Lay The Draw - How To Profit From LTD Strategy in 2023

Last updated: January 1, 2024

Laying The Draw is probably the most well-known Betfair strategy of all time.

Football Stadium and FansIt's popularity is partly due to the huge number of football fans, but also due to it being one of the most beginner-friendly ways to learn how to make consistent profits from trading football.

I have traded football for more years than I care to remember. When I first started this site over a decade ago now, I was trading full time every day using this strategy almost exclusively.

Over a year or two I adjusted and 'honed' my approach to maximise profits. As a result of the success of my published trades I got quite a few subscribers. Many asked me to outline my selection criteria and trading process. That's when this article was first published. Since then it has had a few minor changes but the core of the strategy remains exactly the same. It still works very nicely and it always will.

Below is everything you need to know about laying the draw on Betfair, from the classic 'vanilla' approach, to my 'fine-tuned' version, and even a few other variations I use occasionally.

How Laying The Draw Works

Component PartsI assume readers know what 'laying' means. If you don't, then I'd advise you to pause here and read my Betfair trading basics article first.

That will get you up to speed on how a betting exchange works, the differences between backing and laying, and some basic sports trading terminology.

In the simplest terms, to 'Lay The Draw' means to bet against a football match ending in a draw scoreline, be it 0-0, 1-1, 2-2, and so on.

You are betting that one team will beat the other by, er... scoring more goals! Easy so far? Good!

Trading The Draw vs Straight Betting

If you're thinking that betting against a draw doesn't sound very much like 'trading', you'd be 100% right! Collect £200 as you pass Go!

As you'd expect, there's a big difference between just laying the draw, and 'lay the draw trading'.

From a gambler's perspective, straight betting against a draw isn't a terrible bet in its own right. As traders we don't do it, because we're not gamblers, are we?! 😉

But a punter might not do too badly by just picking games at random, considering the statistics.

In the English Premier League, just 23% of football games end in a draw. This means over 75% of games don't! But that's enough about the 'merits' of gambling, before you get any silly ideas!

A 'bet' against a draw relies on the game actually ending with a non-draw scoreline. But, as lay the draw traders, we couldn't care less about the match outcome because our stake and winnings are completely removed from the market long before the end of the game.

Goals And Their Effect On Prices

More importantly, as traders we understand how the market behaves when a goal is scored.

The team that goes ahead has now become much more likely to win. As such their odds drop dramatically. The other team's odds increase dramatically too, as do the odds on the draw.

Considering the trading mantra: 'buy low, sell high' (or vice versa), we now have a known outcome:

Our trade wins a profit in the event of a goal, especially if the stronger team scores it.

There are 3 possible outcomes to a football match:

  1. Team A Win
  2. Team B Win
  3. Draw

We target the draw because we have two ways to win (A or B winning), and one way to lose (no goals).

Betfair Price ChartThis chart shows how dramatic the price rise can be on the draw after goals are scored. In this case, there were actually two goals from Team A. Look how far the odds moved, that's all profit for a lay the draw trader!

What's more, there were two opportunities to take profits, depending on which style of LTD you're using.

This 'cause and effect' between goals and prices (odds) is what we're seeking when trading the draw. If we lay the draw in games where goals are likely, we can be in a position to profit from the change in odds when goals are scored.

And with some simple analysis of form, we can stack the deck in our favour to achieve a reliably successful strike rate. Before going into that, let's go through the basics of the LTD method.

The Mechanics Of A Trade

Here are the four steps involved in any successful LTD trade:

  • Place lay bet on the draw at suitable odds and at a suitable time.
  • Wait for a goal to be scored, maybe two depending on the chosen approach.
  • Back the draw at the new higher price, the difference being our 'green' (profit).
  • Green up so that we have an even profit across all possible outcomes.

How To Find Trades


First we need to scour for suitable games. Games which look like they have potential just based on the draw price (odds). This is the fastest way to 'sift' through the often busy in-play football coupon on Betfair, ruling out any matches which are obviously unsuitable for trading the draw.

  • Pull up the 'Today's In Play' coupon on the Betfair football exchange (or "Tomorrow" if shortlisting for the next day).
  • Scan all scheduled matches to find any with odds on the draw of between 3.2 and 5.0 and where the home team is favourite.
  • Add those matches to your 'shortlist'. This can be a text document, spreadsheet, paper sticky note, diary or whatever else you find easiest.
Betfair Football In Play Coupon

Image: In this example, out of the 5 English Premier League matches today, 4 qualify on draw odds, but Bournemouth is ruled out as the away team is favourite. So only 3 of these qualify and I add them to my shortlist. We want to be as inclusive as possible at this stage. Remember this is just the EPL coupon, there will be many more games today in many other leagues around the world, so check the entire list.

Research: Form and Statistical Analysis

Now we have a shortlist of potentially tradeable games. They will definitely not all be trades.

Next we want to assess which ones have a good probability of goals. The way I do that is as follows:

  • Go to a football statistics website (Soccerstats or Soccerway) and find each shortlisted match.
  • Analyse the team stats, goal scoring stats, goal conceding stats and general form for both teams. (Tip: Check their Head2Head as well - if they often draw against each other, dump it.)

Trade Qualification Criteria

There's a lot of personal judgement needed at this point, and we no longer want to be 'inclusive'. On the contrary, we want to be as critical as possible, always leaning towards removing matches from our shortlist if any doubt exists about the form and stats. Some simple requirements are:

  • A strong home favourite who usually beats the away team, especially in the last 3 years.
  • Home team scores at least 1.5 goals per game (ideally 1.8+)
  • Home team concedes less than 1.25 goals per game (ideally less than 0.8)
  • Away team scores less than 1.25 goals per game (ideally less than 1.0)
  • Away team concedes more than 1.25 (ideally more than 1.5)

Quite a few games won't qualify and are ruled out. But just put an X next to them on the shortlist. Whilst they may not qualify for the "Classic" Lay the Draw strategy, they may well qualify for my personal twist on this method, as I'll explain later.

I'll give a few examples of stats analysis below, starting with one from today's Betfair coupon above.

Example 1

Pre-Match soccer stats
  1. Home team ranked 7th in league, away ranked 10. Strong enough. Tick!
  2. Home team scores at least 1.5 goals per game. Tick!
  3. Home team concedes less than 1.25 goals per game (ideally less than 0.8) Tick!
  4. Away team scores less than 1.25 goals per game (ideally less than 1.0) Tick!
  5. Away team concedes more than 1.25 (ideally more than 1.5) Tick!

These aren't the strongest stats I've ever seen, but it scrapes in as a qualifier for a classic LTD trade.

Edit (an hour or two later!).... Ha! I still had the Betfair coupon in my browser and my eye caught the scoreline in this game after half an hour of play. No I wasn't trading it, I was busy typing this article instead! (You're welcome!) It turned out to be a nice trade, or would have!

Winning lay the draw trade

Example 2

Football LTD Stats


  • Home team are ranked number 1 in the league
  • Home team scores 2.18 goals per game on average, 2 per game at home (most important stat).
  • Home team concedes very few goals at home (0.5)
  • Home team has never 'failed to score' at home, and are unbeaten at home this season.
  • Away team scores only 1 goal per game when playing away
  • Away team concede 1.6 goals per game (away)
  • Home team score a lot of their goals early (longest orange bar), making this ideal for a "Classic" Lay the Draw trade from kick off.


  • Away team are ranked 3 in the league so they are a serious opponent, probably not a 'walkover'.
  • Away team score a lot at home, showing they are a good team and are quite capable of scoring.

Overall this looks a good pick, and this goes down as a definite qualifier for a (classic) LTD trade.

Note: There are more checks I make but this article can't go much deeper than it does already. If you want a complete course in how I trade the draw, see my LTD ebook.

Example 3

Lay The Draw Football Statistics Example

I'll talk you through this one, just to give you a bit more of my thinking during these checks.

First question: Is it a strong home team?

No, not really. The home team is ranked 10 in the league, the away team is ranked 9. So the away team is the slightly 'better' team overall, this season anyway.

Of course I'm sure they are not the better team when we take into account the "Home Advantage", i.e. a home team always plays much better with their fans all around them than they do at a hostile away game in front of only a small number of their own supporters. But it's still worth noting that the away team is every bit as good as the home team generally.

These teams are 'neighbours' in the league table, and generally I am very cautious of trading games like these as they can see fewer goals than usual, as the outcome can switch their positions in the league.

The goal stats all look fine, but the above point means I would probably be skipping this for a "classic lay the draw", at least until I have looked at other opportunities.

However: It does look perfect for one of my preferred 'twists' on the LTD method. More on that later, but the reasons why are:

  • Look at the orange bars. The home team score less than a quarter of all their goals in the first half.
  • Their 'Average Time First Goal Scored' is 56 minutes, 54 when playing away. They are slow starters, they win games (and score) in the 2nd half.
  • They score more than a third of all their goals in the last 15 minutes!

Result: No classic lay the draw trade here, but one to be mindful of later.

Ok so we now have a list of tradeable games, it's time to think about how to implement the trades.

