There are many factors that influence the prices in this market when it comes to going In-Play but the main things to consider when trading football markets are time decay and goals. There are of course other things that happen during the course of a game - cards, possession, shots on target will all play a part - but an understanding of where the market will settle if a goal is scored in the next five minutes, or what the market will look like after 30 minutes if the game is still 0-0 are critical to long term profits in the Match Odds market. Clearly there are basic trading principles that are also a key requirement like managing risk and having a good strategy for the game built around your research and analysis. But even if you acquire all these skills, if you do not have the discipline to execute them you will be destined to lose in the long term.
If I am going to trade In-Play in any market, I will have come up with a strategy for the game in question. A good trading strategy would normally consist of:-
Entry Point for the Bet - The criteria for which will be based on detailed research and analysis, and once I feel the criteria is reached, the bet will be executed within the boundaries of my betting bank. The amount of money I wish to invest in this strategy will be dependent on the chances I have of successfully completing the trade.
Exit Point for the Bet - Unless your strategy is to remain in the market until the final whistle, then it makes sense to have an exit point. That may be after a period of time, when a price is reached, e.g. after there have been a certain amount of shots on target. Whatever it is - IF you can place your exit order once you have matched your entry point then you should do this 100% of the time. Leaving exit points to human emotion often leads to the individual just waiting or trying to squeeze a bit more out of the market, and ultimately trying to get an extra tick or few pounds can often lead to bigger losses.
Stop Loss - Managing your risk or liability is essential. Again, if you can place an order to 'red out' your position should the event you were hoping for not happen, then do this. The Betfair Exchange will not wait for the free kick or the corner to be taken, it will execute your order if the price is reached regardless of what is happening on the field of play.
Anyone that thinks they have a 100% guaranteed method to win on every football match in my opinion is either exceptionally talented beyond anything I have ever seen or they are deluded. Once a football match starts then we always have to be prepared to expect the unexpected. If a goal or a sending off in a football match occurs, Betfair will suspend the market and cancel any unmatched bets which means that if your exit point and/or stop loss positions have not been matched they are no longer in the system. As a trader you have to be prepared for this and be able to accept losses as part of the day. It is important to be disciplined enough to move on to your next trade with the correct mindset, enabling you to execute your strategy for the next game without worrying about the one that just went wrong. You have to remember this isn't about 90 minutes, this is about a week, a month or maybe even a year's worth of football matches - the objective is to come out ahead after a period of time, not just after a single game.
Understanding market moves
If we have a dominant team in the Match Odds market trading below 1.4 then we would expect price movements until a goal is scored. The draw will slowly start to shorten while the dominant favourite will start to drift and the underdog will remain roughly constant. Because the draw is more likely (as time left in the game is running out) the percentage chance of a draw being the final result increases and therefore its price decreases. The favourite in this instance tends take most of this percentage hit.
So what would happen if there was an early goal? Well, obviously it depends who scores it. If the favourite scores then clearly their price will shorten, and conversely, for obvious reasons, the draw and the underdog will drift. However, if the underdog scores first, in theory the prices may not move as much as you would think as the market will still expect the strong favourite to go on and win the game. So, in summary, it is very important to understand why prices and markets move. With football there are many more reasons behind this which you will need to consider but grasping this basic understanding is key when placing your bets.
Turning a profit
The one thing you can predict accurately in the Match Odds market is how it will react during the game as long as the game stays 0-0. This is valuable information and can offer opportunities for traders. Let's take, for example, a game that is pretty closely contested: The favourite is priced at around 2.54, the outsider (underdog) around 3.4 which means The Draw will be approx 3.2. After doing your research you find that these two teams don't score or concede many early goals and the Betfair markets are backing that analysis up by favouring Under 2.5 Goals and low scores in the Correct Score market. You could therefore assume that this may be tight to start with and it may be some time before the first goal is scored in the game. Your entry point could thenbe to back The Draw at 3.2.
The reason for this is because you know price on The Draw will decline over time (due to time decay) as long as the score stays at 0-0. Getting this correct will then put you in a position of strength in the market. Now, you may want to guarantee a 10% return on your investment by deciding to Cash Out as soon as the price hits 2.9. It depends on your personal strategy and style.
Alternatively, you may want to remove your liability and leave all the profit on The Draw, either to trade when the price is much shorter later in the game or leave it in as a free bet.
You may want to change tack completely and leverage a price against The Draw realising a profit if either team win. You now have a position where you have effectively laid The Draw for £20 @ 2.6 - a price which as yet hasn't been seen and won't be for another 15-20 mins. Giving you a FREE 'time buffer' in which to find a goal.
There is no right/wrong way to do it and what you do is not as important as getting that position of strength by playing the market. However, you can only do that consistently by understanding how, why and where the market is going to move and positioning yourself to create an opportunity.
When calculating these positions, make use of the functions available on the website, use the 'What if?' to check your maths and propose bets, enabling you to see what your book will look like if you can get matched at different prices.
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