In-play betting has exploded in recent years and football trading is now a lucrative strategy for many bettors. In the first in a series of articles on live betting and betting in running, we look at the effect goals have on markets and where informed punters can look to take advantage.
“Goals change games”. As ever, there is large element of truth in this footballing cliché. Goals are what send the betting exchanges into overdrive, with punters taking profits, cutting losses, and backing and laying selections with fury. It is why viewers tune in after all. During this volatility however, some value can always be gleaned, and for those football traders happy too take advantage of knee jerk reactions, or market corrections, there is money to be made.
A goal changes the dynamic of every single game (How often will a commentator say “the game needed that” after the first goal in a dour match?). Suddenly one team has something to hold on to, and the other needs to take some action or they will lose. It is this fundamental shift in attitude that is so important. When a side goes one goal up, the natural reaction of most fans, and punters, is to assume the winning side will go on and get a second – and win the game. Statistics tell another tale however. Marginally over 50% of the time (enough to give an edge), in English football at least, the losing side will equalise and the root cause is the change in sentiment in each side. One has something to defend, the other must attack with more purpose and commitment or they are going to lose.
So where can traders take advantage and improve their football trading? Initially, in not over reacting. A goal obviously impacts every market, but has there been an over reaction and where can that be exploited? The 1-1 scoreline is the most common final score in the Premier League this season, so in the near term, markets on an equaliser may throw up some value. Likewise any back to lay draw strategies are still ‘live’ and traders need to stay calm and hold their nerve – an equaliser is statistically more likely than a second goal for the leaders, and when it arrives, the draw will again drop to a price where it can be laid for a profit.
The team that score also dictate where some more subtle markets can be exploited. For example, when an away side go in front, the average number of goals per game rises, compared to the hosts taking the lead. The home side is playing in front of it’s own fans and are expected to attack. If they fall behind, the need for attacking play is magnified and this generally leads to goals. Over 2.5 goals or Over 3.5 goals markets both rise in expectation when the visitors go in front. While these markets will obviously see prices drop with a goal being scored, there may still be opportunities for profit.
The news for traders then is to react calmly to the action as it unfolds, and fall back on any pre-planning that has been done. Take a few moments to assess what impact a goal really has on some of the markets and act accordingly. The timing of the first goal is clearly crucial, but the normal lessons of identifying value apply and there will be plenty about as punters over react to the changing dynamic in any game.