Execution: Different Ways To Lay The Draw

There are quite a few variations of this strategy, and then there’s the way I do it, which varies a little as well! I'll explain them all below:

Classic 'Vanilla' Method

  • Vanilla Ice CreamOpen the trade by laying the draw before kick off, either on or via software such as Bet Angel.
  • Listen out for goals while you wait for the home team to (hopefully) score.
  • Exit (trade out) after the goal and hedge your green across all outcomes to guarantee an even profit whatever the result.
  • If no goals go in, plan to trade out at 70 mins or when the draw price reaches 2.0, whichever comes first.

More detail is given below, and fear not, I will be covering what to do if the 'dog' scores first!

Lay The Draw Exit Strategies

Novice Traders

You can take your money and run after the first goal, or you can wait (and hope) for a second. As a beginner trader you should pick one exit strategy and stick to it.

If you're choosing one, I'd recommend the 'exit after first goal'. You'll get more winning trades and your risk is reduced due to the shorter time you're in the market.

There is more profit potential with the second exit strategy, but there's more risk of getting in a mess (emotionally too). Save that for when you're more experienced and have a consistent strike rate.

Experienced Traders

I make a judgement call after the first goal, just based on how the game is playing combined with the strength of the home team scoring stats.

If they usually score 2+ goals per game, and if the game looks lively with lots of shots on target, I usually hold onto my trade until half time to trade out, often getting a second goal which will normally double the winnings for that trade, but of course risking losing a previously green trade.

N.B. If the second goal does come, I often use a different exit strategy: Instead of backing the draw to exit a lay the draw trade, you can 'lay the leader' instead, which has the same effect but with a nice little cherry on top:

Laying the draw exit strategy

In this example, the draw odds didn't move much so the profit (if I exited by backing the draw) wouldn't have been great. But the home team's odds were so short that there was more green available by laying them, and spot the little cherry on the top if the away team came back to win!

In fact, if they just equalised then their price would collapse and I would be able to bag quite a bit more green from this game, just for a 1-1 scoreline. Cheeky little number isn't it?! 🙂

If Neither Team Scores

Bored TraderIf no goals are scored by either team then it's a losing trade, in which case you trade out when the draw odds reach 2.0 or whatever you decided based on your calculations and money management rules (*).

It's simply a percentage of your total trading bank, the max you're willing to risk per trade. (Think 1-2% for beginners.)

After opening a trade at whatever draw odds you got, you calculate what odds are the lowest you can go to risk your max loss sum.

That's your mental 'stop loss', the point where you get out no matter what. No dilly-dallying around, it's exit time. If you can't follow your own rules, you should get another line of work.

Tough love I know, but it's necessary. I do want you to succeed. 🙂

Disciplined exits make successful traders. Sloppy exits make poor people.

First Half Lay The Draw

This is basically just the classic method but applied only to the first half rather than the whole game.

As you saw above, your trade research will sometimes show strong scoring stats for the first half, with fewer goals likely in the second half. In these cases you can trade just the first half.

Note that a goal won't move the draw odds as much as it would in the second half, just because there's still a lot of gameplay left, so profits won't be as good. I don't use this very often.

Second Half Lay The Draw

As above but in this case the stats suggest the second half will be the most active half of the game. This is more common and offers much better profits, so I sometimes lay the draw at half time.

You 'sit out' the first half (ideally watching to get a feel for the game) and then enter your trade at half time, planning to exit either at a pre-determined draw price, or you can just let it run to the end.

Whilst it feels a little naughty, it's actually not such a bad idea because many games do see goals in those final few minutes, especially when the teams are drawing.

A goal is almost a guaranteed death blow and instant 3 points instead of 1 for a draw, so even the dullest of games can suddenly light up near the final whistle! Want an example? Feast your eyes on this...

Late Laying The Draw Football Match

But if you're going to start looking for a good 'trading window' rather than trading the whole game, you may as well go further and use my approach explained below. I put a lot of time, research, and money into fine-tuning my way of laying the draw, making it work as profitably as possible over the long-term. So I hope you'll enjoy the next section!



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My Version Of The Strategy

Sinatra singing My WayThere are three ways I might approach any LTD trade. The first is just my version of the classic method outlined above which is good and does work nicely, but there's always room (and need sometimes) for variations.

I choose between the two other strategies depending on:

  • The hours I'm at my computer
  • The number of trades I'll be managing at once in a trading session
  • Whether I'm planning to trade pre-match (from kick off), or...
  • Looking for In-Play opportunities, usually due to already having more than enough classic trades already running.

Here are my two other approaches, which both work well:

1 - Goal Stats Window

During the stats analysis phase, it's quite common to find periods (of usually 15-20 minutes) where a team is very active, whether scoring or conceding (both are equally important to me). This is my 'window' of opportunity, and I sometimes only trade that period.

Whilst there's usually no shortage of standard lay the draw trades, some matches just don't qualify based on the pre-match checks. However some may have noteworthy statistics where, ideally, one team scores around the same time that their opponents often concede.

This would be a prime pick to trade the 'stats window', usually a period of between 10 and 30 minutes.

In such cases I run my LTD trade tightly inside that window and, by learning the hard way, I'm (now) religious about getting out when that period ends. No hanging on, pretending I can't reach my mouse, popping to the loo to snatch a few more minutes... (Yes, I used to play tricks on myself all the time!)

2 - In Play Goal Alerts

Back when I was posting my lay the draw 'tips' on the site, I engaged with other traders a fair bit, and this sometimes led to someone alerting me to an In Play lay the draw opportunity.

At first it was frustrating as I already had enough to do, but it was hard to pass up what was often a very clear opportunity for getting easy 'value' from the football markets.

More importantly, I saw my profits increase significantly as a result of these 'on the fly' LTD trades. It soon became my favourite approach to this strategy.

How to lay the draw in-play

I use a goal alerts site (or app) like WS or Futbol24 to monitor all live games. This pings me when a goal is scored in any game worldwide.

Here are the specific 'setups' I am interested in:

  • Any game with goals that becomes a draw in-play. For instance if Chelsea just scored back against Man U, making the game 1-1.
  • Any game which is drawing at 35-40 minutes, including a no score draw (0-0).
  • Any game which is drawing at 80 minutes. (This is a particular favourite as so many games see late goals, and the risks are minimised due to the low entry odds).

If I spot any of those setups, I go straight to the stats for that game and check:

  • Whether the game is inconsistent with the stats. A good example is seeing a game is 0-0 at 80 minutes, yet the stats suggest the game should see 2-3 goals.
  • Whether there's a likelihood of more goals (by analysing the scoring and conceding periods of both teams)
  • Whether there's any other reason to expect a goal. (i.e. a red card)

Watching some of the game is a great way to get a feel for the run of play, and I will do that whenever possible to whilst deciding if it's tradeable.

If all looks good, I then lay the draw and stay in that trade either until the final whistle (if entering at 80 minutes) or, if entering earlier, I plan to exit around the 70-80 minute mark if no more goals are scored.

Why Is It My Favourite Type Of LTD Trade?

Risk RewardWhat I love most about this approach is the risk reward ratio, as it's heavily stacked in a trader's favour.

With the standard approach to laying the draw (and I must say again: which does work well!) you look for the same stats picture, but you risk more because the odds you lay the draw at are usually pretty high at kick off.

But with this approach, you're waiting until the deck is stacked in your favour (and against other LTD traders!) and only finding the trade setups when you're already in a strongly advantageous position.

The risks are reduced, the potential profits are increased significantly.

I had one once where I got in on a superb game that was 2-2 before half time!

I thought: "There's no way that hasn't got more goals in it!", and the stats backed it up.

I entered my lay the draw, took my profit after it went 3-2, then entered again when it went 3-3, then banked a load more green when it went 3-4!

I sat out after that (temptation is an enemy we must vanquish!) and I can't remember what happened but I'm pretty sure there were even more goals! One game like that can produce as much profit as three successful 'classic' LTD trades.

This approach also sometimes makes it possible to get involved in games that I normally wouldn't due to a very high draw price, such as this one:

Winning Soccer Trade

Not an impressive trade, but a good example. I noticed the early 1-1 scoreline, giving me a chance to LTD when it would otherwise have been too expensive. Madrid were massive favourites and expected to score many goals. As it turned out, the underdogs scored to go 2-1, and there was still plenty of profit to make it worthwhile. A Madrid goal would have seen me easily bank well over £200, but green is green.

How Much To Stake?

I will give some information on this but please understand: This is a decision for you and you alone.

We all have different bank sizes, strike rates, experience levels etc. Also, we all vary emotionally, and have very different appetites for risk.

Beginner Staking

StakingThis will be covered in my forthcoming article on bank management *. Your stake should be calculated based on your realistic worst case scenario from a trade, i.e. the max potential loss.

Generally I think risking 1% of your trading bank is more than enough when learning.

Increase stakes as your success and bank grows, not before.

Experienced Staking

On a fully qualifying 'classic' lay the draw trade, I usually stake up to 5% of my bank.

