Sunday 1 Oct
Some of you regular UKFT readers have sent me quite a few questions for today's busy coupon so I will answer with my thoughts below.
All Traders Have Bad Days!
Before that let me confirm that yesterday wasn't a great day on the football for me either!
These things happen as most people know but a few of you just learning the basics of sports trading need to remember that the foundation of Betfair trading is probabilities, not certainties!
If you want certainty, well I don't know where to suggest you go because I am yet to find any business or any area of life where there are absolute guarantees of anything. Indeed, life itself is not guaranteed.
A job is certainly a lot closer to being a certainty (of getting paid) than trading in any market, IF you look at day to day results of trading that is. If you look at 1 year or maybe even 5 or 10 year results, trading on Betfair as an income for me seems more certain than most jobs these days!
Yesterday was just one of those days, some wins some losses, but overall the losses ate up the wins so it wasn't a very profitable day (football-wise anyway).
This is why I always suggest low stakes for a decent period of time for all new traders, you don't need to learn how to pick winning trades, that is a piece of cake. Learning how losing days can happen, how they feel, and how they can influence your next move, THAT is the real learning you need to get out of the way before upping stakes and making it a full time business.
Do not skip this step, it's a surefire way to kill any budding trading career.
Good Decisions Don't Guarantee Profits
Yesterday was a good example of how making the correct stats-based decisions did not prove very profitable.
I take a view on trade selections quite quickly these days, I am looking for supporting factors and negative factors. If there are enough supporting factors I don't dither around much, I just take the trade.
Supporting factors do NOT guarantee a win, nothing can. What they can do is guarantee LONG TERM profitability. But that long term picture will have losing days, that much is blatantly obvious to all but the most inexperienced traders, and it's crucial to understand this before using heavier stakes.
The reason is because new traders will often have a moment of panic when "it goes wrong". I hate that phrase because in my opinion there is no such thing as a trade "going wrong". It is either a valid trade or it isn't, this has no bearing on whether it wins or loses, at least not on an individual trade basis.
Traders must focus on making the correct decisions every day, and watch the P&L over the long term, never days but weeks, months, and years eventually. Even just looking at several weeks should easily show how a losing day is perfectly tolerable and not a problem for a trader at all.
Once you have that experience of looking at the slightly longer term, you will find it much easier to swallow those losing days without overstaking, panicking, chasing losses, and generally making incorrect decisions as a result of a couple of losing trades.
Hope that helps one or two people who know who they are 🙂
For at least 80% of readers this should be a NO TRADE.
This is purely due to the price (6.8 currently). Yes there are ways to get involved, playing with Unders or laying the draw for a shorter period, and in this case I think a KO LTD would be valid enough for experienced traders, extra discipline is needed as there needs to be a much earlier goal (and I think the probabilities suggest early goals here) and you must be able to get out for a loss and walk away without feeling like you want to kick someone's cat over it.
You won't get to wait in the trade until 65+ minutes as per usual, due to the starting price of the trade. But if you work on the rules given in my laying the draw strategy ebook regarding half your odds being your exit, you could get a fairly good period (long enough in my view for a goal, but that's NO GUARANTEE of a goal!) by entering at KO, half your entry odds and choose that as your stop loss exit, and STICK TO IT come what may.
So if I LTD at 6.6 before KO, my textbook exit is 3.3. In reality I would probably exit at 2.96 (just to let it sit around 3.0 for a while as it often does so you get more time in the trade for proportionally less risk) but that's just me being honest about what I would do myself, not advice to do it yourself. 6.6 down to just under 3.0 in my view looks very likely to see a goal or quite possibly two goals to Arsenal, and given the starting price, the odds will shoot up a lot higher than other lower priced trades, so the RvR balance becomes quite favourable when all this is considered.
But again, ONLY if you have the discipline to get out of a losing trade when the game might look electric, like a goal is "coming any minute" etc etc!! It's hard, it can be almost impossible for a novice trader to take that disciplined exit, so if you are not sure you can do it, LEAVE IT. It can help to use the automated stop loss found in all of the best sports trading software packages.
As I have explained before, the way I make these decisions is quite simple, but effective.... I look at the stats on this game and imagine if there were 100 games identical to this being played this season.
Would I take every single one of them on as a trade, and expect to be up over the long term? My answer in this case is "ABSO EFFING LUTELY"!
That's the foundation of my decision, if it feels like a banker over the long term, I will take it. That means that if today Brighton come out and score a goal, dropping the odds to 4 in two minutes flat and I am out for a hefty loss, I DO NOT CARE! Because I am not in it to win today, even though I do expect to win, it's not about that, it's about the long term graph.
I would guess that 100 of these trades would result in a very respectable profit over all 100 games. Of course the first TEN could all lose, and if I was overstaking I would be out of the game before the long term pattern had time to rectify the early run of unlucky losses.
Stake management is therefore CRITICAL and I always stake based on the idea of it LOSING, never based on it winning.
This is a good example of a game I think could go differently to how the stats suggest (as a few did yesterday).
We have conflicting signals, plus the obvious gut feeling for most football followers that Everton "should" beat Burnley, and this is impacting the odds heavily. Before we go any further, I have already said enough to REJECT THIS AS A TRADE without looking any further.
