Diary of a Football Trader – Issues 49 & 50
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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 49 & 50
In the last issue, we looked at how match selection criteria was an important part of deciding if a match is viable to trade on or not. To recap, these were:
- Match Time
- Match Availability
- Match Liquidity
- The League / Competition
- Available Analysis
If you missed the last issue, you can find it here
The last few weeks since the Euros completed have understandably been more quiet on the match front, with many of the matches taking place not meeting one or more of the above criteria. Most frequently, this has been down to match liquidity. If you are a regular reader of Trade of The Day (TOTD), you will know that it is sometimes advised that TOTD will be sent out at a later time. This is to give the match more time to develop in order to determine if the liquidity requirement will be met.
If all criteria are then met, then analysis of the match then takes place in order to determine a market selection and what position(s) may offer value and most likely to be successful. Therefore, before making a market selection, the following example of considerations should be made:
– How has a team performed in their last 5 fixtures, looking at wins, losses and draws?
– Look at goals scored and conceded – do they usually have high-scoring or low-scoring matches? Does it differ between home and away matches?
– Has a team recently played a few days prior in a European cup match, which could impact their performance?
Injuries / Team News / Starting Line-ups
– Are key players out injured, and other less experienced players will be covering their position(s)?
– Is there a more important match coming up for a team, such as mid-week cup game, where players may be ‘saving themselves / rotated’ for the next match?
– 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? However, this won’t formally be known until approximately 1 hour before kick-off when starting line-ups are announced.
Goals & Supremacy / xG / xGA
– What are the xG (expected goals) and xGA (expected goals against) for both teams?
– Does one team generally 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 re-starts or set-pieces?
Previous Head to Head
– What has happened when the sides have met previously? For instance, if they have seen under 2.5 goals in the last previous meetings, then this is more likely to be repeated.
– 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.
Using Analysis Sources
There are other match analysis sources available, that pulls most of the above key match stats together in one-place, but also use this data along with market prices to produce high-value market predictions.
The main one I always check before settling on a market position is 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, and it’s even possible to create your own custom trading models and strategies. It covers a vast range of leagues and matches, which is very useful to me when looking at a Scandinavian or lower tier Bundesliga match.
For example, a recent French Ligue match between Monaco v Nantes produced the following:
Furthermore, live match stats are available during in play – for example:
As it turned out, the above match finished 1-1 – much against market sentiment where Monaco were big favourites to win (1.5).
Infogol is another source based on data to come up with predictions based on prices and percentages. Primarily, it is xG based, which although useful, is not reliable enough on its own without the other match considerations being made.
Footballdatabase.com is also useful to check for when looking at European Cup games (where’s there’s no history and teams play in different leagues), in order to get a European ranking #.
If these tools are also in align with my selections, and showing high-value, then it gives more confidence to open a trading 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 (or sometimes a red-herring).
There’s a lot of data and sources available, whether it be for team news, predicted line-ups other analysis. But it’s important to not get too swamped, and stick to a standard process which makes analysis and selection decisions a lot quicker and less complicated.
In the next issue, I hope to discuss the benefits of using specialist software that can enhance your trading.
Now, to the latest edition of the TOTD matches, which covers 20th July – 30th July.
Tuesday, 20th July, 2021
Celtic v Midtjylland (Champions League Qualifier)
Celtic go in to this match as favourites, currently priced at 2.18, Midtjylland at 3.65, with the draw also at 3.65.
Although Celtic's last match 3 days ago they lost 0-1, they probably had their focus on this Champions League qualifier. Midtjylland are capable of scoring here, and they have seen over 2.5 goals in their last 5 matches. They have also seen both teams to score in 4 of these.
Both teams to score ‘Yes' is currently around 1.81-1.9 to back. Over 2.5 goals is currently 2.02. However, both these markets are not very developed liquidity wise (both having less than £500 matched so far). Nearer kick-off however, this is expected to increase well above the 5k range.
Therefore, the trade recommendation for this match, is to back over 2.5 goals at a decent price of around 2.02.
Over 2.5 Goals
I took a back position on ‘over’ for £45 at a price of 2. Celtic had a defender sent off in first-half (second yellow), which totally changes a match as I’ve discussed previously. I came out of the trade slightly to reduce risk. However, early on in the second-half Midtjylland also have a player sent off, making it now 10 v 10. In the end the match finished 1-1 and a £34 loss resulted.