That's pretty high and I spent a long time on 1% or 2% stakes until I knew my selections held up over the long term.

I do use smaller stakes, between 1%-3%, in various situations such as when I have some reservations about a trade (but still want to go ahead), if the odds are not ideal, or if trading a short stats window.

Calculate Stake by Stop Loss

StakeTo explain the numbers, let's say I lay the draw for a £200 stake at odds of 4.0.

My total liability is £600. But this is irrelevant.

The important point is this:

If I exit at my stop loss point of 2.0 (by backing the draw @ 2 for £200 and then 'redding up'), my total liability is £200.

Note: If I enter by laying at odds of 5.0, and no goals come so I exit @ 2.0, my max loss is then £300.

So it all depends on the odds of entry and exit, you can't calculate a correct stake (according to % of bank risked) without knowing these numbers. Hence why every trade should be planned carefully beforehand to avoid overstaking.

What If The Underdog Scores First?

Many LTD traders consider this their arch enemy, however I don't. A game that's as dull as ditchwater with no goals and hardly any shots on target, that's what I hate most!

Above all the thing to remember is to control your emotions. There's nothing that kills a trader faster than loss of emotional control.

When the underdog scores first you have various options:

Instant Exit

keep calm and carry onClose the trade immediately.

Then close the market/browser tab, you don't need any temptation to start 'revenge trading'!

This is the best approach for a beginner, and for many professionals too. I did it myself for quite a few years.

Remember this is trading, and it wouldn't exist without the risk of losing, and that means the reality of losing!

Just treat it as part and parcel of business. Dealing with losing trades swiftly and calmly is the simple solution. Focus on keeping your strike rate as high as possible, and making losing trades cost you as little as possible.

Wait And See

You can hold your position, maybe watch some of the game if possible, and make a slower decision on what to do.

If so you should also double check the match stats, just in case you overlooked something. You are not actually in a losing position remember. You bet against the draw, and it isn't a draw, so there's no need to panic.

What I tend to do is judge the gameplay and see how the teams both respond to the 'surprise' lead the underdog now has.

Sometimes the goal gives the dog more confidence and they score again. More often the home team quickly equalise, in which case you're back where you started, it's a draw again and the trade continues.

The danger with this approach is waiting while the dog has the lead, and holding until too late in the game. This takes you into the dangerous last 20-30 minutes where, if the favourite equalises, the odds can instantly drop below your pre-determined stop loss point (in odds).

This is one of the few ways you can end up losing more than expected, so my advice is never to hold on much past half time with the dog 1-0 up.

What If The Underdog Equalises?

1-1If you're not automatically exiting after the stronger team score, you may find yourself in this situation. You had a winning trade at 1-0 to the favourite, but before you exited the trade, the dog scored one back.

Depending on how long is left in the game, you can either take it as a loss and exit, or you can hold for a third goal. Again it comes down to the run of the game (if watching) and the stats. Stats are always king though, so never ignore those.

Example Lay The Draw Trade

There are countless examples of me laying the draw on my blog and many more in my ebook, so you already have a good idea what a standard trade looks like.

However, I found a good example of a slightly unorthadox In-Play LTD trade, and it covers many of the points mentioned above.

Unfortunately I don't have a copy of the goal stats, but they were heavily suggesting a game full of goals, with a home win for the strongly fancied Atletico Madrid.

My livescores alerted me to an unexpected goal from the underdog within a few minutes of kick off. I looked at the stats and made a very rare decision to lay the draw in the game.

Basically, the odds were so short on the home team beforehand, as they were so strongly fancied to win, that even at 0-1 down the draw price was low.

I therefore laid the draw at 0-1 (hardly ever do that) and waited. I was expecting to have the option of a small profit when the home team equalised (due to being so strongly fancied, the draw odds would increase), or a much bigger profit if they scored two to take the lead. That's what happened:

Screen Shot 2013 12 21 at 20.06.06 1

I traded out using my 'lay the leader' exit strategy. And this turned out to be a great decision, because somewhat incredibly this underdog only went and scored again!

I greened some and then laid the draw again at 2-2. But due to the alternative exit strategy, I had semi-banked some green from that, so this second lay the draw trade had much less potential downside:

Screen Shot 2013 12 21 at 20.21.59 1

Due to dinner plans, I intended to leave it to a full bet at this point so that I could leave the office. £42.50 risk was way below my usual acceptable risk, and peanuts against the upside if either team scored again, and the stats certainly suggested that was highly likely.

A short while later, along came the expected 5th goal to take the game 3-2. I happened to get an alert on my phone so I popped back to the computer again, placed some bets to partially green my posotion, and left it looking like this:

trading profit

I could easily see Levante scoring again (their striker was playing brilliantly too) so I didn't green up fully. I was happy to leave it at that, and that's how it ended.

It isn't a typical trade, not by a long chalk! But it does show how all is not necessarily lost when things don't go quite how the stats suggest. More importantly, it shows how you can 'use' a market that's in 'shock' from some unexpected events.

Hedging or ‘Insurance’ For LTD Trades

HedgeMany people talk about this, too much in my opinion. Some people literally obsess over it!

I don't take out 'insurance' on my trades.

That's not to say it doesn't have some merit as an idea, I just don't find it helps. My strike rate works as it is, buying insurance just costs me green and saves me some red, not a lot of difference in my view.

The common way to 'hedge' a trade is with the 'lay the draw and back 0-0' method.

The trouble is, many people then think "what if it goes 1-1"? And so they back that too. More insurance, great!

Then they wonder about 2-2, and before long you've spent your entire green (which you haven't yet earned!) on 'hedging'.

Risk is part of trading. If you're trying to find any possible way to avoid it, you're not really getting the whole 'trading' thing are you?!

The idea is to manage risk, while taking some in order to win profits. I manage risk by being ultra selective with my trade picks, taking logical decisions to bank green whenever it makes sense to do so, and avoiding silly mistakes.

That's my risk management taken care of. I'm happy to take the rest of the risks on the chin, and the rewards too! Laying the draw is a perfectly viable method, so just give it space to work!

Ok if you insist, I will 'allow' you to place a small bet on 0-0, just occasionally when you're laying the draw at high odds, if you really must! Happy now? Good.

Maximise Profits by Fine Tuning

Fine TuningAs you practice and get better at choosing trades, you will see your profits grow.

But the fastest way to increase your trading profits, is to take notes of all your trades, and look for 'leaks' in your game (to borrow a phrase from Poker).

I know that sounds boring, but it's where the gold is, and that applies to any type of trading.

You might spot weird stuff (like I once did) where you're consistently losing money on Turkish football games! I couldn't explain it, but it did happen for a good season or two.

What to do with this information? Stop trading Turkish games, perhaps?

I did, and the result was what you'd expect, more consistent bank growth. I'm not suggesting you avoid Turkish games, especially this many years later! But you get the point.

I analysed my results quite religiously while learning and found lots of things worth avoiding. Here's a few examples you can have for free! And I would advise you to avoid laying the draw in these games:

Cup Games

Stats are limited or non-existent and teams don't always field their best players. They are unreliable for lay the draw trading.

Wet Weather

slipperyWho likes a horrible wet day out in the rain?

Well, shock horror, even their insane wages doesn't make footballers immune to feeling the same way! But it doesn't stop there...

Rain (and snow/ice) also affect the ball. It makes it harder to pass as accurately and generally makes games sloppier and less likely to align with the stats.

Fans are also affected of course, and since we prefer home favourites, we understand the massive influence supporters can have on their team's play. Rain brings smaller and less enthusiastic crowds.

I don't avoid games just because it's raining, but I do factor it in when trading. So I might reduce stakes, or wait and watch to see how the game is affected.

Benched Star Players

All teams have their 'star' players, usually a striker with too many earrings and a very pretty girlfriend. You usually know who they are.

A quick check of the team sheet or soccer news sites will tell you if a key player is starting 'on the bench' (not playing).

RonaldoThink Rooney, Ronaldo, Messi, Cantona, Charlton (oops, forgive me, I must be gettin' old!)

I have seen teams play without their star strikers and sometimes the difference is night and day, not always, but enough for me to take notice.

It's rare that I'd avoid a trade due to this, but it does happen, usually when I already have some reservations, maybe when the stats only just scrape through to qualify a trade.

Derby Games

This is a big one, and I do often avoid these.

In case you're not aware, a "Derby game" is when two teams from the same town play each other.

These events are historically famed for fan violence, but still carry plenty of animosity and rivalry.

More to the point, it often seems that the teams are more concerned about losing to their arch rivals, than actually beating them!

As a result the games are often very tight affairs and worth avoiding from a trading perspective.

League Neighbours

This is almost identical to the Derby issue.

Two teams who sit next to each other in the league table, they have a lot more to lose in a game. It's well known that many of these types of games see both teams just 'happy with a point'. Which means happy with a draw! As we are not happy with a draw, we can avoid them.

I don't avoid them completely, but I do very late in the season when their league positions are vital to their hopes for the following year, and any relegation risks they might face.

