Free football trading strategy

This free football trading strategy is brought to you by Betfair Trading Academy.

Betfair Trading Academy


My name is Dragos and I am a part-time football trader. What I am about to share with you is one of the trading strategies that I used before developing my own strategies and had brought me some nice profits. It continues to do so today.

Markets - Key facts that you need to understand


Slow moving – they move a lot slower than say, the Horse Racing markets (particularly in the last few minutes before the off, and in-play) and the Tennis markets
○ Fast moving markets are no bad thing and it actually increases the profit potential significantly but it does take a more
experienced eye to operate successfully. That is why I always recommend Football and, in particular, the goal markets to new or moderate traders

One outcome – by this I mean there is generally, only one major event that will effect a price – a goal, or lack of one
○ Red cards etc can also effect the price but not to the same magnitude, which is perhaps a discussion for another day

Predict the price – because of the way the markets work, it is pretty easy to predict the price at any given point in the goal markets. E.g.
○ No goal after 10 minutes – the over 1.5 market is usually higher to back by about 10 ticks
○ Price decay on the unders market is quite linear and you can expect to the unders price to be around 1.40-1.50 at half time if starting around 2.00 and no goals
○ Want to predict the impact on price of a goal being scored?Easy, look at the next goal market down
E.g. If the price for over 1.5 is 2.00 and the price for over 2.5 is 3.00 and a goal is scored – expect the over 2.5 price to move to around 2.00

All of this is important because it will help you understand the markets, how they move, when to time your entry into the market and most importantly you P&L position if things stay the same or if a goal is scored.

Football - Key statistics that you need to understand

● 78% of football matches finish with at least 2 goals (over 1.50)
● On average, 1 goal is scored in the first half, while there are, on average, a little under 2 goals in the second half
● Most first half goals will come after the 15th minute (e.g. between 15-45 minutes)
○ Remember the stat above, just waiting 10-15 minutes before entering a trade, and you will likely have increased your price by
10-15 ticks – just by being patient and play the averages
○ A goal is scored in the first 10 minutes? So what! Just move on to your next trade opportunity, there are plenty of them, and with an early goal you’d be unlikely to lock in much profit anyway

Simply by understanding, and committing to memory, these key stats and facts about football scoring rates and how the influence the markets will put you ahead of 90% of all football traders and bettors.

It’s not that this information is hidden or not available. A quick look on Soccer Stats, for example, easily shows me this information for the Championship for the 2018/19 season just completed:

frequent scores Championship

They key thing is though, that many do need appreciate the importance of this information, and more pertinatley, how it relates to the markets that you may be considering to trade.
I’ll stress this again, if you can commit these insights and the principals behind them, to memory you are going to give yourself a fantastic base to launch from.
Before moving on, here are a few more key and interesting stats for you to commit to memory

On average:

● 30% of games are 0-0 at half-time
● 35% of games are 1-0 or 0-1 at half-time (21% are 1-0 and 14% are0-1)
● 12% of games are 1-1 at half-time
● 30% of games have no goals at half time
● 35% of games have one goal at half time
● 35% of games have more than one goal by half time

Ok, great, I’ll just go and back goals in every game in the Netherlands then?

I’m going to have a wager with you now. There is a strong likelihood that you are sitting here right now thinking, great, I just need to find the leagues with the highest ratio of goals and I’m all set…
It’s totally understandable that you would think that. I reckon nearly everyone makes that connection at first, myself included, but there are two key flaws in that approach.
Firstly, every man and his dog (and bookmaker) knows, for example, that the Netherlands has one of the highest goal rations around.
In the last 9 years, the top division in the Netherlenads (Eredivisie) has averaged
● 84.01% of games with over 1.5 goals (well above our 78% average)

● 24.84% of those games reach half time at 0-0 (again, way below our averages of around 30%)

But guess what, the prices – generally – will reflect this. That’s not to say that I won’t enter trades in the Netherlands, or other
high scoring, leagues but I will only do it when I feel the price on offer is Value.
And that is the key second point – value – we must always be looking to take value in any bet OR trade that we want to enter.
If the stats are favorable, great, but if the price on offer is not value then it is still a no trade.
If you can always enter trades where the price is offering value (e.g. we are getting a better price that it should be based on the likely outcome, then we can’t fail to profit in the long term)

How do we know if we are getting value?

Firstly, it is important to know and understand how to convert betting odds into probability (percentage). It still amazes how many people don’t know how to do this – yet it is really relatively simple.
By understanding this simple equation, you will find it much easier to understand prices and spot value in the market.
All you have to do is divide 1 by the Decimal Betting Odds. Yep, it really is that simple.

