At Let’s Compare Bets we often write about Betfair trading.  Particularly trade the draw market on football games, bookmaker arbitrage and more. Welcome feedback from our readers has instigated this post to remind reader about the starting point for the best strategies.

First of all I’m going to assume that traders have set up a betting bank. Personally I like to take my pot of money and divide it up into units. For instance, divide the bank into a 100 units, making each unit £10 (or currency equivalent). Each trade is given a high, medium and low confidence tag.

High confidence is given 10 unites, medium 6 units and low 3 units. Alternatively you can give each type of trade as many units as you like to fit with your own preference and risk appetite.

The trade

Back the draw at the start of the game (time to be decided by the trader depending on the teams) and wait. Lay the draw later at lower odds for a profit. A simple strategy that lowers risk by selecting games where goals are less likely or at least less likely for the first 30 minutes of the match.

Alternatively you might want to lay the draw and back later for a profit. This strategy works well if there is a clear favourite in the match with a high chance of winning. Most Premiership football matches do not end in a draw.

The selection method

I will give the details of our selection method but really traders need to adapt it to their own preference, so, this is meant as a framework to be used to get the best results for your trading style.

We use stats from previous matches to select the best trades. Goals for and against for both teams, goal, and, goal difference (both easily attainable from websites on the web). Time of first goals scorer figures, which are a bit more difficult to get hold of but are still available, and, corners won and conceded.

First look for really high confidence matches; which may be indicated by characteristics such as;

  •  80% of matches have produced less than 2.5 goals per match.
  • Teams that concede few corners are often defensively very good and more likely to keep the ball out of the net for longer.  For the Premiership the average number of corners is around 10.
  • Time of first goal over 30 minutes for both teams

When both teams show these characteristics you could class it as a high confidence trade. This type of match would be good to back the draw.

A lay the draw trade is better suited to a match where there is a clear favourite and has;

  • High goals for stats against a team with high goals against stats.
  • A team the concedes lots of corners is weaker defensively and more likely to let the ball in the net.
  • One teams has a high positive goals difference playing a team with a low or negative goal difference.

An example

August 30th 2014, Burnley played Manchester United at home. Burnley have scored an average of one goal in away games and Man U have scored an average of one goal in away games. Man U matches have all produced less than 2.5 goals per game this season. Man U are normally very strong defensively. Both teams have conceded less than 5 corners so far. Burnley have conceded 3 goals on average at home, which is a concern. Burnley’s firs goal has been scored within 14 minutes on average and Man U’s within 17 minutes. Looking at recent form Man U drew their first game of the season. It’s likely they are starting cautiously under new manager Luis Van Gaal.

I would class this match as a medium confidence match. Time of first goal is relatively low and Burnley have conceded more goals than Man U. Taking into account time of first goal figures I would also suggest entering the trade right at the begging of the match and setting a time limit of 10 minutes.

If this match was against an opponent with better recent form such as Chelsea or Man City a better strategy might be to lay the draw after say 10 minutes and wait for a goal.

Time frame

Most trades would be made within the first 10 – 30 minutes of the match. Most goals are scored after 20 minutes normally. In order to control the risk of loosing money the time frame can be reduced and / or the number of units can be reduced.

Nuts and bolts

What if the trade goes wrong? Using the previous example, lets say Man U score within the first 10 minutes and you backed the draw at the begining. This would be worst case scenario because Man U are the favourites and it’s likely that Burnley will not score to make it 1 – 1. How long should you wait before the trade is closed? Should you sit and wait for Burnley to score? The longer the match progresses without Burnley scoring the longer the odds will go pushing the trade further into loss. Personally I would take the loss straight away but it’s up to you.

If Burnley (the underdog) was to score  first within the first 10 minutes the situation would not be so bad, because it is likely the Man U will score to make it a draw. The draw odds would not increase very much or at all. The trade could be closed at this point for break even or you can wait for Man U to score. Personally I would close the trade for break even. If it’s not break even just wait for Man U to really start attacking and the odds will go lower giving you a chance to trade out.

Final thoughts

When your trading rules are up and running remember to stick to them. It’s all about making more winning trades than loosing trades and limiting any losses when they occur. The profits on each trade are relatively small, but, the trade can be repeated over and over. As the betting bank grows the value of each unit grows as well producing bigger profits from each trade.  Bet traders often use special software to assist with  Betfair strategies.  You may want to check out an affordable provider.

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