Trading on Betfair: Making a profit on low scoring football matches

When backing unders it's nice to have a reliable defensive pair in the match
When backing unders it's nice to have a reliable defensive pair in the match
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Trading the right markets can give you a unique opportunity to profit, even if you initially get it wrong. Peter Webb explains...

"The great thing about backing under 2.5 goals is that your bet will start moving into profit almost as soon as the whistle has blown for the start of the match."

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Most popular markets

Match odds markets on football are the most popular market to bet on, but the most popular secondary market is the Over/Under Goals market. The benefit of these markets for football traders is that you do not need to understand who scores first, just that a goal will or won't be scored. Even better, it can continue to work even when your initial judgement is incorrect.

Understanding the Under 2.5 Goals market

To make money when trading, you need to back high and lay low. A simple way to do this in football is take advantage of time value.

The longer a match goes without a goal being scored the market has to account for that fact in the odds. Therefore, as the match progresses the odds on under 2.5 goals gradually get shorter. If there are no goals it will sink to [1.01] later on in the match, when the prospect of more than 2.5 goals has pretty much vanished.

It may seem odd to bet or trade on a market like the 2.5 goal market. After all, there can't be half a goal in a match? But this is an historic anomaly. In days gone by, most markets were priced to split opinion. It just happens that the odds split at roughly 2.5 goals in this market and that's why they exist. Of course, it will be settled in your favour if there are only two goals (or fewer) and you back unders and three (or more) if you back overs.

Making money by trading the unders market

If you back under 2.5 goals before the match starts with a view to trade out, the great thing about this trade is that it will start moving into profit almost as soon as the whistle has blown to start the match. The reason this is happening is because the chance of the match ending with less that 2.5 goals is getting more likely as time passes, so the odds have to reflect that.

Of course this works well unless there is a goal before you can cash out. What happens when that occurs, a loss? Well not necessarily. When a goal is scored in this market, the odds adjust to reflect the fact that a goal has been scored and the chance of under 2.5 goals occurring in the game is less likely. However, it only gets reset to a higher level, it doesn't necessarily push your position into a loss. From that point it immediately starts working back into your favour again.

So the trick to this trade is to trade out before a goal that could turn your trade into a losing one, or see that happen but allow the market to come back to you before a second goal is scored. If you are looking for a much deeper insight into when this is, you should look no further than Bet Angel. Bet Angel contains a specialist tool, Soccer Mystic, that allows you to experiment with all the possible scenarios that could occur in the match and project them forward to see how they will impact your bet, trade or Cash Out value. It can highlight before a match starts the moments when this strategy works best.

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First match of hte season 

Which matches best suit this strategy?

Picking a match which is likely to see few goals is also key for this strategy. Typically this will be a game between two evenly matched teams where the away team is slightly better rated than the home team. If you want a short cut, I regularly compile ratings for matches where goals are more or less likely. You can view them on the Bet Angel blog each weekend or in the forum. One look at the odds in the market will also help you identify a match where fewer goals are likely. The shorter the under 2.5 goal odds are, the less goals the market is pricing into the match.

To top off the strategy, it also helps if you pick a televised match. This ensures the best liquidity for a trade but also gives you the chance to trade out for a small profit if you think the bet isn't going to work out. A match where both teams have a very cautious approach is ideal, but if it's end-to-end action at the start of the match then you will be able to see that the chance of goals is much more likely and should exit the trade while it's still in profit.

I'm really looking forward to the new football season!

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