In a recent interview, cult football trading expert ‘Psychoff‘ was quoted as saying something along the lines of:-
“Value can’t be defined. Value is a feeling.”
This statement really resonates with me, as I believe that many traders put too much emphasis on stats and not enough emphasis on our feelings and intuition.
I myself have subscribed to systems in the past where software is used to show ‘value trades’ or ‘value tips’, but what is value and how do you determine if you have it or not?
For me, value is determined by how we perceive the flow of a football match, the likelihood of a goal being scored and the odds on offer at the time. It’s not so much about whether you are laying under 2.5 goals or backing over 3.5 goals, but rather the timing of your entry into the trade.
The old adage says that ‘Timing is everything‘ and that most definitely applies to football trading as well.
So what, if two teams historically have four goals per game? That means absolutely nothing to the 22 players on the pitch TODAY. The in-play stats right now may be terrible? Historical stats have no real bearing on a game.
So basing value on pre-game stats and historic data is a bit of a red herring when it comes to finding value. What’s most likely to happen is that you receive a bad dose of variance and get hit with a 0-0! Ouch! What happened there? There was so much VALUE! Where are all the goals that the historical data predicted?
Value has to be based on the ‘feeling‘ you get about how a game is developing at this moment in time and the prices on offer. If you can watch a game then great, you will get a better idea of how things are going and whether a goal is imminent, if not the in-play stats are the next best thing.
It’s a fact that the vast majority of goals in matches are scored AFTER the first 20 minutes. So just waiting for 20 minutes to pass and then entering your trade will give you more value straight off unless of course you are backing the unders. If a goal goes in tough luck. There are many more games to trade. Move on.
If I can’t watch a match, I will record the number of shots and corners and dangerous attacks at 15 minute intervals or use Betfair’s key stats tool for the match. This will then tell me if teams are growing in confidence and which team/teams are most likely to score next or at all. It can also tell me if a game has a good flow about it or whether it’s a dead loss and whether I should just bail out and protect my bank.
If a piece of software says that team A invariably beats team B who are classed a category X team blah blah blah then the price should be 1.50, but today it is 1.70, then that is great value! Poppy cock! It means absolutely jack to the players on the pitch. I can’t see Pep Guardiola saying to his players
‘Come on guys, we have to perform well today as we are good value on Betfair and going back over the past 10 years we have beaten this team in 8 out of 10 games and scored 25 and conceded just 5 goals‘
Neither can I!
It’s not relevant to today’s game. Different players, different manager, different weather, different pitch, different tactics etc etc.
So therefore, if we remove historical data, stats, programs, software and the like, we come down to the real factors and possibly the only ones you can really base your trading decisions on.
 – The in-play stats or the ‘feeling‘ you get when watching a match.
 – The price on offer. Is it ‘value’ compared with what is happening on the pitch?
I’m not saying recent stats are of no use, they can be and personally use them when making my selections. Just don’t base your decisions on them entirely.
As you know, with my LTD2/O2.5 system I often only stake 0.5 pts at the start of the match. This is so I can see how it develops and whether to go in after 20 minutes with another half point or play it safe and trade with caution. Maybe use that 0.5 pts if the game picks up later. It gives me more options.
What’s your own take on ‘value’?