Lay The Draw - How To Profit From LTD Strategy in 2023
Laying The Draw is probably the most well-known Betfair strategy of all time.
It'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
I 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:
- Team A Win
- Team B Win
We target the draw because we have two ways to win (A or B winning), and one way to lose (no goals).
This 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.
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.
- Home team ranked 7th in league, away ranked 10. Strong enough. Tick!
- Home team scores at least 1.5 goals per game. Tick!
- Home team concedes less than 1.25 goals per game (ideally less than 0.8) Tick!
- Away team scores less than 1.25 goals per game (ideally less than 1.0) Tick!
- 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!
- 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.
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
- Open the trade by laying the draw before kick off, either on Betfair.com 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
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.
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:
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
If no goals are scored 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...
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!
Enjoying this article? Please say thanks by sharing...
My Version Of The Strategy
There 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?
What 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:
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.
This 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.
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
To 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:
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?
If 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:
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:
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:
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
Many 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
As 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:
Stats are limited or non-existent and teams don't always field their best players. They are unreliable for lay the draw trading.
Who 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).
Think 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.
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.
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
I 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.
Four 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.
Thanks for reading. Subscribe for free to get an email when I publish new articles.
P.S. If you found this article useful, please say thanks by sharing it...
Mr. Scott would be so kind as to give me the statistics page scoring minute? thanks.
I use soccerway or soccerstats
Instead of laying a draw is it not a better option to lay 0-0?
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.
Hi Tim, why is it not better to just back the home team and trade of out when they score 1 or 2 goals?
As opposed to laying the draw?
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.
After placing a back bet is there a formula for calculating the amount of money to stake in order to trade out a lay bet and make a profit.
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.
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?
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. 🙂
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?
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 🙂
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?
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.
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!
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!
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
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?
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.
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?
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.
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!
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
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
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.
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%..
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?
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
Also what is better use liability or just stakes so liability varies? Thank you!
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
Thank you so much!One more question if 1st half finish 1-1 you close trade or staying till odds hit 2 or by minute 70?
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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
I tried to buy your book/system, but norwegians are probabely not welcome in the club:-)
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 @ clickbank.com, 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.
Thanks, I will try
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:
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.
Thank you Tim!
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?
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 flashscores.co.uk - live pings, or better still, FutBol24 app for iphone/android which is fast and alarms in your pocket 🙂
I was just wondering what you trade outside of the football season? Is the Chinese super league, J League and MLS even trustworthy to trade?
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!
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?
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.