Diary of a Football Trader – Issues 47 & 48
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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 – Issues 47 & 48
Since the Euros completed, it’s understandably been more quiet on the football front. Sure, there are always some matches taking place every day. But this does not mean they meet my criteria for trading on them. Match selection is the first step in determining whether to get involved in a trade or not.
To briefly summarise, my main criteria for match selection and making a trade, and a subsequent recommendation are as follows, in no particular order – all are equally important components:
- Match Time
This needs to be considered, since I’m not going to trade or post a recommendation for a match that kicks-off at 3AM GMT. It’s just not practical for the vast majority of members and so this would rule it out.
- Match Availability
When trading, it does help to see the ebb and flow of a game. I realise that some traders just go on the prices, but it does help to actually see how a match is playing out, because you can notice things that the prices don’t always show. Some matches are not available to the majority of members, and so I always check to see if it is available on general subscription or mainstream sites such as Betfair, Bet365, Parimatch (fairly new to the UK, but show a good range of matches). Another point to make here, is that if using Parimatch for example, you won’t be able to watch an English Premier League game if you’re in the UK. However, if you use a decent obfuscated VPN and select Russia or Ukraine as your location, you can watch them (Nord VPN for example).
- Match Liquidity
My general rule here is that the match must have at least 5k matched. This also applies for the actual market, not just the match as a whole. Without decent liquidity, you will see big gaps in prices, which make trading out much more difficult and could result in taking a price that isn’t of value. For example, when trading a match recently, the spread between back and lay prices was far too wide. The screen-shot below shows this, and it is because the liquidity is low – just £3,972 in this example:
- The League / Competition
This is another factor that needs to be considered before deciding to trade. Certain countries / Leagues are more prone to fixing than others. In this instance, all the analysis in the world won’t help if the result or score has already been pre-determined prior to kick-off. Generally, I avoid any lower league, Club Friendlies, Eastern European or South American matches.
- Available Analysis
If there’s not enough data to make a decent judgement on how a match will play out, then it is best avoided. This includes head-to-head, previous results, current form and team selection analysis. For example, if I don’t know if certain key players are featuring, or are out injured / rested, then I can’t make a viable realistic judgement or recommendation.
This is just a summary of the key points to consider when selecting a possible match. If all criteria are met, only then should further analysis can be undertaken to determine potential markets to consider trading. How to make correct market selections will be discussed in the next issue.
Now, to the latest edition of the matches traded which covers 3rd July – 16th July
Saturday, 3rd July, 2021
Czech Republic v Denmark
Denmark go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.2, Czech Republic at 4, with the draw at 3.3.
Denmark have scored 4 goals in their last 2 matches (against Wales and Russia). Czech Republic have also scored in 3 of their last 4 Euro matches.
This match does appear that we should be seeing over 2.5 goals. However, with a potential 1-1 (the favourite score-line on Betfair at 7.2), both teams to score appears a safer option at a decent 2.16. It should also be noted that this match is taking place in Baku, and the temperature will be over 30 degrees, which can have an impact on the speed of a game.
Also, in 4 of our last 5 trades in the Euros, there has been a red-card shown. This is extremely unfortunate, and changes the complexion of a match. If this occurs again, then close the trade if both teams have yet to score.
Both Teams To Score – ‘Yes’
I took a back position on ‘Yes’ at average odds of 2.04 and got matched for £43 . With both teams scoring by the 49th minute, a £49 profit was taken.
Sunday, 4th July, 2021 – No Trade Day
Monday, 5th July, 2021
Kristiansund v Brann
Kristiansund go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at around 2, Brann at 4, with the draw at 3.85.
With Kristiansund scoring in 4 of their last 5 home matches, and Brann conceding in 4 of their last 5 away matches (whilst failing to score in their last 3), Kristiansund look decent value for the win here. They have also conceded just 1 goal in their last 4 home matches, and have a sturdy defence.
However, Kristiansund have only managed an average of 0.8 goals per match, with Brann at 0.82.
Therefore, the slightly higher value of under 2.5 goals looks good value at 2.1.
Under 2.5 Goals
I took a back position on ‘under’ for £49 at a price of 2.12. With a goal being scored in 9 minutes, this position was in a precarious position. I waited for it to get to almost scratch and then closed it for a £1 loss. The match ended 3-2.
Tuesday, 6th July, 2021
Italy v Spain
Italy go in to this semi-finals Euros match as favourites, currently priced at around 2.58, Spain at 3.15, with the draw at 3.3.
Many will being backing Italy for this match, and yes they finished top of their group (containing Wales, Switzerland and Turkey). They then went on to beat Austria, ranked 23rd in the World. Spain had a tougher group and then went on to beat Croatia, ranked 14th. Spain then just got past a tough Switzerland outfit on penalties, whilst Italy beat an injury burdened Belgium side.
Italy to win the match at full-time is no-way a given and should be proceeded with caution.
The fact that both teams have seen over 2.5 goals in their last two matches would lead you to an over 2.5 goals prediction. But being a semi-final, this is likely to be a tighter and cagier match than anticipated.
Looking at the stats, these two teams have seen over 2.5 goals just once in their last 5 meetings. However, I do think that both teams are well capable of scoring, and expect this match to finish 1-1 at full-time, and even after extra time.
A penalty shot-out possibly looms, and so to predict an outright winner after that, is purely 50/50.
Therefore, the trade recommendation for this match, is both teams to score at a solid price of 2.
