Betting exchanges have opened up opportunities for adventurous bettors to ‘trade’ on their opinions, betting when the price is big, and selling (or laying), when the odds are judged to be too small. This type of betting obviously needs to be carried out ‘in running’, but are there some markets that are better suited to this style of gambling than others?

The ‘Premier League 2011/2012 winner‘ market, for example, offers the astute gambler an ideal opportunity to trade their way to success.

The forthcoming 2011/12 Premier League season looks like being one of the most competitive for many years, and the title could conceivably end up at any one of 5 or even 6 clubs. With such competition, there is sure to be value in the market at some point – but over the whole season, the prices available will fluctuate massively depending on form, team news and even sentiment. This volatility, coupled with the long term nature of the market, creates the perfect environment to ‘trade’ on your knowledge and predictions.

Manchester United

Let’s look at the leading contenders and see how one might wish to trade on them. Favourites, and reigning champions, are Manchester United. Currently available on the exchanges, such as Betfair, at 2.76 (roughly 7/4 ). If United are your pick for winning this year’s title, do you lump on now? History would suggest not. Sir Alex Ferguson has carved out a long and successful career by ensuring his team peaks in the final months of the season, and going back only as far as last year, they clawed back what was a sizeable points deficit before passing Chelsea after the Blues stuttered in the new year. The odds on the Reds therefore, would have risen, before their assault on the title really kicked into life.

The ability to hit form when it really matters, poses an intriguing dilemma for a bettor wishing to trade on United. If the price is going to rise, at what point do you strike the first bet – or do you start with a ‘lay’ bet in August, hoping to then back them at a bigger price come December? Whatever your opinion of that conundrum, it clearly demonstrates the potential for trading within the ‘Premier League Winner’ market.

Chelsea

Almost every Premier League title race has ebbed and flowed to such a degree that two or more teams have been considered ‘nailed on’ champions at different points of the season. Who can forget BetFred paying out on Manchester United before they were overhauled by Arsenal back in 1998? Likewise, Chelsea began 2010/11 in blistering form and the title looked destined for London, but things went wrong around the turn of the year and despite the arrival of Torres, the Blues could not catch the eventual winners, United. But what of 2011/12? Will Andre Villas-Boas have his new team firing on all cylinders from week 1? Your answer to that question is a tradeable asset! A quick start will see their current price of 3.9 (Just under 3/1) at Betfair get smaller over time, but a sluggish first 10 games will see it creep up.

Manchester City

The price for Manchester City looks likely to be the most volatile, currently a fraction over 4/1 at 5.1 on the exchanges. Football fans around the world are waiting to see if the spending over the last few years will translate into a title challenge. City could potentially win their first 10 games and move to odds-on favourites, but they could equally implode in a huge storm of ego’s and dollar signs and drift out to 10/1. They look ideal candidates for a trade, as long as you have a strong opinion of which way things are going to go for them. Much will depend on the attitude of some of the leading players. Tevez and Balotelli are the obvious examples where there seems to be underlying discontent within the ranks.

Arsenal

Is there a more stubborn manager than Arsene Wenger? Every man and his dog is imploring the French manager to spend some big bucks – but the more people that say it, the more stubborn he gets. In a similar way to Manchester United, the Gunners have followed a familiar seasonal pattern over the last few years, the main problem for Arsenal is, it ends with them winning nothing.

The North Londoners generally start strongly, playing an attractive brand of football and winning many admirers, but come January or February, injuries and suspensions begin to mount up and inevitably the squad strength gets tested – and Arsenal are found wanting. Wenger does not seem to like large squads and always seems to head into a season 2 or 3 players light, and with unnerving regularity, the Gunners season tails off in early spring. This pattern suggests backing Arsene’s men now (11.5 on the exchanges such as Betfair – roughly 10/1 after commission) with a view to laying them in early winter before the squad is stretched.

Other Options

Away from the leading protagonists, there are other trading options. Both Liverpool (12.5) and Tottenham (55) could mount a title bid, but when trading, we can afford to take a slightly shorter term view – Can either club start the season strongly and therefore force those odds down? For example, a bet now on Spurs could return a healthy profit as early as November if they hang on to Modric and make a strong start in the league. If they were in the mix after 10 games, those odds would tumble rapidly and a nice profit could be taken. Liverpool represent a similar opportunity but at 12.5 they may need to sustain their bid into the new year before the odds dropped sufficiently to make a significant return.

The ability to trade is often ignored by punters, but with a little research and a strong opinion, many successful bets can be struck over a long event. It is also worth considering the volatility of prices over a long term market, even when making a ‘standard’ outright bet. Staying with the Premier League as an example, if the team you wish to back faces a run of tough games, the odds are likely to be larger after that run, so hold on to your money to get that bigger price. In the same way, a run of comfortable games could see the odds drop, so get on before your selections start racking up wins. Seeing market odds in a similar way to stock market indices can help the informed bettor get the maximum out of their calls, and is a valuable tool when assessing bets of any kind.