Finding value in Football matches

06/12/2015 | By | Reply More

Yesterday I posted the following:-

05-12-2015 16-27-16


There were a number of reasons I said I was looking for some upsets, far too complex for one blog post. But one of the things was confidence. Not confidence in my ability, that’s not a problem :), but more confidence within the teams playing each other. It looked fairly ripe for an upset or two. Therefore I was looking to lay (and / or trade) with that in mind. I was opposing the favourites and hoping for a general pay-off.


If you looked at the recent form of each of the teams there were some that would be flying high on confidence and others less so. Some had very little. Confidence is such a critical factor in sport. There is generally little in skill level between players and teams. But for an overall view on a performance you should multiply skill by confidence. Teams brimming with confidence can perform well, but those without it can crumble at the slightest provocation and are prone to any setback, no matter how minor. Suddenly everything is difficult.

The table & staking

From top to bottom you can see the favourite’s price. 2.66 is for Swansea, yes the market had them as favourites against the rampant Leicester. Spurs were 1.92 against West Brom, I think the rest are obvious.

You can see two columns on here, ‘Win LS’ and ‘ Win S’. The first one is the level stake return and the other is working to a fixed liability. On Bet Angel you can lay by liability very easily. I prefer the latter as this allows you to equalise your risk and return. Basically you can control your stake and raise it over time and any performance above the odds will instantly be reflected in your returns. Level stakes can not achieve this. Again that’s another post altogether!

The two different tables

The top table is what happened and the respective returns. It actually worked out much better than expected, but you can also see the difference in reward for using a different staking method. The market thought, on average, 41% of favourites would win. We were opposing them and got 75% of them right. Basically only 25% of favourites won.

Picking one or two could leave you will a 0% win rate or 100%. So I prefer to pick a bunch of matches and you will find that the wild variability that you see in football, will tend to average out a bit. It’s a more comfortable scenario if you work this way. But ultimately, over very long periods of time, it doesn’t matter. I just suggest that if you are experimenting, you should adopt this method.


Once I’ve done this I play around with various scenarios to see what the possible outcomes could be. I can re-order all the results from best to worst quite easily and see if it looks a sensible risk. The bottom table reflects one of those scenarios. In that scenario I only got three out of eight correct but still end up shaving a profit (before commission).

So with angles covered, it was time to ‘unleash’ it on the market and wait. On this occasion the outcome was pretty good. For a fixed liability of £100 per match you returned £777. It’s not realistic to consider that a full profit in its own right. On other occasions you will give some of it back. But if you pick and choose your targets carefully, then it is possible to end up in the long term. Doing this at random won’t make you rich, but it won’t bankrupt you quickly either.

Given all the circumstances on Saturday it looked a good opportunity to me, it may not be so clear cut on other days. But given the result I now have some money in the bank for that scenario and also ready for the next opportunity.




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Category: Football trading strategies, Trading strategies

About the Author ()

I left a good job in the consumer technology industry to go a trade on Betfair for a living way back in June 2000. I've been here ever since pushing very boundaries of what's possible on betting exchanges and loved every minute of it.

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