Wednesday, 21st July, 2021
PSV v Galatasaray (UEFA Champions League Qualifier)
PSV go in to this first-leg Champions League qualifier as favourites, currently priced at 1.59, Galatasaray at 6.6, with the draw at 4.3.
Dutch side PSV have scored 14 goals in their last 5 home matches, whilst keeping just 2 clean-sheets. Although this includes 2 recent club friendlies, they've also kept just 2 clean-sheets in their last 5 league matches. Turkish side Galatasaray have scored 10 goals in their last 5 away matches and also have kept 2 clean-sheets in the process.
In summary, goals are expected in this game.
Both teams to score ‘Yes' is currently around 1.96 – 2.02 to back. Over 2.5 goals is currently 1.85. However, the both teams to score market is less developed liquidity wise (less than £300 matched) than over 2.5 goals. Nearer kick-off however, this is expected to increase well above the 5k range.
Therefore the trade recommendation for this match, is to back both teams to score at a decent price of around 1.96 – 2.04.
Both Teams To Score
I took a back position on ‘over’ for £45 at a price of 2.06. PSV scored in the 2nd minute of the match, and then followed up with a second. Galatasaray scored later on in the first-half, closing the trade for a £47 profit.
Thursday, 22nd July, 2021
Molde v Servette (UEFA Europa League Qualifier)
Molde go in to this Europa Conference League match as favourites, currently priced at 1.85, Servette at 4.8, with the draw at 3.7.
Molde have already played their 14th match in the Eliteserien in Norway and sit at the top of the table, 5 points clear. They have also scored 14 goals in their last 5 home matches (average 3.14 goals). Servette have their first Swiss Super League match in 3 days time. In their last 5 matches they have also conceded 9 goals.
Molde also have scored over 40% of their goals (14) in the first 30 minutes so far in the league this season. In summary, goals should be expected in this game.
Although the match odds market for an outright Molde win appears decent value, the price on backing over 2.5 goals is currently around 2, although the market is still underdeveloped (less than 1k matched). However, this should improve nearer to kick-off.
Therefore, the trade recommendation for this match is to back over 2.5 goals at a decent price of 2 (evens).
Over 2.5 Goals
I took a back position on ‘over’ for £102 at a price of 2.01. Molde scored in the 7th minute of the match, and then followed up with a second. Molde then scored a 3rd in the 59th minute, closing the trade for a £101 profit.
Friday, 23rd July, 2021 – No Trade Day
Saturday, 24th July, 2021 – No Trade Day
Sunday, 25th July, 2021
Copenhagen v Silkeborg (Danish Eliteserien)
Copenhagen go in to their second Danish Superliga match of the season as favourites, currently priced at 1.55, Silkeborg at 6.6, with the draw at 4.7.
It is anticipated that Copenhagen should win this match, but Silkeborg will make them work hard for a win and should put out a defensive set-up. Indeed, in Silkeborg's last match, it ended 0-0. Prior to that, they played Hamburg away in a friendly where the score finished 1-0. In a previous pre-league friendly against Horsens (another Danish Superliga team), the match finished 0-0.
Therefore, against market expectations, the trade recommendation for this match is to back under 2.5 goals at a decent price of 2.4.
Under 2.5 Goals
Before kick-off, I took a lay position on ‘over’ for £75 at 1.72. As the match progressed goalless, I closed the position for a £47 profit. The match finished 0-0.
Monday, 26th July, 2021
SonderjyskE v Vejle (Danish Eliteserien)
SonderjyskE go in to their second Danish Superliga match of the season as favourites, currently priced at 2.54, Vejle at 3.15, with the draw at 3.45.
Looking at other popular markets, there is just not enough liquidity to warrant a trade recommendation. Although this could be a high-scoring match, the over/under 2.5 goals market still has less than 1k matched.
Therefore, the recommendation for this match is to back an outright home win for SonderjyskE at a decent price of 2.54.
I created a back position on SonderjyskE for £121 at average odds of 2.59 (before kick-off, and during in-play). SonderjyskE scored first in the 80th minute, and I immediately closed the trade for a £188 profit. The match finished 1-0.
