‘In Play’ Betting (Trading) on Betfair football can be a very lucrative way to add green numbers to your sports trading account. It is not something which can be written out here as a step by step system because you need to apply some intuition and you need to have a good grasp of “value betting“.
In essence what this method involves is being sat in front of your PC on a busy day of football with the Betfair In-Play coupon open in front of you, as well as the livescore goal alerts. You then sit and wait. There are many examples of in play value betting, so I can’t possibly cover them all here, but you are just looking for situations which the team stats would suggest are ‘unlikely’ events in terms of raw probabilities.
Let’s say Manchester United are playing Accrington Stanley. You would expect Man U to slaughter them, but we are not interested in personal opinion, as regardless of what you might think, the STATS can sometimes throw up surprises even for someone who follows the teams, players etc on a regular basis.
Let’s say Man United’s stats did support the idea that they should slaughter Accrington, and you notice Accrington go ahead 2-0 in the first 30 minutes, then we may well have a very decent In-Play trading opportunity. The first thing you would do is go to the stats and CHECK AGAIN. This should be done religiously. So the double check of the stats confirms that Man U score twice or three times (or ten in this case!) as many goals as Accrington. What do you do then? Well the value bet can be found in various markets, I would probably go for the match odds market just as that’s the most liquid market and you will get your bet matched immediately with ease. You have choices of Laying Accrington at LOW Odds which is where the value is, Backing Man U at HIGH odds which is also where there would be significant value, or various other options such as the Correct Score market where you could back 2-2 and then lay the bet later to take your green, assuming the probabilities take effect and Man U score a goal or two back quickly. I would probably Lay Accrington in that situation.
Here is an example from today, 8th December 2012, where Swansea played Norwich. Swansea are on excellent form, but I noticed they were 0-3 down at half time, which surprised me so I checked the stats. Here is what I found:
So as you can see from that stats picture, Swansea score 1.62 goals per game on average at home and only concede 1.25 on average, yet they have already conceded nearly 3 times that many in this game. On the other hand, Norwich usually score a dismal 0.62 goals per game when playing away, but today they have scored 5 times as many goals before HT, which represents a VERY odd situation, and as a result the odds will have seesawed as gamblers took stock of this shock situation and pushed the odds way too far in the other direction (considering the stats). In simple terms, the market doesn’t know what the hell to do, as this situation was completely unexpected. This often leads to a large overreaction (not always though) in the odds on the outcomes, and by comparing the stats/probabilities with the odds, we can see if we have a great bit of value to take advantage of, or not.
You will also note that Swansea have only lost 1 game at home this season, and Norwich have not won a single game away this season! Finally, another factor supporting a trade is the scoring TIMES. Swansea score the great majority of their goals in the SECOND half. We are now at half time, so this looks like a peach of an in play value bet, and off I went to Betfair, or actually to my trading software. I laid Norwich at odds of 1.1 for £200. This means I would win £200 if Norwich did not win the game, and would lose £20 if they did. (0.1 x 200 = 20, the 1.0 portion of ‘1.1’ is your stake so you ignore that when laying).
Within 6 minutes of the second half kicking off, Swansea had got a goal back as expected. Norwich’s odds jumped up to around 1.3 which offered me a £30 greened trading result, i.e. £30 guaranteed no matter what the outcome if I exited after the Swansea goal. Considering my total risk on this, even if I had left it to a full bet like a gambler, would have been £20, so 1.5 times that as a guaranteed win is a damn good result in % terms, and you can see why this kind of football trading is a great approach. But in this instance, the stats looked so good that I decided to hold onto my hat and wait/hope for another goal from Swansea, remember their stats suggest they score 1.62 goals per game, and against Norwich who usually concede 1.75 per game, I expected at least one more goal from Swansea. That wasn’t an unrealistic “hope”, it was a stats based hope, which is quite different! I justified the risk through stats, not through desire or greed!
You should always have a trading PLAN. And my plan for this trade was to exit when the odds came down to my break even, i.e. the odds at which I entered the trade 1.1. And as you can see below, it didn’t take long for the second goal from Swansea:
I could have waited for 3-3 (which did end up happening, but that would be far too greedy, we want safe low risk profits remember and I was pushing it already as many traders would have taken the £30 greened after their first reply goal).
The second goal turned my guaranteed green profit into over £80, which on a £20 risk bet is a whopping 400% of return on my total risk. Time to green up this little bit of in play trading or ‘value betting’.