Diary of a Football Trader – Issues 37 & 38
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Since August 2020, Pro Trader has been sharing his trading analysis and results on our blog.
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Now he is going to share his TOP TRADE every day
– 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 – Issues 37 & 38
In previous diary issues, pre-match analysis, in-match play and trade management have been discussed. Not to any in-depth extent, but enough to give examples and how best to approach and manage these important components of football trading.
Stake management is also an important factor for long-term success, and therefore should be given the same coverage.
Quite a few years ago, I used to calculate the stake to use on any event based on the entry price and a percentage of the bank available. It was a formula used on the odds (probability) to help determine risk (profit/loss).
It didn’t take long to see that this system was ultimately flawed. What this staking plan was doing effectively, was putting a larger percentage of the bank on smaller odds (say 1.5-1.7), whilst putting smaller amounts on larger odds. The problem with this, is that when a smaller odds position fails, then the loss is greater. Likewise, when a larger price position wins, the profits are smaller.
Daily trades are now commonly positioned between just two and four points, and most often three. The reason for this, is that this develops consistency for returns and bank growth. This system relies more on analysis and the value of the selection than the price. This will mean that a 1.8 selection gets the same points allocated as a 2.5. It’s consistent, it never makes intolerable loses on a given day, and has made over a 200% return since the beginning of the year. If a rigid, formulated staking plan (such as described above) had been used, the returns would have been less.
You may also have noticed from reading previous diary entries that even my own trade staking varies. This is because if a 3-point recommendation is given for one Trade Of The Day, it doesn’t take in to consideration other markets or matches that I’ll be covering that day. A 3-point recommendation is just for that single trade. Therefore, if it is also my only trade, then it will have a higher stake, whereas if it is part of a basket of trades then it will receive a lower staking percentage.
It is also critical to adapt your staking to your bank size. This will allow compounding of the bank, and faster growth. For example, the bank size for Trade of The Day is based on 50 points. If the bank size is £500, then 1 point would be:
- £500 / 50 = £10 (3 points = £30)
Today, the bank size for Trade Of The Day is just over 154 points; a growth of 3.08 times from the beginning of the year. Again, assuming a starting bank of £500, the bank size is now £1,540, and so 1 point would be:
- £1,540 / 50 = £30.8 (3 points = £92.4)
If this same consistent trajectory is applied to the next five months, then the points will be 474, and the bank at £4,743. Therefore, 1 point would be:
- £4,743 / 50 = £95 (3 points = £285)
It is this increase in stake size in proportion to the bank that compounding is all about, bringing higher, faster growth. You can learn more about the power of compounding here.
Assuming that your Betfair account is used for other trades and activity, the recorded Trade of The Day bank size is updated every day on the historical Trade of The Day page here:
By checking this, you can make sure that you are applying the correct staking to your trades to ensure it remains accurate and in-line with recommendations to maximize your gains.
Also, if you are just starting out, it is best to focus on just a single trade in a single match (or two if a hedge trade is being used). It will make sure you focus more, apply better analysis and stick to the game-plan (strategy and entry/exit points) that you have identified and developed. Analysing multiple markets in more than one match is hard-work and can cause a decrease in the quality of the analysis (due to time constraints), or conflicts in results i.e. win one, lose one, which will negate any gains.
Therefore, keeping the staking manageable, simple and consistent is the best way to ensure long-term success. This is one easy win in football trading where it pays to remain disciplined and stick to the plan. It does not benefit to have 1 point on one trade that wins, and then put 5 points on another that loses. Back to square one (or 4 points behind).
I hope this makes sense, but if you have any questions, then feel free to leave comments or questions and I’ll do my best to answer them all.
Now, back to the latest edition of matches traded, which covers 24th April – 7th May.
Saturday, 24th April, 2021
West Ham United v Chelsea
Chelsea go in to this match as favourites, priced at just 1.72, whereas West Ham are 5.5, with the draw 4.
These two teams are sitting in 4th and 5th in the table, but on equal points (55). In terms of finding good value for a trade, we need to assess what is in front of us. On one-hand, we have a team that is free-flowing and has scored 8 goals in their last 3 matches, whilst also seeing over 4.5 goals in each. On the other we have a team that has scored just 1 goal in their last 3, and seen under 2.5 goals in each.