It would be perfectly valid to leave this well alone, and if I was in the business of giving 'advice', that would be my advice here! Why take on trickier trades when simpler ones are never far away?
Bank preservation is a phrase you should keep in mind when doing selections on any Betfair trading system.
If we were to ignore the names of these teams and all the emotions and pre-conceived ideas those names bring with them, we have what appears to be a very peculiar situation....
Everton are priced 1.73, Burnley 6.0 and the draw 3.95. So it's an odds-on home team and on the odds it qualifies for further investigation as a LTD trade. Yet when we look for risks to the home team scoring first, we can see no end of them. Firstly Burnley score 1.67 goals on average away from home, Everton score 1 goal per game.
Burnley score their first goal earlier than Everton. Looking at the bars underneath, Burnley looks the team likely to score first. Everton have failed to score once, Burnley have not failed to score away from home. Arsenal's biggest victory was 1-0, Burnley's biggest victory was 3-2. Everton have scored 3 goals and conceded 4 at home.
Burnley have scored 5 goals and conceded 4 away from home. How many more negatives do I need to find here? So on paper, this looks like the odds are WAY out of whack, and we should be opposing Everton. I would never say that would be a bad idea either, as for a pure stats trader it makes perfect sense. However, here is a conflicting signal (and the odds are another one by the way).... Everton v Burnley head to head history....
A look at that table of their past history playing each other shows a heavy slant towards Everton. So at this point most traders should be thinking of leaving this alone, or perhaps looking for an in play opportunity if that's your thing. Just to be totally honest about what I would do, as I always do (but perhaps shouldn't), I would probably have a small dabble by either laying Everton or backing the draw.
I would definitely NOT advise doing this, it's for totally experienced and full time traders only, because only people with that much experience know if this type of trading will benefit them over the long term. There are a lot more trades to be had if you start doing this sort of stuff, but there is also a much higher percentage of losing trades.
That doesn't make it right or wrong, it makes it a personal choice, nothing more nothing less. I choose to do it, I know over the long term I am happy with the results, but it does mean some days I can lose money when I otherwise (without doing this stuff) i may have had a winning day with just a few strong trades.
My overall feeling about how I would approach this game would be to favour Burnley or a tight game in the first half, with the second half likely to go more Everton's way. Now is the important bit, will I be surprised if Everton come out and go 2 or 3 nil up in 20-30 minutes? NO, absolutely not at all.
They will be confident and have a strong history of beating Burnley, it wouldn't surprise me, it wouldn't annoy me, it wouldn't worry me at all. It's more than possible, I just like to take a position on stats especially when the odds are in my favour, here they are heavily in my favour as the market clearly see Everton easily winning this game. They may well do so, but I have a feeling it might not be so straight forward, and here is the key for me..... I don't like dong 10-20 minutes research, finding a sight imbalance between probabilities and market perceptions, and NOT TAKE A POSITION.
To me that just feels like I wasted 10-20 minutes of my life. If I am not going to put my money where my mouth is, or where my gut feeling is after looking through the stats in detail, what's the point? I may as well go and flip burgers and save the mental calories!! I would say again that I wouldn't go heavy stakes here, just a small trade to make sure I have some money involved after doing the research and finding out that I think the market prices don't accurately reflect the stats-based probabilities.
Once again.... it MAY WELL go the way of the market perception and the stats may have NO bearing on this game at all today. It feels around 50-50 to me maybe even 40-60 against the stats being played out. Historical team histories are a very powerful factor in football games. But when you take the ODDS into account, that becomes a 60-40 or 70-30 situation in my favour. What sort of trader finds what he thinks is an RvR situation like that, and then does nothing with it?! For a new or inexperienced trader, this DOES NOT APPLY. It's perfectly valid to spend a YEAR or more just thinking, watching and learning, without putting money on these sorts of trades.
This is how you develop your ideas (or with £2 stakes ideally in my view, just to make it easier to track your results really), but once you have been doing it many years you will find you don't want to sit and not get paid for your trouble, so even if you risk more losing days, you will take what I call 'speculative positions' where you think over the long term you should be up, but it's likely to see quite a varied pattern on your P&L for certain types of trades, this is one of those types.
I must just finish with what I said at the beginning, and taken from my Betfair football course - as a novice/learning trader, ANY conflicting signals are MORE than enough reason to reject a trade immediately.
Starting out on a pattern of high strike rates is the BEST way to grow confidence in what you are doing in the markets. Of all the characteristics of a successful trader, confidence has to be one of the most valuable things, if not THE most valuable. You can not trade nervously, you can't trade hesitantly, you can't trade worriedly.
If you don't have confidence, leave it alone. What I have confidence in (long term confidence that is) will NOT be the same as what many novice traders have confidence in. This is simply down to how much TIME I have spent trading and how much experience I have. You can't skip the step of gaining experience, and this is why what I personally do in the markets can not be "copied". I can only give my thoughts and ideas, and people learn and practice on their own time and their own money, dealing with their own emotions and result of their own decisions.