Discipline Is The Key To Success

RulesI really can't emphasise this enough. It applies to all trading but especially to laying the draw.

Set yourself some rules (use mine, that's what the article's here for!) and get used to sticking to them.

Temptation is everywhere in these markets.

Our worst enemy, as traders, is ourselves. That really is the truth. The markets don't hate you, don't sabotage you, don't goad you, don't taunt you...

We do that all by ourselves.

I have known many traders, not just those trading sports but many who trade commodities and stocks too. One thing I have learned is:

The most successful traders are always the ones with the most self-discipline and emotional control.


I hope this article was useful for you. You now have more than enough information to get started with laying the draw, and profitably too.

It's really not that hard if you can follow the rules and practice analysing the stats carefully and without any bias to try to force a trade where there isn't one.

As an old football trader friend of mine used to say:

"If you study enough form, eventually a match will jump off the page and shout TRADE ME!"

That is so true. And once it happens, you begin to see just how selective you need to be to optimise your strike rate, and therefore your profitability.

My own approach is ultra-selective, only risking my bank when I can't find any logical reason not to.

That approach has stood the test of time for me, and has impressed many of my readers too.

My betfair trading method - Lay The DrawFour years after I posted this article, I published my LTD ebook.

It has helped more people than I could ever have hoped for, and many of them were at the point of giving up and believing the silly comments that somehow this method 'doesn't work any more'.

What a silly statement indeed!

I doubled my trading bank two seasons running early in my trading career, pretty much only using the lay the draw strategy with my personal angles, rules and criteria.

That's when I knew I had found a winning selection process. I sincerely hope you find yours, and I hope I can play a major role in that.



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61 comments on “Lay The Draw - How To Profit From LTD Strategy in 2023”

    1. Not in my view no. The odds on a draw are often much better than odds on 0-0. I haven't checked for years but i have a vague memory of around 8% of all games worldwide ending 0-0. This will be reflected in the odds, which means laying such a long shot will require a very high liability and therefore bank balance. A draw can come in the shape of 1-1, 2-2, 5-5 etc! Therefore the draw price can be low while goals are strongly expected, and therefore we can maximise the potential upside while minimising the potential risks and downsides. Hope this makes sense. In short, laying 0-0 is an easy way to make money most of the time, but an easy way to lose your shirt, your son's shirt and your grandad's shirt too when it does happen. If you lay the draw and no goals go in, the odds move against you over time, but quite slowly. If a goal goes in from the team you didn't want to score, your trade can become a red one, but it's often a small loss comparison to laying 0-0, and you can still wait around for the stronger team to get their act together which I often do, unless the loss is so small and the game is so dull I just feel like getting out sometimes.

    1. That's a good question. Back the favourite is another method I use, but I usually prefer LTD as the home team in my strongest picks is often such a short price, you can get more odds movement and therefore profit from a LTD trade. Also the risks are greater, if you back a team at 1.5 odds on, and the dog scores unexpectedly, you often face a bigger loss with less options for escape. With LTD, if the dog scores, you are effectively on a winning bet as the scoreline isn't a draw. This means you can get out with a smallish loss, or if you waited and dog scored again (quite often happens after they score first in my experience) then you still have a nice winning trade possible.

    1. Yes there is, but being a lazy person, I have long forgotten the formula!! The easiest way (which is why I don't remember it!) is to use the Betfair "cash out" option or better still, trading software. It will calculate the outcome with green or red figures as you place the stake and odds on your exit bet.

  1. Please give me example of this.
    I want to place a bet on betfair exchange market.

    I want to say at Benfica - Besiktas, the match will end in Draw.

    If i bet 100 euro, what will be my winnings and what will be my looses?
    If the game ends in draw, how much do i win?
    If the game ends not draw, how much do i loose?

    Thank you!

    1. Oh dear. First things first, DO NOT bet on anything, you don't even understand what a back bet is yet, so you have lots to learn before you risk any money.
      Before you do anything else, download my free ebook and read it at least once, ideally twice, slowly! You can get it here.

      What you are asking is basically how can you bet on the outcome of an event. That is not trading, that is gambling. I don't mind if you want to gamble, but I don't want you to confuse the information I publish here with gambling, I trade the markets, I do not just place bets and hope for the best.

      In answer to your question, if you back the draw (bet on the draw) then the most you can lose is your stake, the amount you bet. So in your example you would lose 100 Euros if the game did not end in a draw. If it did end in a draw, you would get your stake multiplied by the odds. Betfair shows you this before you submit your bet, you can click to back an event, enter your stake and it will show green and red figures on the left hand side under the names of the teams, this shows you winnings and losses IF you go ahead with your BET.

      My advice, don't do any of it it. If you read my free beginner's guide to trading you will understand why. 🙂

  2. Hi Tim,

    When laying the draw and the favourite scores first you could wait and see if they score a second goal. If you are confident of a second goal by the favourite, is it best just to leave the bet open until a second goal is scored or to remove all liability after the first goal goes in so you effectively have a free bet?

    1. That's a good question and one I can't give a definitive answer to as this is one of the areas where it comes down to personal preference and risk appetite, which differs widely among traders. My approach is to wait for a second, but on some rare occasions when I am a bit nervous I may remove liability, it's never EVER a bad idea to remove liability or reduce risk, so long as it doesn't eat up too much green to make a method unviable. It's amazing how quickly being risk averse can actually make a method fail and lose you money over the long time, despite the intention being to save money! Trading is about taking risks, but taking them only when the situation demands it, and taking them on aggressively. That's what trading is for me anyway. Some traders, for example those who focus on scalping, would say trading is about taking tiny amounts of risk for tiny amounts of green, hundreds of times a day. For me it's about waiting for one or two strong opportunities, and taking more risk to bank more green. Both are viable, but one is for me and not for others 🙂

  3. Hi Tim

    Just bought you LTD trading strategy e-book and much appreciated your words of wisdom! I've tried trading the correct score but found it too "complicated" and prefer LTD. I've had modest success in the past with LTD but also been guilty of foolishly chasing losses!

    As you sensibly adopt strict selection criteria, can you indicate how many trades on average you take on in a full season / year?

  4. Hi Jon and thanks for your comments.

    Yes chasing is a killer habit which catches everyone at some point. In the old days long before Betfair's "Cash Out" website option when I was much less experienced, it was much harder to avoid doing so as the trading software I was using would have so many buttons to click on and the temptation to dive back in or chase the loss was so strong. Nowadays I just see a trade as a single object, no strings attached. If it wins it wins, if it loses it loses, but either way its the end of the trade and you should cash out and close the window. Then make a brew, that's never a bad idea! Often just looking at anything other than the markets for a minute or two is enough to kill any urge to chase a loser. But if you get your selectivity right, you will see this easily enough yourself, the losers will be more rare and when they happen, you will know they must be closed out in a disciplined way to enable the green ones to really count on your bank balance! Easier said than done to begin with, but most people soon get the hang of it. A few good greens can be undone by one silly mistake or chasing a trade wildly, and you will only do it so many times before you slap yourself. An elastic band round the wrist can help too, give it a twang when you feel the urge!!
    My LTD trading has been on and off for a while due to illness and various major commitments which made my office time more limited recently but that's hopefully all behind me now. Whilst it varies quite a lot, generally I would say I probably average 5-10 trades a week, at a rough guess anyway. All depends whats on. Obviously when the internationals are on I leave it all alone as per the rules in the eBook. But when its a good week of quality EU league games I could have 15-20 trades some weeks. Hope that helps, good luck for your future trading.

  5. Sod's Law that Laval take an early lead in my first trading attempt! But, I'm going to give Reims until half time before redding up! Is this sensible in view of Reims statistical superiority or should I get out now for a smaller loss? Decisions, decisions!

    1. yes that was annoying but it happens. There are two options:

      1. Trade out once market settles after goal, take the loss while its small (it can get a lot bigger later) and move on.

      2. Hold in the hope of no more goals or another away goal, or in some cases where the away goal is a sheer fluke against the run of play, a strong home side can bring it back to 2-1 quickly.

      Neither option is right or wrong, the only wrong answer is to swap and change between the two. I would say the safest appraoch is to bank the loss each time it happens, but some people hold on for a set period, some hold for longer as it's now not a draw and at some point the odds should start to reflect that and a profitable trade can still come of a 0-1 scoreline, but it depends how long that takes and that depends on the quality of the teams really.
      Safest to get out, this does happen more on trades which are priced around 3.5-3.7 as this was. Unlucky there!

    2. P.S. I tend to wait for the odds to settle and get out, but if as we would hope it goes 1-1, i would often re-enter a LTD at that point or some time after when a very cheap trade is on offer. just my tuppence, again its down to personal risk appetite really

  6. Tim

    Thanks for your advice which I have taken on board. Just before Laval's second goal, I decided to lay Laval at 1.72 to reduce my liability on the draw as the market seemed to favour an equaliser from Reims and the draw odds had hardly moved. My concern was that the match would end 1-1 and the LTD odds would shorten in the last 10 minutes of the match.