Chelsea are likely to be more fatigued, as their 0-0 against 16th placed Brighton 4 days ago shows. 3 days before that they played a 1-0 win against Man City in the FA Cup semi-final. Chelsea also have the first-leg of their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid on Tuesday, which surely will be a consideration in their approach to this match against West Ham.
West Ham's last match was exactly a week ago, where they lost to Newcastle 3-2 (although they did this with 10 men for most of the match).
The value therefore, looks to be in backing West Ham at 5.5, but with a hedge on the draw for more safety.
I took both a back position on West Ham and a higher percentage to laying Chelsea. With Chelsea resolute at the back, the match ended with Chelsea winning by a single goal creating a £113 loss.
Sunday, 25th April, 2021
Manchester City v Tottenham (EFL Cup-final)
Manchester City go in to this match as favourites, priced at just 1.53, whereas Tottenham are 7, with the draw 4.8.
It's difficult to argue against a Manchester City win here, looking to win this cup for the 8th time at Wembley in front of 8,000 fans.
Of course, they have next week's first leg Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain, but they unlikely to field anything but a strong side here.
Tottenham have had their issues to deal with recently, including the removal of manager Jose Mourinho, replaced by young ex-player Ryan Mason. Spurs still possess plenty of attacking intent, especially if a front 3 of Bale, Son and Kane are involved (although there are doubts on Kane due to a recent ankle injury). However, I expect him to feature at some point in this final.
Looking at other markets of interest, over 2.5 goals is currently 1.81, with both teams to score ‘Yes' trading at 1.96.
Considering that both teams have scored and conceded in 4 of their last 5 matches, the higher priced BTTS ‘Yes' market is favoured.
Both Team To Score – Yes
I opened a back position on ‘Yes’ for £96 at average odds of 2.11. This position was then increased by laying ‘No’ at 1.21. In the end, this match ended with a late solitary goal from Manchester City, resulting in a £104 loss.
Monday, 26th April, 2021
Leicester City v Crystal Palace
Leicester City go in to this match as favourites, priced at just 1.45, whereas Crystal Palace are 9.4, with the draw 4.8.
It's difficult to see past a Leicester City win here, but the back price is too low to consider (for a trade recommendation). Also, Leicester's home form is far worse than their away form, where they've won 8 and lost 7 at home, whilst recording 10 wins and just 2 losses away.
Crystal Palace can also be unpredictable, but it should be also noted that their top goal-scorer (Wilfried Zaha) has scored 5 goals against Leicester, his most against any single team.
Looking at other markets of interest, over 2.5 goals is currently 1.93, with both teams to score ‘Yes' trading at 2.18.
Considering that Crystal Palace have scored in 4 of their last 5 matches, the higher priced BTTS ‘Yes' market is favoured.
BTTS – Yes
I took a lay position on ‘No’ for £80 at an average price of 1.79. As envisaged from the analysis, Crystal Palace scored first, and Leicester equalized in the 50th minute, banking a £78 profit.
Tuesday, 27th April, 2021
Real Madrid v Chelsea (Champions League, Semi-Final)
Real Madrid go in to this match as favourites, priced at 2.44, whereas Chelsea are 3.5, with the draw 3.25.
This does have the makings of a defensive showdown, and it wouldn’t surprise if the first leg was a 1-0 result either way, or even a 0-0.
Real Madrid have conceded just one goal in their last 5 matches. But Chelsea have conceded the same in their last 6 away matches. Considering the draw price is lower than the Chelsea back price is an indicator as to how this match could play-out. Looking at the score lines, 1-1 is most favoured at 7. Next is 1-0 Madrid at 7.8, followed by 0-0 at 8.4.
Therefore, a low-scoring and cagey match is anticipated by the markets due to previous team performances and the expectations on this match.
This points to the under 2.5 goals market – but the price is just 1.64, which isn't good enough for a trade recommendation.
However, both teams to score (BTTS) – ‘No' is more favourable at 1.9.
Backing ‘No' offers decent value for this match from a trading perspective at 1.9. However, a small hedge will be used on the score-line 1-1.
BTTS – No
I took a back position on ‘No’ for £60 at average odds of 1.91. Later this was increased by laying ‘Yes’ at 1.59. However, with both teams scoring in the first-half, the hedge trade managed salvage something from this match.
