Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Trading Football

Eddy at Trading Times wrote a post a few days ago which I only just got around to reading, but is worth a mention. He wrote:

I have read the X-Club manual a couple of times over but will need to do a lot of practise for a long time before I can get my head around all the stuff. One thing did hit me last evening when I watched an Argentinian match on Betfair. I went onto the forum and read what peoples thoughts for the match were. One guy had put £300 on over 1.5 goals. No goals were forthcoming so after about twenty five minutes he said that he had taken a red book of £60 because he didn't want to lose his £300. Now this guy will never make money as far as I can see. You cannot do your homework, decide on a course of action and then bail out because the required result isn't hit within twenty five minutes of your trade. In reality just one goal would have given him the opportunity to get out with a profit, or break even if the goal comes later on (within reason). To my mind he was over-staking and out of his comfort zone because otherwise while bail out? If he had bet £100 he would probably of let the trade run a lot longer than just panic. To compound his logic he said at half time he would lay the 0-0 full time result to get his £60 back. So as happens to all of us the game finished 0-0 and he lost £571.
This post triggered a few thoughts, one being 'don't believe anything you read on a forum' and another being that anyone UK based is highly unlikely to have any sort of an edge on an Argentinian football match.

A stake of £300 in itself isn't a huge bet - it all depends on the size of the bank, and I don't necessarily agree that trading out for a loss was a bad decision "to bail out driven by panic". One lesson successful traders need to to learn is to cut losses and let winners run, so if the strategy was to back the Over 1.5 goals expecting an early goal, then once that goal didn't materialise, it's ok to accept that the trade wasn't a good one, and to trade out. 

Trading football doesn't suit me too well, so my profits come from identifying value pre-game and letting the games play out. I do trade occasionally, but for the most part I accept that the price is usually right, and that any trading is usually for small sums for interest and entertainment rather than serious money-making. To my mind, football just isn't suited to trading. Price movements, with small exceptions, are too predictable, driven for the most part by time and infrequent scoring. 

Compare with basketball, which has frequent scoring, and usually hot streaks by one or other teams, and a price chart that seldom moves in one direction for long. Yes, teams do come back from behind in football, but while I prefer football as a spectator sport by some distance, for trading, it just doesn't afford the same opportunities. Supposedly, some find steady profits easy to come by from football, but for me there are easier and less stressful ways of making money.


Mark Iverson said...

Totally agree with you on this post Cassini.

If what you expect to happen doesn't,then that should be your exit point.

All the best,


P.S. How come you didn't mention my 3 out of 4 on the weekend? lol!

Anonymous said...

interesting post as always.

i personally find trading snooker, which i dont understand that much, using my regular stakes very stressful ,whereas football where i have profited for a while now consistently is no stress at all. it's all to do with how comfortable you are with the sport you are trading.
similarly, when i first started trading tennis it was hugely stressful, but once you have a strategy set out that you have made work over a long period of time, the stress factor of it all drops.
for me as a rule if im finding something stress inducing then im staking too much in that particular sport/market. and of course the level of stress caused by trading a certain sport is always going to vary from person to person.

John said...

I too find football a strange sport to trade and was surprised to see Peter Webb mention it as one of his main income streams in the interview you posted last week. The problem I have is this most of the time the trade is made for the sake of making a trade if that makes sense.
For example, assume I believe there will be a goal in the first 20 minutes. I could back over 1.5 then at the 20 minute mark take a loss if no goal, or green up if a goal is scored beforehand. Why is this any different from placing an outright bet on a goal being scored in the first 20 minutes? In fact I would probably win more on the outright bet for the same ‘stake’. If the market is efficient and the prices are correct, you should have no advantage in making a trade than you would an outright gamble (assuming the bookmaker’s price is fair of course).
The advantage to a trade is in the above example you could change your mind about the expectations as things unfold. After 10 minutes you may decide the game is not as fast paced as you had hoped and with no shots on goal you want to take a small loss earlier. When the game is fast paced with lots of attempts the price could stay high and give you longer in the game, maybe 30 minutes, before you had to take a loss equivalent to the outright bet.
But this is the problem with football – a goal can come from anywhere at any time and is not really linked to how the game is playing out in the way that basketball or other sports are. Momentum is fickle in football and for that reason I find it so hard to trade as things always turn into a gamble.

John said...

Sorry, not sure why my user details are showing as 'mail' !,

Jeffrey Prest said...

Looking for teams that tend to bang in goals in the first 20 minutes or so is my main method of operation.

If there are no goals by then but the prediction websites I favour have tipped the game to go over 2.5 goals, then I'll exit the trade by hedging in such a way that if the game does eventually produce at least three goals, I break even.

If it's predicted as an 'under' game, on the other hand, I simply take my hit after 20 minutes and accept a loss.

One way to claw your money back is to have a small stake at big odds on the game going over 4.5 goals, should the game be goalless at the half-hour mark. If it's one of the more free-scoring leagues, you'll be surprised how much fun you can have with this should the second half light up.