People have been gambling on football for many years, originally with the fixed odds coupons in bookmakers before the number of markets expanded year on year when gambling took to the internet. When Betfair was launched in 2000, a new way of gambling was introduced, which made it possible to make a profit on a sporting event before it had actually taken place through trading – and this still applies today.
In this article I take a look at how you can make a success of your pre-match football trading. I start with an explanation of how it actually works. I then take a look at two methods you can use to potentially make a profit on this market.
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How does Pre-Match Trading Work?
You aim when trading is to back a team at higher odds than when you lay the team. The order in which you do this doesn’t matter – so you could lay a team with the aim of backing them at a higher price later, or back the team first and lay the team at a lower price later.
Here is an example:
Barcelona are playing at home to Valencia and on the morning of the match they are on offer at odds of 1.42. There is a four figure sum trying to back Barca at 1.43 so you decide to back them at 1.42 for £100. Half an hour before kick off the odds have come in, and Barca can now be backed at 1.36 and laid at 1.37, so you decide to lay them at 1.37 for £100.
You are now in a situation where you are £5 in profit if Barcelona win the game, and level if they either draw or lose.
To guarantee yourself the same profit on every outcome, you should actually lay Barcelona for more than £100. To work out exactly how much, you’ll add the original stake and profit together (£100 + £42) and divide by the new price. So here, you would lay Barcelona for (£142/1.37) £103.64. This will guarantee you a £3.64 profit on all three outcomes.
Trading Method One – Use the Bookmakers Odds
Consider a match where a team is on offer at odds 2.2 a day before the game takes place. You go to an odds comparison site (a good example being oddschecker) and look at the bookmakers odds for the game. One bookmaker is offering the same price, but in general the price is a little lower, some bookmakers as low as 2.00, the average being around 2.05. However you also notice that the odds are shortening at many sites, some sites actually trimming their 2.1 to 2.05. Here you should take some of the 2.2 available with the aim of laying it off at a lower price before kickoff.
Trading Method Two – Use the Team Sheets
The pre match market might be somewhat steady for much of the day, but this can all change when the team line-ups come out around an hour before kickoff. The odds can change dramatically, especially if some unexpected team news comes out, where a key player has picked up an injury, or a manager is resting a number of first team players. Be on top of the team news yourself – there are plenty of social media outlets and websites where you’ll find the line ups as soon as they come out, so there is no excuse not to be up to date. You’ll not be the only one doing this, so speed is of the essence.
However, you can also pre-empt this a little as well. Before team news comes out, consider if a manager might be resting some players or will play a weaker team – perhaps a team has a big European tie coming up in midweek and are facing a team at home who they expect to beat. If you think a manager may name a weakened team, lay them before the team news comes out, and if your hunch is correct, you’ll be able to back them back at a bigger price before the kickoff.
You might have an expert knowledge of a particular team and have realized that a combination of injuries and suspensions means that the team sheet for the game will be particularly weak – and this might not be obvious to the larger betting public, who will react and push the price out when the team line ups are named.
When trading, it’s not always that straightforward. You might use the bookmaker method and gain what you think is a great price, but there might be someone on Betfair willing to lay the team for a lot of money, meaning that the price may not actually ever come down. You might also gain that great price and the price has come down nicely – then it emerges that the star striker has just appeared at the ground with crutches, and suddenly you’re facing a loss.
However, with patience, a good knowledge of the game and the use of the right social media/news outlets, there is no reason why your pre match trading can’t be profitable.
If you have not yet taken your betting options to the next level, check out the infamous Betfair Exchange for yourself over at www.betfair.com.
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