Wednesday, 28th April, 2021
PSG v Manchester City
Manchester City go in to this match as favourites, priced at 2.14, whereas PSG are 3.5, with the draw 3.9.
The back price on Manchester City is very tempting, considering what it normally would be in a Premier League match. For PSG, there are doubts over the fitness of their top goal-scorer, Mbappe who has scored 25 goals in Ligue 1, and 8 so far in the Champions League. Considering this with the fact Manchester City have the current best defence in the Premier League (conceded the fewest goals), then for PSG to score will be a challenge.
Manchester City have recently had tight cagey games, including their 1-0 win over Tottenham in the EPL Cup Final at the weekend, and their 1-0 loss in the FA Cup Final with Chelsea.
With this first leg of the semi-final, it is expected that another similar scenario will materialize, and therefore under 2.5 goals is favoured for a high-value trade.
Under 2.5 Goals
I took a back position on under for £100 at an average of 2.25. This was later increased by laying overs for £150 at 1.61. As the match played out with an early Manchester City goal, I decided to get out of the trade for a £32 loss.
Thursday, 29th April, 2021
Villarreal v Arsenal
Villarreal go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.68, Arsenal at 2.96, with the draw at 3.4.
Villarreal are currently 20th in the Euro Club Index rating, with Arsenal 16th. This match has the makings of a tactical possession based battle, and so may not contain as many goals as would be expected. This is already showing in the market consensus, with 1-1 being the most favoured score line at 7.
However, with Villarreal both scoring and conceding goals in all of their last 5 matches, which is something that Arsenal are also prone to do, both teams to score looks be a decent value trade.
It’s also interesting to note, that Villarreal score the majority of their goals in the first-half (21 min average first goal in Europa), whilst Arsenal score the majority of theirs in the second-half.
BTTS – Yes
I took a back position on ‘Yes’ at average odds of 1.83 for £147. As the match progressed, and Villarreal had scored an early goal, I began to reduce my exposure by laying the market. With Arsenal scoring in the second-half, the trade was closed for a £47 profit.
Friday, 30th April, 2021
Southampton v Leicester City
Leicester go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.02, Southampton at 3.9, with the draw at 3.95.
Leicester have scored the 3rd highest number of goals in the Premier League so far (60). The recent scoring exploits of Iheanacho will just add to this tally, now that he is being played alongside Jamie Vardy. For Southampton, they will be without their top goal-scorer (Danny Ings), since he is out injured.
With Leicester looking to secure a place in the top 4, this is a must win match with Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool close behind.
Therefore, with both teams to score at 1.8, over 2.5 goals at 1.93, the standout trade would be the straight back of a Leicester win at a very decent 2.02.
I took a back position on Leicester at an average of 2.41 for £120. After just 10 minutes, Southampton had defender Vestergaard sent-off, which presumably would mean an easier win for Leicester. But no, they went on to draw this match 1-1. If Leicester do not finish in the top four, they can look back at this match as dropped points and a missed opportunity. £120 loss.
Saturday, 1st May, 2021
Chelsea v Fulham
Chelsea go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.55, Fulham at 7.8, with the draw at 4.3.
Fulham aren't great at scoring goals, and a full-strength Chelsea team is not expected due to the second-leg CL semi-final against Real Madrid on Wednesday. Chelsea also seem at present more interested in not conceding goals than scoring, so it is anticipated that goals will not be forth-coming. Chelsea have also seen over 2.5 goals in 1 of their last 6 home matches.
Therefore, the best trade looks to be backing under 2.5 goals at a decent price of 1.85.
Under 2.5 Goals
I took a back position on unders for £150 at an average price of 1.85. With an early Chelsea goal, I then become to limit the exposure on this trade by laying over at a lower price. In the end, the match finished 2-0 and banked £54 profit.
Sunday, 2nd May, 2021
Manchester United v Liverpool
This match was cancelled at short-notice due to disruption around the football ground. This protest was due to the European Super League proposal, that included both Manchester United and Liverpool.
Monday, 3rd May, 2021
Burnley v West Ham United
West Ham go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.42, Burnley at 3.2, with the draw at 3.6.
Burnley are safe in the league, and have nothing to play for here, whereas West Ham are still hopeful of a European place. With the emphasis on motivational factors, West Ham should be able to see off 16th place Burnley.