Both Teams To Score
I didn’t personally trade this match due to other commitments. However, the match ended 1-1 and then went to extra-time, and then penalties which Italy won 4-2. However, the FT result created a 5-point gain for members following this recommendation.
Wednesday, 7th July, 2021
England v Denmark
England go in to this semi-finals Euros match as favourites, currently priced at around 1.82, Denmark at 5.8, with the draw at 3.55.
Both teams have scored in 4 of their last 5 Euro matches. The main difference, is that Denmark have also conceded 5 goals, whilst England have conceded 0.
Another contrast, is that Denmark have seen over 2.5 goals in 4 of their last 5, whilst England have seen under 2.5 goals in 4 of their 5 Euros matches. The xG (expected goals) for this match is 2.26, which points to under 2.5 goals. The price available for this is just 1.63.
There is expectations that Denmark will be playing out of their skins in support of their team-mate, Christian Eriksen, following a cardiac arrest during their opening match. The reality is that they are missing one of their best players.
England conversely have a full and fit squad, with much more depth available.
I'm tempted to take over 2.5 goals at 2.52, but it carries risk especially if it's a tight and cagey match from the beginning. We won't know that until the match starts. I'm also expecting Harry Kane to score, since he has scored 14 goals against Denmark goal-keeper, Kasper Schmeichel during his career.
Therefore. the trade recommendation for this match, is to back England to win at 1.82.
I built-up a back position on ‘England’ for £180 at an average price of 3.04. However, as the match progressed at 1-1, I then came out of the trade slightly by laying England. It did indeed finish 1-1 and a £117 loss was created. England then went on to score in extra-time and win the match.
Thursday, 8th – Saturday 10th July, 2021 – No Trade Day
Sunday, 11th July, 2021
Italy v England (UEFA Euro Championships Final)
England go in to this final of the Euros as favourites, currently priced at 2.66, Italy at 3.35, with the draw at 3.
The only goal England have conceded so far in this tournament, was a superb free kick from Denmark. Ok, England's positioning may have been suspect, but it was a great strike none-the-less. Italy have conceded in all of their last 3 matches.
The back price on England to win in normal time is decent, and could be considered. However, the risk of a draw and extra-time would neutralize this position.
Looking at other markets:
This would indicate an under 2.5 goals scenario, but the price on this is just 1.53 and not worth backing.
Both teams to score ‘No' is currently 1.76. Again, this is ok, but still not worth it.
Therefore, the trade recommendation for this match, is to back England in the outright ‘Winner' market at 1.85.
I already had backed both Italy and England to contest the final from the beginning (of the tournament). As it happened, England scored first early in the first-half (2 mins), and then Italy equalized later on in the second. Full-time finished 1-1. Extra-time finished 1-1. Italy won on penalties in the end. Two of England’s penalties were saved, and one hit the post. Tight margins, but still created a 4-point loss for the trading record.
Monday, 12th July, 2021 – No Trade Day
Tuesday, 13th July, 2021
Riga v Malmo (UEFA Champions League Qualifier)
Malmo go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.43, Riga at 9.6, with the draw at 4.9.
The Swedish league is superior to the Latvian league, and Malmo currently sit at the top. The last match these teams played ended in a 1-0 Malmo win. Malmo also have a league match in 3 days’ time.
Therefore, it is predicted a similar outcome will occur in this match.
Both teams to score ‘No' is currently 1.79. This is ok, but better value can be sought.
Therefore, the trade recommendation for this match, is to back under 2.5 goals at a decent price of around 2.24.
It was noted earlier that the liquidity in this market was not great, and it has improved slightly but is still under 5k. However, it is expected to improve closer to the start.
Under 2.5 Goals
I took a back position on ‘Under’ for £115 at average odds of 2.13. With Malmo scoring in the first-half, I reduced the risk on the trade slightly. However, with the match ending 1-1, £50 was banked.
Wednesday, 14th – Thursday 15th July, 2021 – No Trade Day
Friday, 16th July, 2021
Midtjylland v OB (Danish Superliga)
Midtjylland go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 1.74, OB at 5.5, with the draw at 4.
This is the first match of the season of the Danish Superliga. Midtjylland have a superior head-to-head record, having won 3 and drawn 2 of their last 5 meetings. They have also seen over 2.5 goals and both teams to score in 4 of these. However, since then both teams have seen a few changes in personnel, including team coaches. It is expected though, that a match with goals and both teams to score looks highly likely.
Both teams to score ‘Yes' is currently 1.81 to back. Over 2.5 goals is currently 1.86. However, both these markets are not very developed liquidity wise (both having less than 1k matched so far). Nearer kick-off, this is expected to increase above the 5k range.
Therefore, the trade recommendation for this match, is to back over 2.5 goals at a decent price of around 1.86-1.9.
Over 2.5 Goals
I took a back position on ‘Over’ for £35 at average odds of 1.97. With OB scoring in the first 15 minutes, the trade was in a healthy position. Midtjylland equalized in the second-half, and OB scored a second late in the half. Overall, £33 was banked.
It’s been a fairly quiet time since the end of the Euros. Certain leagues have now re-started or are already in progress, but early games in a league bring their own complications to consider.
Overall, this period covered in Diary Issues 47 & 48 produced 3.7 points profit, as shown below. Admittedly this is not great, but it's still beats taking a trading loss.
However, overall, Trade of The Day recommendations have still produced from the start of the year 19.14% return on investment (ROI) and just under 200% return on capital (ROC).
It’s not long until the major European Leagues resume. Until then, the next three weeks will see other matches and markets considered, as long as they meet the criteria as outlined at the beginning of this issue.
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.