That is the one and only way to confident successful trading. If there was a pill I could sell, I would sell it, and make a lot of money doing so! There isn't, there is only experience, so stake in a way which lets you have a long period of experience, which means staking defensively and conservatively for a long time, only raising the stakes in line with your CONFIDENCE, which is not necessarily the same thing as profit growth. Some people take on some wild trades and have a string of fantastic winners, then they crash back to earth when the markets gives them a few slaps with their oversized trades.
Confidence comes from making decisions and feeling comfortable with them BEFORE the game kicks off, DURING the game, and AFTER the game even if it's a losing trade. 🙂
Newcastle v Liverpool
This has "leave alone" written all over it. Not just because it would be an Away LTD based on the stats. But also because the H2H and general stats has DRAW written all over this, that is not a "prediction" just how the data points in my opinion.
Liverpool could win the game strongly, but Newcastle could just as easily score the first goal, take the game to a 1-1 or 2-2 draw (2-2 last time they met) and equally could hold the game up without goals for a long period. All of these are threats to a LTD trade, so best not to touch it in my view.
If Liverpool did go 1-0 or ideally 2-0 up quite quickly, I might have a little lay on them. Again this is not for novices as I would expect this to lose me money most of the time, but given the fact that the odds will be incredibly low (1.1 or lower probably at 0-2) I would only need the home team to come back with a goal once every 8-9 games to be in profit, so this is another speculative method which I only know from experience pays off in the long run, most lose!
Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds
Someone mentioned this as a "cheap LTD". Be very careful of looking for "Cheap LTDs". Just like buying a pair of shoes, if something is cheap it doesn't ALWAYS mean it's the best buy. Having said that, when the stats back it up, a cheap LTD is a great thing indeed!
So I assess all games with the same quality controls regardless of the price, in other words I don't dive in because I see a low priced draw and "find" a reason to trade it. Instead, I judge it as if the price was 4.0 or more (as most good LTDs are around 4+) and IF it's cheaper, I am just more pleased with finding it, it's a bonus in other words.
We have yet more conflicting signals here. The home form of Sheff is damn good. But the away form of Leeds isn't bad, plus Leeds are higher in the league and have won their last two meetings. Conflicting signals means WALK AWAY. Have I said that enough times yet? 😀
Again, perhaps foolishly, I will give MY personal take on how I would approach this (if at all) which would be along these lines of thinking.....
The draw price is very cheap at 3.4. At that price, we can get a winning trade if EITHER team score, usually anyway. BUT, the win will be small, as the market expects the teams to be fairly evenly matched, so one team going ahead will not cause a huge spike in odds which we like to see in LTD trading.
The main RISK to a LTD trade is neither team scoring, although we could have a long run in this trade thanks to the cheap entry price. But if I was to trade it, I would still like to rule out most of the 0-0 threat so my approach would be to leave it alone and hope for a 0-0 or 1-1 at half time.
At which point I would consider a LTD until 70-75 minutes, if the odds were low enough at half time (for example 2.0-2.3) then I might even consider a half stakes LTD with the intention of leaving it to the final whistle, possibly adding a bit more to it around 65 minutes if its still 0-0 AND if I was watching the game and it was end to end shots. Both teams can score goals, and both teams can concede goals, so one other way I might approach it would be to lay Under 2.5 goals at HT instead of laying the draw.
These are just my thoughts, these might change when watching the game, and of course its likely that someone will score in the first half so I would most likely miss it out altogether. Once again, to finish, this is NOT a clear LTD by any means, so leaving it alone would be the wisest decision for any novice trader.
Atalanta v Juventus
Hmm, a tempter here, another "cheap LTD", and one I quite like.
Their last game at Atalanta ended 2-2, and something similar is likely here. But at the price it's at, I could easily be tempted to LTD at 3.2, or more easily wait til HT and hope for a 0-0 and get involved then at low odds (if its 0-0 which is unlikely) and take my green exit after a goal from either side, as by that point either team scoring would mean green.
Once again, if by some magic this game got to HT without goals, the Under2.5 market would be calling to me and would be preferable to LTD really, due to the fact that Unders markets don't care who scores the goal, any goal will cause a jump and probably more than the draw price would rise if Atalanta scored, but a bit less than if Juventus scored, so a HT lay of U2.5 would be a safer bet, and ONLY if 0-0. But again, the likelihood of this game getting to HT without goals is very low, but if it happened I would be getting involved for sure.
I will make notes on all these sorts of games, and set up my score alerts. If I hear a ping for a goal, it gets scratched off my day's notepad document.
I am out of time here so can't comment on a few others, but hopefully the above will probably help explain my approach to most of them.
IF IN DOUBT - DO NOT TRADE SOMETHING.
The best way to know if you are in doubt, is to wonder how you would feel if it LOST. That's what I do. If I look at a trade idea and think "if this lost, I would be quite happy and do it again and again every time I see the same setup" then I know I am comfortable with it.
If I can't say that, I don't touch it. Hope this helps a few of you.
Great to hear from you again and for your very sound advice
Cheers Andy, got so much going on at the moment but a few people really needed a bit of steering in the right direction so I thought it best to stick it on the blog and hopefully benefit a few more people too.