Backing ‘West Ham' offers decent value for this match from a trading perspective at 2.42. Therefore, I took a back position on West ham for £100 at average odds of 2.44. Burnley scored early, and the trade was in a negative position. However, with patience and belief in the analysis, West Ham equalized just 3 minutes later. I then began to reduce risk slightly by laying West Ham at 1.29. West Ham then added a second just 8 minutes later, and with the match ending 1-2, £88 profit was banked.
Tuesday, 4th May, 2021
Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain (Champions League, Semi-Final)
Manchester City go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.68, PSG at 5.3, with the draw at 4.5.
If you watched the first match between these sides, you will know that PSG bossed the first-half, whilst Manchester City scored two very, very lucky goals. Manchester City will now sit on this advantage, and being the best defensive team in the Premier league (possibly Europe), they will look to shut-out PSG more than they will look at scoring.
Therefore, under 2.5 goals looks high-value at 2.6.
Under 2.5 Goals
Backing ‘Under' offers high value for this match from a trading perspective at 2.6. An early goal from Manchester City (11 mins) gave this trade a more tentative feel. Therefore, much of the potential profit was traded out as to ensure any losses were reduced. In the end, the match ended 2-0 and £29 profit was banked.
Wednesday, 5th May, 2021
Chelsea v Real Madrid
Chelsea go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.26, Real Madrid at 3.6, with the draw at 3.5.
This second-leg of the tie will no doubt be a close, cagey match. Further to that, the fact that both teams have seen under 2.5 goals in their recent games, makes this the main play here, at a decent price of 1.88.
Under 2.5 Goals
Backing ‘Under' offers high value for this match from a trading perspective at 188. Predictology and Infogol are also highlighting this selection a high-value. I took a back position on under at average odds of 1.98 for £125. Chelsea scored in the first-half, and I began to come out of the trade. In the end, it finished 2-0 for £30 profit.
Thursday, 6th May, 2021
Arsenal v Villarreal
Arsenal go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.91, Villarreal at 4.4, with the draw at 3.95.
This second-leg of the tie will no doubt be a close, cagey match. Arsenal have also struggled to create high-quality chances on the domestic front, averaging just 1.41 xG per match. Villarreal also boasts one of the best defensive records in La Liga, allowing only 1.09 xG per match, so it is likely Villarreal will try to nullify Arsenal defensively in this encounter.
Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang looks set to return after being out with Malaria, although he claims to be only 90% fit following the disease.
Therefore, under 2.5 goals looks likely and high-value at a decent price of 2.16.
Under 2.5 Goals
Backing ‘Under' offers high value for this match from a trading perspective at 2.16. Predictology are also highlighting this selection as high-value at 2.07. I took a back position at average odds of 2.19 for £140. As the match progressed, I came out of the trade slightly to reduce risk, and when it finished 0-0, £74 was banked.
Friday, 7th May, 2021
Leicester City v Newcastle United
Leicester go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.44, Newcastle at 8.8, with the draw at 5.
A Leicester win here to try and cement their place in the UEFA Champions League does seem entirely probable. However, the price is not favourable for a trade recommendation.
Other markets of interest here are over 2.5 goals at 1.8, and both teams to score at 2.04.
Newcastle do have goals in them with Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin in the side, have seen both teams to score in 4 of their last 5 matches, and therefore both teams to score looks good-value at a decent price of 2.04.
Both Teams To Score – Yes
Backing ‘Yes' offers good value for this match from a trading perspective at 2.04. Predictology are also highlighting this selection as high-value at 1.94. Therefore, I took back position on ‘Yes’ at average odds of 2.12 for £80. With the match ending 2-4, £88 profit was banked.
It’s been a very busy 2 weeks of matches, covering the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions.
Overall, the recommendations for this trading period produced 15.33 points profit, whilst also averaging 2.77 in the trade prices recommended. So if your stake is £10 a point, that's a £153 profit, However, if you've followed the compounding rules from the start of the year (from a £500 bank), this two week period would have produced £459 profit. With a little more time and with the power of compounding, I'm sure you will also be seeing this profit on a weekly basis.
The next instalment of the Trading Diary will be back next week, where the end of season will be covered, along with the European Cup Finals. Much preparation is then being given to the Euro Tournament, which will be covered in-depth with possibly two trades being recommended every day.
Enjoy the final 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.