thanks to Lingard), West Ham are favoured over Leeds for this match.
I took a back position on West Ham for £200 at average odds of 2.32. As West Ham scored in the 21st minute, and then followed up with a second goal in the 28th, I began to reduce risk and close the trade to bank £200 profit.
Tuesday, 9th March, 2021
Borussia Dortmund v Sevilla (UEFA Champions League)
Dortmund go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.28, whereas Sevilla are 3.3, with the draw at 3.8.
The first leg of this tie was higher scoring because of two early goals — a deflected Suso goal for Sevilla and a 25-yard goal from Dahoud for Dortmund. That game had just 2.3 combined xG, with all three big-scoring chances being converted on top of the two low-percentage goals.
The pressure will be on Sevilla to create chances, but they are one of the slowest tempo teams in Europe. Sevilla isn’t used to chasing goals, and Dortmund will be focused on protecting its lead due to away goals.
With these points in mind, this should be a cagier, tight and low-scoring encounter.
Over / Under 2.5 Goals
I took a lay position on overs for £200 at 1.63. This match was 0-0 until the 35th minute, and even then was flat. Two penalties were then awarded and scored in the second-half, and so the market was closed for a £175 loss.
Wednesday, 10th March, 2021
Liverpool v RB Leipzig
Both teams go in to this match currently priced at 2.7, with the draw at 3.75. There is currently nearly £600,000 matched on this market, so it is evident that the market is split.
With Liverpool's advantage from the first-leg, and considering that Liverpool's last 5 matches have seen under 2.5 goals, it is expected that Liverpool will look at defence as more important than offence in this encounter.
Over / Under 2.5 Goals
I took a back position on ‘Under at 2.42 for £150, which was increased at 2.14 for £50. As the match went on goalless, I began closing the position, and in the end closed for a £172 profit.
Thursday, 11th March, 2021
Manchester United v AC Milan
Manchester United go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.65, AC Milan at 6.6, with the draw at 4.
With several key players missing for Milan, and with their top goal-scorer (Ibrahimovich) a major doubt, it's difficult to see them scoring against a Manchester United that have conceded just a single goal in their last 5 matches. Key striker (Rashford) for Manchester United is also a doubt, as is Cavani (United's 2nd and 3rd highest scorers).
This would then appear that a cautious approach will be taken by Manchester United, with keeping a clean-sheet a priority.
Under 2.5 Goals
I took a back position on ‘Under’ at average odds of 1.89 for £165. Although confident in the analysis, Milan had the ball in the net twice early on (although disallowed), which made me want to close this trade sooner rather than later. I closed the position just before half-time with the score still 0-0 for a £59 profit. The match actually ended 1-1, with Milan scoring their goal in added time.
Friday, 12th March, 2021
Newcastle United v Aston Villa
Aston Villa go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.18, Newcastle at 3.95, with the draw at 3.45.
With several key players still missing for Newcastle, including their top 3 goal-scorers and creative outlet, it's difficult to see them scoring against a defensively solid Aston Villa that have conceded just a single goal in their last 4 away matches. Aston Villa are also missing their key creator and assist provider (Grealish), and it has been noted how their form and goals have dropped off since his absence.
This would then appear that a cautious approach will be taken by both teams, with not losing a priority, setting this up for a defensive, cagey and low-scoring encounter.
In fact, 4 of Aston Villa's last 5 matches have seen under 1.5 goals. This market has some appeal at a back price of around 3.2. However, the lower-risk market of under 2.5 goals is favoured for a trade recommendation.
Over / Under 2.5 Goals
Before kick-off I took a back position on unders at 1.74 for £55. This was closed later in the second-half with the score still 0-0 for a £37 profit.
It’s been a full week of matches, with four Premier League games, along with three selections from the UEFA European competitions. Every Premier League match recommendation was profitable, with the only loss coming from the Champions League match between Dortmund and Sevilla, where two penalties spoiled the trade recommendation. Interestingly, six of the seven recommendations have targeted the under 2.5 goals market. With the amount of fixtures being played at present, especially by teams also in UEFA competitions, tiredness and fatigue can feature, which leads to lower scoring matches.
Also, I am happy to report that the average price of trades recommended is still over 2, which is very beneficial for decent bank growth.
Overall, the recommendations this week produced 15.13 points from 21.5 points staked:
The end of the week has again quickly come around, and we are now looking at the start of another solid week of all top European Leagues in action and mid-week UEFA Champions and Europa League matches.
Trade recommendations will be available every day for this coming week, given the amount of high-quality matches taking place.
Enjoy the matches this coming 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.