Let’s look at an example

Odds are 1.50
Percentage Probability = 1 / 1.50
= 0.66 (66%)
So anything with the odds of 1.50 will win roughly 66 percent of the time.

Let’s quickly look at another example
Odds are 2.80
Percentage Probability = 1 / 2.80
= 35.7%
So it should win a little over third of the time on average.

Applying this to the goal betting markets

In simplistic terms, we know that 78% of matches end up with over 2 goals. That gives us a decimal odds equivalent of 1.28.
So, in theory and without doing any other can of research, if you were always backing over 1.5 goals at 1.30 or higher, you would be making around 5% profit.
Obviously that is not possible because a) many matches are priced much lower than 1.28 and b) this would also require you to be betting every single football match across the globe to make this 5%

How to find value goal bets

There are three things that can help us identify value selections and maximize the value and return we get from those selections, which I am going to cover off in the next three sections.

1. Statistics & Match Identification

Detailed below is my original model, which still works today, for identifying games that I felt had value to trade the over 1.5 goal market
We want the home team to have seen over 1.5 in at least four of their last five games (80%)

We also want the away team to have seen over 1.5 goals in at least three of their last away games (60%)

We want to ensure that there has been no 0-0 results between the teams in their last five games between them in their Head to Head record.

When looking for potential games I use the excellent Website and App.

cadiz vs malaga h2h

No nil nil’s in the last five games between – it passes the first assessment

Cadiz last five games have read 2, 3, 3, 6, 1, which is 4/5 games – this has passed our next assessment with just one more to go

malaga last 5

Malaga’s last five games have read 1, 5, 3, 1, 2 – which gives us a minimum 3 out of 5 game.
Lastly we want to check the pre-match odds for this game and as we can see below, the over 1.5 goals very tasty indeed at around 1.60. Our models had this marked up around 1.42, so this was clearly a match presenting value and one we would have been keen to get involved with

odds cadiz malaga

All in all, Cadiz vs Malaga is identified as a value goal betting trade. Here’s what happened:

cadiz malaga result

The goals came in the 7 th and 23 rd minutes for an easy profit, if entering the market at kick off.

2. Price & Entry Point

Using your (new found) knowledge of when goals are scored and how probabilities work you can now determine the optimal time to enter a trade.
The over 1.5 goals price before kick off can vary quite significantly for many reasons – it can be as low 1.10 and I have seen it over 1.60.
Generally, I will consider enter a trade pre kick off if all my initial research has pointed to it being a value trade AND the price is near or above 1.40.
If the price is below 1.40 then I will do the following

1. If priced between 1.20 and 1.35 – I’ll wait either 10 minutes or for the first major action of the game before getting involved – either watching live or using the in-play stats on SofaScores
        a. Once the price has risen 10 ticks and I can see positive action in the game, I will enter the trade

2. If it is priced below 1.20 at kick off, I’ll usually pass on the game or monitor the first 30 minutes of the game if I’m available
        a. If I see lots of positive action then I may get involved between the 30 th and 55 th minute if the stats or what I’m seeing
supports it

In the example below, you will see that this was originally a game I chose to leave initially but wanted to keep an eye on the stats.
After about 30 minutes I had seen CD America with strong, sustained attack momentum and four shorts on target already (the loose average is four shots on target per goal). I checked the odds again and it was now sitting at near evens.

Nine minutes later, although the goal went El Nacional instead and I’d locked in £17.00 win on over 1.5 (68% profit) and scratch on Under 1.5. The game ended finishing 1-3 so I achieved my full profit in just nine minutes of work.

free football betting strategy
america quito - el nacional result

3. Staking

The third key component is staking. I use a drip feed staking strategy to ensure I am increasing my potential returns the longer the game goes before the first goal is scored.

Bet 1 – 20% of stake (either at kick off or once price reaches 1.40)
Bet 2 – 20% of stake, 25 ticks higher or if I see two shots on target
Bet 3 – 15% of stake 30 ticks higher or if total shots on target has reached four
Bet 4 – 15% of stake 30 ticks higher, or if I see a fifth shot on target

Those quick on the maths will see that this totals 0.7 points (70%) – the other 0.3 points (30%) is held back in case of a game reaching 0-0 late in the game (more on this in a moment).
There will normally be many games in a day which fit our criteria so it’s important to be selective and not over trade.
● We recommend that you use a spreadsheet planner  to help you keep discipline and help you focus on 3-5 good trades a day
● If you are presented with a lot of trading options, consider other match analysis to reduce your potential trades E.g. Team News, Goal time analysis (e.g. low scorers in first half), Half Time score analysis etc

What to do when a goal is scored?

