In this post, I want to just take a moment to highlight an important aspect to trading football matches, which is how to maximise the value that we are getting.
If you follow me with my 5K Challenge you will know that I usually enter my trades by dripping my stakes in from the start.
I will mainly use four or five chunks starting at kick-off and gradually adding more in as the game progresses. So for example, if doing Over 2.5, adding 0.2 pts at 1.60, 0.2 pts at 1.70, 0.2 pts at 1.80, 0.2 pts at 1.90 and 0.2 at 2.0.
I will usually set these up prior to kick-off. If a goal goes in early I simply cancel any that have not been matched.
Dripping our stakes in allows us to take advantage of time decay where the price naturally rises over time. As long as the game remains goalless, the price will continue to drift.
However, an important aspect of trading and betting is that we take as much VALUE as possible. After all, betting with value is the only way to win in the long run. If you aren’t taking a price which is higher than the true probability of the outcome, you will ultimately lose in the long run.
You may win a few, lose a few but overall, you will lose as the price you are taking is lower than the statistical probability of the event actually occurring.
So what we really need to do is to consistently maximise the value we are getting, but how can we do this?
By attempting to time our entry point as near to the first goal as possible.
Entering a trade in drips at the start is fine, however, many games don’t see the first goal for 20 minutes or more. This means we may have backed over 2.5 goals at 1.60 from the start, however, if the first goal goes in at the 20’ mark, the price could be around 2.0 or evens in fractional odds. (This will of course depend on how the game is progressing).
The example above would mean an extra 25% or more of profit by just sitting and waiting for 20 minutes. That’s massive in the long term. Imagine adding 25% to your profits over the course of the year!
The image below (from Sofascore) is for one of the games I traded at the weekend, Southampton v Man Utd which ended 2-3.
I entered my initial stake at 8 am as the price was good at 1.97 for over 2.5. I did this for half a point on this occasion. If it was say 1.60 or 1.70 I would have dripped it in but, as the price was so good, and represented good value (based on prior research of recent stats, head-to-head and xG data), I did 0.5 pts on Over 2.5 at 1.97 and 0.5 pts on BTS at 1.90.
Now, if you look at the chart above, the game was fairly quiet for the first 10 mins which is a common occurrence in most games. There were then a couple of spikes at around 10 mins from Man Utd and then again at 20 mins as they looked to push for a goal.
This signaled that the initial quiet period that most games have, where each team sizes up the opposition, had come to an end. Both teams at this point were looking to assert themselves and score a goal. Game on!
The pressure from Man Utd seemed to jolt Southampton into a response and they then started to apply some pressure of their own around 20 mins. The first goal then went in soon after on 23 mins.
I don’t know what the price would have been for O2.5/BTS at this point but it would have been considerably higher than the initial 1.97/1.90 that I took.
Maybe 2.5 or so? A lot more for sure.
If I had waited for that activity to begin at around 10-15 mins the price I got would have been much better, increasing my overall winnings. Makes sense right?
So as you can see, waiting for ‘Sustained Pressure’ before entering a trade where you are looking for goals makes perfect sense.
It is all about balance.
As the game opens up and chances are created, it stands to reason that the probability of finding a goal increases. In the meantime, we just let the odds drift and enter our trade later to maximise our profits as much as possible.
We can never know for sure when a goal is going to come, but we can tell when the likelihood increases. This is our opportunity to take advantage.
Of course, we may miss an early goal or two, however, when you think about it, in most cases you will only be making a small amount of profit with an early goal, as most games will have low starting odds on O2.5/BTS.
So the gains of waiting far outweigh any potential losses you will have missing an early goal.
Look at the recent EPL game between Everton and Leeds, where I backed over 2.5 and BTS.
There were a massive 30 shots and corners during the match. Enough for two or three games and still it took 80 minutes for Leeds to find the winner with the match ending 0-1.
Sometimes the flaming ball just refuses to go in, or the goalkeeper is having the match of his life!
We can’t foresee that, but we can at least give ourselves every possible chance to enter our trades at the right time and maximise profit.
Entering and exiting multiple times throughout the match
This leads me to another important point.
If we can delay placing our trade at the beginning of the match until there is sustained pressure, it must also make sense to cash out when the game goes cold and then re-enter again when it picks up again?
Makes sense and may be an option.
Another thing to touch on again is value.
We all want value after all. Whether we are trying to get something cheaper at the shops or betting, the principle is the same. We want more for our money. In betting, we want more for our risk.
I’ve been doing lots of research recently on xG (Expected Goals) and Poisson Distribution.
I love xG and the way it removes the luck element of match results.
If you want to read more on xG, I would recommend checking out the Football XG site.
You can find the guy on Twitter as well at https://twitter.com/football_xg
If you check his blog, each week he has a downloadable spreadsheet that is full of tons of data to help with making your selections and finding value based on xG and Poisson. There are some real nuggets to be found.
It’s worth checking that spreadsheet alone to help figure out what is and isn’t considered to be good value based on xG and Poisson stats.
If you don’t do this you are betting blindly and basing everything on your own subjective opinion of the teams and what you ‘expect’ to happen.
xG on the other hand provides you with the data you need to know how teams have been playing and whether they are creating chances or not. Over time, xG will balance things up with the teams that have been creating chances (but not necessarily winning) scoring more and those who have been over performing not. Worth checking.
It is often because of this that we get these scenarios of “how comes this team that hasn’t been winning is now?”. “They shouldn’t have won that match!”.
This is because they had been performing well, creating the chances, but just not scoring them and getting the results. Eventually, they do go in. It’s usually at the point when you expect them to get beaten again turning your prediction on its head.
Anyway. Have a read.
Another great xG site is Infogols. https://www.infogol.net/en
So to clarify my ramblings above.
Good trading is all about minimising losses, maximising profits and protecting the bank at all costs.
Delaying our entry into any game where we are expecting goals is extremely important.
The longer we wait for ‘sustained pressure’, the better the price we will get, increasing any potential profits.
If you want to profit from trading and betting you have to find VALUE. Not based on your own opinion, but based on real data and most importantly, what is happening in-play.
Ultimately, historical stats, head-to-head data and XG (Expected Goals) are all well and good and valuable to know, but they often don’t determine what will happen when the whistle goes.
There is nothing more frustrating than spending hours profiling a game only for it to turn out to be a dull 0-0 bore draw. Like the two I managed to find at the weekend!
For some teams, it can be more important not to lose than to win! Hey Jose? You know, park the bus and all that…
By watching the game until things pick up, or using the Sofascore’s Attack Momentum data, we can avoid entering games that don’t live up to our expectations, in turn, avoiding a loss or missing out on bigger profits.
Just some thoughts.
Thanks for reading if you got this far. 😉
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