    But on reflection, in future I will trade out as soon as the first goal is scored, otherwise we are just gambling rather than trading aren't we?

    1. Hmm, i can see why you did that but have to say it's a definite no no. Any team which goes 1-0 up against the stats, and holds that scoreline that long (when home team would have had nothing to lose so went all out to score and failed), its definitely not worth laying them, there's as much argument (or more) for backing them :). All easy with hindsight I know and we have all been there, many times in the past believe me. But that's known in the trade as "chasing". It might not have felt like it, but thats your sub-conscious convincing you its a "sensible" trade, when you just have to ask "would i be doing this if i wasn't in this situation"? If the answer is "no", you are chasing. It's a good mantra to remember that one but takes huge discipline to look at what you are doing from outside the situation you're in, very very hard, but it comes with practice.

      This game was one of those you just have to accept is a loser, the stats were good enough, and I would take the same trade again tomorrow, they usually win, just not always. But IF you can swallow the loss and walk away when they lose, the winners will outweigh the losers. If not, they won't. Hope that helps, you and many others who probably did similar things.

  7. Hi Tim

    if you trade a game LTD and half time the home team is winning 1-0 at what time to you exit your tarde? and when the game is still draw on 50mins or 60mins you exit ? or always exit when the odds its 2:00 and when you exit you make a back bet on draw?

  8. Hi Luca, yes if a trade opens with a lay bet, a back bet is needed to close or exit that trade, and vice versa. As for the times of my exits etcetera, that varies based on several criteria and is all explained in full in my LTD eBook.

  9. Hi there! Please answer me if you can, i do LTD myself(just started) and made so far 61 trade, from them 4 was 0-0 by minute 70, but 2 of them still scores the goal after i tradeout with minus, and 11 matches tradeout for minus when underdog scores first, there was more of them, but some was break even or small profit. So, so far i had 76% success trades 7% losses and 17% small losses which made in total around 20% ROI. So i am looking to improve my strike rate on success trades, but may i ask you is this good stats so far or not? What is good ROI for LTD? Thank you!

    1. It's very hard for me to type at the moment. that sounds like you are doing perfectly well. You will learn to improve your strike rate gradually as time progresses, you will learn from the losing trades if there are types of games or certain teams to avoid etc

      1. Hi Tim! After i looked for those 0-0 matches i made adjustment for my choosing the teams and find out that all games had at least a goal. But today i had 1 trade and it was Verona-Entella Seria B match, i closed my tade on minute 70 losing around 40% just after 5 minutes verona scores. I am thinking to risk it all if the strike rate is good, so far over 80 matches i had with 100% no 0-0, worth a try? I use 10% liabilty with my bankroll, may be should use 5% and risk it all? Thanks

        1. Hi Dmitrij, yes that's often the way, it's designed to test your self-control!! This is where most traders fail. As I have said many times, finding a profitable method is not rocket science, far from it in my view. What IS rocket science is behaving like a ROBOT which is exactly what you need to do for a true edge to work long term. The human element is the hard part, and unfortunately we are all human so we all go through these temptations "risk it all". I will answer your question with a question......

          IF Verona hadn't scored 5 minutes after you exited, how would you have felt? Would you be asking this question, would you have typed this post? I think the answer is probably no. So basically you are taking ONE isolated incident and using it to consider deviating/adjusting your entire approach to trading. No matter what the specifics, this is ALWAYS a mistake. Its lady luck trying to tempt you into gambling so she can beat you once and for all and finish you off. 🙂

          I have no issue with reduced stakes and staying in longer, that would be a trading decision. But doing it JUST because one game annoyed you, made you feel you missed out, made you feel "wrong" etc, is a big mistake. If your strategy says you exit, and you exited, you did the CORRECT THING. The goal 5 minutes later is just part of trading and must be ignored. Or yes, if you wanted, IF it works as a long term system, you can reduce you stakes and stay in longer, but how do you know this game wasn't a fluke and your exit is normally correct over the long haul?
          Food for thought. Do the RIGHT things, sometimes these cost you money, but long term they should make you money.

          1. Thanks for great comment! Yes it is hard if i stay and see 0-0 at the end then i would felt bad and thinking no more staying till the end, trade out on minute 70 :)))
            But it's all about strike rate, and i think staying to the end or get out on minute 70 is going to make break even in long term, 10% matches getting out with a loss on minute 70 will be the same for money as 5% 0-0 matches, so far i hit 0-0 by minute 70 5%..

  10. Yes, after i post my first comment here on december 10th i made adjustments so just looked at numbers and i had 24 matches since 11th of december and in all of them was at least a goal, and 16 of them which is 66% from total matches favorite scores first so i made profit laying 10% of my bank 62.75 euro where 8 matches i lost 15.01 so total P/L: +47.74, really not sure should i just gamble or close trade on minute 70 if 0-0 with around 40% loss? Can you give me an advise here please?

    1. I always have a planned stop position. This is based on stake and odds. First decide HOW MUCH RISK PER TRADE. YOu need to know this first. So lets say you will risk £50 per trade. IF you LTD with a £50 stake at 4.0 and exit at 2.0 (stop loss exit) Your real world loss is £50. If you want to stay in longer, you need to reduce your stake, if you want to be in at higher odds, you need to reduce your stake, etc. If you are getting in on a game at HT and the odds are 3.0, you can lay £100 stake and exit at 2.0 for £50 loss. Play with the numbers, I would usually plan to risk 5% of my bank on a LTD trade, and calculate what this is before entering the trade, then calculate the stakes based on odds as above. In my view, the odds collapse so quickly below 2.0, there is less and less value in staying while the losses mount up very quickly. Remember - If you lay £100 @ 4.0 and do not exit, your loss is £300, so you must have a planned exit if no goals in my view

    1. Hopefully my last reply answered that. Liability is ALL you should be focussed on. Every trade should have a planned risk, and you NEVER stretch it, never ever EVER EVERRRRRRRRRR :). There is always another trade, and there is twice as much value in a new trade as there is in stretching a failed one, so get the hell out when you reach your max loss for any trade. We have all done it, but I can't overstate this point, it is deadly to stay in and bite nails hoping and praying for a goal. Close out, find another trade another day

    1. All depends Dmitrij.....

      Which order did the goals come? If strong team scored first I would have already greened up (Usually not always) after 1st goal. If weak team scored first, I would wait in til me planned exit which I decided before the trade, which should be ODDS not TIME. You can't plan losses on xx minutes, only on xx odds. So get used to planning your odds exit, not time exit 🙂

      1. Well i did review matches i am choosing to trade on and i noticed there is better to stay and wait for 2-0 till HT which is happening often and double the profit and if not to trade out at HT, but sometimes there is 1-1(underdog equalise) and it is hard to decide stay on and wait for 2-1 or close with the loss, i think i have to decide by stats, if favorite making loads of attacks and shots and keep possession i think better to stay on till odds come to 2, if game is even with loads of chances still stay on, but if game is even with not many shots trade out. I had 1 match few days ago were i closed my trade on minute 38 as i noticed dog start putting pressure on favorite, so i trade out and on minut 42 they did 1-1 wow!

        Also here is what is better to do if underdog scores first, bet 50% from initial bet on back the draw and lay 75% from initial bet on underdog, here is what i noticed in those 30% matches were underdog scores first they are going to win 54% of the time and this will do a small loss like if we get out after they did score, 16% there will be a draw, so the loss will be about 4 times bigger, but here is the interesting part, favorite come back and win the game 30% of the time and this is were we can boost our profit to the full, even more then we just bet inittialy on LTD, i gove you an example:

        A lay bet worth €20 on the draw at an odd of 3,75. This corresponds to a liability of €55 and a potential profit of €20;
        A back bet worth €10 on the draw at an odd of 3,65. This corresponds to a liability of €10 and a potential profit of €26,50;
        A lay bet worth €15 on the underdog at an odd of 1,90. This corresponds to a liability of €13,50 and a potential profit of €15;
        If the favorite team scores and draws the match, you can bring your loss down to 13,5€. If the favorite team manages to win the match, you will profit 25€. And if Dog wins the match we end up with a loss of 3.50.

        From last 89 matches i traded 17 of them dog scores first and 6 of them favourite wins the match, 2 of them was a draw and the rest 9 dog wins, so no brainer this would give a profit of 66.5€ from the matches were dog scores first to the 20€ stakes on LTD, while if we close right after dog scores we end up around -37.4€. But this is tricky really and can be done were not many draws was between the teams, favorite having on everage not many draws on average in the league and plus stats in the match as well.

        1. The work you have done is commendable Dmitrij. I personally can't bear the boredom of going into that much detail, Footie makes up a part of my overall trading activities so I can't (dont want to) invest that much time into every fine detail, but you are doing good stuff there by looking for increased value like that. I am sure this will help some others on the site too, the analytic approach does pay off a bit more green for those prepared to do the work and testing.

  11. Hi Tim,

    I bought your ebook this week, and have to say that it is the best written trading ebook/system that I have ever bought, and I have bought a few over the years. My biggest weakness with trading has always been a lack of discipline with selections, and your selection process is brilliant and really very helpful. Well done on a brilliant book.

