Football Trading, using statistics & analytics

When you are Betfair football trading, like most markets, you are looking for an edge. Whatever Betfair football trading strategy you are using, getting a deeper insight into how a match could play out and how those prices move, will obviously benefit you significantly in your quest for a Sunseeker motor cruiser or whatever chattels you desire!

Betfair trading on football means you are predominately looking at key types of price movement, time decay and when a goal is scored. It could be that you are trading the 2.5 goals markets or match odds, or perhaps the correct scores markets. To be profitable longer-term at sports trading requires that you know something that somebody else doesn’t. So gathering data and knowledge on a match can be a critical path on that road.

Back in the late eighties and early nineties when I was trying to win the football pools, nobody really understood what was going through my head. But trying to know something that others didn’t was ultimately my aim. But it was a hard slog!

The era of ‘Not interested

When I got my hands on my first home computer I wanted to learn to code. So I set about learning and to do so I started creating a database of football matches. After a bit of time, I began to work through the odds on things happening, why and how I could use it to forecast the chance of winning a football match.

I had an ulterior motive though, I wanted to win the football pools. It was the only bit of gambling I was exposed to back then and it seemed like a good target. I would achieve this a few years later, but that’s another story!

I really started to get into all the statistical side of football matches. I wrote to a football magazine and explaining to them how I’d carefully mapped out what happens during a match. I carefully laid out an extensive document talking about how the time of the goal influences the outcome of a match and how a red card can significantly alter that match outcome. It included a summary of key statistics surrounding a football match and some interesting insight into how I felt individual events would affect the outcome of the match and the chance of a draw.

I remember receiving a letter back from the editor of the magazine, his comments were along the lines of “I have no idea why anybody would be interested in this sort of stuff”. I sort of understood that as it was rather arcane and obscure, but to me it was very interesting.

It just seemed that at that moment in time it wasn’t very interesting to anybody else! I actually archived all the work I did around this era, not knowing that I may use it in the future. It just seemed a waste to put it in the bin.

Football analytics in the modern age

Wind forward to today though and there are thousands of blogs, articles and other information surrounding the mechanics of how football matches played out. And now millions being spent a year by football clubs to get a tiny edge against all of their rivals. I’m guessing I was just a little ahead of my time and perhaps, if I had more perseverance as a youngster, I may have made some of these ideas stick.

The interesting thing now about football analytics, from a trading perspective, is that there is now a plethora of information available on each individual match. This data could be before the matches started or as the match is under-way and this gives us significant insight that I couldn’t have dreamt of a few years ago.

Now, of course, people are trying to give insight from a number of perspectives but the practical upshot from a trading perspective is that the data available is very high quality and can have pretty profound implications for the way in which you choose to trade a match.

It’s amazing how deep some of the analysis goes and how a lot of people don’t realise the value of some of the analysis that they are doing. It can give valuable insight into certain aspects of a match or other team or of a player, or many other aspects.

The fact that most of its available for free, in the hope that people may place a bet, is very helpful. I’ve often considered offering a detailed analysis of individual matches. But to be honest, a lot of the information is out there is more than adequate and sufficient to be able to get good insight as to what’s actually happening during the match. It’s much better content, generated real-time, than I could offer on my own on top of all my other commitments.

I’ll often browse WhoScored, InfoGol, SoccerStats, SofaScore, UnderStat to name a few sites among many, to get some insight. It may be worth me elaborating at some point if you are interested. Leave a comment on the blog if you are interested in what I’m looking for. Some of the Fantasy football sites, accidentally, give away good information. Specifically, if you are looking at the impact of player injuries. There is a plethora of good sites to choose from.

We have done a fair bit of work on Bet Angel though. Aside from improving basic one click betting functions to display additional information from a football match, we have added things like coupons to allow you to display markets next to each other. This should help you get the best out of any statistics you are looking at and act on them quickly from a trading perspective.

But, given my background in Football analytics and market pricing, it shouldn’t really be surprising that rather than just creating another bit of trading software, I added in Soccer Mystic, which is focused around what happens if a teams scores, or doesn’t as the case may be. If you are developing any Betfair trading strategy on football, even basic ones like lay the draw, it can help you understand what will happen at key points within the football match.

The funny thing is, from a broader perspective, as more information becomes available, especially to football individual teams, it becomes less valuable.

Analytics, the pop concert and the drunk

A few years ago, by a very fortuitous route, I found myself in a professional football club offering advice on using analytics in a game. I was fortunate enough to go through a rapid learning curve in terms of what is out there and how clubs are using it at a professional level. My conclusion, it’s all great, but only if you use something that others are not using. Like trading, you need to find a niche.

Imagine going to a music festival to watch a band and the guy in front of you stands on his tiptoes to get a better view. In turn you will stand in your tiptoes to improve your view and that forces the person behind you to stand on their tiptoes. This is the situation that a lot of clubs find themselves in currently. They feel the need to get involved in analytics but the benefit of doing so is only relative to what other teams are doing. And of course, all the other teams are now doing analytics and that nullifies the effect of getting good analytics. It becomes a battle of who has the best analytics or ideas.

Football analytics, statistics and lampposts

I’ve been involved in advising on the use of analytics and often I’m questioned why I should be offering advice. But of course, I have a very good answer, I don’t have a degree in statistics.

You would think that would work against me, but it tends to work very well. This is because I can see things very clearly and in ways that others perhaps can’t perceive. I’m not looking for the obvious or to get peer-reviewed. The best qualification I have of being able to advise in this manner is quite simple. If you’re betting or trading using information and its profitable, you definitely know more than other people do. That’s valuable.

When I go back to the start of my trading career I started on football markets a I knew them so well. But it would take some time to do a proper analysis. In this modern era, there is just so much quality information, especially in-play. There is loads of really detailed insight within the grasp of pretty much everybody.

So my advice to you would be yes, use football analytics. But don’t use them like a drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination!

1 Comment
  1. Tom 4 years ago

    Hi Peter, great blog. It would be great to follow up on what is deemed relevant stats and how these can be used. I find there is a lot of statistical data on the web but it’s filtering out what is relevant rather knowing how many Peter’s scored a goal on Saturday 5th December 2020 which doesn’t help me.

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