When a goal is scored, you have three options
1. Do nothing – treat it as a bet, rather than a trade and let it run
2. Cashout – use the cashout function from Betfair to lock in an equal profit (or loss)
3. Partial Trade – use the new odds to remove your exposure and effectively have a free bet on their being another goal

We’ll ignore option 1 as we’re looking to mature and sensible traders here, not bettors.
With option 2, the cashout function, this can be a useful option with lower liquidity markets and when the goal comes late in the game and you want to lock in your profit (or reduce your exposure). Just be mindful that Betfair does not always work out the best possible price for you.

Option 3 is what we will be doing the majority of the time.

Scenario 1

If a goal comes early in the game – first 10-15 minutes and we are already in the trade, we may let it run as at this point our risk is just 0.20 points

Scenario 2

If a goal comes after the first 10 minutes, but before the 55t h minute, and the game looks open with the potential for more goals, then we’ll look to do what we call a scratch trade.
● A scratch trade is where we trade enough to cover our stake and leave all the profit on the other side. This means we either finish the game break-even, or we win a bigger amount if and when the second goal comes

Scenario 3

If a goal comes after the 55 th minute but for 70 minutes then we’ll make a judgement call on whether to adopt scenario 2 or simply trade out equal profit.

Scenario 4

Goal comes after the 70 th minute, then you’ll likely see little or no profit at this point. We’d normally trade out for as close to evens as possible – unless we really fancy another goal to come (E.g. it is the underdog who has scored and the home team are pushing hard to get back into the game)

But what if there are no goals?

With a trade such as this, the one and only, yet obvious danger is the dreaded zero – zero.
These are unavoidable – in the end, you will find them, but they should be few and far between if you are doing your research properly, ensuring you have ‘value’ in the price and following our staking and compound growth recommendations.
Whatever you do, don’t chase the loss or bet over 1 unit into a game.
There will be plenty of opportunities to make that 1 unit profit back if following all our staking correctly.
That said, there is one thing you can do if the match is reaching the 80th minute and is yet to see any goals – and it can pay off handsomely when the stars align.
Remember that 0.3 points that we held back – this is where we use it.
If the game is 0-0 and heading towards the 80 th minute, head to the correct score market and put a bet request into the market to lay 0-0 at 1.30, for 1 point profit.
This means you are risking 0.30 points (liability) for the chance to win 1 point profit (stake) if there is a goal in the last 10 minutes.

Scenario 1

No goals come and you lose a total of 1 point

Scenario 2

1 goal scored in the last few minutes and you recover your losses on the Over 1.5 goals bet, and end the match evens

Scenario 3

The game comes to life and there are two goals in the final period (more common than you’d think) and you win twice
You win the full amount on your Over 1.5 staking (no trade outs)
And you win 1 unit on the 0-0 lay
When this happens it’s a fantastic feeling – your facing up a 1 unit loss and then suddenly you get double profits.

Not bad hey!

Bonus 1 - Can’t trade live?

It is always best, where possible, to be available to watch the match live, or at least monitor on the Sofa Score App.
It’s not about having the fastest pictures or quickest reactions, nor does it mean you have to be glued to the computer or TV for the whole game – you can sat on the Sofa watching Corrie with your phone next to you
It just means that you can be more ‘available’ to adjust your approach and trades if you have idea on what’s going in a game.
That said, we know it’s not always possible, nor desired to do this all the time. For example, I live in a time zone 6-7 hour ahead of the UK, and there will be occasions where there are games that I really want to get involved in, but are in the middle of the night… and that is where the passive version of this strategy comes in.

You do the same staking as mentioned above but your schedule all your bets at the same time.

1. Bet 20% at 10 ticks higher than the current price

2. Bet 20% 25 ticks higher than your first bet

3. Bet 15% 25 ticks higher than your second bet

4. Bet 15% 25 ticks higher than your third bet

5. Plus Bet 30% on a lay of 0-0 at 1.30

Make sure all bets are ticked as ‘keep in play’ and you are all set.

Ultimately this is more a bet strategy as you will not be around to trade the match. So you will need the game to have at least 2 goals or you will lose your 1 point bet – conversely, you will get more profit as you won’t be trading out.

Provided you do all of your research and due diligence this is a strategy that can be relied upon for the times when you are not physically able to trade.


● 100 point bank
● Target just 10 points profit per month
● 3-5 trades per day
● 3-5% profit per trade
● Compound your stakes each month

Final Words

Thank you for your interest. I am sure you have enjoyed this strategy and even if you do not want to put it into practice, it certainly did not hurt to learn a bit more.

If you have any further questions about football trading, please leave me an email at [email protected] and I will answer you with pleasure.

Soon we will launch the Betfair Trading Academy website for all those interested in sports betting exchange. Lots of informative articles and free strategies. Stay tuned!

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