    One quick question if I may. What sort of strike rate do you expect to achieve with Wins v full losses v small losses?

    Thanks again for a great book.


    1. Thanks very much Mick. I can't remember how many years since I tracked exact strike rates, they can vary a lot over a season and certainly between seasons so after quite a few years I just stuck wih it as it was always profitable, sometimes a bit more or less than the season before, but always good over the long term 🙂
      Good luck there

    1. Yes, can't stand you Norwegians. 😀
      Joking of course, the only possible problem will be at Clickbank (payment processor). I have had one instance of this, I think that was from Sweden. If you email payments @, perhaps suggesting you feel racially slurred by their payment system, they may open up your IP and allow the purchase. If not, let me know via the contact form with your name and address and I will see if I can push them in the right direction, they are not very receptive unfortunately, another one of those "system is always right" problems, humans don't seem to be allowed to override these problems sometimes, but I was told by Clickbank to get a customer to email them at the above address explaining the problem and they will look at it.

  12. Hi Tim! Long time i didn't post anything here. But i almost double my bank laying the draw starting very small 330 euro bankroll and used 15% liability instead of stake, i think it's time to use stake instead now 5%, today i hit 2nd loser since february 7 and took a bit far backed it 1.54 what a mess i did, anyway after 8 minutes it was a goal. Union Berlin-Nurnberg game it was. I didnt buy your ebook yet, but i certainly will do for next season, but so far i adjust to my own rules selecting matches and since 7th of february i had around 65 matches and 100% of them there was a goal, 98% of them goal was before minute 70, and 75% strike rate for a winning selections(were favourite scored first before min 70 mark). So 2% big losing trades and 23% small were dog scored first and i trade out(there was some cases were i stayed tho). As for money 30-50% a month return on bankroll, or in other words from total matches it comes around 1.2% ROI return on the match, my question here is this good winrate, strikerate and ROI from LTD trading? Here is the screenshot, start br 330:

    1. Hi Dmitrij - That's excellent, well done! Yes that is a good strike rate, and nearly doubling your bank in that time is great, try learning to do that reliably on stock trading and you will need quite a few years learning under your belt! :). Imagine what it would be with my ebook? hahaha, just joking, doesn't sound like you need much help there. Keep up the good work.

  13. hi Tim, very interesting trading strategy. I am considering buying your E book but when I look at the type of games you outline for consideration of laying the draw, most of the time these matches start with the draw odds at around 6 to 8 which is too high a risk and these matches seem to take around 20 - 25 minutes before the odds come down to 4. For example the Spurs game v Watford I put a "keep" lay the draw in play at 4 and when the first goal went in on 33 minutes the odds were still 4.2 and I had an unmatched bet. I also tried the strategy on the Leicester v Sunderland game the other day when the draw was layable from the start, but then the draw got down to evens with 30 minutes to play which meant an early bale out with a 3rd of the game to play and of course Leicester went on to win 2-0.
    Also, I live in Oz and down here we have no live internet betting which means phoning Betfair for the lay off bet during play which can be frustrating. Also the games here are normally shown with a 2 to 3 minute delay. I remember seeing a while back someone promoted a site where you could select a game and if a goal was scored you could set an alarm to go off to let you know straight away. Have forgotten the site and not sure if you have come across this one by any chance?
    So to conclude, do most of your lays start at odds of around 4 or do you mostly wait for the odds to reach 4 before you bet? And, any advice for us punters down here in Australia who have the disadvantage of live phone betting only and the time delay we experience in games now we are with Optus streaming?

    1. Hi Tony, hmm, a few tricky ones there. Firstly, if you need to phone betfair, I don't like the sound of that. Have you looked into proxy servers or ideally the VPN service offered by TUVPN (google it). Not sure if it would work, but if you can log into Betfair via a UK IP address, it could work. Secondly, no I definitely do not trade games at 6-8 draw price. My ebook explains a lot more, but my max is around 4.5, sometimes I stretch to 5 in very rare cases.
      You said exiting "early" with 30 minutes left to play, that is a bit early but not by much. I don't trade games to the last whistle. I trade out when the odds hit 2.0. There are plenty of qualifying games for my method, usually every day.
      The site you want is - live pings, or better still, FutBol24 app for iphone/android which is fast and alarms in your pocket 🙂

    1. I trade anything where the stats have enough data and the markets have enough liquidity. You do need extra caution and the off season period can be harder to hit the same strike rates as mid season, which just shows the power of stats. Tennis and Horses can make sure you don't get bored during the football downtime!

  14. Hi Tim, very interesting to learn about your approach to lay the draw strategy.

    Would it not make a viable sense to enter the trades later but stay in until the final whistle if no goal is scored?

    I have no data backing up my statement but is it not so that later in the match goal frequency is higher?

    Many thanks

    1. Hi John,
      There are two factors at play in your question:

      1. Money/risk management
      2. Goal stats (specific to each trade/game)

      The idea is to limit risk of losses to a FIXED sum, based on percentage of bank account combined with confidence in the trade. In SOME games (quite rare), it may look better stats wise to trade the final 30, or maybe even 15 minutes. This is more what I do during in play opportunity hunting (looking for games which are 0-0 with not long to go, then check stats, then trade if I like what I see). For standard approach LTD, the key is to find games where there is a high likelihood of the favourite scoring 1 or 2 goals, and then being IN the trade for the longest possible period. In my experience the way to achieve this is to be in from the start, or often better still, wait around 5-10 minutes to suss the game and let the markets calm down then the draw price reduces unless its a very active game. Then get in, and stay in until around 60 minutes. This is the longest window for goals. If a game shows head to head stats favouring no goals until very late, it's a no trade, unless you fancy a dabble very late, but its easy to lose money if the goals don't come so it's not a 'standard' approach of mine, just one I occasionally spot an opportunity for a half stakes dabble. Hope that helps.

  15. I really am not understanding how laying the leader would cancel out the draw lay? I can understand the logic, but surely you would have two active trades then? Please kindly explain as I have spent a few hours trying to understand how laying the leader would trade out from the draw lay? thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Hi Sam, I am not at my desk at the moment so it's not easy to demonstrate it well, but I tried doing so in a browser. Obviously it's not a live trade so I can't submit the orders, but let's say we laid the draw today in Liverpool v Newcastle:

      So we laid £100, we have £290 red on the draw and £100 green if either team win.

      If Liverpool go ahead, and we we take our profits, we'd be looking at some sort of greened profit of around £40-70 (all depending on odds, whether we held for 2-0 etc). That exit backs the draw of course. But if liverpool were say 2-0 ahead, their odds would be so low that we could just lay them instead backing the draw to close. Let's say we lay £350 at 1.1. The combined result of those two bets gives us £65 green on Liverpool (around what the LTD would have made us), and £60 on the draw, but (and here's the reason it's sometimes worth doing) - £450 green on Newcastle! Obviously it's rare, but I have seen extremely lively games and once or twice the dog has come back to win 3-2 or even 4-2 in one Greek game I remember.

      I know it's counter-intuitive as a trader, you feel like you have to "close" your position and that's usually by the opposing bet to your entry, but in this case a lay of the leader produces similar green outcomes, but with a chance of a windfall on the dog coming back to win (and if you play around with bets you can get a bigger green on the draw too sometimes).

      If you scour through the years of old football trading posts on the site, you will see live examples where I took screenshots and explained my reasoning. If I was at home I would find some examples but I can't right now. However you've given me a good idea for an article covering this exact topic, which I will add to the list to do early this year. Hope that helps a little for now, happy new year 🙂


      1. Thanks for the prompt reply Tim , much appreciated, I am in fact having a go at the Liverpool vs Newcastle tonight. My first one, fingers crossed. I have a lot of experience matched betting but as you know, its not sustainable unless multi accounting, something I'm not comfortable doing. So I am now planning to trade on smarkets / betfair. So all in all you are saying if the price drops to say 1.3 or below on the leaders, you can lay them and then just leave both lays to ride out? Or would you trade out ? Example if Liverpool go 1-0 up and the price drops to 1.2 (which it could well do) , and then Newcastle equalise...would you trade out of the lay on the leaders ? and then continue with the draw lay until another goal is scored? I can see the logic but I'm not understanding the guaranteed green if you don't trade out either of the lay bets? Thanks in advance, your post actually intrigued me that much I lost sleep haha.

        1. Hahaha. Never let football get between you and a good night's sleep, it's fine to let me do that though, gives me a bit of a kick to be honest 😀

          Ok, let me clarify...

          This is not something which you need to even consider right now, main thing is to bank the profits in the usual way while you're learning (I didn't realise you were just starting). However if you insist, here's what you do...

          Make your trade as usual, wait for a favourable position (i.e. favourite scores) and then before you trade out, use the Betfair browser (not trading software) and just PLAY with numbers by laying the leader. I don't know what your stakes are but if you had a £50 lay bet on the draw, try entering a £50 lay of the leader at the newly reduced odds but DO NOT SUBMIT the bet. See what the preliminary figures look like (I assume you know what i mean, those numbers that show on the left (red/green) to show what you WOULD end up with in each of the three outcomes, if you were to submit that bet.)

