Football trading – Profit before a ball has been kicked!

There are a huge number of Betfair football trading strategies. Betting exchanges like Betfair present opportunities in the 2.5 goals markets, laying the draw to name a few. There are a number of betting strategies that can work long term in football matches. But all of these revolve around if a goal is scored, or not if you have a lay bet on a team.

But one of the first ways I traded it was pre match, in a similar manner to the way I trade horse racing markets on Betfair. I love trading events before they start as the risk involved is minimal. The market is framed by opinion and, generally speaking, sudden moves in price are rare.

When trading a football match, the most important thing to know, as with any trading, is how the odds are going to move. In most matches, each team will put out a full squad and that is discounted into the price so it hardly moves. You can trade that, but it’s a low return activity and quite time-consuming. But now and again there is an unexpected twist or a weaker team is deliberately field. That gives you the opportunity to do some trading on Betfair and profit before a ball has even been kicked.

Betfair trading – Team news

Trading team news is a popular football trading strategy. I discovered it by accident because I was trying to trade the markets in a certain way, completely messed it up and wondered what went wrong? It was then that I figured out what had happened. A couple of key players were not included in the team sheet, and that made the price of the market shift quite dramatically.

Different times of the year present different opportunities, but minor knock out competitions such at the EFL Cup, FA Cup or variants thereof can present situations where teams want to field weaker players. Fixture congestion can also force teams to change tack and injuries can have a similar effect on the team sheet.

Sometimes they combined together to create a ‘perfect’ opportunity.

A highly profitable Betfair trade

I’ve got an interesting example which I can show you, and that is the FA Cup third-round match between Exeter and Liverpool a few years ago.

I was watching the Liverpool match against Stoke in the Carling Cup during the week. And within 30 minutes, two players had to be substituted because of injuries. Liverpool already had a lot of injuries. But the impact that had was significant beyond that particular match.

I knew they had been struggling with injuries, so I had a quick look at the number of injuries that and then immediately switched over and had a look at what their next match was. And it was against Exeter away in the FA Cup.

It posed an interesting dilemma with Liverpool. In terms of, do they field all of their remaining star players, of which there aren’t that many? Or given the number of injuries that they’ve had, or do they put out a different team?

Hopefully, the difference in skill between Exeter and Liverpool should be enough. Even if they feel a weakened team, they’ll probably still win the match. But there’s also a bit of interesting psychology going on here as well because if Klopp puts out a few star players and they get injured as well, that is a major problem.

Very often what drives these decisions at key moments like that, is that particular type of fear, he’ll look an absolute fool if he puts out a top player and he breaks his leg or has a serious injury and can’t play for a little bit of time. This would significantly impact the ability of the team to compete in the Premier League.

You then also have this dilemma of is the Premier League more important than European competition and so forth. So you would expect a manager to make those decisions. And as soon as the injuries were announced and after the match, all of the press stories came out about the decisions that he was going make in terms of the team that he was going to field against Exeter. You can see from the graph that the odds on Liverpool just drifted and drifted.

If you went onto Liverpool fan sites or whatever team you’re looking at in that particular point, you can get an opinion and a view on who these players are and what impact they’re going to have. Either the injured players or the players that are going to step up and take over from a team in a scenario like this.

But it’s fairly clear at the point at which those two players are injured, that it was going to have an impact on the next match. Or in general, it could have an impact on next but doesn’t necessarily always have to.

All of the press that came out subsequently made it’s fairly clear that Liverpool was going to field a weakened team. So the price movement on the odds was a lovely drift. You don’t always get such a lovely drift. This is because, obviously, the extent of the move depends upon the players that are going to be in or out of the team. So the move you get will vary in each football match.

The team sheet

Don’t forget that whatever you were thinking in the run-up to the start of the match. When that team sheet comes out, it could be a completely different team to the one you expected and therefore the price will move again.

You would tend to do a trade like this in anticipation of a broader price move. But as we approach the time when the team sheet is announced, you either have to exit your trade and then have a look at the team before deciding what you are going to do. Or, if you still have an open position, you can have to make a decision pretty quick as soon as that team news comes out.

The team sheet will either confirm what you’re doing or deny it. I learned that from my mistake when I left a position open, it was a sure way of losing your money very quickly. The team sheet was completely different from what everybody expected, and the price reverted within about 15 minutes back to where it was. It was a painful lesson!

Team sheets can produce really good trades as well. This week we had Liverpool, again, playing the Carling cup and fielding a much weaker team. Then a few days later playing the Club World Cup and, err.., fielding a much weaker team. Both were for different circumstances, but hopefully, you can see how they came about what impact they were likely to have.


Trading team news is a good way of making money before a match has even started and because of this, you don’t get big movements the way you would if a team scored. Moves are fairly predictable and move gradually as sentiment is adjusted.

In the key example that we have provided here. What’s driven the drift on Liverpool is the likelihood that they’re going to field a weakened team against Exeter away in the FA Cup. If you were astute enough to get involved in that market at the right time, that would have been an absolutely excellent trade.

Team news on the day can cause quite a shift, but being ahead of the curve can make a trade even better. It’s a valid Betfair trading strategy that you should have in your trading Arsenal, excuse the pun.

  1. John Sutcliffe 4 years ago

    Do you use any particular web sites or apps for early as possible team sheet news?

    • Peter Webb 4 years ago

      Journalists are usually the best source for early team news or hints of it. So I follow teams and journos on Twitter.

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