Tuesday, 27th July, 2021
Omonia v Dinamo Zagreb (UEFA Champions League Qualifier)
Dinamo Zagreb go in to this second-leg UEFA CL qualifier match as favourites, currently priced at 2.46, Omonia at 3.2, with the draw at 3.5.
Dinamo Zagreb are by far the superior team in this match. Omonia, being 2 goals down after the first-leg will have to come out and try to score. This will create plenty of opportunities for Zagreb to attack on the counter. They have in fact scored 18 goals in their last 5 away matches, whilst conceding just 1.
Looking at other markets, there is just not enough liquidity to warrant a trade recommendation.
Therefore, the recommendation is to back an outright away win for Dinamo Zagreb at a decent price of 2.46.
I opened a back position before kick-off on Dinamo Zagreb for £100 at 2.1. I then increased this position by backing further at an improving price (before kick-off, and during in-play). Dinamo Zagreb scored first in the 78th minute, and I immediately closed the trade for a £138 profit. The match finished 0-1 to Zagreb.
Wednesday, 28th July, 2021
Midtjylland v Celtic (UEFA Champions League Qualifier)
Midtjylland go in to this second-leg UEFA CL qualifier match as slight favourites, currently priced at 2.74, Celtic at 2.9, with the draw at 3.35.
The first-leg of this tie was also a trade of the day recommendation, with over 2.5 goals advised. Unfortunately, with 2 red cards shown in this match and the complexion being changed, the trade was unsuccessful with the game finishing 1-1. I am tempted to make the same recommendation here, but expect it could be a tighter, cagier affair.
Midtjylland have seen both teams to score in all of their last 5 Champions League matches. Celtic have seen this outcome in 4 of their last 5 CL matches.
Therefore, with these teams quite capable of scoring and conceding, the both teams to score market makes slightly greater appeal, albeit at a lower price of around 1.87. This market though is not fully developed, although nearer to kick-off, more liquidity is expected to enter the market.
Both Teams To Score
I opened a back position on ‘Yes’ for £64 at average odds of 1.92. This was then increased during in-play by laying ‘No’ at 1.59. Celtic scored first in the 48th and Midtjylland equalized 13 minutes later, closing the trade for £76 profit. Midtjylland went on to win the match in extra-time.
Thursday, 29th July, 2021 – No Trade Day
Friday, 30th July, 2021
Paderborn v Nurnberg (Bundesliga 2)
Paderborn go in to this match as slight favourites, currently priced at 2.68, Nurnberg at 2.82, with the draw at 3.6.
Paderborn have seen both teams to score and over 2.5 goals in all of their last 5 home matches. Nurnberg have seen both teams to score in 4 of their last 5 away matches.
Therefore, these teams are both quite capable of scoring and conceding (although they did both record 0-0 results in their first game of the season). The both teams to score market makes appeal at 1.8, although liquidity is still too low at just 1.2k.
Another market considered is over 2.5 goals. Liquidity is better at 3.7k and should easily reach over 5k by kick-off. The price is also decent at 2.
Therefore, the over 2.5 goals market is favoured for this match and for these reasons.
Over 2.5 Goals
I took a back position on ‘Over’ for £50 at 2. I then increased this position during in-play by laying unders at 1.83. With Paderborn scoring in the first 18 minutes, the trade was in a healthy position. Nurnberg equalized in the second-half, and then scored a second soon after, closing the trade for £63 profit. The match ended all square at 2-2.
As expected, it’s been a fairly quiet period whilst we anticipate the re-start of the major European Leagues. As stated at the beginning, although there are matches taking place, they need to meet certain criteria, otherwise they are best avoided (especially when looking for a trade recommendation).
Overall, this period covered in Diary Issues 49 & 50 (even though they included several no trade days), produced 21.93 points profit:
At the end of this trading period, Trade of The Day recommendations have produced from the start of the year 22.11% return on investment (ROI) and just over 237% return on capital (ROC).
In terms of a graphical display, the points accumulation are shown below:
It’s not long until the major European Leagues resume. Until then, you will see other matches and markets considered, as long as they meet match and selection criteria.
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.