          You then adjust the stake amount to see if you can get a nicer FULLY greened result than you would with your LTD exit (back the draw closure trade). You do not want ANY red on ANY outcome, you still must secure your profits from your LTD trade, but you can vary the green figures by laying the leader. The reason I don't suggest a total beginner does it is because it can take 20-30 seconds to play around and find the right numbers, but sods law means an equaliser could be scored and you will be cursing me, and losing yet more sleep over me. 😀

          In fact the rule I tend to follow is simpler... Only do this when your favourite is 2-0 ahead and you are still in your LTD trade, thats when it's most likely to produce a nicer green overall. It can happen with a very strong dog (like Liverpool) where, if they go ahead early, their odds can come down so low that this can be worth doing for a huge windfall profit if the VERY unlikely scenario happens where the dog comes back to win (or at least equalise, when you can green loads of it)

          Bear in mind, you won't tend to make more with this exit, it only makes a (big) difference to the winnings if the dog comes back to win, which is highly unlikely hence the very low odds on the favourite you need for this to become worth looking at.

          To help with the logical obstacle (which I know happens when people first think about doing this)...

          You LAID the draw. This means you're betting it will NOT be a draw. By laying another team, you can cover your liability on the LTD because you're now adding a second bet to say that this team (leader) will not win giving you winnings on the draw outcome which should exceed your red figure on the draw produced by laying the draw at the start.

          It's hard to explain, I will cover it properly soon. For now my advice is to :

          1. Forget about it! You'll have plenty of time to play with it in future.
          2. Do not wait for 2-0. Do Vanilla LTD by laying it and then exiting when ONE goal goes in your favour. You'll win less but more often, giving you a better strike rate and that's what leads to confidence. Confidence is KEY at the start, so build that up first and come back to this later 🙂


          1. Thanks Tim I appreciate you taking the time for these replies, honestly I have done a bit of lay the draw and my honest outcome is I lost the profits I built up, twice. And my reason for this is simple.... I became greedy, both times I was having a good day, a lot of green in previous days, and I decided to double my stake on what looked like an eye watering inplay LTD... I mean like a flurry of goals all in the space of 10 minutes (4 goals 2-2) and I just thought there has to be another goal....both times I was attacked by "injury" message appearing in the live screen and during that time the odds dropped and dropped, then the whole match just changed and I watched my loss just grow and grow. I was that focused on looking at the timeline of the previous 4 goals I let them run for too long, and as I said both times I had doubled my stakes. I think my main lesson is.... stick to the same stake sizes and get out when the stop loss is almost reached or your instinct tells you too. I had a few where my instinct just said... this isn't happening and I traded out after a few minutes, then later checked to see there was actually no goals. Its frustrating as I did actually have a successful tactic of basically only doing inplay LTD and only going for ones where there is 1-1 early on in the first half...or 2-2 up to say no later than 60 minutes, hitting these I was getting an 80% strike rate and still able to get out before the the odds dropped too low. I basically saw a day of profits as a step in the right direction. I have followed stats but got stung on what looked like the perfect Ltd with a strong favourite, and all the stats said 100% score first, dog 100% concede first etc... and guess what ? dog scored and totally messed it up. My plan now is to digest everything, and reduce my stakes to a small amount.....and a FIXED amount, and simply get more experience and see how that goes. Then maybe week on week increasing my stake by say 10% and sticking to the stop loss that I know I can take and won't eat up all my previous profits. As for the in play ones and the last minute goals, its so tempting to put a LTD on in the last minutes at low liability but the risk to reward is just too large for me.... I have watched over 100 games where actually in the last few minutes there was no goal so it really is a huge gamble. Some cases I have even seen where it would be better to just bet X amount on the favourite and dog and let it run , as the risk to reward is much better with only a small potential loss, as the odds often get over 10 for both teams when its reaching the last couple of minutes. Rant over lol

          2. Responding as I read through your post….

            Sounds like you’re trading too late in the game. We’ve all been there, the game is full of fireworks until you enter your trade, then it dies off! But truth is most games (no matter how busy they are) slow down near the end (tiredness, less time to change the scoreline, injuries etc). Not all, but most. So never trade that late unless it’s a TINY throwaway stake you can HAPPILY afford to lose, what I call a “speculative position” - if you win it’s big, which makes up for the majority of them that will certainly lose. It’s not easy to find that balance, especially on the fly with emotions high (whether from winning, or losing).

            Best to stick to planned trades and leave those high-octane last minute ‘big gambles’ for another day (or year!)

            Doubled my stakes” - What!?! NEVER do that! You should have a carefully chosen staking plan, as a percentage of your bank. That’s a rule set in stone, never break it, or it will break you (or at least your bank)

            Read this paragraph three times!
            Then re-read this one -

            Don’t use “Instincts” to get in OR OUT of any trade you carefully chose earlier in the day, unless major elements have changed making your choice no longer relevant (i.e. top striker breaks leg in first minute!). Maths/Stats beat instincts (anyone’s, mine included) every time. If you made a decision to trade something, trade it. Let it run.

            Yes I sometimes close out a trade early due to in play events or VERY dull games or main players taken off/injured etc, but its rare and it’s not entirely ‘instinct, it’s due to the actual facts changing on the ground, it’s no longer the trade I planned so I can get out. If you start going on a ‘hunch’, you’ll find you’ll do it more and more until you’re not actually following a plan any more. Fail to plan = plan to fail. If you do make a plan but fail to follow it, you may as well have not bothered making one, so you now have no plan again.

            got stung on what looked like the perfect Ltd with a strong favourite, and all the stats said 100% score first, dog 100% concede first etc... and guess what ? dog scored and totally messed it up” - Yes, IT HAPPENS. Sounds like you’re overstaking. If one trade can demoralise you and make you angry etc, you’ve got too much riding on each trade, so your stakes are too big for your bank, and won’t be sustainable as bad stuff happens all the time.

            You’re playing the odds (of stats carrying you through MOST of the time, NOT ALL). So you need time and breathing room in your stakes/bank to allow for these bumps along the road without it affecting your psyche and emotional stability etc, otherwise angry/revenge trading soon follows, you start looking for other ideas and it all falls apart. Find a strategy (you have one), and follow it, for WEEKS or MONTHS before making any decisions on how it’s going. Patience is a virtue known by all successful traders. There’s no such thing as an impatient successful trader. 🙂

            My plan now is to digest everything, and reduce my stakes to a small amount.....and a FIXED amount, and simply get more experience and see how that goes” - Ha. Well done, I just wasted my time typing above. 😀 That’s exactly what you should do, that’s the solution.

            Choose your stake (meaning your max potential loss per trade) based on your bank size. I’d advise going for a MAXIMUM of 5% of your bank risked on any trade, 3% should be your max for now (I forced myself to use 3% many years ago after lots of bank blowouts, and that was when things improved).

            I know… you’ll look at what that means in terms of profits, and you will think “Sod that, that’s not enough, I need to make more than that”. If that’s the case, you need a bigger bank. There is NO shortcut to this. It’s not gambling, it’s not a get rich quick scheme, it’s trading. All trading requires VERY conservative staking when learning and finding your consistent success, once you’ve found it you can increase, but I would NEVER suggest ANYONE (no matter how successful) EVER risk more than 10% of their bank on any one trade, simply because Lady Luck can hand you a string of losses without you putting a foot wrong in your selection process, and that’s your finished.

            Bear in mind, this doesn’t mean 10% is reasonable, it’s not, it’s far too high for 99% of people and risks losing everything. 5% is what I’d call an absolute max for anyone who isn’t 100% successful, confident, and profitable over the long term. And when that’s you, you still shouldn’t and don’t need to risk more than 5%, you just let your bank growth take your stakes to higher levels which eventually mean an income you’re happy with.

            I can’t say it loudly enough - There are NO shortcuts to success in trading, there are only short cuts to the Poor House. 🙂

            Sounds like you’ve got your head screwed on, do less revenge trading, less emotional outbursts (in trades), less ‘instinctive’ stuff, trade smaller, expect less from it, put less pressure on yourself and things will turn around and show you how this patience was well worth it. That’s the test for any trader, not the markets, but yourself, and whether you can control that animal in you or not!

  16. I am very grateful for your replies sir, most helpful advice indeed. Now I don't know if I have a knack for this but at first I lost several times, I was focused on goals scored and then getting in on them. I had a big loss on a match that has 8 goals in the first half.... drawing 4-4 and I was so confident of a goal I lost and gave up. My new strategy I have had a 100% strike rate of 36 matches, I am not joking, and I have done the thing you mentioned of laying the leader and had the dog come back to win twice! Also had my biggest win to date on a women's match where a team was drawing with odds of 100 , I put a 1 pound stake on ....only for them to go and score in the last minute , 99 pound profit! For laying the draw I have utilised the vanilla lay as you suggested , but my entry times have been focused on strong scoring / conceding statistics to put a bet on from the off and trading out immediately. Liverpool tonight was a classic one 70% scoring first and Chelsea 70% conceding first, and I stuck £2 on the 0-0 just in case as they have had a few of those in recent matches. I held on for the 3-0 then cashed out. For my other entries I watch the sofascore app carefully looking for opportunities before half time or at half time where a big favourite is drawing, and low and behold its worked great as I can watch the graphs and shots on target appearing then get my stake on and I seem to see the goal within 5-10 minutes mostly! Maybe I have been lucky but I have been doing £5 and £10 stakes based on my confidence but have been making £10-15 a day now consistently since my last comment here with zero losses since then. It's inevitable I will get losses but I am massively ahead now. I also got on Tottenham 1-0 down today which went the way of the statistics of Brentford to score first, I layed Brentford for £10 then let that run , got in on a lay the draw at 1-1 and left it to 3-1 and cashed out for a tidy profit. Got on my good old favourite Atelico Madrid too , have had 3 wins on them now, seems to be my lucky charm. I got on them twice tonight both 5 minutes before they took the lead for some other profits. I realise its a case of slow and steady wins the race, took me those losses at first to realise this, but I'm over the moon to be finally making progress . Thanks again for all your help, a lot of websites talk utter garbage , one website even states to find teams with close odds! How on earth can you profit from them?? unless its in the second half and you can see a teams about to score based on the graphs and live stats.... the profits would be tiny and risks large. Rant over

    1. Ha, that was a fun read Sam. A little high adrenalin even just to read, but fun all the same! Sounds like you're making fantastic progress, the only thing I'd say (which I am sure you know already) is to now be VERY cautious, expect some losses, and don't increase stakes in expectation of the gold run to continue without setbacks. Hate to be the doom and gloom voice, and I'm not, you could well continue as well as you have been doing! But I hate to see people go on big highs as they always seem to fail to see the big lows around the corner, protect your bank at all times and remember this is a business, hopefully this is the start of something great for you!

      PS I must get these comments sorted, the website doesn't handle them well in these horrible narrow columns, I will get that sorted soon.


  17. Hi Tim its me again, Sam! Hope you are doing well.... I have being trading football matches almost daily since our last communication. I have learnt the following... only trade the second half as its far more profitable and keeps losses to a manageable amount (for me anyway). I just can not see any value in the standard lay the draw, I never do it and I'm getting a 30% return each day on in play trading only. I have come up with some new strategies too which seem to be very effective, and also I have learnt that if a match isn't a draw.... i can still get involved if it looks like more goals are about to be scored by using the goals market. So effectively any active football match with goals very likely to happen, i get involved. I have stopped trading on any match where i can't see the attacking graphs, as honestly...without that, i have really struggled. Also i have realized certain teams / leagues are very very good at 0-0 until the 90th minute........the Serbian league for example, i have had so many wins, even one last night, where its 0-0 at 90th minute and i can see they are going for their crazy grab it and run goal at the last minutes 70% of the time they do get them so theres certainly value there on a small stake with high return. There are certain leagues where i know the late goals don't come, American leagues are bad at late goals they seem to accept their fate. South american leagues are also great for the last minutes madness and you can often see goals flying in as I am sure you know. I will share some of my strategies that have being very profitable for me, one is i come in with split stakes of say £10 at 50th minute, another £10 at 60th... another at 70th.... and i then let it run to say 75th... if the goal doesn't come, and they are now attacking and lots of shots on target, i will let it run and if it doesn't hit i will take my loss, but if the attack has stopped....i will then reduce my liaiblity to leave enough to cover my loss... should the goal come in. This has worked really well for me. So effectively sometimes i can have a stake of £30 and it hits with a big profit, or because i split my stakes i take a loss of about £7 or £8. I only need to hit say 1/3 to make this profitable and if you choose the right games, i think the strike rate is 2/3. Another strategy I am now playing with is entering the goals market about 60th minute, putting say X amount on the next goal and then another amount on a second goal coming.... when the first goal comes it effectively pays for my free bet on the second goal which would be a much bigger win, if the second goal doesn't come.... i simply have a break even situation. There is as always risk that no goal comes but i have carefully watched the stats inplay and managed to always at least break even on this method. I like the goals market too in that you get your payment, theres no cashing out or losing the bet if another goal flies in from the other team.... which has happened a few times, last night i saw a match have two goals in under two minutes from both sides... not sure why this often happens but it does. Also on a final note i see a lot of people saying "cash out" if theres a red card........ if a red card comes to the under dog....its like a Christmas gift in my opinion, there is always more goals! If there is enough time left in the match that is. Okay rant over

    1. Hi Sam, sorry for delayed reply here, didn’t spot the notification of your comment here.

      Firstly, good to hear your feedback and your experience, I’m sure that will benefit others too.

      When you say things like “30% return each day”, I always ask people to clarify exactly how they calculate ROI as people seem to do it many different ways! For example, percentage of bank, percentage of stake, percentage of risk….

      Yes, regarding goals markets (where you don’t care about the draw outcome) you’ve discovered something I learned to do a while back now, and something I keep meaning to write up in a detailed ebook/instructions. Life keeps getting in the way but I do at least now have a firm plan to do it, later this year with any luck, maybe once the summer has passed and the rain returns! You’re spot on, too many people focus on the draw (because they are trading a system called ‘lay the draw’, they get hung up on that outcome which is unnecessary). For in play football trading, the unders/overs markets can be a gold mine, but you do need to have your finger on the pulse and understand the intricacies of football. Great if you do, some don’t hence why a standard approach is what a lot of people want, although I’ve always said the vanilla LTD method is a starting point, a way to learn more about trading as well as the game. From there, things get much easier and more profitable once you start ‘honing’, and by that I mean finding ways to remove the losses and increase the profits. Trading later certainly is a very effective way of doing that.

      When you say “Attacking graphs”, do you mean a particular one provided by a service, or just in play activity reports? One of my hopes for when I write an in play guide is to try out a whole list of data and footie reporting services to see if I can find any to recommend. I am very cautious about recommended stuff though as sometimes stuff is good for a while then goes down the pan or just disappears (meaning updates to ebooks required!). So I would need a careful look at quite a few to feel comfortable recommending any particular one.

      haha, I know exactly what you mean about late goals and the differences. It seems to me a cultural difference. The more ‘hot headed’ the more those late goals can come along, and I totally agree, some countries/leagues just don’t seem to care about a 0-0, while others seem so scared of that result that they will take enormous risks (leaving them open to a goal themselves of course). The Latinos seem pretty good at it! Maybe it’s countries where fans throw incendiaries at the players if they aren’t happy 😀

      Incremental staking late in the game - I love that approach! I mainly like it because it keeps your head in a trading mindset rather than one big fat last minut gamble. Trouble is, all of these inplay methods need the trader not to just watch the game, but to watch it with a keen eye. Many people who trade football don’t actually like the game that much (that was actually me once upon a time, and I’m still not a huge fan!). Hence a standardised approach is what many people want, but I’d say there are many who want to learn more to make more, and that’s what the next book will be about. In my view, in play football profits are good enough to make it worthwhile learning to enjoy it at least enough to watch games instead of the crap on TV these days!

      Red cards - yes, some methods do require an exit though as it’s all stats based, but if you’re on the right side of one, Merry Xmas indeed!

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your experiences. When I get to writing about this in detail, I may look you up to see if you want to add anything, even just some anecdotes or screenshots!

      Cheers for now, keep up the progress, I’m sure it will encourage many others


  18. Hi Tim,

    Fascinating read thank you. This article alone has helped me so much. As a matched better and a member of Rebel betting I'm all too aware of the risks etc. What i am unfortunately not great at is the data side of things.
    How do you record your LTD detail. Would you be willing to share blank spreadsheets or do you know somewhere that provides these for free?



    1. Hi John, thanks for the kind comments.
      As many of my regulars know, I have an allergic reaction to spreadsheets! I can use them, but I grind my teeth every second of it! To be honest, depending on your computing abilities, my suggestion would be:

      - Make a desktop folder for each day (naming it the date)
      - Take screenshots (easy on Mac (cmd-shift-4) or with free apps/software) of any charts/tables/evidence you look at for each trade
      - Open a text doc and write notes about each trade, just very brief but enough to understand them later. (i.e. strong home fave. on a winning run. away team no goals in weeks, cheap price..)
      - Save all evidence/notes for each trade in your day's folder, could even sub folder them for Trade 1, Trade 2, etc.
      - Then the next day save that folder into another folder of "Trades"

      These days, with so much digital info, soccerway/soccerstats etc, i find it quicker to just grab screenshots and drop the file in a folder, than write copious notes on paper. But I did use paper for many years, nothing wrong with it either, for some I think it's beneficial as just the act of writing helps think it through again.

      Not sure if that helps, I am no spreadsheet buff, but I'm sure it would be pretty easy to create a simple one (or use a free downloadable checklist spreadsheet and type notes into the boxes)


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